Category Archives: CIMA Case Study Nov 2022

CIMA OCS Nov 22: FireWorks

The pre-seen materials were released on 23rd September for the upcoming CIMA November 2022 OCS exam, it’s based on a scenario called FireWorks – a company that designs and manufactures a range of outdoor grills – you can find the official pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

I’ve always found the ideal starting point for your OCS exam preparation is to make a SWOT analysis.

If you can identify the strengths and weaknesses in the scenario you will have focus areas for the next six weeks.

I have gone through the pre-seen materials this morning and made my own SWOT analysis on FireWorks.

SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS – Human Resources

The first thing that struck me was the brilliant induction program for new joiners, in fact it’s a company I would personally want to work for! Hiring and retaining the right talent in a business is often under-rated and not given as much attention as it should.

But it seems FireWorks have a very well oiled machine here. We are told the Human Resources director works very closely with the Finance and Production directors (both of who have been with the company for a long time) and it seems their enthusiasm for the company filters all the way down.

There is an extract from the Employee Induction Manual from page 12 onwards in the pre-seen materials and the key point for me was;

Although you are employed to work in a specific department, it is important that you know how
FireWorks grills are made (yes, even if you work in an administrative or delivery role!)

It’s a small gesture but it’s important that employees understand and can feel a connection to the product and company itself. It goes a long way in keeping the best employees connected and motivated.

WEAKNESSES – Budgeting and Costing Methods

As usual with the OCS exam, we are told that the budgeting and costing methods employed are of a basic nature.

The company operates a standard absorption costing system using departmental overhead
absorption rates based on either direct labour hours or machine hours.

Budgets are prepared annually on an incremental basis. Operational managers have limited
involvement in budget setting.

It’s important you know the theory behind the different costing methods – absorption, marginal, activity based costing etc. And that you can relate it back to the FireWorks scenario, it’s an easy subject for the examiner to question, so I’d strongly recommend you cover this theory again from CIMA P1 paper.

Same with budgeting too.

We are told FireWorks use an incremental system with limited involvement from the operational managers, which is an old fashioned and pretty easy method to employ but there are plenty of disadvantages and you should be able to articulate the pro’s and cons as well as the alternative options to incremental budgeting.

OPPORTUNITIES – Smart Technology

The news articles at the back of the pre-seen materials tend to be packed with juicy nuggets of gold that could point to a question on exam day, or give you some ammunition to reference back to when writing your answer.

The news article in “Living Life Outside” is based on future trends and the mention of Smart Technology caught my eye. As FireWorks consider themselves to be one of the market leaders and known for quality and durable products, they should also be at the forefront of technology and Smart Grilling.

I was also given a sneak peek at some of the other developments they were working on, including better temperature controls, easier cleaning grills and smart technologies which would allow you to control your grill from your phone.

THREATS – Consumer Spending Patterns

The opening paragraph on page 7 of the pre-seen materials tells us “Each of our grills is fitted with the best components available and designed to provide the ultimate outdoor cooking experience.”

It’s clear that FireWorks are positioning themselves as a top quality brand with 10 year product guarantees etc. and these products won’t be cheap to consumers!

There is a real threat that negative consumer spending patterns could hurt their financials.

Much like we are seeing now the cost of energy crisis in real life, who, realistically would be looking to buy a luxurious grill for the garden when they are struggling to pay the bills?

Also the seasonality of the grilling industry means there is a big emphasis on making big gains during the Spring and Summer when consumers are in the market for a new grill.

CIMA OCS Nov 2022: Astranti Case Study course

I used the full Astranti OCS case study course to pass the OCS exam first time many years ago, they have improved the course even further since then. The course includes;

  • Pre seen materials pack (analysis, top 10 issues, industry examples & 30 questions)
  • 5 x mock exams with feedback
  • 3 x LIVE and recorded master classes
  • Syllabus theory revision series
  • Exam technique series
  • Ethics and questions packs
  • Tutor feedback
  • Pass guarantee & money back guarantee

CIMA Case Study: November 2022

I believe the November CIMA case study sitting SHOULD be the most popular among students, as it coincides with the start of the academic year, students should be at their most motivated for study!

When the pre-seen materials are released at the end of September, you should be primed and ready to get stuck into their case study preparation.

But for those students whose first taste of a case study will be in November 2022, what can you expect and how should you prepare?

The pre-seen materials release date is an obvious starting point for preparations, but from personal experience I found that using the weeks BEFORE the pre-seen materials are released as the perfect time to develop a exam strategy and look at the bigger picture on what CIMA expects of a student looking to pass the case study exams first time.

Here are three pieces advice I would give students sitting a November case study exam

Understand your Role

Each CIMA case study exam requires a different approach and mindset, it’s important to understand what role you are playing and how to react to the questions.

Bear this in mind when your answering questions on exam day.

For example, in the SCS exam don’t get drawn into answering a question from the point of view of a Finance Clerk or Manager, you role is Finance Director so you will be required to answer in that mindset – developing strategy and thinking long-term!

Exam Day: Have a Plan

Time management on exam day is crucial and having a plan when answering a question will give you a enough time to produce a full and well balanced answer.

You should have a plan on exam day on how you will answer your question.

Assuming you have 45 minutes for each question in the OCS and MCS (4 questions at 45 mins = 3 hours), I used the below as guideline for answer planning and time management.

  • 10-15 mins: read the question, identify requirements and plan your answer with 3 to 5 bullet points.
  • 25 minutes: add the detail and develop your answer (think about pre-seen materials, industry analysis and ethics)
  • 5-10 minutes: review your answer and adjust where needed.

It’s a natural tendency to rush straight in and start writing out your answering as you see the question, but this can lead to rambling, not answering the requirement and forgetting to add relevant points from the industry analysis or pre-seen materials.

Answer the Requirement

The most common trap students fall into is not understanding the requirement of the question asked, but instead trotting out a pre-rehearsed answer based on the subject.

While it’s important to understand the theory you have studied in the CIMA objective tests, practicing rehearsed statements is not a good idea.

Don’t fall into this trap!

If you identify the requirements of the question and plan your answer around the requirements, you will avoid this trap and maximise your chances of passing the CIMA case study first time.

November 2022 CIMA Case Study Resources

Astranti was the training provider I used to pass my CIMA case studies first time and they’ve recently put together an informative guide on how to crack the case studies!

It’s well worth a read before the pre-seen materials are released later this month.

In terms of the resources, the Astranti course for the November CIMA Case Studies is packed full of resources and tutor support and they have an early sale on their full courses.

  • Pre seen materials pack (analysis, top 10 issues, industry examples & 30 questions)
  • 5 x mock exams with feedback
  • Syllabus theory revision series
  • Exam technique series
  • Ethics and questions packs
  • Tutor feedback
  • Pass guarantee & money back guarantee