Friday, January 22, 2010

Is coaching is boon or Bane

A CA coaching class in Kochi,Kerala

Blurb...."Many students these days think that one should take coaching classes to get success in CA exams.But if you look at success rates, there is no significant change in the percentage of those passing despite very good coaching centres."

Dear Students,

Hiyaaa all from Vidhyashankar!

Had some time today to scribe a few lines for you all.This post was not approved in full by admin unfortunately on the articles section because it contained some personal views on profs in Chennai, so they asked me to post it here in this informal setting for a fuller version.I hope this posting too gets good visibility.

Let me analyze this phenomenon and share my unique views on this subject.Please do not consider this as a lengthy peroration on the subject or something set as stone for the matter and decided by Vidhyashankar's gavel.

No, far from it, you have to check the suitability of coaching centres yourself.

REASONS WHY STUDENTS GO TO COACHING CENTRES FOR CA EXAMS:

1. FEAR--Plain and simple! They fear many many things and the most they fear is CA examination in itself.The load, the toughness,etc.Most of these are perceptual barriers erected by their own febrile minds, though.Most of those who fail despite going to coaching classes fall under this category.Fear is as I said before in my posting(Sqaushing fear posting), something misty,something unreal,something created by the illusionary nature of our reptelian brain(unless it comes from a deep intuitive mind portending some danger).So when the substraum of the decision hinges upon this for making a decision to go to a Coaching class, then finally it has to frustrate itself by the most obvious route of ennui or dissatisfaction.This forms the 40% chunk of those who attend the classes.

2. PEER PRESSURE--

First mental scriptttt ... "Hey! My friends go and so I have to go.I dont want to stay alone and read, whereas my friends run ahead of me in understanding concepts with the help of some teacher in a Coaching class."

Second mental scriptttt... "My friend XYZ warns me of the dangers of roughing it alone and says the subjects are tough and thus I need to protect myself by understanding the basic concepts and heed his/her sane advice and beter go alongwith him/her"

Both these mental scriptttts are dictated by fear and thus this too has a great chance of not really helping the student.Maybe they do find it useful but at the cost of their energy,commutation,late hours,taunts from teachers,diffidence hearing other students' woes in the coaching class,ill-adviced moves in the coaching class,etc.SOMETIMES IT IS NOT WORTH TO GO TO COACHING CLASSES-thinking of these factors.This group forms 40% of those who go to coaching classes.

3. TO FEEL EXTRA CONFIDENT--

This group is markedly different from the first category.

Avoiding fear is totally different from embracing courage.

The students of the first type cannot evade negativity ("Try not to think of a PINK ELEPHANT" kind of thing) whereas the second group is inherently positive.This second group of students are sane and take just what is needed for them and not make a beeline for classes even when they dont need them.You don't find them sitting in MICS/ICSA type of classes and whiling away their time writing notes.You don't see them idling their time after the classes are over "discussing relevant items" for CA(Read as: Discussing irrelevant things and inducing further fear and negativity about the course and subjects).You see them utilizing the prof or teacher to the hilt and getting motivated by other dilgent students.This group forms 20% of those who attend the classes and the sampling matches the positive results roughly.

I have personally attended coaching classes for a couple of subjects too at every level, so I know what Im talking about.

Those who go to coaching classes fall under these 3 categories essentially.

There might be other seemingly plausible reasons like--"I DONT UNDERSTAND this subject" or "Costing is a bugbear to me"(Nothing is a bugbear except your rotten mind!)" If I sit at home, my mind is idle and an idle mind is a devil's workshop so better attend classes"(Who asked you to be idle? You have a whole bundle of study materials to read! I never had the luxury of sitting idle then or even today! I do sit idle(Just do nothing but stare at the walls or meditate and try to empty my mind out) for the sake of rest after some substantial progress is made in any venture I take up.This energizes me but lethargic idleness is wasting one's human birth is all I can say, apart from being a pain on oneself and people around!).

Lethargy is a subtle converted form of fear too.One is lethargic because one does not want to beat the current status quo or current comfort zone.All these can be clubbed under fear category mentioned first.

