Category Archives: CIMA Case Study

CIMA Mock Exams: Practice makes perfect!

This featured blog post is written by Practice Tests Academy and they explore the CIMA case study exam and the importance of getting tutor feedback and marking on your mock exam.

*this article contains affiliate links, I only promote CIMA tuition providers I used myself when passing my CIMA exams. Affiliate commission helps cover the costs of the site maintenance.

What are CIMA Case Study Exams?

The case study exams are based around a mock business and simulated scenarios within the organisation. Students are expected to play the part of a finance professional working for that business (role-play) in order to complete the given tasks. 

In other words, you are given hypothetical information about an imaginary company which you have to imagine yourself working in.

The preseen is a document that is released to students before the case study exam and it includes information about your company, the industry it operates in, the structure of the company, the balance sheet, loans and other finances. 

You are given a role to play in this company and are expected to take it seriously during your exam. 

One important thing to remember; the preseen contains information that you can use to start preparing yourself for potential tasks, but it’s not the only source of information that you’ll need for exam day. You’ll be presented with additional (unseen) information on the day of your exam, so always keep that in mind. 

To break it down for you: 

  • The preseen is published to students 7 weeks prior to exams 
  • The exams involve role-play and students have to act like a finance professional 
  • Students are presented with unseen information on exam day 
  • Case study tasks are completed by students based on provided scenarios 

What is the preseen?

The preseen is a document released to case study students 7 weeks prior to the exams via CIMAconnect. It contains information about a simulated organisation that you are expected to play a role in. It may include the company’s financial statements, industry analysis, competitor analysis, press releases, strategies and more. 

It’s vital that you learn the preseen inside out. It’s also important to remember that while the information and the organisation both are fictitious, CIMA states that it will still be “true to life”.

So, with this in mind, when studying the preseen, try to identify any potential real issues that the organisation might face or be currently facing in order to help you better prepare your answers for exam day. 

What tasks are you expected to compete in CIMA case study exams?

There’s no definitive answer to that, but first-things-first, when the preseen is released, go through it thoroughly. 

Find out what issues the organisation is (or could be) facing so that you can grasp an idea of what questions to expect in the case study exam.

Another way of exploring this is to go through past exam papers and analyse them. 

The questions you are asked in your case study exams might not match the ones in past exam papers, but you will get an idea of what type of questions to expect and start preparing for them. 

You can also get an analysis from a tuition provider, who will give you a good idea of what to expect in your exam. Tuition providers usually have experienced tutors who analyse the preseen and give you an idea of potential topics/issues that you might be given in the exam.

How to pass case study exams?

1.    Learn the preseen inside out – you will be asked questions based on information in the preseen, so learn every aspect of it. Know your CEO, CFO, directors. Know exactly who you are reporting to, etc.

2.    Practice mocks – buy mocks from a tuition provider and practice as much as you can. While attempting mocks, assess any information you missed so that you can go back and scrutinise areas that you need to. Practising mocks will help you feel more confident on exam day -just make sure you are doing them under timed (exam) conditions. 

3.    Get your mocks marked – practise, alone, might not be enough. You should get your mocks marked from tutors who will help you quickly determine any shortcomings in your answers. They will give you guidance on how you can improve and increase your chances of getting more marks, so take heed of their advice. 

Why getting your mocks marked is the best thing you can do

First things first, attempting mocks under timed conditions is extremely important. You need to know how to manage the time you have. You need to spend enough time on planning your answers and making sure they are comprehensive and easy to understand. 

Following that, assessing where you lack knowledge or evidence and revising those areas is key to helping you pass your case study exam. 

And why wouldn’t you get your mocks marked by a case study professional? It’s a no-brainer if you are looking for first-time success. With expert feedback on your mock exam, it will arm you with a knowledgeable and experienced point of view on your level of performance to tell you how well you are getting on.

Of course, you can simply just review model answers and assess how well you’ve done that way, but we find that rarely works, because, as humans, we are not very good judges of our own performance.

Getting your mocks reviewed will help you draw up an action plan on what to focus on. Perhaps it’s a particular model or theory you need to revise further. It can only help you. A personalised approach can turn a potential FAIL into a PASS!

Did you know that Practice Tests Academy offers packages that include expert mock marking?

Our high quality Case Study preparation packages not only include all the important preseen aspects such as a full analysis, a breakdown of the theory and different level points of views, but they are designed to help you perfect your writing technique so that you can provide high quality answers, backed up by clear and detailed evidence. 

Yes, our weekly writing assignments will get your thought process flowing and along with our tutorials, they’ll help you explore new ideas and methods to help you better prepare for your exam. 

Our professionally written mocks have been created by the same team of tutors that have helped thousands of students pass their case study exams. The answers are expertly detailed to give you an idea of the best approach to each of the mock tasks, but, on top of that, they will mark your exam and let you know, well in advance, how prepared you are for your upcoming case study exam. As well as that, we provide expert one-to-one tuition and a mentoring service. 

Check out what we have on our website here: 

CIMA Case Study: February 2023

For those students whose first taste of a case study will be in February 2023, 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 February 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.

February 2023 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

The Final Step: Passing the CIMA SCS!

Well, that’s it!

SCSResult

I passed the CIMA SCS exam with a score of 108 and I’m absolutely relived, delighted and exhausted at the same time. The mental stress over the last few weeks waiting for the result was almost as draining as the exam itself.

I got the result last week but wanted a few days to digest it and look back over my journey CIMA now I have reached the end.

Here are my thoughts on passing the SCS exam;

Think Practical, Not Theoretical

The case study exams are a chance for you to show off your business acumen and real world thinking, it’s a not time for you to spout off the finer points of the CIMA syllabus. Which is a great way to pick up marks if you are struggling to recall the theory and models behind a question.

Be practical in your answers, have you recognised the issue? Have you addressed and have you explained your reasoning with links to pre-seen and/or industry news.

Immerse Yourself in the scenario

It might sound borderline obsessive, but I was preparing for my exam every day for pretty much the whole six weeks. However, that doesn’t mean I was stuck to my desk with notes and reams of paper.

I would read the latest industry news on my mobile when on my commute to work, I would think about real industry issues while pushing the pram around the block. I would try to recall my SWOT analysis and Zoom company issues when on my lunch break at work.

It was on my mind a lot as I knew it was the final CIMA, the last push.

The motivation for this exam is the highest you will experience, so I found I wanted to study and prepare of the exam pretty much with any spare time I had!

I also felt quite lucky that the scenario was effectively about Uber! So it felt very relevant and it is industry I was interested in anyhow.

Planning and Structure

When it comes to exam day, the importance of planning your answer and being structured and pragmatic cannot be understated.

The SCS (under the 2015 syllabus) is always split into three sections, one hour each with the last section usually split into four separate sub questions of different nature, almost like a quick fire round.

So be aware of how many points you need to make for each requirement, balance out your advantages and disadvantages. It’s all common sense stuff but when the 3 hours starts ticking down on the exam clock, pressure can do funny things to a person.

