CIMA F2: How to pass it?


Well, I failed the CIMA F2 objective test today and I must admit it has knocked me off my stride a bit. I got the dreaded fail message when the 90 minutes were up, although I’m still waiting for the % score out of 100.

I have a feeling I got around the 50% mark. The exam itself felt much tougher than I was expecting, which is disappointing considering I felt well prepared heading into it. It was my first attempt at the objective tests in the new syllabus and it’s been a steep learning curve.

Here are a few points about how I prepared for the exam and my thoughts on the day.

My CIMA F2 Exam Preparation

  • I spent around 10 weeks preparing for the exam (inc revision and mock exams)
  • I used the Astranti study text and mock exams.
  • No video lectures or any other tutor support.

I felt relatively prepared going into the exam but I knew my knowledge of the whole syllabus was not 100% especially when it came to Financial Instruments and Complex Groups. But I felt I could score enough for a pass.

Mock Exams

I took the three mock exams from Astranti and was quite horrified when I took the first one and scored just 41% (you need 70% to pass). This left me with three weeks before the actual exam to get up to speed. Each mock after that improved (58% then 75%) which gave me confidence heading into the exam.

I sat the exams to exact conditions so I could get my self use to the time pressure of answering 60 questions in 90 minutes

Final F2 Revision

I knew that the WACC (cost of debt and equity) was a weak area so I really focused on that and was comfortable answering these questions on exam day. In hindsight, I probably neglected some other areas of weakness too (instruments, NCI’s and complex groups).

I spent alot of time working out ratios, calculations of goodwill, NCI to ensure I could answer these types of questions. Although that was probably detrimental to the wordy side of the syllabus.

CIMA F2 Exam Reflection

  • The exam felt much harder than I was expecting – why? Not sure, perhaps a combination of nerves and not being 100% comfortable with the whole syllabus.
  • Study text and mock exams are not enough – personally, I think need more study resources than just a copy of the study text and mock exams. It looks like I need video lectures and perhaps even tutor support to make sure I am on the right track.
  • Was my study plan realistic? – having a study plan was helpful but perhaps it was too ambitious and I didn’t cover the required knowledge and moved on with the next area so not to fall behind on study plan. I need to be realistic and honest with myself with preparing for the next exam.
  • Was I overloaded with F2? – under the old syllabus I sat two exams at a time and it seemed to work OK. However, I just sat just one exam this time but would I benefit from studying two subjects at the subject? Would the diversity help?
  • Learn from previous experience – in hindsight, I knew this exam would be a big step up as I just scraped a pass 50% in F1 under the old syllabus so I should have redoubled my efforts when studying for F2.
  • Need to strike a balance – between the theory on the syllabus as well as the calculation side of things. I have a nagging feeling that I missed out on some easy marks by neglecting some of the simply theory in the syllabus, I had a feeling I was guessing at a few questions that I really should have known the answer too.


As already mentioned, I don’t know my exact score yet (I should receive it in 24 hours or so) but it’s been an eye opener for me. I am having the weekend off from thinking about CIMA then will think about how I will tackle the resit as well as looking ahead for the E2 paper I was planning to start studying next.

If you have any CIMA F2 exam tips or advice it would great fully received – feel free to leave any comments below.


  • Good Luck next time.


  • Cima should be sympathetic with their students and increase the exam time. The 90mins time flame is woefully inadequate. My first exam was not successful but it was due to time factor. I knew before the exam ends that I have failed because I couldn’t finished most of the questions. More than half of my questions were on calculations. The passed mark should have been stayed at 50% for the 90mins. This put a lot of pressure on you on the exam day. You don’t get time to think through the question. Good luck to you in your next attempt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a lot of calculations too, it felt like I was flagging everything to find the “easy” questions. It will be interesting to see what my percentage was. Anyway, good luck with your studies!


  • I failed Cima F1 recently and I learnt so much from taking the exam. Some questions were similar to Kaplan and bpp exam kits and at least 3 questions came from the Pearson vue practise exam so if you didn’t take this mock yet I advise you to do it ( for F2 ). Also check cima connect if there is a F2 study webinar.
    After I viewed the cima f1 I know so much on how to narrow down the wordy questions so this gives me good prep for when I take the resit in May.
    Good luck for you resit, definitely tackle the complex groups, as I’m sure like F1 they take up a lot of questions in the exam.


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  • I have failed CIMA F2 3 times! I’m the verge of giving up. I decided to park F2 and focus on P2. Which I passed 2 weeks ago. This gave me a confidence boost, so I rescheduled F2 for this coming Monday.

    Here’s what I learnt in passing P2….
    1- Read more. Then read it again and then read it again.
    2- Use more than one source. Use the internet to look up definition and examples. Reading the same thing written by different people helps gives you a different perspective.
    3 – Look at things objectively and really ask yourself what the question is asking of you.
    4 – Always eliminate the ridiculous answers first.
    5 – Don’t learn to calculate the answers, learn to identify what the calculations mean.

    There are some really good resources on my CIMA. There’s particular webinar on passing P2 that helped me a lot. Also, make sure you check the guides on how to take the objective tests. They will help with time management.

    CIMA makes these exams difficult on purpose so only people thinking in the right way will pass. Just knowing the information is not enough, its knowing what to do with it as well.

    Best of luck! Never give up!


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