Summary of student rules - L5 IFA

ICSA student status

While you are registered as an ICSA student, you can use the term ‘ICSA student’ to describe your status. You are not a member of ICSA and you cannot describe yourself as a Chartered Secretary.

Professional ethics and conduct

As an ICSA student, however, you are a potential future Chartered Secretary and we expect that your professional ethics and conduct will be equal to that of a full member while you are studying. As such, when you agree to the ICSA student rules and regulations, you agree to abide by the:

  • ICSA Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct
  • ICSA Instructions for Exam Candidates

Registering as a student

When you register, you need to state when you are going to attempt your first exam. You must register to take an exam in one of the next two available sessions (June or November) after you register.

There is then a set time limit in which you must attempt all the other exams in your IFA qualification. The details for this are in the full student rules and regulations.

e.g. for the ICSA Advanced Certificate in International Finance and Administration there are two exams. If you register in December, you can opt to take the exam in the first week of June or at the end of November in the following year. You would then need to attempt your second exam in one of the next two sessions after that.

Entering for exams

We publish deadlines for entering each exam session. These are usually 1 April for the June exam session and 1 October for the November session. You can enter for a maximum two exams per session.

After you have registered and entered for the exam(s), you can pay an administrative fee to defer an exam to a later date as long as you do this before the 1 April / 1 October deadlines. After these deadlines, we will usually keep your exam entry fee for that session even if you cannot attend. If you cannot attend the exam due to serious illness or bereavement, please contact us.


If you fail the exam at your first attempt, you have three opportunities to re-sit. You need to pay a separate re-sit fee, this is not covered in your registration fee.

You have four years from your first exam attempt to complete all the exams for your IFA qualification and any re-sits.  

Exam attendance

If you don’t attend an exam, this is registered as a ‘fail’ and counts as one of the four attempts at the exam which you are allowed. If there is a reason why you can’t attend, contact us to let us know and we may change your ‘fail’ result to ‘withdrawn’. A ‘withdrawn’ exam would not count as one of your four attempts.

Please read the full ICSA student rules and regulations.

Search ICSA