Just remember to answer the requirements and ensure you capture the maximum amount of marks for each requirement. Practice this in your preparation and it will become second nature.

CIMA SCS Resources

Alongside the SCS Course from Astranti, I found myself using the Kaplan Knowledge Bank to refresh my memory and also the post exam kits from previous SCS exams to dig into past exam questions as well as the essential examiners guidance.

SCSCourse                                2019-10-07 13_29_08-Start

 

The CIMA Case Study: Last Minute Advice

Studying for the CIMA Case Studies require a completely different approach from the objective tests. I also find there is also added weight of pressure and expectation that comes with a case study exam.

It’s a milestone.
It’s three hours long and you will have write somewhere between 3000-4500 words.
No select all that apply (thank god).
No flag for review.

You get the picture.

The Case Study Countdown

With the SCS exam in my sight, I feel like a boxer in a training camp for a big title fight. I have the experience of the previous two case study exams, not to mention the countless objective tests to date.

But this is the big one.

Potentially the final CIMA exam I will take.

The preparation also mirrors that of a boxer entering a training camp, once the opponent (Zoom) has been announced (pre-seen materials released) there is an intense six week training camp.

And much like a boxer, I am trying to peak at the right time with my preparation of pre-seen analysis, question practice and finally leading up to the fully marked 3 hour practice mock exams.

That would my advice to anyone CIMA student sitting a case study, the preparation is all about doing the right things at the right time, gradually build yourself up until you are confident enough to tackle a full mock exam in exam conditions.

As I have just entered the final two weeks before my exam on August 20th and I feel confident at this stage, well in terms of my preparation.

It all seems to be falling into place – at the moment I feel calm.
This can and probably will change as the final few days tick down.

Be Practical and PLAN!!

With this in mind, I thought I would share my TWO top tips on how to handle your case study exam.

Be Practical Rather than Technical

A case study answer that goes in depth on technical detail will score lower than a hands on practical answer.

And you should use this to your advantage, if you are struggling to refer back to the technical side of the syllabus then you should think practically.

DON’T PANIC!

When planning your answer, think;

How I do answer this in terms of the scenario?
Give practical advice on the situation.
Avoid general wishy washy statements.
Backup your thoughts with reasons how and why.

Plan your Answer

I spend around 20% of my time at the beginning of each section planning my answer. Firstly, identify the requirements and calculate how many marks I need to score.

A 60 minute question equates to 30-33 marks, so assuming your score 2 marks for every valid point made, you’ll need to make about 16 valid points in that 60 minute question.

A 60 minute question will usually have 4 sub questions inside the task, meaning I’d need to make approx. 4 valid points for each sub question.

If it has 3 sub questions I would make between 5-6 points on each.

Then I make headings for each point I want to make that directly fulfills the requirement. During that time I also add some brief notes under the heading of where I want to refer back to specifics in pre-seen, industry examples or technical content.

With the remaining 75-80% time left, then only I begin to type out my full answer.

Student Advice

Finally, here is some advice from I gathered from twitter on how to tackle your next CIMA case study exam;

 

CIMA SCS Aug 2019: Zoom

Zoom

The CIMA August 2019 strategic case study is based around a company called Uber, sorry I mean Zoom! Having read the pre-seen materials as I am sitting the exam myself, it’s clear the company is based around the real life company Uber.

Which makes it very interesting and relevant as I am sure we have all used the Uber platform when taking a taxi.

So from a personal point of view, I am pleased with the subject of the CIMA August 2019 SCS case study!

You can find the official pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

SCS Astranti August 2019 Course

I am a keen advocate of the Astranti case study materials and have used them to good effect in passing the OCS, MCS and hopefully soon to be the SCS!

Here is what you can expect from the full SCS course from Astranti.

  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Aug19 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

The mock exams marked with feedback are really a great way to get confident and ready for exam day. *Please note I am an Astranti affiliate member, but I only recommend materials I have first hand use of myself.

 

Industry News

Having gone through the pre-seen materials, what really caught my eye was the fact why aren’t this tech companies making any money? Where is the profit!!??

The financials for the Zoom case study paint a grim picture in terms of profit.

  • 2018: Loss for the year was 331m (up 93% from 2017)
  • 2017: Loss for the year was 171m

And this was amid a backdrop of huge revenue growth in the same period.

To give it more context I looked into the financials and industry news of Uber to see what the real life situation is. Here is what I found.

Here is a great article from Crunchbase explaining why Uber loses money in terms of the facts and figures.

Uber Q2 2018 Income Statement

PL

Much like the situation with the CIMA SCS case study Zoom, the income statements of Uber paints a picture of a cash burning business. Uber had a staggering $2.2bn worth of operating expenses in Q2 last year – just a three month period!!

The below chart taken from the crunchbase news article linked above gives an overview on what Uber’s operating expenses are.

uber

Sales and Marketing – 33% of OPEX

33% of their operating expenses are funneled into sales and marketing activities, which is not surprising in the tech industry. Remember that Uber (and Zoom) are tech companies and not transport companies.

It’s a highly competitive industry with low barriers to entry, to maintain (and increase) their market share a lot of cash will be spent on marketing activities and trying to generate sales.

Research and Development – 16% of OPEX

This is a crucial area for tech companies to invest and spend in. Especially the likes of Uber and Zoom who are connected to the transport industry, where there is a big push on self driving drives.

The pre-seen materials mention a lot about Zoom investing in self driving cars and that’s it’s future strategy, so spending wisely in this areas will be key to long term sustainable growth.

Turning Loss into Profit

For Tech companies, this hinges on the future developments and success of their R&D department. For example, if Uber were to make a significant breakthrough in the world of self driving cars it wouldn’t need to have drivers on contract and would give them 100% of revenue generated by each trip.

It would have the potential to turn this loss making income statement into a very healthy  financial statement firmly in the black. Very much like the case study in question.

A Driving Problem

One of the strengths of Uber is also it’s weakness. The fact it doesn’t employ the drivers directly and own the cars on the balance sheet, means it’s a very lean business model and very light on assets.

However, the so-called gig economy brings it’s own problems.

There is a brilliant article here from Salon.com about the issues the drivers from Uber face, and while despite this being in Uber’s favour they still fail to turn a profit.

A 2017 report found that only 4% of Uber’s drivers continue to work for the company after 12 months. Meaning that Uber constantly have to recruit and offer incentives and competitive rates to attract drivers.

This in itself will have a drain on the income statement and partly explains why the company fails to turn a profit.

Good Luck to SCS students.

I will be posting more content on this exam in the coming weeks!

CIMA MCS Aug 2019: CruiseCalm

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The August CIMA MCS Exam will hopefully be smooth sailing as it’s based on a scenario called CruiseCalm (ok, no more puns).

CIMA MCS August 2019: Cruise Calm Astranti Course

MCS (2)

The August 2019 MCS Course from Astranti comes with a PASS GUARANTEE.

