The Company Secretaryship course hosted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) has 3 levels viz., the Foundation level, the Executive and the Professional level. Those with an undergraduate degree in any stream (except Fine-Arts) can skip the CS-Foundation and directly register for the CS-Executive. A candidate on completing the Professional level of the exam becomes a Company Secretary and is acknowledged by the ICSI. Through this article, we intend to discuss the following important points:
- Being aware of the exam structure, new syllabus from March 2018, question paper pattern, etc.
- Planning a schedule to complete the syllabus on time and being prepared for the exam.
- Study materials, tips, and strategies for scoring maximum and gaining an extra edge over your competitors.
The CS Exam – Structure, Syllabus, and Pattern
Now, let us take a look at the structure of the CS-Executive exam with reference to its syllabus, examination pattern and latest updates, which would help candidates aspiring to attempt the exam in the month of December 2019 or June 2020.
ICSI had the executive level consists of basically 2 modules with 4 papers in each module. The subjects are as follows:
|CS Executive New Syllabus Subjects Programme [8papers] ( New Syllabus – w.e.f. 1st Mar 2018 )|
|1. JURISPRUDENCE, INTERPRETATION & GENERAL LAWS|
|2. COMPANY LAW|
|3. SETTING UP OF BUSINESS ENTITIES AND CLOSURE|
|4. TAX LAWS|
|5. CORPORATE & MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING|
|6.SECURITIES LAWS & CAPITAL MARKETS|
|7.ECONOMIC, BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LAWS|
|8. FINANCIAL AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT|
The examination is conducted twice a year, in the month of June and in December. The candidate may choose to attempt both modules in one go or each module in one period, and has to register for the same within the stipulated deadline. It is very important that the candidate chose this wisely because accordingly, they have to plan their preparation.
The candidate may refer to the following link to refer to the Exam timetable for December 2019 exams:
The last dates for registration are:
- 25th March (with late fee of ₹ 250/- till 9th April) for June Examination
- 25th September (with late fee of ₹ 250/- till 10th October) for December Examination
The Examination Fee is ₹ 1,200/- per module for the Executive level.
Paper pattern: Descriptive type
Marks for qualifying:A candidate is declared to have passed the Foundation or Executive or Professional examination if they secure at one sitting a minimum of 40% marks in each paper and 50% marks in the aggregate of all subjects.
The CS Executive Study Plan :
The study plan or schedule is a must before beginning the preparation for the CS exams. It guides you on the right path and helps you maintain your focus on the preparation. The study plan suggested in this article might not suit all candidates, taking into consideration the varying caliber and time available for the preparation. But given the benefits of modern technology and thereby access to the abundant online resources, this shouldn’t be a worrying problem. Now, let us get into a plan based on the requirements for every subject and then integrate them into a consolidated plan.
The following points give an idea for designing a study plan and going about the preparation.
- Your study plan must include a few hours of self-study, i.e., reading the syllabus books provided by ICSI, few hours for watching online video lectures or attending classroom coaching, every day.
- Rather than trying to complete the syllabus of one whole paper and then moving on to the other, it is advised by experts that you incorporate more than 1 subject per day, at least 2. This also ensures that you don’t lose interest.
- If you are a full-time aspirant, allocate your most productive hours for reading the books, as it would be the best time to utilize your quick-grasping ability.
- If you have other tasks to do and possess only less than half a day for your CS preparation, it is advisable that you make the best use of online video lectures. Read the relevant subject books and watch the video lecture series or other online materials of the same topic on alternate days.
- Revision is the key to success. Always plan to complete your syllabus well in advance and allocate enough time for revision in your study-plan.
- Make sure that you find time to stay updated with the current affairs and read the ICSI student e-bulletin and monthly capsules since they can be added to your answers as well.
CS Executive Study plan for December-2019 Exam – Module 1:
Module-1 consists of 4 subjects.
Paper-1: Jurisprudence, Interpretation and General Laws
Paper-2: Company Law
Paper-3: Setting up of Business Entities and Closure
Paper-4: Tax Laws
Incorporating all the above points for preparation, given below is a 60-day plan of study to complete the syllabus for the Executive First Module.
CS Executive Study Plan
|1||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Sources of Law
2) Introduction to Company Law
|2||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Choice of Business Organization
2) Direct Taxes at a Glance
|3||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Constitution of India
2) Meaning and types of Capital; Concept of issue and allotment; Issue of Share certificates; Further Issue of Share Capital; Issue of shares on Private and Preferential basis; Rights issue and Bonus Shares; Sweat Equity Shares and ESOPs; Issue and Redemption of preference shares
|4||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Company
2) Basic concepts of Income Tax
|5||REVISION||Revision of Week-1|
|6||REVISION||Revision of Week-1|
|7||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Interpretation of Statutes
2) Transfer and Transmission of securities; Buyback of securities; dematerialization and re-materialization of shares; Reduction of Share Capital.
