CIMA Students Success Stories

Tackling a professional accounting qualification is not a walk in the park. Whether you’re studying for ACCA or CIMA you will need to devote enough time and effort to be a successful student.

And with the February case study exams beginning next week here are some words of wisdom and tips on how to pass CIMA exams from fellow students.

All of the comments, quotes and stories were posted on the official CIMA connect website and can be found here.


Operational Level

OCS Student – Evelina

How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected? 
I did several trial exams before the real exam and practiced a lot, therefore the format of questions in the real exam was as expected. Before the exam I learnt how to deal with the time pressure, so I managed to accomplish all tasks on time. I was also well familiar with the pre-seen material about the company which was very helpful. However, I need to admit that answering questions in the online environment and in the meantime taking notes on the notepad was quite unusual.

What is your winning formula?
Have a clear study plan and study frequently in order to build up knowledge and skills. This has to be done focusing on CIMA exam format and suggested ways of answering exam questions.

Can you offer some advice to other students?
My main advice for the students would be to spend time on CIMA frequently while ahead of exams not trying to put all learning in the last week before the exam. It is essential to do revision of the materials covered and practice questions a lot

P1 Student – Kristiyan

How did the OT exam compare to what you had expected? 
It was exactly what I expected. I was well prepared, so the only thing that surprised me was the Pearson VUE scratch “paper”. I lost a lot of time trying to scratch it… New people should be aware of that and plan their time and font accordingly.

What is your winning formula?
Learn -> Practice -> Learn from the mistakes -> Practice -> Practice -> Practice -> Pass the exam

Can you offer some advice to other students?
If you practice a lot of mock exams at home, you will feel the same relaxed way on the examination. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Management Level

MCS Student – Jacek

How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?

I was using CIMA Official Exam Practice Kit published by Kaplan and I was satisfied with this material. It is logically written, concise and contains many relevant examples thereby allowing effective learning. I also tried to read more widely around key subjects with the focus on the industry from the pre-seen material. I used different publicly available industry reports and well-known business publications such as Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. I also took two practice exams delivered by Pearson VUE which really helped me to identify my weaknesses and practice time management. It is also worth to mention that I was relentlessly thinking about practical application of business models as it was far easier to fully understand the theory.

What is your winning formula?
WINNING FORMULA = STUDY PLAN + IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS PLAN. Unfortunately, it seems that there are no shortcuts. I strongly believe that organising appropriate amount of time is the most important success factor.

Can you offer some advice to other students?
Prepare a reasonable and feasible study plan and stick to it. Try to think about practical application of business models as it would be far easier to fully understand and apply the theory.

Strategic Level

SCS Student – Rebecca

Did you use a tuition provider?

Yes, I studied with Kaplan Financial throughout all exams.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Getting the balance between working full time and studying, not so much of a juggle for the final case study exam as the majority of my studying was done in the classroom, but travelling to Leeds from Hull every Saturday after 5 days of working was quite draining.

I made a study planner right at the start of tuition which I hung in my kitchen so I could see if I was achieving what I’d set myself to do. My employer is also very understanding when it comes to studying and offer paid study leave nearer the exam. Lots of sleep was helpful too!

What is your winning formula?
I always try to start (and stick to) a study plan as early on as possible, I think it’s much easier to make the links between the 3 subjects (F, P and E) later on in the studying, when completing past exam questions, if the basic understanding is there. I recommend visual aids for revision, mind maps, images and silly acronyms really help to implant the knowledge in my head. The sillier the better as I’m more likely to remember them!



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