CA Foundation Exam

CA Foundation Exam

CA foundation course


CA Foundation Exam is a beginner’s gateway into the world of Chartered Accountancy. It is the first hurdle you need to cross in order to get your foot in the door with a career in CA. It might be the easiest one to crack out of all three CA exams, but it’s still a vital step in your CA journey and you’d want to make sure you don’t miss a beat. 

As they say, “Well prepared is half done”, and that’s what CA Foundation exam calls for — solid preparation. It all begins with getting a thorough understanding of the CA Foundation exam details such as the CA Foundation exam pattern, structure, time table, and so on. This guide will arm you with everything you would want to know about CA Foundation exams so you can get started on the right note! 

Exam Pattern

CA Foundation examination is a written test which is conducted offline and held twice a year.  

There are four papers in the CA Foundation course. Out of them, Paper 1 and 2 are subjective papers, while Paper 3 and 4 are objective MCQ-based papers, which test your practical knowledge. 

The table below shows the CA Foundation exam pattern with subjects and the subject-wise marks distribution. 





Paper 1

Principles And Practice Of Accounting



Paper 2

Business Laws And Business Correspondence

Section A: Business Laws


Section B: Business Correspondence And Reporting


Paper 3

Business Mathematics, Logical Reasoning, And Statistics

Section A: Business Mathematics


Section B: Logical Reasoning


Section C: Statistics


Paper 4

Business Economics And Business & Commercial Knowledge

Section A: Business Economics


Section B: Business and Commercial Knowledge


Hindi or English?

A candidate can write the CA Foundation exams in either English or Hindi. The sole exception to this is Section B of Paper 2 (Business Correspondence And Reporting). This paper mainly tests the student’s English Language skills to conduct formal communication in a professional setting, hence it can be taken in English only.   

Negative marking is applicable to objective papers. Any wrong answer will result in deduction of one-fourth mark in the paper

Pass Criteria

A candidate needs to secure at least 40% marks in each paper and 50% aggregate marks in all four papers combined to qualify in the CA foundation exams.

Exemption Rules

The ICAI permits  students with certain educational qualifications to skip the CA Foundation course and take a direct entry into the second level, which is the CA Intermediate Course. 

Following students can avail this special category exemption.

  • B.Com graduate with 55% or more
  • Postgraduate in commerce with 55% or more 
  • Graduate in any other stream with 60% or more 
  • Postgraduate in any other stream with 60% or more  
  • Those who have qualified CS Executive level from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)
  • Those who have qualified the CMA Intermediate level from the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI)

CA Foundation Exam Fee

Students need to fill the CA Foundation exam form and pay an exam fee before they can appear for the CA Foundation exams. The exam fee varies depending on the venue chosen, as given below.



All over India

INR 1500

Kathmandu (Nepal)

INR 2200

Overseas (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Muscat)

US$ 325

Late Fees

Late fee of INR 600 (Indian candidates)/ US$ 10 (Overseas candidates) is applicable if you submit your CA foundation application form after the last date.

CA Foundation Exam 2021 Time Table

The ICAI has announced the CA Foundation exam time table for the 2nd cycle of the year.  (Source)



Timings (IST)


Paper 1

13th Dec 2021

2.00 PM to 5.00 PM

3 hours

Paper 2

15th Dec 2021

2.00 PM to 5.00 PM

3 hours

Paper 3

17th Dec 2021

2.00 PM to 4.00 PM

2 hours

Paper 4

19th Dec 2021

2.00 PM to 4.00 PM

2 hours


*Except for Papers 3 & 4, there is an advance reading time of 15 minutes from 1.45 PM (IST) to 2 PM (IST) for Papers 1 & 2.

Provisional Registration to CA Foundation Exams

According to ICAI’s amendments, class 10 passed candidates qualify for an admission to the CA Foundation Course via the provisional route. However, they are not eligible to appear for the CA Foundation Exams unless they clear their class 12th examinations. 

The option to provisionally register for the CA Foundation course gives you an early head start into the CA career and allows you to complete the course and become a CA six months in advance.

CA Foundation Exam Norms

Students writing the CA Foundation exams are required to follow certain best practices and guidelines set by ICAI pertaining to the use of stationary and other essentials. Here are some pointers:

  • Only black ink is to be used for writing the answers. Earlier both black and blue ink was allowed, but no more. 
  • You’re not supposed to use colorful markers, highlighters, sketch pens, or any other colored pen. 
  • You can use pencils for drawing graphs, charts, or diagrams, etc. But make sure not to use a pencil for writing answers. 
  • You are allowed to use any basic calculator with up to six functions, two memories, and 12 digits, but scientific calculators are not permitted. You can still do some tricky calculations, such as finding the nth/cube root of a number, on a simple calculator. Check out our video where we teach you this nifty trick.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a negative marking in the CA Foundation Exams?

Yes, but only in two objective papers (papers 3 & 4) where for every wrong answer ¼ or 0.25 marks will be deducted.

Can I darken more than one circle as answers for the MCQs in Paper 3 and 4?

No, please don’t! More than one darkened circle for a single question is considered a wrong answer. It will result in a negative marking of 0.25 for every question that’s answered in this manner.

How many attempts can you take to clear CA Foundation exams? 

There is no limit on the number of attempts you can take. However, you can only appear for CA Foundation Exams till your registration is valid. Because CA Foundation registration is valid up to 3 years, you can take 6 tries for a single registration period before having to re-register. 

The number of attempts you take might influence your career. We cover it in detail in one of our blog posts. Do give it a read.

Is the CA Foundation exam easy or not?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. But it’s a fact that CA Foundation is the easiest of all three levels.

What should I do after the 10th or 12th to become a CA?

You can provisionally register for the CA Foundation course right after class 10, but you have to wait till you pass your class 12 exams to appear for the CA Foundation exams.