|8||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Charter documents of Companies
2) Incomes which do not form part of Total Income: Computation of Income under Various Heads
|9||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) General Clauses Act, 1897
2) Members and Shareholders
|10||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Legal status of Registered Companies
2) Clubbing provisions and Set Off and / or Carry Forward of Losses
|11||REVISION||Revision of Week-2|
|12||REVISION||Revision of Week-2|
|13||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Administrative Laws
2) Debt Instruments
|14||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Limited Liability Partnership
2) Deductions from Gross Total Income & Rebate and Relief
|15||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Law of Torts
|16||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Other forms of business organizations
2) Computation of Total Income and Tax Liability of various entities
|17||REVISION||Revision of Week-3|
|18||REVISION||Revision of Week-3|
|19||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Limitation Act, 1963
2) Distribution of Profits
|20||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Institutions Not For Profit &NGOs
2) Classification and Tax Incidence on Companies
|21||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Civil Procedure Code, 1908
2) Corporate Social Responsibility
|22||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Financial Services Organization
2) Procedural Compliance
|23||REVISION||Revision of Week-4|
|24||REVISION||Revision of Week-4|
|25||REVISION||Revision of Week-1|
|26||REVISION||Revision of Week-2|
|27||REVISION||Revision of Week-3|
|28||REVISION||Revision of Week-4|
|29||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Indian Penal Code, 1860
2) Accounts, Audit and Auditors
|30||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Start-ups
2) Assessment, Appeals &Revision
|31||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
2) Transparency and Disclosures
|32||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Joint Ventures; Special Purpose Vehicles
2) Case studies
|33||REVISION||Revision of Week-5|
|34||REVISION||Revision of Week-5|
|35||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Indian Evidence Act, 1872
2) An overview of Inter-Corporate Loans, Investments, Guarantees and Security, Related Party Transactions
|36||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Setting up of Business outside India
2) Concept of Indirect Taxes at a glance
|37||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Special Courts, Tribunals under Companies Act & Other Legislations
2) Registers and Records
|38||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Conversion of existing business entity
2) Basics of Goods and Services Tax ‘GST
|39||REVISION||Revision of Week-6|
|40||REVISION||Revision of Week-6|
|41||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
2) An overview of Corporate Reorganization
|42||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Various Initial Registrations and Licenses: Mandatory Registration – PAN; TAN; GST Registration; Shops & Establishments; SSI/MSME; Additional Registration/License – ESI/PF; FCRA; Pollution; Other registration as per requirement of sector; IE Code; Drug License; FSSAI; Trademark; Copyright; Patent; Design
2) Concept of Time, Value & Place of Taxable Supply
|43||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Indian Stamp Act, 1899
2) Introduction to MCA 21 and filing in XBRL; Global Trends and Developments in Company Law
|44||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Various Initial Registrations and Licenses: RBI; Banking; IRDA; Telecom; I & B; MSME Registration; UdyogAadhar Memorandum; Industrial License, Industrial Entrepreneurs Memorandum (IEM); State Level Approval from the
respective State Industrial Department.
2) Input Tax Credit & Computation of GST Liability- Overview
|45||REVISION||Revision of Week-7|
|46||REVISION||Revision of Week-7|
|47||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Registration Act, 1908
2) Part II- Board Constitution and its Powers
|48||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Maintenance of Registers and Records
2) Procedural Compliance under GST
|49||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Right to Information Act, 2005
|50||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Identifying laws applicable to various Industries and their initial compliances
2) Basic overview on Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST), Union Territory Goods and Service tax (UTGST), and GST Compensation to States.
|51||REVISION||Revision of Week-8|
|52||REVISION||Revision of Week-8|
|53||Paper 1 + Paper 2||1) Information Technology Act, 2000
2) Key Managerial Personnel (KMP’s) and their Remuneration
|54||Paper 3 + Paper 4||1) Intellectual Property laws (Provisions applicable for setting up of business)
2) Overview of Customs Act
|55||Paper 2||1) General Meetings; . Virtual Meetings
2) Meetings of Board and its Committees
|56||Paper 3||1) Compliances under Labour Laws (Provisions applicable for setting up of business)
2) Compliances relating to Environmental laws (Provisions applicable for setting up of business)
|57||REVISION||Revision of Week-9|
|58||Paper 2 + Paper 3||1) Legal framework governing Company Secretaries:
2) Dormant Company
|59||Paper 2 + Paper 3||1) Secretarial Standards Board; Mega Firms
2) Strike off and restoration of name of the company and LLP; Insolvency Resolution process; Liquidation and Winding-up: An overview
|60||REVISION||Revision of Week-10|
On completing the syllabus for module 1, a similar weekly-monthly study plan can be made for Module-2 as well, which is not elaborated here.
Module-2 also consists of 4 subjects.
Paper-5: Corporate & Management Accounting
Paper-6: Securities Laws & Capital Markets
Paper-7: Economic, Business and Commercial Laws
Paper-8: Financial and Strategic Management
CS Executive time table (daily) for full-time preparation:
The candidate may prepare a daily-routine time table for their preparation and must ensure that it is quite flexible enough to be followed practically.
|6.00 am to 7.00 am||Read the newspaper/current affairs/ info-capsules|
|7.00 am to 8.00 am||Read the relevant topics for Paper 1 / Paper 5 (pertaining to the module)|
|9.00 am to 12.00 pm||Read the relevant topics for Paper 1 / Paper 5 (pertaining to the module)|
|12.00 pm to 1.00 pm||Summarise and revise your notes until then|
|2.30 pm to 5.00 pm||Read the relevant topics for Paper 2 / Paper 6 (pertaining to the module)|
|5.30 pm to 8.00 pm||Watch video lectures of the same topics covered during the day|
|8.30 pm to 10.00 pm||Refer previous year questions and practise answer writing|
On the alternative days, instead of Paper 1 (or 5), the student must follow Paper 3 (or7) and instead of Paper 2 (or 6), they must follow Paper 4 (or 8).
Study materials, tips and strategies for success:
The study materials provided by the ICSI are well authored, easy-to-understand books that are sufficient to write answers, provided that you aid your preparation with some guidance or online coaching lectures. This helps in quicker and faster preparation.
Apart from making the best study-plan and strategy, the key to success lies in sticking to the schedule. Also, it is important to incorporate certain good habits in the routine such as physical exercise, reduced social media usage, eating healthy food, etc. Moreover, nothing worth achieving ever comes without hard work and determination.
All the best!!
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