CA Course Guide - Here Is How To Become a CA

A Chartered Accountant (CA) is a professional who handles various aspects of financial analysis and reporting such as accounting, auditing, taxation, and related advisory services.

CA foundation course

CA Course - Overview

ICAI, which stands for ‘Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’, is the statutory body in India authorized to recognize Chartered Accountants. It also acts as a regulatory body in managing the CA profession in the country. An individual must complete the course designed by ICAI to become a member of ICAI.

The CA course has three levels:

  1. CA Foundation,
  2. CA Intermediate, and
  3. CA Final

In addition to these exams, a student is required to complete 2 years of practical training, also known as ‘Articleship’.

CA Course Duration

The CA course typically lasts 42 months including articleship training. However, because of the direct entry program, students who enroll in the CA course have a shorter timeline after graduating.

If any student fails to clear any of the CA exams, an additional 6 months will be added to the overall duration. 

  • CA Course Duration Timeline: Total 42 Months 
  • Study Period for CA Foundation: 4 Months
  • CA Foundation Result Waiting Period: 2 Months
  • Study Period for CA Intermediate: 8 Months
  • Exams and Results Period for CA Intermediate: 2 Months
  • Articleship Training: 2 Years (as per the new scheme)
  • CA Final Preparation: 6 months
  • Final CA Result: 2 Months


Let's understand the CA course duration with the help of an example. Vidhi plans to embark on her journey to become a Chartered Accountant in 2024. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of her path.

CA Foundation

Study Period: If Vidhi gets herself registered for the CA Foundation on or before 1st Feb 2024, she'll be eligible to appear in the June 2024 exams. She will need to dedicate herself to studying for the CA Foundation course for at least 4 months, from Feb to June 2024.

CA Foundation Exam: She will take the CA Foundation exam in June 2024.

Result Waiting Period: CA Foundation results are usually released about 2 months after the exam, so that she will get her result around August 2024.

CA Intermediate

Study Period: Having successfully cleared the CA Foundation exam, Vidhi will need to devote around 8 months of  studying for the CA Intermediate course.

Exams and Results Period: If Vidhi takes her CA Intermediate exams in May 2025. After the exams, she'll have to wait for the results, which are typically announced around 2 months later.

Articleship Training

Duration: With the Intermediate stage behind her, Vidhi can focus on her articleship training. This training lasts for 2 years as per the new scheme.

CA Final Exam

Study Period: After completing her articleship, Vidhi will be ready to start preparing for the CA Final exams, which require 6 months of focused effort. 

Exam & Result Waiting Period: Assuming Vidhi sits for her CA Final exams in May 2028, she will get her final CA results in the next 2 months. 

Therefore, by July 2028, Vidhi will be able to finish her CA journey and will likely receive her final CA qualification.

CA Course Fees

Foundation Course:

The total fee for the CA Foundation Course is Rs.9,200. There is another optional fee of Rs.600 for the subscription of journals. The fee structure is as follows:

  • Registration form - Rs. 200
  • Registration fees - Rs.9000

Intermediate Course:

The total fee for the Intermediate Course is Rs.18,000 for two groups and Rs.13,000 for a single group. The fee structure is as follows:

Registration Fees

  • for both groups – Rs.15,000
  • for a single group – Rs.11,000

Student’s Activity Fees – Rs.2,000

Note: This needs to be paid only once. When a student is registering for the second group, this need not be paid again.

Registration Fees for Articleship – Rs.2,000

Final Course:

The Fee for the Final Course is Rs.22,000.
Exam Fee: INR 3,300 (both groups), INR 1,800 (single group)

Training Programs:

AICITSS Training: INR 7,500 (IT), INR 7,000 (soft skills).

CA Course Registration

Students can visit to register for the Foundation Course. They can also click the following link and follow the instructions: ICAI Login

Important dates for registration under the CA New Scheme have been published by ICAI as follows:

  • Registration deadlines (last date) under existing scheme: 1 July 2023 (Foundation), 30 June 2023 (Intermediate and Final under Existing Scheme)
  • New scheme registration commencement: 2 August 2023 (Foundation), 1 July 2023 (Intermediate and Final)
  • First examination under the new scheme: June 2024 (Foundation), May 2024 (Intermediate and Final)
  • Last exams under the existing scheme: December 2023 (Foundation), November 2023 (Intermediate and Final)
  • The last date to commence three years of practical training: 30 June 2023
  • Date of commencement of two years of uninterrupted practical training: 1 July 2023


The Foundation Route

The first step for a student to become a Chartered Accountant is to enroll for the Foundation Course with the Board of Studies (BoS) after clearing the Class X examination. Foundation Examination is conducted twice a year in June and December. Students can enroll till December 31st for the next year’s May exam and till June 30th for the November exam. The time gap between registration and examination is meant to complete the four-month study period.

The registration process is through ICAI’s Self Service Portal

Students can attempt the Foundation exams in the month of May immediately after their class XII exams. In case they fail to meet the eligibility, criteria mentioned above after their class XII results are out, their Foundation registration will be canceled, and Foundation exam results invalidated.

Each subject in CA Foundation is tested for 100 marks and the subjects in the syllabus are:

  • Paper 1 – Accounting 
  • Paper 2 – Business Laws
  • Paper 3 – Business Correspondence & Reporting
  • Paper 4 – Business Mathematics

To clear the CA Foundation, a student must get a minimum of 40 marks in each subject and an average of 50% across all papers. Also, the MCQs carry negative marks. If the student does not clear either of the marks-based criteria, the student may take the exam again 6 months later and attempt to clear the level.

Study Period: Foundation Route students need to complete 8 months of study period as decided by the Council to take the intermediate examination

The CA registration is valid for 5 years instead of 4 years. Students must pay the required fees to revalidate their registration once.

