It’s that time of the CIMA case study cycle when the pre-seen materials will soon be issued and students facing the prospect of an August exam will be brushing up on their E/P/F syllabus knowledge.
Personally, I will be taking the SCS exam this August so I will try and share as much as I can on how I’m progressing in the lead up to my exam on Tuesday 20th August.
If this is your first CIMA case study exam, then the following advice, tips and information will stand in you good stead and make those first steps into your exam preparation a bit easier!
How do CIMA case studies work?
First of all, they are completely different from the CIMA Objective Tests you will have already passed to reach here. It’s a world away from what we already know and the multiple choice, abstract nature of the objective test questions.
Personally, I find them more enjoyable and fun to prepare for as it’s easier to relate to a real life situation and gives you a chance to demonstrate your all round skill set.
The CIMA Case Study (OCS, MCS or SCS) are split usually into 4 equal section (with perhaps some sub components in each section).
The case study exam is designed to replicate the workplace, as opposed to asking you to provide quick fire answers on the technical side of the syllabus.
This is a big shift in how you will need to approach your preparation and exam answering technique.
Here is an overview of the attributes you will need to show in your CIMA case study exam.
The above weightings shows what the examiner is looking for in each level of the CIMA case studies.
Operational students will need to display a lot of technical knowledge with less emphasis on leadership and people skills, while at the other end of the spectrum, the Strategic level students will need to well versed in all areas equally.
To get a better idea of what the examiners are looking you, I’d suggest to read one of the CIMA examiners report. Here is a link to the CIMA examiners report for the 2018 sitting of the MCS exam: Menta.
Case Study Exam: DO’s and DON’T’s
Make a study plan
This should be the first thing you do. You have around 6 weeks from the pre-seen being released to exam day, so every day should be planned.
And allow some rest days too.
Read Business News
Keep up to date with the latest happenings in the news, especially if you spot something in relation to your case study.
Is there are any big acquisitions and mergers happening and how are they being handled? It will score you extra points if you can refer to industry examples on exam day.
Practice Scenario Questions
Give yourself lots of questions to answer in your preparation. Try going back through old variants on your OCS/MCS/SCS and try answering the questions. You can find past case study exam papers from CIMA here.
Most case study courses will give you plenty of time and resources for question practice.
Always give yourself time to self-reflect on your questions/answers and attempted mock exams. Take feedback objectively and learn from it.
Self-reflection is a great skill to have.
Avoid Syllabus Detail and Depth
Don’t spend your time going through the whole syllabus in detail – keep this kind revision high-level and relevant.
As mentioned the case study exam aims to pull everything you have learnt together and it’s not designed to test how well you understand the full technical side of the syllabus.
You are better off spending the bulk of your time learning how to answer case study style questions and learning how to apply your knowledge.
Memorise the Pre Seen Materials
The Pre-Seen materials are crucial, don’t get me wrong, but they are there to set the scene for your case study. To give you an insight to the company you are working for, with some key facts and figures.
Students do run the risk of putting too much emphasis of the pre-seen materials as it’s a direct connection to the upcoming exam, but don’t neglect the areas like question practice and learning how to integrate your answers.
Leave it until the last minute
You’ll need all of the available study time to give yourself the best chance of passing the CIMA case studies. Leaving your preparation until the last minutes will ultimately leave yourself too much too do.
August 2019 Case Study Courses
I passed the OCS and MCS exams using the Astranti courses and intend to use them also for the upcoming SCS exam.
Here is what you can expect from their course.
Complete pre-seen pack (pre-seen, strategic, industry analysis and top 10 issues)
3 x Full tuition videos
2 x Study texts
2 x Live Masterclasses (the keys to passing and revision masterclass)
3 x Full Mock Exams (based on Aug 19 scenario)
Detailed marking and feedback
Good Luck with your next case study exam!