I used Astranti to pass my MCS exam first time last year, you can read about how I passed the MCS Norton exam here.

Here is what you can expect;

  • Complete pre-seen pack of videos
  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Jord Homes case study)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

SWOT Analysis – CruiseCalm

I’ve had a look through the pre seen materials and put together a short SWOT analysis to help you on your way.

Insight

Strengths
Ship Fleet and Innovation

After the reading the pre seen materials I was concerned with the fact CruiseCalm have so few ships, however, after reading on I found out that their strategy is based on quality, not quantity;

“Cruisecalm’s ships are all less than ten years old. The company has a reputation for innovation in terms of the facilities that it offers to passengers. For example, its newest ship has been designed so that its superstructure creates an atrium around the swimming pools and sun decks.”

The mention of innovation also is a big plus for the company as a whole in terms on TQM and retaining customers. With this in mind I believe it’s a big strength of the company.

Weaknesses
IT Management

On first inspection the overview of the company management and directors looks great. There is a nice split of the NED and ED on the board and there is a well-balanced setup.

However, the point of concern for me would be the fact the Finance Director is responsible for IT.

The Finance Director is responsible for all aspects of Cruisecalm’s financial management, as well as administrative functions such as purchasing and information technology.

In the modern business environment, IT can be seen to be a critical success factor of the business. Therefore, should have the right expertise leading the information strategy systems.

What’s more, there is mention on the pricing of the cruises offered are complex and require algorithms to ensure the right pricing is set. IT would seem to play a key role in CruiseCalm.

Opportunities
Growth in Family Cruises

The current social environment in Norland is geared around older travelers who enjoy expensive and luxurious holidays, which suits CruiseCalms current business model.

“Norland is a developed country that has a high standard of living. The average age of the population is relatively high, with large numbers of citizens who can afford to indulge themselves in expensive holidays”

However, there is an emerging trend that for cruises for younger passengers and families. This is an opportunity that CruiseCalm should look to exploit.

And it would be feasible given their emphasis on innovation and highly modern fleet of ships, should they need to adapt it to accommodate a younger, family based clientele.

Threats
Overcrowding

There are a few news articles and press releases at the end of the pre-seen but they one that caught my eye was the article on “Cruise Ships lose their welcome”.

The daily news article states that due to high volume of tourists (from cruise liners) that can descend on any one destination has drawn complaints and criticisms from other holidaymakers in the area.

“The town authorities in many popular cruise destinations are considering reducing the number of ships that can be permitted to dock at any one time”

This should be cause for concern for the directors of CruiseCalm.

It throws up the questions;

  • will alternative routes have to be found in line with other cruise operators to ensure popular destinations are not overcrowded?
  • Is there sufficient on board entertainment and ;
  • can the current operations manage if the passengers are on the ship for longer periods of time?

Good Luck with the exam!

CIMA OCS Aug 2019: AKL Sparkle

AKL OCS

The CIMA OCS August 2019 exam is based around a case study scenario called AKL Sparkle. The first thing that caught my eye was the absence of a logo or motif on the pre-seen materials! I hope, for those who are taking the exam, there has been more effort put into the content of the pre-seen materials themselves!

Pre-Seen Materials

You can find the official pre-seen materials from CIMA here – via the CIMA Connect site which finally appears to be up and running again.

OCS Exam Resources

OCS Exam Hot Topics – some great advice here from CSSC Tutition on what syllabus areas are highly examinable in the OCS exams.

Helping you pass OCS Exams – this document from CIMA gives a great insight to a real students script and the examiners feedback, as well as other advice.

VIVA Tution OCS Advice – the guys at VIVA have put together a nice guide on the operational case study exam.

AKL Sparkle: Pre-Seen Analysis

This 36 minute video from Astranti will help you on your way to analyse the pre-seen materials. Identifying the key information and potentially what areas of the syllabus will come up on exam day.

The full video packs for the AKL Sparkle case study can be found here.

AKL Sparkle: Top 10 Issues

A specific look at the key issues with AKL sparkle based on what we already know from the pre-seen materials. A good way to give yourself some focus when preparing for the OCS exam.

The full video packs for the AKL Sparkle case study can be found here.

AKL Sparkle: Q&A session

Good Luck sitting the exam!

CIMA Case Studies: August 2019

aug19MCS (2)

It’s that time of the CIMA case study cycle when the pre-seen materials will soon be issued and students facing the prospect of an August exam will be brushing up on their E/P/F syllabus knowledge.

 

Personally, I will be taking the SCS exam this August so I will try and share as much as I can on how I’m progressing in the lead up to my exam on Tuesday 20th August.

If this is your first CIMA case study exam, then the following advice, tips and information will stand in you good stead and make those first steps into your exam preparation a bit easier!

How do CIMA case studies work?

First of all, they are completely different from the CIMA Objective Tests you will have already passed to reach here. It’s a world away from what we already know and the multiple choice, abstract nature of the objective test questions.

Personally, I find them more enjoyable and fun to prepare for as it’s easier to relate to a real life situation and gives you a chance to demonstrate your all round skill set.

The CIMA Case Study (OCS, MCS or SCS) are split usually into 4 equal section (with perhaps some sub components in each section).

The case study exam is designed to replicate the workplace, as opposed to asking you to provide quick fire answers on the technical side of the syllabus.

This is a big shift in how you will need to approach your preparation and exam answering technique.

Here is an overview of the attributes you will need to show in your CIMA case study exam.

cg

The above weightings shows what the examiner is looking for in each level of the CIMA case studies.

Operational students will need to display a lot of technical knowledge with less emphasis on leadership and people skills, while at the other end of the spectrum, the Strategic level students will need to well versed in all areas equally.

To get a better idea of what the examiners are looking you, I’d suggest to read one of the CIMA examiners report. Here is a link to the CIMA examiners report for the 2018 sitting of the MCS exam: Menta.

Case Study Exam: DO’s and DON’T’s

Do.png

Make a study plan

This should be the first thing you do. You have around 6 weeks from the pre-seen being released to exam day, so every day should be planned.

And allow some rest days too.

Read Business News

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in the news, especially if you spot something in relation to your case study.

Is there are any big acquisitions and mergers happening and how are they being handled? It will score you extra points if you can refer to industry examples on exam day.

Practice Scenario Questions

Give yourself lots of questions to answer in your preparation. Try going back through old variants on your OCS/MCS/SCS and try answering the questions. You can find past case study exam papers from CIMA here.

Most case study courses will give you plenty of time and resources for question practice.

Self-Reflection

Always give yourself time to self-reflect on your questions/answers and attempted mock exams. Take feedback objectively and learn from it.

Self-reflection is a great skill to have.

Dont.png

Avoid Syllabus Detail and Depth

Don’t spend your time going through the whole syllabus in detail – keep this kind revision high-level and relevant.

