Category Archives: OCS

CIMA OCS August 2016: Wise Choice Hotels

CIMA have released the pre-seen materials for the upcoming OCS exam in August 2016. With this in mind I have together an article that covers all of the Astranti video analysis as well as the official materials and support from CIMA. Hopefully this will get you on your way to passing the CIMA case study at the first attempt!

You can find the official pre-seen material for the August 2016 OCS from CIMA here.

Wise Choice Hotels: Pre-Seen Video Analysis

Understanding the pre-seen material is crucial to achieving a pass mark on exam day. Below you can watch a preview video of the analysis of the August OCS exam; Wise Choice Hotels:

You can find the full set of videos on the August OCS here.

Wise Choice Hotels: Strategic Analysis

Next up is the strategic analysis of the OCS scenario – it’s another key area of that you need to think about and apply to the pre-seen material. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the company? What are their strategic goals? These kind of questions.

Astranti have provided a video that goes into great detail on the strategic analysis of Wise Choice Hotels – well worth a watch!

You can find the full set of videos on the August OCS here.

Wise Choice Hotels: Top 10 Issues

Finally, this video will highlight the most likely issues and questions that could come out in the exam based on the pre-seen material. It’s a great tool to make sure you understand Wise Choice Hotels and how to apply the syllabus content and pre-seen material to any potential questions.

You can find the full set of videos on the August OCS here.

Astranti OCS Pass Guarantee

I passed the OCS last year using the Astranti videos (pre-seen analysis, Top 10 issues and Strategic analysis) and would thoroughly recommend them.

Here is what is included in the course.

  • OCS 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

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

CIMA OCS May 2016: Sanchez Navarra

You’ll be pleased to know that CIMA released the pre-seen material for the May OCS this week and the full document can be found here.

Meanwhile, you can also find the official CIMA May 2016 OCS pre-exam kit here – it’s full of packed links, articles, documents and all round general guidance on how to pass the CIMA operational case study. You’ll need to login to your CIMA connect account to access it.

Sanchez Navarra: Pre-Seen Video Analysis

As usual, Astranti have responded quickly and have started to release their set of video analysis on the May pre-seen material. Here is a preview of their analysis on Sanchez Navarra – almost 30 minutes long! – it’s an excellent study aid and starting point when trying to digest the pre-seen material.

 

You can find the full set of videos on the May OCS here

Sanchez Navarra: Strategic Analysis

The strategic analysis for the May OCS exam gives you an insight to the critical success factors of the scenario and looks at Sanchez Navarra from a strategical point of view.

 

You can find the full set of videos on the May OCS here

Astranti OCS Pass Guarantee

I passed the OCS last year using the Astranti videos (pre-seen analysis, Top 10 issues and Strategic analysis) and would thoroughly recommend them.

However, if you’re taking the OCS for a second of third time I would suggest you look at the full OCS course from Astranti. They are so sure you will get a pass mark by taking their course, that if you don’t pass they will give you the next full OCS course for free.

Here is what is included in the course.

  • OCS 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

You can find full details on the.OCS course from Astranti visit here

**If you enrol on the course before March 30th 2016 you will receive a £150 discount off the normal price.**

 

*I will update this post once more resources become available for the May 2016 OCS

CIMA Feb 16 OCS: First Class Bakery

Well, it’s been a week since the pre-seen material for the Feb 2016 OCS was released and the good people at Astranti have released some preview videos to get people thinking.

Their YouTube channel is full of videos ranging from;

  • Likely Top 10 Issues
  • Strategic Analysis
  • Pre-Seen Material Analysis

See the video below for over 30 minutes insight on First Class Bakery. It will give you an excellent insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the company and highlighted key information in the pre-seen material.

The Top 10 Issues video highlights what the tutor believes could come up in the case study. I found it offered me a great deal of focus when preparing for exam day.

CIMA Feb 2016: OCS Pre-Seen Analysis

CIMA Feb 2016: OCS Top 10 Issues

 

Here is the link for the full Astranti OCS Course – the full Operational Case Study package offers ALL of the Astranti videos, three mock exams with marking and feedback AND the OCS masterclass sessions. Astranti also offer a PASS guarantee with this package.

Read how I passed the November 2015 OCS first time with a score of 102 here.

OCS: How I passed

The operational case study is a relatively new exam – so I was delighted to pass it first time!

The OCS seemed a bit of a grey area to me when working out how to study for it. Trying to catch up on the all of the P1 theory I missed (I was exempt due to 2015 transition) as well as hearing that only 34% of the students passed the OCS in the previous sitting (May 2015) set a few alarm bells ringing.

I was comfortable enough studying for the P1 and F1 papers using study texts and practice exam kits but, in my opinion, you really need some additional support when tackling the case study.

