CIMA MCS: How I passed it first time.
I’ve never been a bingo fan, but I was delighted to see the “two fat ladies – 88” and the wonderful green background of the word PASSED.
But before I go into how I passed the CIMA MCS exam, I’ll start with my initial thoughts on receiving the results.
Passing CIMA MCS: Initial Thoughts
I was of course delighted to get the PASS on the email this morning as passing any CIMA exam is a relief and sense of satisfaction! The 6 week wait between the case study exam and the results is a killer though, as you go through a range of emotions.
A bit like an alcoholic trying to give up vodka.
First, after leaving the exam hall, there is the thought “Yes! I’ve done the exam.” I can relax and you’re confident you’ll pass. But as the days and weeks tick on you start to doubt yourself as you talk to others.
Shit! I forgot to mention this and cover that on the exam… And then you forgot half of your answers and start to doubt yourself even more. Then you get nervous about results day.
Finally as you’re only days away you just get angry with the whole thing and cannot wait any longer. Frantically refreshing your email in the morning of exam results like and alcoholic checking their bank balance the morning of payday getting ready to run down the off licence.
Anyhow, I’m digressing.
Joy and Disappointment
My sense of joy at passing the CIMA MCS, however, is tinged with disappointment at getting a score of 88.
You might think that’s a bit crazy and I don’t want to sound arrogant or ungrateful but I’ll explain why:
1) I felt leaving the exam I had done very well, a good pass score at least.
2) I have first hand experience of working in shared service environment, so I was already at an advantage.
3) It sounded like the variant I sat was one of the easier ones, so what score would I have got if I had the tougher variant?
4) The exam prep went well, the mock exams were all passed with good scores.
Plus, I felt I had really applied myself to the exam and had the right preparation heading into the exam. A bit like a boxer primed for a heavyweight title fight in the shape of his life, so with everything seemingly in my favour I felt I would score 100+ (bearing in mind this out of 150, so 100+ should be expected with the conditions I felt I had).
It makes me wonder how I would fare further down the line when my confidence is not as high, will I be able to get over the F3/P3/E3 exams first time?
Then what about the SCS?
Anyhow, there is time to tackle these questions once I have digested the fact I am now the holder of the CIMA Adv Dip MA title. 🙂
How I passed the CIMA MCS Exam first time
Before I started to think about the pre-seen materials being released, I needed to have a plan and structure for following two months.
That plan looked a bit like this:
- Revise syllabus content from P2/E2/F2
- Understand MCS exam structure
- Read previous MCS examiners report
- Analyse preseen materials
- Delve further into P2/E2/F2 syllabus based on issues identified from pre-seen
- Take mock exams 1/2/3
- Review mock exam feedback
- Re-read preseen materials making 2 pages of key points.
- Re-read feedback from mock exams and revise weak areas raised in feedback.
- Relax (try to!).
Of course I didn’t stick to the plan 100% in terms of timing but it gave me structure and ensured I didn’t waste anytime in the build up to exam day.
CIMA MCS Materials Used
As you know from my previous blog posts, I used the full Astranti MCS course and found it to be packed with resources, videos, materials and classes.
In fact there was so much I didn’t manage to watch all of the tuition videos, which perhaps in hindsight was a bad idea on my part.
- MCS study text (part 1 and 2)
- Pre-seen analysis (video and text)
- Strategic analysis (video and text)
- Top 10 issues (video and text)
- Industry analysis (video and text)
- Tuition videos
- 2 x online master classes – each class is a full day revision (recorded and live)
- 3 x online mock exams – answered with detailed tutor feedback
- Ethics pack
- Personal advice and guidance
- Pass Guarantee
What I found the most useful from the Astranti MCS course were the mock exams with feedback. The mock exams you take on the course are actually based on the pre-seen materials and case study you are sitting (in my case Nortan) – it’s an invaluable experience as it’s as close to what you will face on exam day.
Planning. You must plan your time accordingly and make sure you cover all bases, the key to passing the CIMA MCS exam first time is having a balanced script.
You must have the technical knowledge, pre-seen details, know how to apply them, industry examples and the ability to draw conclusions and make recommendations in the exam.
Also, there was a little gem in the Astranti MCS course, it is the Study Text Part 2.
This is a condensed version of the E2/P2/F2 syllabus, it was a great resource for me during the 6 weeks study preparation. It had all of the syllabus content I needed at the right level of detail.
It would almost be impossible to go through your previous study texts and found this bite-sized version (well, there is still 700 pages!!) is perfect. I could find the section I needed and revise in the right level of detail – in some cases you just need a high level view to jog your memory.
The CIMA Student MCS Study Tip
Finally, I would like to point to the importance of planning your answer before you start answering the question in full.
I would spend about 20% of my time in the question (so in a 45 minute question I would spend 9 minutes) planning my answer.
This involves identifying the requirements and creating some headings of areas I want to cover in my answer. Then I add a few sub points underneath the headings, linking the syllabus content, pre-seen information, industry info and ethics (if there is any to consider).
Then I would finally add all of the meat to the bones of the answer.
Planning my answer in this manner made sure I stayed on track and didn’t ramble off point, as you can see I did in my opening paragraph or two here.
Good Luck to students sitting May case study and hope all of the February case students got the result you wanted!