As mentioned the case study exam aims to pull everything you have learnt together and it’s not designed to test how well you understand the full technical side of the syllabus.

You are better off spending the bulk of your time learning how to answer case study style questions and learning how to apply your knowledge.

Memorise the Pre Seen Materials

The Pre-Seen materials are crucial, don’t get me wrong, but they are there to set the scene for your case study. To give you an insight to the company you are working for, with some key facts and figures.

Students do run the risk of putting too much emphasis of the pre-seen materials as it’s a direct connection to the upcoming exam, but don’t neglect the areas like question practice and learning how to integrate your answers.

Leave it until the last minute

You’ll need all of the available study time to give yourself the best chance of passing the CIMA case studies. Leaving your preparation until the last minutes will ultimately leave yourself too much too do.

August 2019 Case Study Courses

I passed the OCS and MCS exams using the Astranti courses and intend to use them also for the upcoming SCS exam.

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2019-06-17 16_39_30-Astranti_ CIMA Operational Case Study Courses - Internet Explorer

Pre-seen materials released 21st June 2019

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Pre-seen materials released 28th June 2019

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Pre-seen materials released on 3rd July 2019

Here is what you can expect from their course.

Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)
3 x Full tuition videos
2 x Study texts
2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Aug 19 scenario)
Detailed marking and feedback
Ethics Pack
Pass Guarantee

Good Luck with your next case study exam!

CIMA SCS May 2019: Denby Healthcare

Denby

The CIMA SCS pre-seen materials were released last week for the May SCS exam, it’s based around a healthcare company called “Denby Healthcare” – you can find the official pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

SCS Astranti May 2019 Course

The full SCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources.

Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)

  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

Here is an hours preview video of the Astranti pre-seen analysis to whet your appetite.

Pre-Seen Analysis: Denby Healthcare

Insight

I’ve gone through the pre-seen analysis a couple of times and found a few interesting areas that caught my eye;

Overseas Revenue

overseas

There wasn’t a huge amount of significance in the P&L and Balance Sheet of Denby or their competitors but the analysis of the Overseas revenue did catch my eye.

It dropped from 145m to 103m in 2018 and this is a concern, given that equates to a 30% drop in revenue in that segment.

There is also a link or indicator as to how to combat this decline in revenue.

The Keeland Daily News article mentions a football player who flew to Cornopia to have specialist care that was not available.

“The club’s doctor had recommended the hospital because it could offer specialist care that was not available in Keeland.”

Denby should start looking towards specialist care that is not available in other areas to increase their own overseas revenue. Identifying other regions weaknesses when it comes to private medical care could prove a lucrative avenue of income.

Staffing

It’s mentioned a few times in the pre-seen analysis, staffing is a Critical Success Factor for Denby Healthcare and need to ensure they keep their best staff and attract the best in the medical profession.

“Staffing is most important element of patient care”

And this isn’t just restricted to the head doctors or surgeons but the pre-seen emphasizes the importance of staff at levels. Which makes sense for a private hospital. The competition is fierce so any added extra value that can be given to the patient will have an impact on the reputation of the hospital.

However, there is some reassurance that this recognized and actions are in place to help mitigate those risks.

2019-04-12 14_06_04-Start

There is also an opportunity here for Denby to take advantage of the increase in applications for Nurisng Degree’s mentioned in the news article at the end of the pre-seen.

Denby should be thinking of working alongside the tuition providers to provide a stream of qualified nurses straight into Denby before a competitor private hospital does.

Share Price Plummet

shareprice

The share price drop in the last six months will be a major concern to shareholders and will need to be addressed.

The share price in November 2018 was around K$4 but now it’s closer to K$2 – what has caused the share price to drop so dramatically?

The geared and ungeared beta’s are both below 1.0 so the market sees a below average risk with Denby Healthcare, so what has caused the markets to react the way they have?

Furthermore, there will be increased scrutiny from the shareholders as there is a widespread shareholding that will need to be re-assured the company is heading the right direction and plans are afoot to increase the share price in the coming months and years.

CIMA Case Study: Pre-Seen Analysis

Insight

The pre-seen analysis is the starting point of your exam preparation for the February case studies, you’ve had a month or so since they were released by CIMA but I’m sure the Christmas and New Year put your studies on hold somewhat.

Here are my tips on how to approach the pre-seen materials;

Read Through Pre-Seen and Make Notes

The obvious starting point is to read through the official pre-seen document from CIMA page by page and annotate the document. Making brief notes and highlighting the key information, doesn’t matter if it looks messy, it should be a brainstorming session.

Make a SWOT Analysis

Now you have an idea on the company and background of the case study, a SWOT analysis will help you understand the strengths, weaknesses and identify the possible examinable areas.

  • Are there low barriers to entry to the market?
  • Is there sufficient marketing?
  • Are the board of directors operating effectively?
  • Is there a potential audit or compliance risk?

Read Through Your Notes Again!

You should read the pre-seen materials and dozen or so times, each time you will either pickup new information or cement your knowledge of the materials.

Use your time wisely, read your notes on the train to work, in the doctors waiting room… there is no excuse for not finding the time to study!

Use a Mix of Resources and Videos

Watch the pre-seen materials and videos available online, visit CIMA student forums or with your tuition provider. Gauge the opinion of others on the pre-seen materials, use your colleagues as a sounding board.

Don’t just confine yourself to the 16 page document from CIMA – there is a wealth of information and informed opinion out there that could help you – find it!

Make Final Summary Notes

Use just one sheet of A4 paper and use both sides.

Summarise the key points from the pre-seen materials on both sides, make notes on the key financial numbers you will refer to in the exam. 

The idea of this A4 paper is your final revision notes on the pre-seen before you tackle the mock exams.

CIMA Feb 2019 OCS: Trigg Adventure

If you are struggling for motivation of feel your pre-seen analysis has been aimless so far, then watch the Astranti video below on Trigg Adventure, over an hours discussion on the pre-seen – invaluable!

You can find the full videos on the February OCS exam here.

CIMA Feb MCS 2019: Crowncare

The upcoming CIMA MCS exam is based around a company called Crowncare, likewise if MCS students are finding the pre-seen materials a minefield to work through and want some reassurance they are on the right path, then this video below from Astranti will go someway into making sure you’re exam ready.

You can find the full videos on the February MCS exam here.

CIMA Feb SCS 2019: Vita

Astranti have also covered their pre-seen analysis of the February SCS exam – Vita. 53 minutes packed full of useful information which should complement your notes already made on the Vita case study pre-seen.

You can find the full videos on the February SCS exam here.

CIMA Official Pre-Seen Materials: Feb 2019

You can find the official pre-seen materials for the upcoming case study exams below;

Good Luck and Happy Studying!

CIMA SCS Feb 2019: Vita

SCS Feb19

Picking up the Easy Marks

Sitting a strategic case study exam must be a daunting prospect as it’s the final exam inn your CIMA journey. And I’d imagine there is a tendency to focus on the technical knowledge and pre-seen materials with all your efforts.

