The new CIMA 2015 syllabus, in my eyes, has changed dramatically when you consider the examination structure. The objective tests can be scheduled at any time and have been reduced to 90 minutes with several smaller questions covering the whole syllabus.
It’s a welcome relief not to have face the 180 minutes hand written exams for each subject area, however, the new case study exams at the end of each level are as broad as they are challenging. Trying to revise for all three subjects and apply it to the pre-seen material is definitely a big, big challenge.
Personally, I have yet to sit one of the new operational exams in the 2015 syllabus and I am thinking about the path I will take next.
The exams for the 2010 syllabus were scheduled at certain times during the year, which usually meant students (myself included) would study for two papers at a time.
- To add variety to your studies
- To make the most of the exam timetable
However, the new syllabus means you can sit the exams any time you want. Well, the case study exams have set times but you can sit the objective tests whenever and, what’s even better, is the fact you get the results there and then!
Meaning, if you fail an objective test you can re-take it the following week or month, ensuring you don’t lose too much ground when waiting for your next exam.
Nevertheless, it’s given me a bit of a problem when considering the approach to study for the CIMA objective tests. Do I just focus on one exam at a time, or do I attempt to sit two or three at a time?
There is an interesting article on the CIMA website that highlights the pros and cons of either approach. You can find the document here and it’s well worth a read.
The main points worth considering are the impact on the case study when deciding what path to take on the objective tests. If you take just one exam at a time “You may need to refresh your knowledge before taking the case study“.
Alternatively, by taking three subjects together (or two) “You will see clear links between each subject to prepare for the upcoming case study”
Currently, I am swaying towards studying for one objective test at a time so I can focus my attentions on the one subject and ensure I pass first time. Also, by focusing on one subject at a time I should be in a position to take the exam quicker – perhaps in a two month period? Meaning I won’t have such a long gap between papers and ultimately the case study.
I guess it’s all down to personal preference but the 2015 CIMA syllabus is certainly much more flexible than ever before.