CIMA students who are taking the gateway route can be find extremely tough to be exam ready and confident enough to pass the MCS exam.
But Nkunde C. Mbong did just that.
Here are a few words of wisdom from Nkunde on how she PASSED the CIMA Gateway Exam.
In an earlier article, I highlighted some of the difficulties Gateway Students faced and how this may have contributed to the low gateway pass rates, especially when compared to the management level case study results.
After a one time try, I passed with a pretty impressive score and this is how I did it.
Prepare for Success
- So, this might be obvious, but I’m still going to put it out here just in case. It is important that gateway students purchase all 3 management level papers and carefully go through it all [plus the gateway/management case study text].
Having a Masters in Accounting and Finance, I was tempted to bypass F2 (and some P2) because it was most of the technical material which I had covered in my masters, and also because I realized the case-study exam was void of calculations.
This is obviously a mistake because even though calculations are absent, the case-study will need you to be able to interpret these calculations for decision making.
So even if you can calculate it, the focus will be on your interpretation of it, so it is important to study it all again with that in mind.
Besides, I realized CIMA takes them all a step further, so you are bound to see topics you may never have come across before. In addition, going through all the 3 papers enables you familiarize yourself with CIMA concepts, expectations, key areas and application.
Cover the CIMA Syllabus
- I did self-study throughout my preparation for the gateway exam but I studied all 3 papers at the same time. That is, my weekly study program comprised of 2 days for F2, 2 days E2 and 2 days P2. So, I was studying 6 days a week. I did not concentrate on 1 paper, finish it before going on to the next and so on. I believe doing all 3 at once keeps them all fresh in mind and is obviously logical in this case.
- After successfully going through all 3 papers, I went through the management case study, practiced, and when I felt comfortable enough that I’d grasped what was really required of me, I started revising while doing tons of practices and mock exams (By the way, I made sure to finish studies before the pre-seen was launched and by that time, I was focused on revision and practices).
Make the Mock Exams Count!
- That leads me to the next important tip. I tell you, doing mock exams was as clarifying as the revision itself because they help you determine if you have understood the concept and can deliver in the exam.
So, I did mocks tirelessly and they help a lot to reduce revision time. If you don’t have enough time to revise all papers, doing the mocks will help you gain balance across the papers and chapters, just the way CIMA will test you.
Mock exams are available online via several tuition providers and some even provide some mocks for free.
Online Forums and Whats App Groups
- Another thing I found very valuable were online forums and resources. After the pre-seen is released, WhatsApp groups dedicated to the case study only are usually created.
I happened to be in one of these really good groups where we shared ideas, answered questions, clarified doubts and provided useful materials and online links to where we could access useful resources.
It was really helpful. Also, CIMA connect was good – they usually have an “ask an expert” session just before the exam and sometimes webinars.
Similarly, there are online tuition providers who analyze the pre-seen and offer these analyses for free. The more you connect with people, the more information you get.
Become Familiar with the Exam Conditions
- Lastly, at the end of the day when you have studied the course work, the pre-seen and covered enough mocks, if you are new to Pearson VUE like I was, be sure to familiarize yourself with it too.
Despite me downloading the Pearson Vue app and getting a practice session with it, during the exam proper, I almost went to the next question while trying to find how I could re-read the task I had been given.
Luckily, I was given a warning which made me cancel that action, though I spent some good seconds figuring out how to get back to the task given from the answer page where I was. Time management is already a killer during the exam, so avoid wasting even a second (or failing to answer a question by mistakenly going to the next one as I almost did) by making sure you are already familiar with the Pearson Vue layout.
Passing the gateway exam is a joy, but you need to put in the effort, know CIMA case study requirements (especially the competencies and the weightings), can manage the exam time given, remember the role you are playing and stay confident!
All the best to the gateway students!