Passing the CIMA P3 Exam

Good things come in three’s. 103 in fact, I’ll take that mark and happily wave bye to P3.

Also, only Three to go.

That’s just THREE more CIMA exams (F3, E3 and SCS) before becoming fully qualified – its nice to write those words after passing the P3 Risk Management exam this week.

Here are my lessons learnt from passing the CIMA P3 Risk Management Exam.

Back to Basics

Despite scoring a 95 in my first attempt, I felt I needed to go back to basics and look at each learning outcome in the syllabus and made sure I understood it. I didn’t want to narrowly miss out again.

The P3 exam is split nicely between 5 different sections – 20% on each – so I spent an even time revising and make notes on each section and then testing myself with exam questions from Kaplan before moving on the next section of the syllabus.

By the end of it, I had a double sided A4 paper of brief revision notes on the five sections. I took these everywhere with me for week or so before the exam to revise.

Balance between Mock Exams and Theory

Perhaps I was guilty of placing TOO much emphasis on mock exams and the dreaded question spotting in my first attempt, or perhaps I am being too harsh on myself.

I mean 95 is pretty close to passing.

Nevertheless, preparing for my re-sit I really focused on the theory of the syllabus with question practice and left the mock exams along for the time being.

I spent time understanding the more complex areas of WACC, APV and when to apply an adjusted WACC and when not too. Rather than learning a topic just to pass an exam (if that makes sense?).

Don’t rush the re-sit

I was tempted to re-sit the P3 exam straight away, but I decided to take my time. I had a long weekend away planned in the middle of October, so felt it was better to prepare in more detail and set myself the deadline of the first week in November – almost 6 weeks after failing.

It gave me time to go back through the five syllabus areas and cover what I felt I needed too to make sure I got the pass mark.


I remember the feeling of anxiety and pressure when taking the first P3 exam. I felt the pressure of taking my first strategic level exam and that echoed through the rest of my exam.

This time around I was more relaxed having already been in the position before, I felt I was ready for all kinds of calculations, theories and judgements.

I was also more comfortably dressed – which may seem like an odd thing – but I recall being too hot in my previous exam and getting more and more flustered. It’s just a small thing but I believe these small marginal gains can only help on the exam day itself.

*Remember, everyone has their own preferences on how they study best or how they work best or when to take resit exams. The above thoughts just came from my own personal experience.

CIMA P3 Resources Used

I used a mixture of the Astranti mock exams and chapter practice questions as well as the Kaplan P3 exam practice kit to ensure I had enough questions to keep me going!

The Kaplan book was a great way to test my knowledge before the re-sit exam and I actually found the wording of these questions very similar to the real CIMA P3 exam itself.


I also used this gem of a website the Kaplan Knowledge Bank to help with my revision on specific P3 topics – it’s like a CIMA Wikipedia, it’s ace and it’s free!


Astranti CIMA P3 Mock Exams


Kaplan P3 Exam Practice Kit


P3: Useful Links and Resources


The CIMA P3 paper Risk Management draws on the knowledge gained from the operational and management level. It has five equally weighted areas that start with idenification of risk and leads all the way through to responses, internal controls and managing risk associated with cash flows and capital management.

If you are self studying then you will need all of the resources you can get to pass CIMA exams and the strategic level is without doubt the toughest level. Here are a few resources and useful links to keep you going.

Useful Links and Resources

CIMA Connect P3 group – if you want to pass the CIMA P3 exam then I would suggest you get familiar with the CIMA connect group for Strategic Management. CIMA provide tons of resources, advice and group discussion.

<a href="http://CIMA Strategic Study Texts” target=”_blank”>Astranti Strategic Membership – Free Study Text 2015¬†– Astranti provide free study texts for ALL of the CIMA ¬†papers and I use them as a base for my exam preparation. They are easy to digest and can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.

P3 self study guide – this is another in the series from the CIMA website on how to plan and study for each of the learning outcomes in the Risk Management paper. A great resource for those studying without a tutor.

Risk Management Question Tutorial – the most bookmarked resource on the CIMA website for the P3 paper. It gives you hands on experience of the new 2015 computer based syllabus.

Strategic Change: model answers – CIMA gives you a breakdown of a model answer on the subject of strategic. An informative read for those looking to pass the CIMA P3 exam.

Risk and Control Strategy – an excellent insight into risk and control and gives you practical examples in the form of a case study.

Acorn Financial Training – Acorn provide class room tuition and home study materials. You can get an extra 10% off ALL of the acorn materials (including E3). Here can find the full the list of materials they offer and to claim the 10% discount please email thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com with the items you wish to order.

If you have any additional resources you would like to share with other students for the E3 CIMA paper then please then a link in the comments box below.