Is CA, CS, CMA as tough as people make it out to be?

We often come across this question but I am not sure if the spirit of the question is that the content and subjects are tough or is it that the pressure or stress while doing these courses along your normal studies is high.

Nevertheless, I will try to address both types of doubts in this article. 

The point to consider is that when someone says CA, CS or CMA is tough, what are they comparing it to? I assume that the comparison is being done with other courses. So, let us look at some of the parameters of comparison across other courses and CA, CS and CMA:

Demand and competition

According to Times of India, in 2018, Indian Railways got 2.8 crore applications for around 90,000 jobs it had advertised for. So, there were more than 300 applicants for each job which shows the level of competition in the field. There is a similar competition in all such jobs. However, professional courses such as CA, CS and CMA have a high demand in market. Currently, there are 5-6 lakhs of Chartered Accountants, Cost & Management Accounts and Company Secretaries available against a requirement of 30 – 35 lakhs in India alone. This shows the vast scope of professional courses and their high potential.


  • Pursuing engineering, medical or management courses costs a fortune. One needs to spend around Rs. 7 to 15 lakhs to complete these courses. Compared to these, one can pursue professional courses of CA, CS, CMA at a very reasonable cost as one can complete all the 3 levels of these courses within an average budget of Rs. 1.5 lakhs -2 lakhs.

Age Barrier

  • To get into courses like IITs, IIMs or Medical, etc one has to take an entrance exam. In case of one fails in their first, second, or third attempt or cross the required age limit, they lose the chance of getting into a good government college. On the other side, CA, CS, CMA courses have no limit on number of attempts or age limit. 

Early start and more opportunities to write exams in a year

  • CA, CS, CMA are conducted twice a year unlike other examinations which can be applied only after completing graduation. Exams like Banking, SSC or Railways etc have one time exam policy that is exam is being conducted once a year. If you choose professional courses like CA, CS or CMA, you can start writing exams for these courses immediately after 12th class and you can aim at becoming a CA, CS, CMA at an age of 21 or 22 years.

Now, let me discuss the common misconceptions about CA, CS or CMA courses.

Pass Percentage

People often have this misconception that the pass percentage of these courses is not more than 2% – 5%. Due to this misconception, a lot of students get discouraged even before pursuing the course.   

However, the pass percentage of these courses is far higher than the misconception. The below are the pass percentages of these courses at the 3 levels in the last 2 years –

  • CA Foundation, CMA Foundation, and CSEET-: Around 25% – 30% 
  • IPCC or Intermediate exam for all three CA, CS, and CMA -: Around 15% – 30%
  • CA Final, CMA Final or CS Final examination -: Around 15 – 25% 

Conclusion -: Contrary to popular perception, these courses have a higher success rate and a higher chance of success as compared to other courses. 

Unlike other courses, just passing the course and getting a degree is not the motive and the aim of these courses is to get a job with a handsome salary and build a career.

Difficulty Level

A common misconception is that these courses are very difficult. However, one important thing to note is that most of the subjects in these courses overlap with the subjects the students study in their 11th class, 12th class or degree in commerce or management streams. 

The Foundation level for these courses is easy as we have already learnt the concepts in 11th and 12th classes already. Some of the subjects at intermediate and final level also overlap with the degree level subjects. 

Conclusion -: If you prepare in a structured and disciplined manner and study from the materials and notes provided at the time of registration by ICAI, ICSI or ICWAI institute and notes shared in ProEdge classes, you will be able to clear the exams without any hassle. 

Lot of papers/ subjects in CA/ CS or CMA courses

Another common misconception is that CA, CS and CMA has a lot of subjects or papers. Let me show you why this misconception is incorrect. 

CA, CS and CMA courses have 10 broad subjects where one gets depth knowledge about the important concepts. These courses are extremely well structured and have been updated with the latest requirements of the industry. Also, as already noted above, the subjects have a high overlap with the 11th class / 12th class/ degree curriculum. 

The important is how to prepare for these broad subjects and how disciplined you are in your approach to preparation.

Conclusion -: At Proedge, we provide a clear cut structure to the preparation of the subjects at various levels. We also conduct an in depth analysis on previous exams and ensure your concepts and exam preparation is up to the mark. 

High Duration of CA, CS, CMA – 3 Years to 5 years

A common misconception is that these courses are lengthy and it takes more than 5 years to complete the course. 

But, contrary to perception, we can complete these courses in a lesser time frame, provided the student study in a disciplined manner and as per our guidance. Also, if start preparing for these courses from 11th class, 12th class and degree, then you can actually complete these courses within an age of 21 – 23 years which is almost 1-2 years after you complete your degree.


Another misconception is that these are very expensive courses. 

However, it is relatively cheap to pursue these professional courses of CA, CS, and CMA. The average cost one spends is in the range of INR 1 lakh to 1.5 lakhs to register and appear for these courses at all levels (including Registration Fees, Coaching Fees, and Exam Fees) over a period of 3-5 years.

Conclusion -: Given the fact that these courses provide high level of employment and have a high demand in the market, the return on investment on these courses is higher than most of the other courses in the market. 

So, in a nutshell, to clear these 3 courses you need to keep these 3 things in mind –

  1. Be disciplined
  2. Be ready to face difficulties and at times failures as well
  3. There is no substitute to hard work and consistency in the form of putting in 2 – 4 hours of study every day 

Based on the above discussion, the bottom line is that your attitude and approach towards these professional courses will make it tough or easy. 

The special thing about these courses is that pursuing these courses allow you personal and professional growth and make you mature, disciplined, and strong enough to face any difficulty in life. I won’t say it will be a cakewalk but, it is a challenge which is absolutely achievable and the one that will leave you as a winner irrespective of the result!

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