Nevertheless, you mustn’t neglect the basics in the SCS exam and pick up the easy marks and tick the boxes the examiner is looking for.

Below is a reminder of the fundamentals of scoring a good mark in a CIMA case study exam:

  • Write in 4-5 line paragraphs.
  • Use headings in your answers.
  • Use the correct formats in your answers i.e. Email replies, report writing.
  • Don’t forget to give a balanced answer – link the pre-seen, unseen, ethics and draw conclusions.

Here is a guide on writing a business email in the CIMA case study exam that was featured in the CIMA Velocity magazine.

SCS Masterclasses

Now we’ve thought about the basics in the SCS exam, let’s consider the real content you’ll be facing on exam day in February 2019.

The Astranti SCS Masterclasses are split into two, the first class is 6-7 hours and will cover the keys to passing the exam, answer planning, key pre-seen analysis and theory to be applied.

While the second class is held the weekend before the February 2019 exam and is a full revision on the Feb 2019 case study scenario.

The perfect way to consolidate your knowledge and gain tutor support before the exam.

PER: CIMA Practical Experience Requirements

2018-04-24 10_54_55-Updated-PER-guidance16pp.pdf

A reminder that students facing the SCS exam should already be on their way to fulfilling and completing the PER requirements.

If you’re not familiar with the process then I suggest to read this from the official CIMA site.

I also wrote a blog article on here on the CIMA PER.

SCS Astranti Feb 2019 Course

SCSFeb19 NOW

The full SCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources.

  • Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)
  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

SCS Feb 2019 Pre-Seen Materials

VITA1.png

The pre-seen materials for the February 2019 SCS have landed, like Santa dropping his presents down your chimney early, CIMA have released the pre-seen for the Vita case study in December – you can find the official pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

SCS Important Dates

SCS Feb 2019

CIMA MCS Feb 2019: Crowncare

MCS Feb19

The February 2019 case study marks one year since I took and passed the MCS exam, so I can vouch it’s a great time of year to take the MCS – what’s more you get 60 days of study and revision in between the pre-seen materials and the exam date itself.

Industry Analysis

From previous experience of passing the OCS and MCS exams, the one area I find difficult is giving real life examples and applying industry analysis in my case study exam answers.

In the rush and stress of an exam situation, my mind struggles to recall the relevant real life examples to supplement my answer.

Remembering the pre-seen materials and making conclusions feels more natural, so I have sort advice from students on this subject so hopefully you can “beef up” your answer with some real life industry examples when you take the MCS exam in February.

Link Likely Issues with Industry Analysis

2018-01-13 10_33_00-February_2018_management_pre-seen_V2.pdfFor example, in the Feb 2018 MCS exam Nortan was based around a multi national Oil company and their shared service centre.

One of the key issues was around the environmental issues around their operations, if there was an oil spill it would have big consequences on their reputation and the financial impact of the cleanup.

And this could be illustrated by the real life example of the BP Oil Spill in 2010.

So by tagging the Industry Analysis with the Likely Issues in your revision you are killing two birds with one stone. You are thinking about the potential examinable area and already have an industry example on hand to help supplement your answer.

Furthermore, you may want to add the technical side of the syllabus you want to refer to the answer. So your revision notes when analyzing the pre-seen materials could look something like this.

ISSUE: Environmental Risks and Dangers

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS: BP Oil Spill in 2010, due to BP and their contractors cost-cutting and lack of controls in place in the industry as a whole.

TECHNICAL: P2 Risk Management TARA, how do we assess the risk and what action should the company take?

By taking this approach to your MCS revision and pre-seen analysis you should be able to produce a more coherent and balanced answer.

MCS Pass Rates

Looking back at the CIMA pass rates for the MCS exam makes for interesting reading. One thing I would stress is that students taking the MCS course should be CONFIDENT given the recent pass rates – which was 75% in August sitting!

PassRates

The MCS exam has the highest pass rate among the case study exams and, in my opinion, it’s down to one thing;

EXPERIENCE!

  • Experience of passing the OCS exam, gives students the know-how on the CIMA case study format and what’s expected.
  • Experience of passing the six objective tests beforehand, gives the technical skills and confidence to MCS level students.

But that’s not to say the MCS exam is easy.

Far from it, the pass rate of the CIMA gateway students way is just 35% – so this indicates that students attempted the MCS without having the previous experience of CIMA behind them will really struggle to the pass the exam.

Despite the encouraging pass rates for the MCS exam, we mustn’t get complacent that it’s an “easy” exam to pass.

CIMA Gateway Students

As mentioned above, the CIMA gateway students are those who will beginning their CIMA journey with the MCS exam as they have exemptions from previous qualifications.

If you are reading this blog post as a CIMA Gateway student then I would suggest to read this interview we done with a gateway student who passed her MCS exam first time.

CIMA MCS: Astranti Feb 2019 Course

MCSFeb19 NOW.png

The full MCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources and comes with a pass guarantee.

  • Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)
  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

MCS Pre-Seen Materials: Crowncare

Crowncare

The official pre-seen materials from CIMA were released this week, an early Christmas present for all of you MCS students!

You can find the official document from CIMA here for the Feb 2019 MCS exam.

MCS Feb 2019 Important Dates

MCS Feb 2019

CIMA OCS Feb 2019: Trigg Adventure

OCS Feb19

The February 2019 CIMA OCS exam is a great time to take a case study exam. As you’ll have 60 days in between the pre-seen materials being released and the exam day itself – usually you’ll have around 45 days if taking a case study in May/Aug/Nov – so take advantage of this extra time!!

Focus on Technical Skills

Tech1

The OCS exam is heavily weighted towards the Technical Skills competency area, so in order to pass the OCS exam you’ll need to have strong technical knowledge of the syllabus content and how to apply it.

  • Technical Skills 64%
  • Business Skills 16%
  • People Skills 14%
  • Leadership Skills 6%

If we think about the role you play in the OCS exam – Finance Officer/Accounts Assistant – it makes sense that he OCS will focus less on the leadership, business and people skills. So this gives you a platform to start planning your preparation.

What Technical Skills will I be tested on?

This leads to the next question, what technical knowledge should I focus when preparing for the Feb 2019 OCS case study? Well, we posted a great article from CSSC Tuition on the hot topics that could be tested in the OCS exam here.

And to further cement those area we can see that the bedrock of the OCS exam will be the P1 syllabus.

OCS_Te

The above chart was taken from a CIMA webinar on approaching case study exams, however, we are just concerned with the E1/P1/F1 part.

And we can see that the bulk of the technical skills around the OCS exam are based around the P1 syllabus – so brush up on cost accounting, management reporting and accounting information systems before the Feb 2019 OCS exam.

The above chart also highlights the fact that risk management and internal control are a key feature in the OCS, MCS and SCS exams.

CIMA OCS Answer Planning

Insight

I published a recent “The CIMA Student: Insight” blog post on the important of planning your answer when faced with a CIMA case study.

