Learning the content of the CIMA syllabus provides it’s own challenges but if you can’t convert that knowledge into a pass mark on exam day then you will be in trouble.
Here are my top 10 (in no particular order) revision tips that will help you pass CIMA exams.
- Have a peaceful study environment: this means no distractions, no TV, no Facebook and no music playing. Studying for 90 minutes in this environment will be much more beneficial than “studying” with the TV for the whole afternoon on the coach.
- Create a revision plan: hardly rocket science, but by creating a revision plan it gives you a structure a clear guide on what you need to cover. And don’t forget to include enough time for mock exams.
- Study in the mornings: If I know I’m going to have a busy day, I’ll try to squeeze in an hour before work. Firstly, I am fresh and can concentrate better and secondly I am in much better mood for the rest of the day knowing I’ve already hit the books.
- Study on the go: Take some revision notes with you on the commute to work, take some pictures of the key models and theories on your phone so you can refer to them at any time (doctors waiting room, on the bus etc). Being away from your desk is not an excuse not to study.
- Take a break: probably one of the most under-rated things you can do. If you have a whole dedicated for revision, don’t forget to take a break for a couple of hours during the day. Go outside for a walk, for for lunch, talk to friends. Staring at your books for hours on end will have little benefit – take a break and your mind off CIMA once in a while.
- Use the office to study: some people find there are too many distractions at home to study. Well, if you can, use the office as a place of study, study in your lunch breaks or after office hours – you could find you’re more disciplined when in the office environment. I’ve know colleagues who have taken the day off but come into the office to study for the day.
- Mock Exams – lots of them!!: I mention it a lot on here, mock exams are vital if you want to pass CIMA exams, or any exams for that matter. Diving straight into mock exams will prepare you and highlight your weaknesses. Start taking them a few weeks before exam day and learn from them. Practice, practice, practice. Here is my advice on some of the best CIMA mock exam resources – while you can find my advice on how to pass CIMA objective tests here.
- Be creative: use lots of different ways to revise for your CIMA exam. Use YouTube videos, make notes on A3 paper and stick to your wall, download podcasts, use post-it notes, buy the re-vision packs, start a study group. This is a great way to keep study fresh, interesting and give you a better chance to pass your exams.
- Reward yourself: when you reach milestones in your revision plan (passing mock exams for example) you should reward yourself. Go out for a drink, order a pizza or take the next couple days off studying.
- Learn exam technique: it’s easy to get bogged down in details and theories and forget about picking up the easy marks in exams. Learn exam technique and make sure you pick up the easy marks on offer (i.e. the report or email layout in the case study exams).