The CS Foundation Exam level is the first level of exam for Company-Secretaryship. This level is not mandatory for candidates possessing a degree in Corporate-Secretaryship or Commerce to pass in the Final Examination of the Institute of Cost and Works Account of India (ICWAI) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) or any other Accountancy Institution in India or abroad recognized as equivalent by the Council. Candidates possessing a degree or master’s degree in any discipline other than Fine Arts. Anyway, it is advisable for the students who are directly registered for the Executive level to read through the study materials of Foundation program in order to clear the Pre-Examination test and also to form a base for the other subjects, especially for the non-commerce students.

This article aims to elaborate on specific key strategies used by toppers and first-time achievers to crack the exam.

CS Foundation Syllabus and Eligibility

How to prepare and succeed in the first attempt of CS Foundation Exam?

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Subject-wise preparation tips for first-timers

CS Foundation Exam Syllabus and Eligibility

The Foundation level exam can be taken up by students who have passed their 12th grade or have appeared or enrolled for appearing in the same. The Foundation program duration is eight months, and students are required to pass the level within three years from the date of registration. The following are the subjects under the Foundation Program:

  1. English and Business Communication
  2. Economics and Statistics
  3. Financial Accounting
  4. Elements of Business Law and Management

The cut-off date for admission to the Foundation level exam in June 2020 is 30th September 2019, and exam centers are distributed across different prominent cities.

How to prepare and succeed in the first attempt?

The exam pattern would constitute 100 questions in each paper with no negative marking, and the candidate is declared to have passed the Foundation program on securing at least 40% in each subject and 50% on aggregate.

Tips for Success:

A candidate may consider adopting some of the below mentioned general strategies to ensure success in the first attempt in the exam:

  1. It is advisable to ensure that there is at least six months’ time for the preparation. Hence, the candidate must make a plan to complete the syllabus and revision well in advance.
  2. Prepare a pragmatic study time table for the preparation and completion of the syllabus. Initially, start reading and making notes on each subject.
  3. It has to be kept in mind always that the subjects of this Foundation level actually form the basis for future levels of the exam. Hence, if you are planning to crack the entire CS program in one go, make sure that you build your foundation strong enough.
  4. The student may consider reading all subjects alternatively every day, or focus on two subjects at a time and then move on to the other two after completing the previous ones.
  5. Ensure that the last one or two months is allotted for revision. Revision is the primary key to success because it is very important to recollect all that the student has studied during the previous months.
  6. Watch online video lectures and collect sufficient resources that can enhance the preparation. Also, it is essential to read and learn all the basic subjects quite well as this would add to the strong foundation for other levels of the CS course.
  7. Always go for the additionally recommended books and publications based on the time available for your preparation if less time focuses on the course materials provided by the institute only.
  8. Practice, like many previous years’ question papers as possible and familiarise yourself with the exam pattern and structure. Always remember that “Practice makes a man perfect!”
  9. Since it is an MCQ based question paper, the questions are to be read carefully to avoid any silly mistakes. Also, without negative marks, the student is free to guess the answers to unknown questions. The right techniques of guessing also come from practicing previous years’ question papers.
  10. During the exam, always attempt the easy questions first and then proceed with the difficult ones, keeping track of the time too.

Subject-wise preparation tips for CS first-timers:

Paper-1: Business Environment and Entrepreneurship
  • This subject is basically divided into three parts – Business Environment, which consists of 30 marks in the question paper; Business Law, which constitutes for 40 marks, and Entrepreneurship, which makes up the remaining 30 marks.
  • The subject would actually be quite familiar to students with commerce background, and the syllabus is more relevant to the courses in Commerce degrees and Business and Management courses.
  • The best strategy to cover its syllabus quickly would be to watch online lectures of the subject besides reading the course materials.
  • For the best output, one may focus on this subject along with Economics or Accounting. This is because the latter would require more effort for a beginner, and Business Environment being comparatively more comfortable and can be handled side by side.
Paper-2: Business Management, Ethics, and Communication
  • The subject is divided into three sections–Business Management, consisting of 40 marks, Business Ethics comprising 20 marks and Business Communication constituting 40 marks.
  • This is one of the most accessible and most interesting subjects that can again go hand-in-hand with some stricter subjects like Economics or Accounting.
  • Read and understand the course materials well and read the current affairs examples from online resources or from daily newspapers. This enables the reader to recollect answers during the exam easily.
  • The syllabus is again quite common to almost all students with any background as ethics and communication courses are included in most of the UG level degrees.
Paper-3: Business Economics
  • This subject comprises Economics and Elementary Statistics.
  • It is crucial to understand and learn the basics of microeconomics and their applications on a macro-level.
  • The subject focuses on the Indian Economy, and its characteristics and the subject can be best studied using multiple resources.
  • The best way to adopt is to watch the video lecture of one or two particular topics(s) from the syllabus and then read the relevant course materials provided by ICSI. This ensures faster-grasping ability, easier understanding, and long-term memory retention.
Paper-4: Fundamentals of Accounting and Auditing
  • Accounting is one subject that might require relatively higher effort for preparation, especially for students from the non-commerce background.
  • The paper includes two parts, Fundamentals of Accounting for 70 marks and Fundamentals of Auditing for 30 marks.
  • The students may consider either taking up online classes on Accounting or may choose to learn from offline tutors. Having said this, it is not impossible to learn the subject on one’s own. It is only a matter of time and effort!
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The foundation level of the CS exam does not require rigorous classroom coaching and is doable with self-study on a well-planned study schedule. Moreover, with additional resources available online, success in the first attempt is not far. As is evident, the syllabus more or fewer correlates with most of the graduation courses. The four papers can be easily dealt with by students who are pursuing their UG courses alongside.

You can watch a few demo lectures by SuperProfs for CS and see if you would want to consider subscribing to our video series for a better shot at clearing the CS examination.

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Also Read:

How to clear CS Exam In the First Attempt

How To Clear CS-Executive Exam In First Attempt

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