If you don’t think about HOW you will answer the question and brainstorm your ideas on how you will satisfy the requirement then you will produce a poor unbalanced answer.

Linking the pre-seen materials, making recommendations and drawing conclusions in your answer is a must if you want to pass the OCS exam.

You can read the full article on planning your OCS answers here – it includes a real example taken from the August 2018 OCS exam and I walk through the thought process and different stages of planning your answer.

CIMA OCS Astranti Course

OCSFeb19 NOW.png

The full OCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources!

I used the Astranti OCS materials when passing the OCS exam in 2015, you can read that in more detail here.

Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)

  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study text
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

Pre-Seen Materials: Trigg Adventure

Trigg OCS preseen

CIMA released the pre-seen materials for Trigg Adventure and you can take a copy from official CIMA website here.

Having had a first glance at the pre-seen materials it’s clear that the company faces challenging times given the competition with digital, electronic toys with parents preferring the often cheaper more “in demand” toys like video games.

So the company will need to be inventive with the products they offer and consider the price points at which they enter the market.

Below is the Astranti Top Ten Issues video for the Trigg Adventure case study that is part of the full OCS course for the Feb 2019 CIMA case study – it’s a great way to focus your revision for the February exam.

OCS Important Dates

The full set of important dates for the OCS exam are displayed below.

OCS Feb 2019

CIMA Case Study Answer Planning

Insight

The first of a new series of articles; The CIMA Student: INSIGHT takes a hands on approach to subjects and topics that will help you pass your next CIMA exam.

CIMA Case Study Answer Planning

When faced with a CIMA case study exam you might be tempted to dive straight in and start writing your answer as soon as you’ve read the question. However, this approach will lead to a poor answer with no balance, no depth and a tendency to wander off track.

I always make sure I spend the first 10 minutes of any CIMA case study question;

  • Identifying the requirements.
  • Planning my answer on the script with headings and bullet points.

This plan should include (where relevant) reference to the pre-seen materials, industry news, unseen materials and recommendations or conclusions.

With this in mind, I’ve taken a look back at the August 2018 OCS exam Thomas Fine Teas exam (taken from the official CIMA website), and picked a question from Variant 1 to show how I would spend my first 10 minutes of answering this question by IDENTIFYING THE REQUIREMENTS and basing my ANSWER PLAN around this.

OCS Exam Question – Thomas Fine Teas

2018-06-26 10_13_15-August 2018 OCS Pre-seen - students.pdf

Identifying the requirements

Before we can start to plan our answer, we need to identify the requirements.

I’ve noticed that CIMA have made the requirements much clearer in recent exam sittings, when I took my OCS in 2015 the questions seemed more embedded into the script.

However, you can see from the below screenshot from the Aug 2018 OCS exam, it’s quite clear from the outset what we are expected to answer.

TFT1.png

This question has TWO elements, I’ve added two small green arrows which tell us the questions is split into two. While the red boxes are the requirements we need to answer. Again, it’s very clear as the requirements start with “Please prepare…. “

All in all, this should have taken 1-2 to minutes to identify and I would suggest to not even look at the other attachments in the question at this stage.

Answer Planning

Now we have 8-9 minutes to start planning our answer before really adding the meat to the bones.

I start by adding some headings to my answer plan, so I have the initial framework before I start brainstorming my ideas on what to add.

Based on the first requirement above, my answer plan looks like this:

TFTANS.png

Now I have the structure of my answer, I can begin to think in more detail by brainstorming and adding some notes under my headings on how I want to answer the question in full.

After the brainstorming session, my answer is now beginning to take shape;

TFTANS2

Notice I have deleted the “Intro about Digital Marketing” heading, as I felt on reflection there wasn’t any need for this in the answer.

There is no mention of “Please explain what digital marketing is… ” in the email from Jack Ford.

It’s important to remember that you need to satisfy the requirement of the question only and it’s not a platform for you to spout all of the information you know on the subject!!

Keep it relevant and keep it clear.

I can now begin to fill my answer in full with the remaining time left for the question.

Reviewing Your Answer

If possible, give yourself 5-7 minutes at the end to review your answer and ask yourself the following the questions;

  • How I included reference to the pre-seen and unseen materials?
  • Have I given real life examples?
  • Have I answered the requirements?
  • Have I mentioned ethics?

The reality is you will not be able to include industry analysis or ethics into every answer you write in the exam and the key is to keep it relevant – quality over quantity!!

Case Study Answer Planning Resources

You can find the case study resources (including the above example question from the August 2018 OCS) from the official CIMA website here

Good Luck with your next CIMA case study!

CIMA Nov 18 Case Studies: Top 10 Issues

 

CIMA November 2018 Case Studies

The November 2018 CIMA case studies will begin in around four weeks with the OCS scenario of GymFit. With the November case study session finishing just over two weeks later with the SCS scenario of Novak Pharmaceuticals.

Students taking the exams next month should be well in their exam preparation and have made extensive motes and analysis on the pre-seen materials.

Now you should be drawing your focus on the most likely issues that will come up on exam day.

The benefits of understanding the so called “Top 10 Issues”

  • Gives you a focus for your final weeks of study.
  • Provides an insight to the syllabus that could appear in your exam variant.
  • Boosts confidence ahead of the exam.
  • A useful tool for brainstorming about the case study scenario.
  • Can generate discussion between yourself and other students – do they have a different opinion on the issues?

If you are struggling to digest all of the pre-seen materials and draw your own conclusions from the materials you have, then use the videos below as a way to get the ball rolling and start thinking about the main issues with your respective case study as use it as a source of focus for the next couple of weeks.

Final Weeks of CIMA Case Study Preparation

Not only should you be digging into the top 10 issues and most likely examinable topics, but you should be practicing your exam technique and have a strategy on how you answer your questions.

Exam Answer Planning

I would recommend that you plan your answers before jumping straight into answering the question in your case study exam.

When passing my OCS and MCS exams first time – I used to spend 8-10 minutes reading the question and planning my answer on the exam script with brief bullet points and my structure of the answer and what I wanted to cover.

Here is a summary on how I approached answering case study questions.

  • Identify the questions requirements.
  • Make headings and sub headings on your answer script.
  • Add relevant points relating to pre-seen and new materials.
  • Finish your answer by drawing conclusions and give reasons why you have come to your conclusion.
  • Don’t forget ethics!! (where relevant – don’t include it for the sake of it)

Here are the Top 10 Issue videos for the November exams.

CIMA OCS Nov 18: Top 10 Issues

You can find the full set of videos on GymFit here.

CIMA MCS Nov 18: Top 10 Issues

You can find the full set of videos on Grapple here.

CIMA SCS Nov 18: Top 10 Issues

You can find the full set of videos on Novak Pharmaceuticals here.