Proper analytical mode:

You must analyze the following factors, sort of a checklist(or even a software for the mind) before you take up the coaching classes:

1. Am I really worried about this subject? Will I not be able to do it using study material,compiler,RTPs,Reference books?--If the answer for this is a vehement YES...Then don't go--you simply are wasting your time,energy and money.Why do you wanna go then?you wanna ogle some beautiful girl in the class or what????(Better ogle her after the exams! Girls are clever mind you, they will pass and go their way and you will sit there ogling session after session some belle!...juskiddin' ...I know all of you are gems and won't do such things ;) !)

2. What is the opportunity cost for this decision?--Time,effort,commutation,frustration,professorial taunts,student and co-peer pressure,general depression factors associated with the load,load handling capacity of the brain(subjective and oftimes underestimated),etc.

A cost-benefit analysis must be made.

3. How is the professor? Is he or she really good.Dont hear stories from seniors alone in judging, try to evaluate yourself by attending any mock sessions or ICAI study sessions or some form....Or get the advice of a really trusted person.The yardstick here is not merely the knowledge of the professor but the human element.Is he/she a surly person who discourages the students constantly harping about the subject's toughness(or perceived toughness)? Is he highly sarcastic and snobbish?--Just get away from such vermins(this is the best word I can find for people who eat the confidence embedded in the students' brains!).This is the most important point and you must give extra weightage for this.

4. How far is the coaching centre? If you take all the time to even commute the distance, there wont be much value addition to it, howsoever good the classes might be.You spend unnecessary time in commutation and cannot concentrate in the classes.(Unless you are attending the classes by an airconditioned car, even then there is wastage of time!)

5. How good is the professor as far as subject knowledge and coaching materials are concerned? If only the coaching materials are good, then get that alone-Simple as a cake! Why waste time with the fellow? If the materials are passable but the professor is good, then too it might not be worth because one tends to get over-confident and think--"Oh this is jolly well easy like smashing a pumpkin pie on my foe's face"....finally you get the pumpkin pie smudges on your face when you come out the exam hall wornout and paledout.In other words, you get rude shocks seeing the "toughness" of the exam.

The professor must have excellent knowledge, must be a good teacher pellucid in his coaching methods and his or her coaching material must cover essentially what is important for the exam in a crystal clear fashion.The very fact that someone's coaching material is enough to pass the exam speaks bad about the person because he or she is not a good teacher.(I know this sounds very counterintuitive)

A good teacher is something of an "irreplaceable service"(or product).You get the whole package if you attend his or her classes and not by getting parts of whole to substitute for the whole.

You are not going there for a regurgitation of study material or listening some lengthy but useless lecture or taking notes, which do make your fingers strong(or do you end up with a carpel tunnel like syndrome?) but your brain weak!

Never be a sucker for the brilliant marketing efforts done by the Coaching Institutes:

1. They setup student decoys sometimes even paying money to boast about the coaching classes or a particular professor or his greatness

2. Some students are brainwashed or are under some euphoria thinking they have cleared the exam due to the professor or get sentimental/nostalgic about the person(given the trauma everyone undergoes for this course, this is imaginable).This has nothing to do with "Guru-shishya parampara" or such kind of elevated stuff(You are trying for a pass or rank in the Course, not mokshamarg taking the person to be some sadguru or Master of sorts!).I hear some students keep quoting this Guru-shishya parampara kibosh.Its time to get practical.One must respect one's elders and teachers but not get too mushy-mushy and create self-detriments even before you prepare for the subjects.

3. They give postings,conduct extra curicullar activities,run magazines, induct youtube videos of their classes,passup wonderful and enticing phamphlets,etc to spread their names.They go under guises of being honest institutions with student welfare in minds.

4. They propogate the "easy"--All subjects under one roof---hype.

One must not fall for all this garbage and must use one's commonsense a lot (very very uncommon these days).

------------

If you find that the tuition is more of a detriment than help, then drop it.Dont consider the money, its sunk cost! You can work it outyourself,nothing to worry.

