How to pass CIMA Objective Tests

The main focus for the last couple of months has been on the CIMA Case Study exams but now, with the February exam sitting under way, it’s a good opportunity to look at how to pass the CIMA objective tests.


CIMA 2015 Syllabus

Under the new 2015 syllabus, the CIMA objective exams have had a complete revamp. Each paper (E1, P1, F1 etc) is now a computer based exam that lasts just 90 minutes. And instead of answering lengthy questions in a written paper you will be faced with a succession of shorter questions that range from multiple choice, small calculations and “fill in the blank” questions.

While it may sound easier in theory, the feedback from students has been mixed with time pressure being the main point of frustration.

Advantages of NEW style CIMA Objective tests

  • You sit the exams on demand and pass them at your own pace
  • Results are readily available straight after exam
  • Computer based
  • Shorter exam time of 90 minutes

As you can see, there are many plus points about the new style objective tests but don’t mistake this for meaning that they are easier – far from it – you will still need to cover the whole syllabus in detail. And the pass mark is 70% – so it’s tougher in that respect.

For more information on the how the syllabus works you can find the official point of view from CIMA here, or Astranti have a guide and a sample test too.

How to pass CIMA Objective tests

Astranti Financial Training

As my company isn’t supporting my CIMA studies I’ve researched the best online CIMA providers and resources. First up, I would recommend using Astranti financial training for your CIMA resources.

Here is an example of what you can expect from Astranti when using their CIMA Objective Test kits (based on P1 paper)

  • Full Study Test (online and printable)
  • Chapter Revision questions
  • Mock Exams (marked by tutor, with detailed feedback)
  • CIMA Qualified Tutors
  • Ongoing Tutor Support
  • Additional resources (mini-mock exams)
  • Online Forum and Student Discussion

The main plus point for me are the mock exam and detailed feedback from the tutors. I’ve stated this many times, but the key to passing any CIMA exam is to take lots of mock exams and get them marked by a professional tutor.

You can find more details on the full Operational level courses here.

Astranti offer the full P1 course for £149 – which includes all of the materials mentioned and is cheaper than BPP, Kaplan and CIMAStudy. And I would thoroughly recommend them if you are looking for value for money.

Alternatively, you can make it even cheaper by selecting elements of the course you want to purchase. Personally, I just select the chapter revision questions and mock exams. But it’s flexible and up to each individual.

CIMA Tuition Videos

Being a self study student has it’s pros and cons and I definitely find that not having classroom tuition is a big disadvantage. Nothing can replicate that one on one interaction with a qualified CIMA teacher – it can give you the edge when it comes to passing CIMA exams.

Nevertheless, the next best would CIMA tuition videos and Astranti offer hours and hours of online lectures with their CIMA objective test courses too.

For example, the P1 paper mentioned above currently has no videos but if you are sitting the F1 or E1 (pictured below) papers then you access the full range of videos that cover the whole syllabus.

  • Astranti offer the the Tuition Videos for £129
  • Or you can include them into the full course package for total of £229


Personally, I haven’t used or purchased of the Astranti tuition videos yet but I am looking towards them the further I progress and the harder the subjects become.

CIMA Operational Level Courses
CIMA Management Level Courses
CIMA Strategic Level Courses

CIMA is the official provider of CIMA resources and materials and they offer a whole range materials for the new objective tests. They offer two packages; the regular CIMA Study package and a CIMA Study Prime package.


Here is what you can expect with the CIMA Study package:

  • 120 hours of e-learning content (no videos)
  • Jargon busters
  • Mid module questions
  • CIMA aptitude test (replicates real life exam)
  • Interactive case studies
  • Tutor response in 48 hours email only

However, the CIMA Study Prime package offers these additional features:

  • CIMA online study and revision kits
  • Introductory welcome pack
  • Live introductory webinar
  • Study Planners
  • Tutor response in 24 hours via email or phone

CIMA Study Operational level packages cost from £168 (£240 for Prime package)

CIMA Study Management level packages cost from £168 (£240 for Prime package)

CIMA Study Strategic level packages cost from £168 (£240 for Prime package)

Acorn Professional Tutors

Acorn are a smaller learning provider but they provide classroom training as well as CIMA home study packages. If you’re based in the UK then you can check out their class room training schedule, otherwise I will focus on their home study materials.

Here is the breakdown of what you can expect when using the Acorn Platinum Kit packages for the CIMA objective tests:

  • Acorn study materials
  • Objective test practice kits
  • On-demand tutorials
  • Tutor support
  • Home study kit

Access to the materials lasts for 12 months and prices range from £120-150 depending on if you buy hard copies or .pdf versions. However, Acorn also offer a Kryptonite Kit that costs £200 for and you get ALL of the materials to keep on a USB stick.


What makes Acorn a good study option are the On-demand tutorials that give you FULL syllabus coverage in sound and animation. You can access these videos on iPhone and Andriod too.

If you want to get a feel of their materials please visit their FREE demonstrations here.

Their full brochure can be found here and to read about the exclusive 10% discount on ALL of their products for readers of this website click here.


If you are self studying for the CIMA Objective Tests you really should explore all of the options available when it comes to selecting the right training provider.

If you are more comfortable with working with products from CIMA itself, then I would suggest you look at – the prices are very reasonable although the one drawback is the lack of tuition videos and the material can be harder to digest. There is also the option to study with BPP and Kaplan if you’re looking for a company with a string reputation and tradition with CIMA.

Although if you are happy to shop around when looking for CIMA Objective test materials I would suggest looking at Astranti and Acorn. Both offer great quality materials and offer good value when compared to the more established names.

Good Luck with your next CIMA Objective Test!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s