CIMA SCS Nov 18: Novak Pharmaceuticals

SCS Nov Dates

SCS November Important Dates

The relevant CIMA SCS milestones for the November 2018 exams are listed above. As you can see (at the time of writing this blog post) there are still a few weeks until the pre-seen materials are released for the exam, so it’s a great time to start planning how you will pass the SCS first time and become CGMA qualified!

However, if you are reading this after the pre-seen materials have been released, don’t fear! You still have enough time to get exam ready and I hope the advice and resources below will see you on your way.

SCS Tuition Videos

One way to get prepared for strategic case study scenario is to understand;

  • What does it take to pass the exam?
  • Exam planning and writing
  • How to score how marks on the pre-seen materials

As you should have the required level of technical knowledge from all of the E3/P3/F3 exams, now it’s a case of having the required technique and structure for laying out your answers.

I also believe there is a great benefit from learning from other students mistakes to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap. Below is an example of the Astranti SCS tuition video that goes through a students SCS exam answer on what was good and not so good!

Approaching the CIMA SCS Exam

I want to start this section with a look at what the examiner is looking for in terms on the competency displayed in the SCS against the other CIMA case study exams.

The SCS exam is a perfect split of 25% in each category, which, on comparison is very different to what CIMA expect from OCS students where the emphasis is on technical knowledge (i.e. syllabus content).

CIMA3

What does this all mean?

Well, it’s clear that the SCS exam requires a well rounded answer script that addresses the four areas that make up the CGMA competency framework.

The below diagram taken from CIMA website paints a clear, brief picture of each competency.

The general trend from the OCS, MCS to the SCS exam places less weighting on the technical knowledge with a stronger focus on the business, people and leadership skills that is required at strategic level.

CIMA2

With this in mind, when giving your answers in the SCS exam you should remember that your role as Senior Finance Manager has to;

  • Think long term and sets the strategy for the business.
  • Be able to demonstrate leadership skills (especially with change management)
  • Has the ability to influence people.

What’s more you’ll also need to remember the audience you will communicating to the exam.

Unlike the operational or management case studies, you will be giving your answers and recommendations to the CFO, the board of directors, the senior management team and other senior non financial staff.

Pre Seen Materials: Novak Pharmaceuticals

SCS Nov18

CIMA released the pre-seen materials for the November 2018 strategic case study on Friday 5th October and you can download them from the CIMA website here.

SCS Astranti Course

SCS ALL

The full SCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources;

Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)

  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

 

CIMA MCS Nov 18: Grapple

MCS Nov Dates

The CIMA MCS exam builds on the knowledge you have gained from the P2/E2/F2 papers, not too mention the experience you have from the operational level and in particular the OCS you have already passed.

CIMA Gateway Students

The only exception would be those students who are taking the Gateway route and this will be your first taste of a CIMA case study!! 

If you are reading this blog post as a CIMA Gateway student then I would suggest to read this interview we done with a gateway student who passed her MCS exam first time.

CIMA Code of Ethics

I’d thought I would kick off this blog post with a focus on the CIMA Code of Ethics.

It’s a subject that you might neglect or forget the importance of, but the MCS case study exam is the perfect time to roll out your knowledge on ETHICS!

Morals-and-ethics

If you are struggling to remember the fundamental principles behind the CIMA Code of Ethics I have my own acronym to help me remember – OPPIC.

It’s very close to the word OPTIC which reminds me of the device used for measuring out whiskey or gin, which is usually quite close to my thought process after studying for a case study exam and ethics.

Anyhow, before I digress even further, here are the key principles that OPPIC stands for.

Objectivity

Professional Competence and Due Care

Professional Behaviour

Integrity

Confidentiality

Each and everyone of us as CIMA students/professional accountants must comply with the above fundamental principles of the CIMA Code of Ethics. And it’s a great framework to apply to your answers in the CIMA MCS exam if you are faced with an ethical issue.

EXAMPLE: 

“… It appears the CEO of the company has agreed the appointment of a new board member who is a close family friend with very little experience in the fashion industry.. ”

If faced with this type of ethical issue in the MCS exam, you can point to the fact there is an ethical issue with the appointment made to the board, quoting the CIMA code of ethics as an example of the framework professional accountants should adher to. Also adding to your answer that;

  • the CEO failed to follow Objectivity with the appointment of the new director as it’s a clear conflict of interest due to his relationship with the new director.
  • meanwhile, the new director doesn’t have the right skills to fulfill the role which breaches the Professional Competence and Due Care part of the ethical framework.

I’m sure the examiner will always appreciate students quoting the CIMA Code of Ethics in the case study exam, so don’t neglect it!

CIMA MCS Masterclass

Distance learning students should take advantage of any video tuition or interactive online tuition you can get your hands on for the MCS November exam. It’s especially important when trying to pass the CIMA case study exams.

Below is an example of the MCS masterclasses offered by Astranti;

Both masterclasses are 8 hours long with the first masterclass focusing on the keys how to pass the MCS exam, while the second masterclass is a full day revision on the subject of the case study for the November exam.

I found it a great way to hear other students opinions, test my own knowledge with the example questions we went through as a group and ask the tutor questions directly.

Below are are the dates for the upcoming Astranti MCS masterclasses.

2018-09-13 09_07_11-Start2018-09-13 09_07_24-Start

The CIMA Student MCS Advice

Here is a summary of my top tips to pass the CIMA November 2018 MCS exam.

Plan, plan and plan

Start by planning your time and the resources you need, dedicate set times when you will study and what you expect to cover.

And don’t worry if don’t stick to them 100% – no body every does. A plan is there to guide and ensure you tick the boxes you need to pass the exam.

Mock Exams

It’s a drum I keep banging, but I can’t stress enough the important of Mock exams. So I will leave it at that!

Produce a Balanced Script

You need to make sure you give balanced answers.

Include pre-seen analysis, unseen analysis, industry analysis and of course technical knowledge. AND OUR GOOD FRIEND MR ETHICS!

(where applicable – always be relevant with your answers)

And don’t forget to use your judgement and conclude with recommendations and the reasons why you are making them!

CIMA MCS Astranti Course

MCS ALL

The full MCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources

  • Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)
  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study texts
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

Pre-Seen Materials: Grapple

MCS Nov 18

CIMA released the pre-seen materials for the November 2018 management level case study on Friday 28th September.

It’s based around a company called “Grapple”.

You can find the official pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

CIMA OCS Nov 2018: Gymfit

CIMA: Exam Tips

The November 2018 OCS exam will be the first case study exam you will be taking on your CIMA journey, so it will be new in many ways.

But it shouldn’t hold any fear for those students that are worried with the prospect of their first case study coming up.

It seems a world ago since I passed this exam but I remember heading into the exam full of confidence due to the preparation and work I had put in during the lead up to exam day.

I hope the advice below stands you good in steed to pass the CIMA OCS first time!

CIMA OCS Important Dates

There are still two weeks away until the pre-seen materials are released and over two months until the CIMA OCS November exam day itself, but preparation is key and you can already begin yours before the pre-seen materials arrive on Friday 21 September 2018.