Infact, when I was attending Prime Academy classes for costing with Sivakumar those days, I felt that I was wasting my time there under the old fellow! He used to come every class late and used to excuse himself saying he had a physically handicapped son to attend to.(Then he must change the timings,or do something about it,not play with students thus).Infact, an irony of sorts,my friend's friend who was himself a polioafflicted person who used to come to his classes with great effort.This student is also the son of some other tensed father(who thinks his son is getting a good deal in the Costing classes)

Now, Sivakumarji had excellent subject knowledge and could be a good teacher(as in explaining concepts) if he had the inclination to do so sometimes but then he used to tell one or two unique solutions to keep the students spellbound by his ingenuity (the most famous being his cross-solving method for one problem in Marginal Costing and simplification of Transportation problem using commonsense) then keep skipping problems,had high ego and a very sarcastic behaviour, thinking that students loved him a lot for this.He also used to cancel classes(this was really loathsome given the fact that students from Orissa and North Andhra(backward districts) used to pay through their noses their tuition fees through strained financial conditions and come like 1 or 2 hours before the class timing to sit in the first row to get maximum benefit out of classes.).

Ofcourse, as always there used to be some sychophants/chamchas (who think that by pleasing a professor they upheld the great "Guru-shishya parampara" and thus they would clear the exams automatically.WTF!!)always who used to sing paeans for the guy and that is what lured me in the first place.I simply dropped attending his classes and even tried to get in vain my money which I had to pay in the first itself for the classes.Luckily I never used to pay the amountin full installments whatever be the spin of the insittutes and the supposed rules.I used to talk up with the Insitute head and try to pay it in 3 installments quoting some strained financial reasons(I made it sure, I went in my worst attire with chappals for such negotiations) and I used to play the ball really hard and it worked like magic everytime.So all I lost was the first installment with this R.Sivakumarji (called Rocket Sivakumar for his skipping stance in the class).Many things in this life are negotiable(infact almost everything is negotiable except matters of love and courage).

However,I bear no personal grudges against this prof, I learnt certain valuable things but then cost benefit analysis simply did not match up so Bye Good ol'mate...its my way and you take the highway!

CA.Pattabhiram of Prime Academy

(See my forum posting--"Useful youtube videos" to see his videos on Youtube)

On the otherhand, it was a pleasure attending Pattabhi's classes for MAFA those days.I used to speak Oriya and Telugu with the hostel mates who used to come like 1 hour or 2 hours before the class (as if it were some Tirupathy Balaji Darshan thing) and managed to get the front row seats reserved for me to sit in his classes even if I came a bit late for the classes. (One of the many advantages of knowing lot of languages!).His confident no-nonsense style was really contagious in a positive way for me.I did all the problems from the prime Academy text, worked Khan and Jain(those days) a bit of Prasanna Chandra,Study material and compiler in and out and really crossed the 80 mark barrier for the exam.I have to add here that I also used Brearly and Meyers to understand certain concepts.In those days it was difficult to get it and only one unknown bookshop in Chennai(Mountroad) had foreign author books and it took me lot of pleading with the owner who normally sold to Institutions in bulk to get me a copy.I negotiated with him that I can get him an offer with one College for a bulk order and finally got the book free after I kept up my word! I also got from him Coln Drury and the students and Teachers manual(solutions sort of) also at 50% discounted price(Hmm, power of negotiation again!)

This prof is really amazing and recently he had written one book named "CA to CEO", Which listsaround 16 paths which CAs can take apart from the traditional moorings of accounting/accountancy and auditing.

One more instance which I can quote is: I attended one person's classes in the institute which i used like a trial run before my choice.Let us call him LM(Landmark hehe!) and I did not like him and his egoistic ways and so I did not join his classes.My suspicion turned true with lot of guys failing(not minding the fact that Saravana Prasad attending his classes and got numero uno rank...but thats more to do with the mettle Saravana was made than LM's teaching as such.)

Read my other posting: "Coaching not necessary for the following subjects"

Take a sane decision, NOW!

Your friend and confidante',

"Vidhyashankar"


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1 comments:

Vv said...

Hey dude, totally appreciate your analysis of the Coaching madness that has been sweeping the CA student community.

But please refrain from using faculty names. I can assure you that Sivakumar is faaar superior to the other's u had mentioned. If you were an average student who couldn't apreciate his genius then plzz be gone.

He teaches you to find excellence my friend and not solutions. And don't vent your frustrations for not being able to comprehend him in such lame manner. (hez got a kid...blah).

FYI Pattabhi has a perennial heart problem and he cancelled 75% of classes fr my batch but unfortunately/fortunately he is still teaching and teaching well i must say.

Newayz Cheers to your initiative for putting up such a great blog. Liked it.!!

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