Ultimate Guide To CA Course - Eligibility, Registration, Exam Pattern

Ultimate Guide to CA Course: Roadmap to become a Chartered Accountant

By IIC Lakshya

22 Jun 2024


Guide To CA Course

What is CA?

Before diving into the process of how to become a CA, let's look at its brief introduction. The Chartered Accountancy (CA) course, conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), is one of the peaks of excellence in the sphere of accounting and finance. It is divided into three CA levels:

  • Foundation
  • Intermediate
  • Final

The CA course subjects are very well detailed in the areas of Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Financial Management, and Corporate Law, and also relate to the knowledge that candidates possess to scale up successfully in the ever-changing world of finance. Let's now dive into your complete guide to CA course, which means the steps required to become a Chartered Accountant.

CA Eligibility Criteria:

Foremost, it is necessary to discuss the eligibility criteria. The CA course is open to candidates from various streams. There has to be a 10+2 pass out from a recognized board for the Foundation Level. But this does not restrict the entrance door to a conventional path only. Graduates or postgraduates in commerce or non-commerce streams, and even professionals like engineers, can opt for the Direct Entry Route, commencing from the Intermediate level.

In addition, there is a provision to allow the graduates/postgraduates who meet certain criteria to directly enter the Intermediate level without traversing the Foundation course, thus reducing some unnecessary education for the desired goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant. For graduates and postgraduates in commerce, an aggregate score of 55 percent is required while for non-commerce students aggregate score should be 60 percent.

CA Registration Process:

Enrolling in the CA course at the ICAI website is quite a smooth and user-friendly procedure. A candidate will have to enroll separately at different levels. Once registered, the website showers one with loads of study materials and resources that enable one to kick off the academic journey well-prepared with the tools necessary to carry out successful preparations.

Scheme of the CA Course:

The foundation course is the bedrock of the CA journey and is made up of four papers that cover such vital areas as Principles and Practices of Accounting, Business Laws, and Business Mathematics. The advancement to Intermediate and Final levels makes the curriculum deep in the sense that each level has two groups, each containing four papers. These well-evolved chartered accountant subjects are designed in great detail to cover each aspect of financial management and corporate governance in the most advanced manner possible, in the process shaping professionals into well-rounded individuals ready to take on the industry.

Training and Articleship for Chartered Accountants

The CA course has a differentiating feature: it lays its emphasis on practical training. Practical training is given a lot of emphasis, and students must compulsorily do a 3-year articleship under the guidance of a practicing Chartered Accountant or in a reputed CA firm. This acts as a crucible where theoretical knowledge is put to the flame of practical application, thus chiseling out the necessary skills and competencies for success in the field of accounting and finance.

Exam Procedure of CA Exam:

The CA exam process is as follows:

CA exams are held biannually with a mixture of objective and subjective questions, mainly in May and November. The students shall be able to secure the minimum proficiency at each stage through the mentioned bars to move to each next level and have an aggregate of 50% overall. Such strict ways of evaluation speak volumes of the consistency needed in performance in the meritocratic tradition of the profession.

Checklist for the CA exam pattern including chartered accountant subjects as of 2024:

CA Foundation Exam Pattern:

  • Registration Mode: Online
  • Frequency: May & November
  • Mode of Exam: Offline
  • Time Duration: 3 hours per paper
  • Total Number of Papers: 4
  • Negative Marking: Only in the fourth subject with 1/4th marks deduction for wrong answers
  • Eligibility: After appearing for class 12th, post-clearance of class 12th, or after graduation
  • Official Website: icai.org
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate

Subjects and Marks Distribution:

Paper 1

Accounting (100 Marks)

Paper 2

Business Laws (100 Marks)

Paper 3

Quantitative Aptitude (100 Marks)

Paper 4

Business Economics (100 Marks)

Passing Criteria: Minimum 40% marks in each subject and 50% in aggregate.

CA Intermediate Exam Pattern:

  • Frequency: Twice a year (May & November)
  • Mode of Exam: Offline
  • Total Number of Papers: 6 (divided into 2 groups)
  • Type of Questions: 30% case study-based MCQs and 70% descriptive
  • Total Marks: 600 (100 marks for each paper)
  • Passing Criteria: At least 40% marks in each paper and more than 50% marks in each group.

CA Final Exam Pattern:

Subjects and Marks Distribution:

Paper 1

Financial Reporting (100 Marks)

Paper 2

Advanced Financial Management (100 Marks)

Paper 3

Advanced Auditing, Assurance and Professional Ethics (100 Marks)

Paper 4

Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation (100 Marks)

Paper 5

Indirect Tax Laws (100 Marks)

CA Preparatory Strategies:

The basis for success in CA exams is effective CA preparation. It's obligatory to start off early with realistic study scheduling and lay greater emphasis on gaining conceptual understanding rather than rote memorization of facts. After all, much practice from previous exam papers and mock tests helps understand the examination pattern thoroughly, which readies the candidates to take a confident approach while maneuvering through the challenges of the exam.

We will introduce in this blog, a place that will turn your dream of becoming a CA into reality. Stay tuned!

Tips for Success in CA Exam 2024:

Maintaining motivation and discipline through the entire arduous course is of prime importance in the procedure to become CA to save oneself from burnout and sustain momentum. A good balance in work-life would also assure the individual's well-being, therefore helping to build resilience and endurance following the rigors of academic pursuit.

To this end, taking advice from seniors, mentors, or even support groups in times of difficulty would have inculcated a togetherness spirit that eventually pushes the candidates one step closer on the ladder of success. Self-belief and unwavering confidence, nurtured to perfection, also stand as significant qualities on which the vision for excellence in life breeds and shines like the lights of the lighthouse as candidates work on their dreams.

Post Qualification Opportunities:

On completion of the course, the prescribed practical training, and passing the examination, the candidates are eligible for enrollment with ICAI, enabling them to explore the avenues available in career opportunities. Chartered Accountants are placed in various sectors such as auditing, taxation, consultancy, financial analysis, and corporate governance. Many CAs prefer to be their masters and operate as sole practitioners or consultants, and they change the face of the financial world in their way. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the eligibility requirements for the CA course?

Eligibility varies, but generally, a 10+2 pass from a recognized board is required for the Foundation Level. Graduates/postgraduates in commerce or non-commerce streams can opt for a Direct Entry Route.

How can I register for the CA course?

Enrollment can be done smoothly through the ICAI website, with separate registration required for each level.

What is the examination procedure for the CA course?

CA exams are held bi-annually, mainly in May and November, with a mix of objective and subjective questions. Minimum proficiency and an aggregate of 50% overall are required to progress to the next level.

What opportunities are available after completing the CA course?

Upon completion, passing exams, and practical training, candidates can explore various career avenues including auditing, taxation, consultancy, financial analysis, and corporate governance.


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