The CIMA Examiners Report


One of the most under-rated documents produced by CIMA is the official Examiners Report that is available shortly after the case study exams.

The CIMA examiners report can be used in two different ways.

Firstly, a couple of weeks before you sit any case study I would suggest digging out the report for the previous sitting.

Even though you might think it’s not relevant as it relates to an old case study, the information you can pick up from the examiners report could prove to be the difference between as a pass and a failure.

The main reason I suggest you read the examiners report is that IT’S VITAL INFORMATION THAT HAS COME DIRECTLY FROM THE EXAMINER – it’s free information that CIMA provide and is there to guide students in not repeating the mistakes from previous students.

November 2015 OCS Examiners Report

CIMA released the report for the operational case study from November 2015 and here are the key points made by the examiner. Take notice if you want to understand how to pass CIMA case studies.

  • Overall performance was much better than August sitting (where only 1 in 3 passed).
  • There didn’t appear to be any signs of time pressure from students.
  • Some candidates are wasting time with formatting, report headings and unnecessary introductions comments such as;

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help address your problems, it is my pleasure to help you. Was it July when I produced that cash flow forecast? It seems only yesterday… how time flies”. <—- Whilst the integrated case study is designed to represent a real life work situation, these sorts of comments waste time and score no marks.

  • Many candidate answers would be improved if they added “because of ….” at the end of a sentence to explain their responses.
  • Many candidates used adjectives such as “crucial”, “vital“,“very important“, when asked for benefits or advantages but failed to explain why.
  • Similarly when commenting on variances it is not enough to say that “it is adverse therefore we must have spent more”. To score well the answers must give possible reasons why this is the case. 
  • Candidates struggled applying knowledge from P1 and F1.

I find that the first page of the CIMA examiners report is the most crucial – this is where you will find general feedback from the examiner rather than the specific details of each variant and how they were marked.

So you don’t even need to read the FULL report if you’re struggling for time, the first page is where the most useful comments are.

Post-Exam Reflection

However, as well as using the report to prepare for your case study exam, I believe it’s a useful tool for reflection as well.

The full report includes a breakdown for each variant and goes question by question explaining what was answered well and what areas needed more attention.

I would suggest using the exam paper, suggested answers and examiners report together so you can read through the questions, model answers and the examiners thoughts on how it was answered in reality.

It’s a great way to analyse your performance and identify any weaknesses. This is especially crucial if you are re-sitting the case study in the next sitting.

All of the previous examiners reports are available from the CIMA connect website.

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