I purchased the OCS study text from Kaplan earlier in the year but thought it was too generic for me. I needed to put some more meat on the bones.

OCS: First Steps

It’s important to make a note of when the pre-seen material for the case study is released, as soon as that’s out you will need to focus 100% on that.

So the 3-4 weeks before it was released I spent my time going through all three papers E1, F1 and P1 (mainly) and revising the key models, theories and how to apply them.

Don’t get bogged down in working out costing models and drafting financial statements etc in your preparation for case study. YOU WON’T BE ASKED TO CARRY OUT ANY CALCULATIONS – you will need to know the theory behind and how to apply it to the scenario.

I found the OCS study text from Astranti was a brilliant starting point.

The first part focuses on how to plan your answers and what expect in the exam. While the second part is split into three parts (E1, F1, P1) and covers all of the key theory and models in a short, condensed, manageable format.

Make this study text your bible for the weeks leading up to when the pre-seen material is released.

Pre-Seen Materials

As soon as it’s released you should read the whole document without making any notes. Just a get a feel for it. Then I would suggest reading it again and highlight strengths and weaknesses of the company as they could well be tested.

Pay attention to EVERYTHING! 

Personally, I used the Astranti pre-seen video analysis package that provided a tutors insight into all of the pre-seen material as well as pin-pointing the top 10 issues that could come up in the exam.

I found it invaluable and it gave me a real focus for revision and exam preparation.

Try and link the key models in P1 and E1 to the pre-seen material. Then brush up on any accounting standards that you feel could be examined.

Mock Exam Practice

After I spent two weeks watching the pre-seen videos, relating it to the pre-seen material and refreshing my syllabus knowledge I moved onto the mock exam practice.

You can find exam practice questions on the official CIMA connect website and Astranti offer a free mini-mock as well. So you have all of this resources available for free and they should be made the most of.

So, for next three weeks I took the Astranti mock exams (one each weekend) and spent the time in between revising the areas I scored low marks on.

If your budget allows, I would thoroughly recommend to get your mock exams marked. You will get detailed feedback on your strengths and weaknesses and an honest appraisal (something I probably wouldn’t have given myself!)

FINAL WEEK

I spent the final week in the run up to the exam going over my notes and making sure I understood how to relate ETHICS to the case study.

Try and squeeze it in where ever you can! ETHICS, ETHICS, ETHICS.

I also used this time to do some real industry research into the floriculture industry so I could link to my answers on exam day.

Good Luck for those sitting the OCS in February 2016. Here are some useful links below that will help you get a head start.

Useful Links and Resources

OCS Course Preseen Videos
OCS Mock exams
OCS study text
OCS masterclasses

CIMA Connect: OCS Pre-Seen Material

Good Ethics is Good Governance!

photo from cornerstoneondemand.com

photo from cornerstoneondemand.com

The CIMA Code of Ethics is one of those areas you tend to gloss over when studying. It’s not really something I focused on particularly when studying for my E1 exam but after preparing for the Operational Case Study I realised that you can score easy marks by thinking about Ethics in pretty much any scenario.

But trying to remember all of the models and accounting standards can be a minefield. But I found a useful acronym on remembering the key principles of the CIMA code of ethics.

It’s OPPTIC.

I remember this by thinking of alcohol (which usually comes to mind after hours of study and revision) and the drinks optic that’s attached to a bottle of gin or vodka. It stands for:

Objectivity – to look at things from a fair and unbiased point of view and not allowing personal factors to influence decision making.

Professional Competence – having the knowledge and skills required to adequately perform the tasks expected of you.

Professional Behaviour – acting in a manner that is befitting of a professional organisation.

Technical Standards – meeting the standards required by working at a specific organisation.

Integrity – an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honour moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles.

Confidentiality – an expectation to keep sensitive information private.

Ethics in action

Ethics can cover such a broad range of areas too. Almost any topic in the CIMA syllabus you can relate back to ethics. Whether it’s a decision on the product mix of a company or the proposed outsourcing of an area of the business – you can tie it all up with ethics and score some marks in the process.

It wasn’t until I was watching some of the case study preparation videos from Astranti until I realiased that I could be missing out on easy marks by not covering ethics properly.

In fact the title of this post was mentioned in the Astranti text when I was preparing for the OCS “Good ethics is good governance!” was mentioned, And it’s a great point to remember – especially if faced with a governance question in the exams – as it’s the ideal time to refer back to the CIMA code of ethics.

I am also sure (well, maybe more hopeful) that the CIMA exam marker would be a happy marker if they saw students can refer back to the CIMA code of ethics. And a happy marker will hopefully be a generous marker.

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