Company Secretary – Foundation Program Examination

Entry Level Examination for aspiring Company Secretaries. Completes the First stage of the Company Secretary Foundation Course and makes candidates eligible for the two advanced stages.

To become a registered Company Secretary in India, you have to complete three stages and pass their respective exams that together comprise the Company Secretary course offered by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). The three stages of the course include the Foundation Program, the Executive program and the Professional Program. You can only move on to the next stage if you have completed the previous stage. So, to appear for the exams of the Executive Program, you should have completed the exams of the Foundation Program. Similarly, for the Professional Program, you should have passed and completed the Executive Program and its examinations. You can only start practicing as a registered Company Secretary once you complete the Professional Program.

The Foundation Program Examination is an entry level examination to join the Company Secretary course. Successful completion of this examination also serves as the completion of the Foundation Program which is the first stage of this course. The Company Secretary Foundation Program Examination is conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) twice a year, generally in the months of June and December.

The CS – Foundation Program Examination is a compulsory examination and course for all Undergraduate students who want to become Company Secretaries. It also serves as eligibility criteria for the two advanced stages of the Company Secretary course, i.e. Executive Program and Professional Program. The Foundation Program and the corresponding examination is for students who do not want to wait till their graduation to join the Company Secretary Executive Program. On the completion of this 8 month Foundation Program (distance learning) and the corresponding exam, you straight away become eligible for the Executive Program.

Please note that you apply for the Foundation Program and not the Foundation Examination. Once you are registered as a student with the ICSI, you will get a minimum of 8 months to prepare for the examination. Only then will you be eligible to appear for the Foundation Program Examination.

Another route through which you can join the CS course:

Students who have completed their graduation/post graduation in any subject other than Fine Arts, and those who have passed in the Foundation examination of The Institute of Cost Accounts of India (ICAI-CMA) or CPT Examination of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) or of any other accountancy institution in India or abroad which is recognized as an equivalent, need not give the Foundation Program Examination and can directly join the Executive Program stage and appear for corresponding examinations of the Company Secretary course.

What are the eligibility criteria?

You should have completed your Class 12th or equivalent examinations from an institution recognized by a State/Central Education Board in any stream to join the C.S Foundation Course.

Students who will appear for their Class 12th exams in the same year as the CS – Foundation Program Examination, can also appear for the examination provided that they can submit their Class 12th or equivalent mark sheets before the specified date.

You should be registered with the ICSI to be eligible for this course and examination.

There should be a minimum gap of 8 months between the date of your registration for the program and the date of the examination (excluding the month of admission and the month of examination).

The admissions to the Foundation course are open throughout the year and will be valid for three years from the month in which the application is accepted.

There is no age limit or minimum percentage requirement for this exam.

For further information, please read the brochure or visit the following website:

How to apply?
The first step is to register for the CS foundation program.  

You can apply for the Foundation Program both online and offline.

Online application forms are available at the following website:

You can also apply offline by filling the application form at the end of the brochure which is available at the Headquarters, Regional Councils and Chapters of the ICSI.

You will be issued study materials instantly if your application form is considered to be valid.

You can also choose to attend the Oral Tuition Classes at Regional Councils and other recognized centers. The fees for these classes might vary from place to place. You can also use the E – Learning facility to learn and get guidance regarding the course.

You will become eligible to take your first exams, the foundation program examinaation, 8 months after the date of your registration.

You can apply for the examination both online and offline.

Online Examination forms are available at the following website:

You can also procure the application forms the offices of the Institute/Regional Councils/Chapters on Cash payment of the specified amount.

The Admit Card will be available at the website: 15 days before the examination.


What is the pattern of the examination?

The paper consists of objective type questions in the multiple choice format. Each question will have four options with only one correct answer.

The Foundation Program Examination consists of the following subjects:

Business Environment and Entrepreneurship
Business Management, Ethics and Communication
Business Economics
Fundamentals of Accounting and Auditing

The exam is conducted in 2 sessions. Each session consists of two subjects each. The duration for each session is 1 and a half hours.

The morning session consists of Business Environment and Entrepreneurship and Business Management, Ethics and Communication. Both subjects are of 100 marks each with a total of 50 – two mark questions in each.

The Afternoon session consists of Business Economics and Fundamentals of Accounting and Auditing. Both subjects are of 100 marks each with a total of 50 – two mark questions in each.

There will be 50 questions from each subject with 2 marks being awarded for every correct answer.

It is advisable to attempt as many questions as possible as there is no negative marking for wrong answers.

The passing requirement for this examination is to score at least 40% in each subject and score not less than 50% aggregate when all subjects are taken together.

The results will be based purely on merit and can be seen on the following website:

What are the prospects?

Company Secretary is considered to be one of the most lucrative and beneficial professions. By giving the Foundation Exam, you enable yourself to be eligible for the two advanced stages of the Company Secretary Course, i.e. Executive Program and the Professional Program. Joining the Foundation Course and completing the corresponding examination is extremely beneficial for students who do not want to wait for their graduation to get over to join the Company Secretary course. They can join the Foundation program straight after their Class 12th. So, qualifying for the Executive Program, which would normally take three years of Undergraduate studies after 12th, will take only 8 months through the Foundation Program. You will be eligible for the Executive Program stage of the Company Secretary course once you complete the Foundation Program Examination, provided that you meet the other eligibility criteria.


Important Dates for the Foundation Program Examination:


31st March for appearing in December Examination  in the same year

30th September for June Examination next year


CA, CS Entrance

Entrance Exam


Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.