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Working Professionals’ Special – Tips to clear CS Professional Module 1

Just like the other two levels of the CS exam, the Institute of Company Secretaryship of India (ICSI) conducts the CS Professional exams twice every year. Once in the month of June and the other in the month of December. The student can either attempt all three modules in a single sitting or register for each module during a period of examination. Through this article, let us understand certain important facts about the exam and look at certain tips to prepare well for CS Professional Module 1. Module 1 has 3 papers and there is a small difference in the syllabus from September 2018 compared to that of 2013. Here, we shall form our discussions based on the new syllabus.

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Thus, this article shall give you certain information about the following:

  1. General information about Module 1 of CS Professional program – the syllabus, paper pattern, qualifying marks, general tips, etc.
  2. How to clear Paper 1 – Governance, Risk Management, Compliances and Ethics
  3. How to clear Paper 2 -Advanced Tax Laws
  4. How to clear Paper 3 – Drafting, Pleadings and Appearances

Let us look at each one of them.

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1. General information about CS Professional Module 1

  • The registration fee for the entire CS Professional program is Rs.12000 and this excludes an examination fee of Rs.1200 per module.
  • Qualifying marks: In order to be declared having passed the Professional program, a candidate has to score 40% marks in each paper individually and an aggregate of 50% marks in all subjects.

Note: If a candidate who has appeared in all papers of the module and has secured 60% or more in one paper, and not less than 25% in the remaining papers, and has failed in the module will be exempted from appearing in the paper(s) with 60% or more marks on request.

  • There are 3 papers in Module 1 and they are:
  • Governance, Risk Management, Compliances and Ethics
  • Advanced Tax Laws
  • Drafting, Pleadings and Appearances
  • The study materials provided by the institute are quite important and are to be necessarily followed.
  • All the papers in this module are descriptive in nature and require good writing practice as well.

2. How to clear Paper 1 – Governance, Risk Management, Compliances and Ethics

  • This paper intends to give the student sufficient knowledge about Corporate Governance framework and the best practices in governance.
  • Also present are the elements of Risk faced by businesses, developing efficient compliance systems, and knowledge of Ethics in business.
  • Thus Part 1, that of Governance makes 50 marks of the paper; Part 2, that of Risk Management makes 20 marks; Part 3 on Compliance makes up another 20 marks and the final Part 4 on Ethics and sustainability forms 10 marks of the paper.
  • The following are the most important chapters of the syllabus of this paper and must be given the first priority while learning:
    • Ethics and Business
    • Conceptual Framework of Corporate Governance
    • Board Effectiveness
    • Corporate Governance and Shareholders’ Rights
    • Sustainability & Corporate Sustainability Reporting Framework
  • Almost 60% of the questions in the paper are asked from the above chapters.
  • Around 30% of questions are generally taken from the following subjects:
    • CSR
    • Risk Management and Internal Control
    • Principles of Absolute Liability
    • Board Committees
    • Legal Frameworks, Conventions and Treaties
  • Only the remaining 10% questions come from the rest of the chapters in the syllabus.
  • Writing answers with relevant keywords and technical terms are important for this paper.

3. How to clear Paper 2 – Advanced Tax Laws

  • This paper is generally considered as one of the toughest or lengthiest papers in the Professional program. But with some hard work and dedication, it is not difficult to clear this paper.
  • The paper is divided into 2 parts – Indirect Taxes, which includes GST for 60 marks and Customs Law for 10 marks, adding it up to 70 marks; the second part is Direct Tax and International Taxation, which makes up the remaining 30 marks of the paper.
  • The following chapters are found to be very important from the previous years’ questions analysis: Input Tax Credit, Input Service DistributorOverview of GSTRegistrationReturns and Refunds, Annual ReturnsCGST Law
  • The tax paper syllabus is quite vast and it requires the candidate to begin the preparations well in advance.
  • Having a good practical schedule and sticking to the schedule for preparation can make preparation easier.
  • Concentrate on the important topics first, complete them and then move over to the remaining topics. But, at the same time, it is important not to leave any chapters.
  • It is often advised by toppers to spend few hours for Tax paper on a daily basis and periodically revise the chapters learnt.
  • The second part being small is often neglected by the students, which is one of the biggest mistakes that they make. The Direct tax part overlaps with certain portions of the Executive level papers, and the International Tax is easier to learn and score marks.
  • Ample amount of writing practice is very important for this paper. Also, learning by writing can help quick learning as well.

4. How to clear Paper 3 – Drafting, Pleadings and Appearances

  • This paper is one of the easiest papers with just eight chapters in its syllabus.
  • Based on the previous years’ paper pattern, the most important chapters can be listed in the following priority from top to bottom:
    • Pleadings
    • Drafting and Conveyancing Relating to Various Deeds and Agreements
    • Appearances and Art of Advocacy
    • Drafting of Agreements, Documents and Deeds
    • General Principles of Drafting and relevant Substantive Rules
  • Theory, as well as preparation of drafts, is equally important in this paper.
  • Practise drafts frequently and never leave any type of draft.
  • Practise previous years question papers chapter-wise.
  • Maintain a notebook to record all the formats of drafts and important notes for preparing each type of draft.
  • Periodic revision is again a must for this paper.
  • There are certain sections of certain Acts like the Companies Act, Stamp Act, etc., and citing examples from these sections will help boost marks in the paper.
  • Clearing doubts is very important during preparation.
  • Studying case laws is important for this paper and aids to answer writing as well.

Thus we see that with consistent hard work and perseverance, the three papers of Module 1 can be easily cleared. It is suggested that the student attempt each module at a time so that he or she has sufficient time for preparation and can aim to score high in each of the subjects in a module. Moreover, the student can watch and adopt certain strategies suggested by toppers in this exam.

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