Well, it was a welcome surprise to read the magic PASS word on the piece of paper handed to me by the Pearson Vue member of staff. There is always that awkward sense of nervousness when hitting FINISH button on the CIMA objective test.
A deep breathe and then greeted with a piece of folded paper.
PASS. F3 CIMA Financial Strategy.
Well, it’s been almost a week and I’ve had time to reflect and these are my thoughts on the 103 score that greeted me when logging into myCIMA in the following 48 hours.
Objective Test Strategy
I’ve said it time and time again, you need a time management strategy to pass these CIMA objective tests. Here is mine (and many others);
- Tackle the “easier” shorter questions first, use around 10-15 minutes to answer the shorter obvious questions to build confidence.
- Now you will have some momentum to answer the longer questions.
- READ THE REQUIREMENT FIRST – don’t waste time reading the long scenario to only arrive at the question/requirement to then have to re-read through the whole thing again. Once you know what is being asked you can focus your attention when reading the scenario for the first time not the second time.
- Flag the horrible questions you’re not sure on. Come back to them at the end.
- Don’t spend longer than 3 minutes on a tough one.
- Don’t overthink.
Don’t memorise the formulas
When preparing for the F3 exam, I did find myself getting caught up in memorizing the formulas. THERE IS NO NEED!!! 90% of all of the formulas are given to you in the exam.
Instead, spend your time practicing long form questions and thinking about the theory behind the numbers.
Practice by answering questions that require you to the use the formulas in different situations.
It’ll help you pass the exam and give you a more rounded base of knowledge. F-papers are not purely numbers based at all, you need to know what the ratios mean and the conclusions they generate.
You’ll never feel ready
I’ll admit, I felt completely NOT READY for the F3 exam due to the month break I had in my study. I didn’t even look at my books for a month, even more.
So when I picked them up again my confidence felt really low.
But I continued with my study and practice questions.
Anyhow, pre-exam nerves will always kick in. It’s rare for anyone to walk into a CIMA exam brimming with confidence. It’s just not natural.
But if you’ve put the hours in beforehand and covered the materials and mock exams. You’ll be in the best possible shape.
Test Yourself (at every step/chapter)
It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading study materials, making notes and nodding to yourself that you understand what the syllabus.
But you really need to test yourself with questions. Short ones, long ones, multiple choice ones and “any you can lay your hands on” ones.
Don’t be dispirited by getting them wrong or poor scores, it’s best to get that in your preparation rather than the real thing.
Identify your weaknesses
In the week before you exam, you should really be working on your weak areas.
Don’t take the easy path and re-read notes you are comfortable with. It’ll pay off to tackle the hard areas.