Once the student clears even one group of CA Intermediate, he/she is eligible to enroll for the mandatory articleship training for three years. Students are required to undergo a four-week Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS) before starting articleship training.

For better understanding of how to appear through the foundation, see the pictorial representation below

Subjects tested in CA Intermediate level

Group 1

  1. Advanced Accounting – 100 Marks
  2. Corporate Law – 100 Marks
  3. Taxation- 100 Marks

Group 2

  1. Cost and Management Accounting (100 Marks)
  2. Auditing and Code of Ethics (100 Marks)
  3. Financial Management & Strategic Management (50 Marks each)


CA Final

  • Students must pass their CA intermediate level to be eligible for the CA Final level and complete their ICITSS course.
  • Following the completion of the practical training, there is a 6-month study period.
  • Students must complete their Advanced ICITSS training. Upon enrolling in the CA Final course, candidates must fulfill the requirement of completing the four weeks Advanced Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (AICITSS). This advanced ICITSS course should be undertaken during the final two years of practical training before appearing in the final examination.
  • Before taking the final exams, students must complete all four self-paced modules. In the CA New Scheme, ICAI has incorporated the ICAI Self-Paced Module for four mandatory subjects. To qualify for the CA Final Exam, candidates must achieve a minimum score of 50% in these subjects.
  • CA Final Registration remains valid for 10 years, and students can revalidate their registration after this 10-year period by paying the prescribed fee.

    CA Final Group 1 New Syllabus

    1.  Financial Reporting (100 Marks)
    2.  Advanced Financial Management (100 Marks)
    3.  Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics (100 Marks)

    CA Final Group 2 New Syllabus

    1.  Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation (100 Marks)
    2. Indirect Tax Laws (100 Marks)
    3.  Integrated Business Solutions (Multi-Disciplinary Case Studies with Strategic Management)

    Self-Paced Module

    • ICAI has integrated this module into the New Scheme of Education and Training.
    • Students can study these modules independently and take online tests.
    • The module has four sets: Sets A, B, C, and D.
    • Sets A and B cover mandatory subjects like economic laws and strategic cost and management, which were removed from the old CA Final syllabus.
    • In Sets C and D, students can choose their study topics and progress at their own pace during their articleship.
    • A passing score of over 50% is required in each module

    CA Final Course Passing Criteria 

    • 40% on each paper individually
    • 50% cumulative marks in aggregate to pass the group

Here is a comprehensive view of the foundation route for clearing CA

CA course - foundation route

CA Course - CA Inter route

CA Course - CA Final route


This path of clearing all three levels is called the Foundation Course route, and the most taken by CA aspirants. However, there is another route called the Direct Entry Route that is preferred by students who wish to take up CA after completing graduation.

The Direct Entry Route

The direct entry route is mainly intended for students who have completed certain educational qualifications and have relevant work experience. This option allows them to skip the Foundation level and begin the CA course at an advanced point. Here are the key points of the Direct Entry Route:

Eligibility: Students must fulfill one of the following requirements to be eligible for the Direct Entry Route:

  1. Commerce graduates with a bachelor's degree and at least 55%.
  2. Postgraduates in commerce with at least 55% marks.
  3. Graduates/postgraduates in other disciplines with a minimum of 60% marks.
  4. Those who have passed the Intermediate level from the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) or Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)

Study Period: The eligibility criteria for the CA Intermediate Course remain the same as before. However, direct entry applicants must now undergo 8 months of studying to sit for the examinations. Articleship can be commenced only after passing both groups of CA Inter. Previously, before appearing for the CA Intermediate exams, direct entry students must complete nine months of practical training.


For better understanding of how to appear through the direct route, see the pictorial representation below


How do I start on my CA journey?

Simply put, start with registration. Get the material, Study with a diligent and focused approach. Enroll @ IndigoLearn & start your journey.

Why CA Course?

The average compensation for a CA at the beginning of his career is around 7-8 lakh INR per annum. This is higher compared to most other professional courses. There is a single regulatory body certifying an individual as CA compared to other courses which are offered by many institutes thereby reducing disparities among CAs, unlike students who pursue other courses from various colleges.

Is CA a difficult course?

Becoming a CA is not tough as long as the applicants are committed, diligent, and sincere. This course requires a good amount of effort from the student. Long study hours and concentration are key when preparing for the CA examinations.

Can I enroll in the CA Course after class 12?

Yes. You must take the Common Proficiency Test (CPT) before enrolling in the CA course after 12th grade. Once you pass this exam and are declared qualified, you can sign up for the CA foundation course.

Can I do CA after graduation?

Graduate students can very certainly become CAs. They are not, however, required to take the CA foundation exam. After undergoing an eight-month study period, these applicants are qualified to take the CA intermediate exam.

Is CA an expensive course?

It’s not as expensive as a professional finance degree like MBA. The whole cost of the CA course in India, including ICAI fees, books, study materials, coaching, and tuition costs, doesn’t exceed Rs. 4 lakh.

What is the CA New Syllabus?

The CA New Syllabus is an up-to-date curriculum created to meet the changing demands of the financial and business worlds. In a nutshell, it includes a shorter articleship duration, a new syllabus, and a higher stipend. As an aspiring professional, you should stay current with these changes and plan your CA career to succeed in this demanding but rewarding field.

How to prepare for CA?

To prepare for CA exams online, start with a structured study plan. Utilize reputable online resources, join virtual study groups, practice mock tests, and seek guidance from experienced mentors. Stay disciplined and focused to excel in your exams.

Online classes aid CA preparation by offering flexible schedules, access to expert instructors, interactive learning resources, and peer support. They facilitate comprehensive coverage of the syllabus and self-paced study.