How to Secure an Exemption in Company Secretary Paper?

  • Exam|CS|
  • 5 Min Read
  • By Taxmann
  • |
  • Last Updated on 23 December, 2023

Exemption in CS Paper

In order to complete the Company Secretary (CS) Course, candidates have to clear the CS exams conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) in three stages –

Company Secretary Executive Entrance Test (CSEET) – Computer-based entrance level examination with objective questions

Executive Programme- Second level exams with two modules, four papers in each.

Professional Programme- Third and final level of exams with three modules, three papers each.

In order to clear each stage of examination, the student has to qualify the passing criteria which are as follows:

Level Passing Criteria (at one sitting)
For CSEET An aggregate of a minimum of 50% as well as 40% in each subject has to be secured to clear CSEET; with no negative marking for any incorrect answers.
For CS Executive/ Professional A candidate shall be declared to have passed in a module of CS Executive and Professional Programme examination, if he/she secures at one sitting a minimum of 40% marks in each paper and 50% marks in the aggregate of all the papers of that module and shall be declared to have completed the Executive/Professional Programme on passing all the modules.

Note: If the candidate could not clear the stage, he/she may still be granted exemption for some paper(s) in any subsequent examination attempt, on fulfillment of certain conditions.

 Exemption from appearing in a paper or papers on the basis of securing a certain percentage of marks in an examination can be availed by a student only at the CS Executive and Professional levels i.e. no such exemption is available for CSEET.

Such concept of exemption in a paper entails that even if a student has been declared to be failed in the examination, he/she may not re-appear for some of the exempted papers in his/her subsequent attempt on fulfillment of the exemption criteria i.e. he/she will be required to give only the remaining non-exempted papers and accordingly, can focus on them with more time to study. 

However, getting an exemption in the Company Secretary (CS) curriculum is not as simple as it seems and just securing more than 60 marks in a subject won’t guarantee a student an exemption. So let’s decode how a student can obtain an exemption in a Paper/s of CS Examination.

What is exemption in CS?

Despite not being able to clear exams, when a student performs well in a few papers, then he/she is exempted from appearing for those papers again in his/her next examination attempt.

What are the exemption criteria for CS Exams?

Exemption from appearing in a paper or papers at the CS Executive and Professional examinations can be availed by a student on fulfillment of some of conditions as mentioned below:

First Scenario

If a candidate appears in all the papers covered under the module and scores at least 25% marks in each paper, he/she shall become eligible for exemption in those paper(s) in which he/she scores 60% or more marks.

Hence, to claim an exemption under this condition a student needs to:

    1. Secure minimum 25 marks in all the papers of the module;
    2. Secure 60 or more marks in the paper for which exemption is to be claimed.

Moreover, in order to clear the examination in subsequent attempt, aggregate of 50% of marks needs to be secured excluding the exempted subjects.

Second Scenario

If a candidate appears in all the papers covered under the module and fails in only one paper covered under the module, he/ she shall become eligible for exemption in the remaining papers, if he/she scores 60% or more marks in all such remaining papers taken together and at least 40% marks in each remaining paper.

Thus, if the following points are satisfied, then a student shall be eligible to claim exemption for the remaining three papers:

    1. Appeared for all the papers of the module
    2. Secures less than 40 in only one paper of the module
    3. Secure 60% in aggregate i.e. minimum 180 marks out of 300 for the remaining three papers of the module

In order to clear one paper in the subsequent attempts, the student will have to secure at least 50% marks in that single paper.

It must be noted that there’s no need to apply for exemption since it is auto-populated while filing up the exam forms. However, if a candidate desires, he/she can decide to not take the exemption. 

Some examples for clarity are provided here:

Example 1: The scores in Module 1 of CS Executive are:

P1: 26
P2: 61
P3: 55
P4: 46

In this case, the candidate is exempted from P2 only in his/her further exams under the first scenario as at least 25% has been secured in all the subjects.

Exemption as per second scenario is not possible as aggregate of the remaining three papers is 162, which is less than 60%.

Continuing this example, if the scores in next attempt are:

P1: 42
P2: 61 (Exempted)
P3: 60
P4: 44

The aggregate of all the 4 papers is 207/400, which is more than 60%, but still the candidate is failed because the aggregate of the remaining papers is 146/300 which is less than 50%.

But the candidate shall be eligible for exemption in P3 and now he/she will have to score 50% aggregate score for P1 and P4 to clear the module.

At the beginning, if the score in P1 would be 24 instead of 26, then candidate shall not be eligible for exemption in P2 also, as at 25% marks is not secured in each subject.

Example 2: The scores in Module 1 of CS Executive are:

P1: 55
P2: 63
P3: 22
P4: 67

As per the first scenario, no exemption is available as P3 has less than 25% marks.

As per the second scenario, the total of three subjects is 185/300 which is more than 60%, and the student has secured less than 40 in P3, therefore all the three papers shall be exempted and to pass the P3 paper, atleast 50% marks shall be required in the next attempt.

Example 3: The Module 1 scores are;

P1: 42
P2: 48
P3: 60
P4: 43
Total 193

The Module 2 scores are:

P5: 43
P6: 49
P7: 70
P8: 51
Total 213

The aggregate score of both the modules combined is 406/800, which is more than 50% and since all papers’ scores are more than 40, the student is considered as having passed the exams.

Now, suppose the student has already claimed an exemption in P7 in the previous attempt. Accordingly, the Module 1 score is 193 and Module 2 score (excluding P7) is 143.

In this case, the aggregate of the all the 7 papers is 336, which is less than 50% and also the individual modules does not have the aggregate required of 50%. Accordingly, the candidate is considered to have failed both the modules. However, the candidate shall be eligible to claim exemption in Paper 3 as the first scenario conditions are satisfied.

Thus, knowing the exemption criteria for an examination paper/s in advance can help the CS student to develop a strategy and mould his/her preparation accordingly.

Disclaimer: The content/information published on the website is only for general information of the user and shall not be construed as legal advice. While the Taxmann has exercised reasonable efforts to ensure the veracity of information/content published, Taxmann shall be under no liability in any manner whatsoever for incorrect information, if any.

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