The CIMA objective tests are difficult to pass, there is no doubt about that.
The computer based, 90 minute, 60 question, multiple choice exam may sound easy (in theory) – everyone seems to roll their eyes when you tell them it’s a multiple choice exam but the reality is that can be brutal to pass given the time constraints and the dreaded “select all that apply” questions.
So having passed the F2, P2 and E2 objective tests in the last 18 months or so and having gathered advice from other students, here are my top tips and resources to help you pass your next CIMA objective test first time.
The CIMA Student 4-3-2-1 approach
As CIMA students, we all like an acronym or model to follow and I’ve devised a 4-3-2-1 approach when it comes to studying for a CIMA objective test. This approach came to mind when I was trying to summarise my own methods and by listening to other students who have been successful when it comes to passing CIMA objective tests.
As you can see from the graphic above, there are four stages or layers of preparation and work that goes into CIMA objective tests.
The Foundations (4)
Before we even begin to think about the exam and what to expect on exam day we need to lay the foundations. The obvious starting point is our CIMA syllabus and study texts for the exam.
Often students may make the mistake and skip straight ahead to try their hand at mock exams, or after a few chapters of their study text will believe understand the content and will attempt the mock exam, fail miserably and become disheartened.
Concentrate on learning the syllabus and cementing your knowledge step by step by taking the practice questions at the end of the chapter. As well as confirming you understand the chapter, it will also prepare you for the mock exams later on.
Mock Exam Practice/Revise Weak Areas (3)
Once you’ve covered the syllabus, your should start preparing for the exam by taking mock exams. At first, I would suggest to take a mock exam at your own pace and not to exam conditions.
The benefits are three fold here.
- You will discover your weak areas of the syllabus
- You will be prepared for the style of questions you will face.
- You will build confidence ahead of the exam.
Once you have identified the weak areas of your knowledge, spend time revising the subjects in more detail.
Seek other resources like technical articles from the CIMA connect website, speak to other students or find tuition videos online that will help explain these problematic areas.
I would highly recommend using the technical articles from CIMA if you’re stuck on a specific topic.
Mock Exams in Exam Conditions (2)
Now we are reaching the peak of our preparation for the CIMA objective test.
Mock exams in exam conditions will really show where you are in terms of a pass or fail – it’s imperative you take at least 2 or 3 mock exams in these conditions and don’t worry if you fail one or two of them.
Better to fail them now rather than on exam day!!
Analyse where you went wrong, what questions you struggle and if you have adequate time management.
Below is a video from CIMA on how to manage your time in CIMA objective test with a useful strategy on making the most of your time.
EXAM READY (1)
Now you should be exam ready and just days away from facing your CIMA objective test – I would suggest just to do some light revision in the days before the exam.
Maybe looking at your revision notes or flash cards but nothing too heavy.
You should be confident given the amount of work and preparation you have put in, be relaxed but ready to push yourself when exam day arrives!
CIMA Objective Test Materials
Personally, I tend to rotate between a few different learning providers depending on the subject and my needs at the time. Here is a summary of the learning providers you can call upon when studying for your next CIMA Objective Test.
Their study texts for the objective tests are easier to digest than the likes of BPP and Kaplan, which can be technical by nature. What’s more their tuition videos and exam practice kits are a great compliment to the study texts.
Astranti look to minimize your study time by simplifying each chapter with their tuition videos, there are also other nice features like being able to download the audio so you can listen to the materials on the go.
Below you can find details on the Operational, Management and Strategic objective test materials and courses from Astranti.
I really like using their exam practice kits for a couple of reasons.
- I find the wording of the questions are very similar to the real thing.
- You get a book with 200 questions and can also register the book online to view the questions/answers via the internet.
I also find you can never have enough exam questions to practice and it’s good to get a mixture of different resources and not rely solely on one.
The exam practice kits are only 20 GBP per subject and are well worth the investment for 200 exam style questions.
You can find full details from the Kaplan website here.
Practice Tests Academy
The team at PTA have now released full courses for the CIMA Objective Tests and are not purely a CIMA question bank.
They have some of the top CIMA tutors around that provide some great video analysis for their full objective test courses.
I use them regularly for their CIMA mock exams but have yet to try their full courses.
Nevertheless, their question bank of 500 questions per paper are unrivalled and the interactive nature and the way the results are broken down so you can see exactly the learning outcomes you have failed is a great way to work on weaknesses and pinpoint the exact part of the syllabus you are weak on.
Here is some great advice from fellow students and our good friends at CSSC Tuition!