The May 2017 CIMA case studies are just around the corner and this article should put you on the right track for a pass mark.
Having passed the OCS exam myself last year – you can read more on that here – I hope I can offer students who are facing the same problems and questions I had, guidance and some useful case study resources.
Here are my 3 top tips for passing your next CIMA case study.
Don’t be scared of the pre-seen materials
As soon as the pre-seen materials are released you should cover them back to front, make notes and re-read them over again. You may have the tendency to stick to revising theory based on the syllabus content but the six weeks between pre-seen materials being released and the exam date are crucial and you should focus your attention mainly on the pre-seen materials.
Plan Your Answers
You may be out of practice with longer written style exams since the introduction of the new style “multiple choice” CIMA objective tests. So this makes planning your answers in the case study even more critical. It will prevent you for rambling and also keep you on track to make sure you answer the requirements in the exam questions.
Be clever with your time and be sure to give yourself 10 minutes planning time before you start writing your answers. Read the question and requirements and make some brief headings on your answer paper, then add more depth under each heading making sure to include reference to pre-seen and industry analysis where possible.
Now you will be in a position to start your answers in full and ensuring in the process you will have ticked all of the boxes in terms of relevant content.
Take Mock Exams Seriously
Testing yourself is always the toughest part in any exam preparation. But mock exams are key to success and this rings true for CIMA case studies as well.
Being able to concentrate for three hours and answer question after question in a pressured environment is not easy. The only way to be confident and exam ready is take a few mock exams before the real thing. Not only will have the experience under your belt, you will find out which areas you need to improve on (i.e. more links to pre-seen) and it will enhance your exam technique in the process.
Astranti Case Study Course
Astranti are growing in reputation with each passing year and I was glad to use their resources for the OCS exam I passed first time. In fact, it was an Astranti OCS student who ranked 1st in global November CIMA results.
- Study Text 1: how to approach the exam.
- Study Text 2: syllabus content that is easy to digest.
- Pre-Seen Analysis: where it all begins! video analysis of the pre-seen.
- Strategic Analysis: how to understand the scenario from a strategic point
- Top 10 Issues: a tutors view on the top 10 issues with the case study scenario
- Industry Analysis: a look into the industry surrounding the case study.
- Masterclass 1: live session with CIMA tutor on how to pass the case study.
- Masterclass 2: another live session focusing on CIMA syllabus revision.
- 3 Mock Exams: based on the actual case study (with marking and feedback!!).
- Personal Advice and Guidance – via private forums and progress reviews.
- Ethics Pack – a favourite CIMA topic that should never be under estimated!!
You can find full details of their courses for all levels below for the May 2017 exams.
CIMA Examiners Guidance
A keen feature of this article in previous editions has been the links to the post-exam kits from CIMA on the case study exams. However, this time around, I have gone through the examiners report for each level OCS, MCS and SCS for November exams and picked out the key remarks from the examiner.
It’s clear from the comments below that students, must;
- improve their technical knowledge of the CIMA syllabus.
- remember ethical principles.
- answer the requirements of the question and not just blurt all they know on that subject without any thought.
OCS: November examiners feedback
There was little evidence that time pressure caused any problems. However there were elements of answers missing or only briefly addressed in some cases; often in the more technical areas.
This was either due to a lack of technical knowledge or possibly the result of candidates not reading the task properly.
In a case study the most important thing to do is to answer the task asked within the context of the business. The random inclusion of models, with no application, earned no marks. In addition weaker answers included a tendency to knowledge dump rather than focus on the task given.
It is important to prepare for this examination by studying previous case studies and practice putting knowledge into context by answering past questions.
MCS: November examiners feedback
As with previous case studies, the strongest answers were those which were clearly applied to the scenario.
This case study continued the trend first observed in the August exam of candidates appearing to be getting weaker in technical accounting and stronger in general management.
Candidates must be better prepared in technical accounting areas in the future.
Some candidates demonstrated a worryingly poor understanding of several syllabus areas, including crucial material such as the accounting standards, transfer pricing, ethics, rights issues and even net present value.
This was clearly very disappointing; however there were also some very good answers where candidates made good use of the pre-seen material, were technically competent and made excellent attempts at answering what was asked.
SCS: November examiners feedback
Many candidates could not name the ethical principles or apply them. In some cases they were unable to recognise an ethical issue.
Finance was another weak area, where the lack of ability was surprising. It is clear that candidates are becoming weaker at technical accounting questions, though better at management questions.
You can find the full details of the examiners guidance from previous CIMA case study exams by visiting the CIMA connect site here – and searching under the relevant resources.
Good Luck and happy studying!!