Before you start planning, here are the important dates for the Nov 2018 OCS.

OCS Nov Dates

CIMA OCS Planning

I would start with a rough study plan, so you can plan the time when you will study and WHAT you will study;

  • F1/P1/E1 Syllabus refresh (keep it simple and brief for now.
  • OCS Exam Structure
  • CIMA Code of Ethics
  • Pre-Seen Materials Analysis
  • 3 Mock Exams (tutor marked with feedback)
  • Review and Revise

Just because the pre-seen materials haven’t been released, it doesn’t mean you cant start working! Refreshing your syllabus knowledge is a great idea now, especially the theories and models in the E1 exam.

However, this should be brief and very high level refresh. Don’t get bogged down with details, you haven’t got time to do that and you don’t need to.

This part of the exam preparation also helps you get into the “Study Mode” for when the Pre Seen Materials arrive, think of it as a warm up for your OCS exam.

Also take the time to get familiar with the exam structure and what’s expected of you on exam day.

As it’s your first case study exam, I would suggest to visit the Pearson VUE website to simulate a CIMA case study exam. It’s well worth it.

CIMA OCS Mock Exams Practice

Taking mock exams in exam conditions is the only way to get yourself 100% prepared for exam day. It’s the final piece of the puzzle.

I used the Astranti mock exams when passing the OCS and also part of the full course when passing the MCS first time this year. However, to make the most of this you should get any mock exams you take marked with feedback.

It’s the only way how to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and ensure you have enough in the tank to get a pass on exam day.

Below is a example of the feedback I received when taking one of the Astranti MCS mock exams.

Exam

I found getting detailed feedback on each question with the split of marks allocated was a brilliant way for me to analyse my script. It helps build confidence but it really does paint a true picture of where are you in terms of passing the case study exam.

The Examiners Report

Examiners Report

One of the most overlooked FREE resources from CIMA are the examiners report, it’s packed with great insight on how students fared in the previous sittings of the OCS operational case study exam.

I’ve read the May 2018 CIMA OCS Examiners Report and picked out TWO key highlights and points of note. If you’re interested, you can find the full document here.

  • Technical skills are by far the most important element of skills at the operational level. To score well a candidate must demonstrate these skills by applying the knowledge gained from studying P1 and F1.

 

  • In preparation for a case study exam it is vital that all candidates revise technical knowledge as a starting point; it is not enough to rely on retaining the knowledge
    from the OTQ examinations.

It appears that students at the OCS level are comfortable with the E1 paper and knowledge but are weak in applying knowledge in F1 and P1, as stated by the examiner technical skills are the most important at this level – don’t neglect them!!

CIMA OCS Astranti Course

The full OCS course from Astranti is really packed full of resources;

Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)

  • 3 x Full tuition videos
  • 2 x Study text
  • 2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
  • 3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Nov 18 scenario)
  • Detailed marking and feedback
  • Ethics Pack
  • Pass Guarantee

CIMA OCS Nov 18 Pre-Seen Materials

CIMA OCS November 2018

CIMA finally released the pre-seen materials for the November 2018 OCS exam this week, unlike previous case study exams, the materials are not on the CIMA connect site but on the CIMA global website.

You can find the official OCS November 2018 pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

CIMA SCS Aug 2018: Finch News Group

2018-07-11 10_57_11-August 2018 SCS pre-seen material.pdf.png

The CIMA SCS August 2018 case study is around a very interesting multimedia and news company called Finch News Group and the pre-seen materials were released last week.

It sounds like a great case study to get stuck into as I’m sure we are all aware of the media. Whether it’s digital, newspaper or social. So it’ll be easy to relate in some respects – good luck to those taking the exam next month!

You can find the official SCS pre-seen materials from CIMA here.

Meanwhile, below are the usual preview videos posted by Astranti.

Pre-Seen Analysis: Finch News Group

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the August 2018 SCS here.

Strategic Analysis: Finch News Group

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the August 2018 SCS here.

Top 10 Issues: Finch News Group

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the August 2018 SCS here.

Astranti SCS Course with Pass Guarantee

I’ve used the Astranti the materials for the OCS exam and took the full course when passing the MCS exam earlier this year, so I know their materials and tutor support will get over in the line in the SCS!

The full SCS Astranti course currently has a £150 discount that runs until Monday 16th July – just use AUGUSTSCS18 at the checkout to take advantage.

What’s more, they so confident you will pass the SCS exam they offer a pass guarantee.

You can find full details on the SCS course with pass guarantee here.

SCS Course Contents:

  • SCS 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)
  • 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

CIMA MCS Aug 2018: Montel

2018-07-05 10_48_25-August_2018_management_pre-seen.pdf

The CIMA August 2018 sitting of the case study exam is only six weeks away. This means the pre-seen materials have been released and students should be analysing them from cover to cover by now!

You can find the official pre-seen materials for August MCS from CIMA here.

CIMA Case Studies: The Four Stages of Preperation

Having passed the OCS and MCS exams first time myself, I believe there are four key stages for prepearion required for passing the CIMA case studies.

Syllabus Knowledge Refresh

Refreshing your syllabus is a good idea while you wait for the pre-seen materials to be released but it’s also key to refer back to the syllabus content for F2/P2/E2 during the next weeks during your exam prep – as you’ll need to revise your weak areas that have been highlighted from mock exams.

Pre-Seen Materials

Next up, you’ll need to get to grips with the pre-seen materials. Go through the materials by yourself first, making notes. Then use your study materials, classroom lectures or video resources to add more depth and understanding to your notes.

I’d also suggest to make a summary of the key points of the whole document on just two sides of A4. This will be easier to remember and recall on exam day. 

Mock Exams

I’d be very surprised if any students pass a case study exam without attempted at least one (you should take three) mock exams in exam conditions. CIMA case studies are notoriously time pressured and you’ll need to be prepared and have an answer planning technique to help you get the most of the 3 hours available.

Take mock exams!!!

But only once you have digested the pre-seen materials and refresh a high level review of the syllabus content.

Review: Mock Exams and Pre-Seen

Finally, you’ll need to reflect and learn from how your mock exams went. While also referring to the pre-seen materials and syllabus content to improve your weak areas.

It might sound alot of work (it is!) but with the right planning and commitment you can pass the MCS exam first time.

You can read how I passed the Feb 2018 MCS exam here for inspiration. 

CIMA MCS Montel: Top 10 Issues

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the August 2018 MCS here.

CIMA MCS Montel: Pre-Seen Analysis

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the August 2018 MCS here.

CIMA MCS Montel: Industry Analysis

You can find the full set of Astranti videos on the August 2018 MCS here.

MCS: Astranti Full Course

The MCS course from Astranti is worth looking into if you’re after a full comprehensive set of resources, what’s more, the course comes with a PASS GUARANTEE.

MCS Course Contents:

  • 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)
  • 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
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