Tag Archives: CIMA Objective Tests

Analysing CIMA Exam Results

Reflection can be just as important as preparation when it comes to passing CIMA exams – whether it’s an objective test or a case study, analysing where you went wrong and how to correct it for future sittings is invaluable.

CIMA Exam Results – Case Study Exams

Next up are the case study exams which have a familiar feel to them as you have to wait 6-8 weeks before you receive your result. A reminder of the old 2010 syllabus!

But once you receive your results you should analyse the feedback as it’s a useful tool to learn from – even if you have passed the exam – it’s still valuable to see what areas you excelled in (Strong) or areas you just passed (Moderate).

CIMA Case Study Results Example

Here is what to expect when checking your case study results.


  • There are five areas that are marked in the case study exams and all areas need to be marked as Moderate or higher.
  • You can see above the Technical Skills element (which makes up the bulk of the exam) has been marked as Moderate but still gives you a reminder that you can improve in certain areas.
  • I would suggest to review the performance feedback even if you have passed the exam – as it acts as a reminder that areas can still be improved on (unless you aced the whole exam!). 

The below video from CIMA is a good watch and explains how the case study results work.

Finally, I would recommend visiting the following link here – which is the Exam Information homepage on the CIMA connect website and gives you tons of useful links and explanations on the whole examination process.

If you have any advice or tips please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Happy Studying and Good Luck!!

Astranti Case Study Course with Pass Guarantee

If you have failed a CIMA case study exam then you should consider the full Astranti case study courses that come with a PASS GUARANTEE.

You can find full details on the OCS, MCS or SCS  Feb 2023 courses below:

Astranti Case Study Course Contents:

  • OCS/MCS/SCS 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

CIMA Exam Results – Objective Tests

One of the advantages of the new CIMA objective tests is the fact you get a “Pass” or a “Fail” grade as soon you finish the computer based exam. Then, 48 hours later you will receive an email confirmation that you can find the full breakdown of how you measured up against each area of the syllabus.

However, it’s important to realise that you will see the scaled score (from 0 – 150) and not a percentage mark. Which I think is a bit strange as CIMA tell you need 70% to pass the Objective tests but yet you don’t get to see the % score out of 100.

Nevertheless, the scaled score is still a useful indicator on how you fared in the exam. I believe that a scaled score over 100 equates to a pass mark although you also need to be proficient in each area of the syllabus too.

CIMA Objective Test Results Example

Below is an example of what you will see when logging in to your CIMA account to view your results.


  • You can see that the “Not Proficient” comment was applied to the Financial Reporting area of the exam.
  • Moreover, CIMA provide you with specific areas of the syllabus which you need to focus based on your answers in exam day.
  • This a key piece of information and should be used as a focus for your revision on the resit.

For further information on how the CIMA Objective Tests are marked and what to expect you should watch the video below.

The Week Ahead – 4th April 2016


This week I will be going through the F2 syllabus again and analyse where I went wrong when failing the F2 Objective Test last week, I ordered the F2 (and E2 and P2) exam kits from Kaplan so I have more exam practice to go through to compliment the Astranti materials I already have.

The CIMA Student Website

The SCS May 2016 exam resources will be posted on the website later this week alongside an article on how CIMA exams are marked and what to expect.

I felt as I now have experience with both types of exams under 2015 syllabus (objective and case study) it would be a good time to take a look at what to expect when you receive your results.


It’s now “case study” season with all of the pre-seen material having been released for the May 2016 exams so here are a couple of articles on how to write reports in the case study exam as well as a guide on structuring email replys in your answers.

Here is a reminder of the important dates for the May 2016 case study exams.


CIMA F2: How to pass it?


Well, I failed the CIMA F2 objective test today and I must admit it has knocked me off my stride a bit. I got the dreaded fail message when the 90 minutes were up, although I’m still waiting for the % score out of 100.

I have a feeling I got around the 50% mark. The exam itself felt much tougher than I was expecting, which is disappointing considering I felt well prepared heading into it. It was my first attempt at the objective tests in the new syllabus and it’s been a steep learning curve.

Here are a few points about how I prepared for the exam and my thoughts on the day.

My CIMA F2 Exam Preparation

  • I spent around 10 weeks preparing for the exam (inc revision and mock exams)
  • I used the Astranti study text and mock exams.
  • No video lectures or any other tutor support.

I felt relatively prepared going into the exam but I knew my knowledge of the whole syllabus was not 100% especially when it came to Financial Instruments and Complex Groups. But I felt I could score enough for a pass.

Mock Exams

I took the three mock exams from Astranti and was quite horrified when I took the first one and scored just 41% (you need 70% to pass). This left me with three weeks before the actual exam to get up to speed. Each mock after that improved (58% then 75%) which gave me confidence heading into the exam.

I sat the exams to exact conditions so I could get my self use to the time pressure of answering 60 questions in 90 minutes

Final F2 Revision

I knew that the WACC (cost of debt and equity) was a weak area so I really focused on that and was comfortable answering these questions on exam day. In hindsight, I probably neglected some other areas of weakness too (instruments, NCI’s and complex groups).

I spent alot of time working out ratios, calculations of goodwill, NCI to ensure I could answer these types of questions. Although that was probably detrimental to the wordy side of the syllabus.

CIMA F2 Exam Reflection

  • The exam felt much harder than I was expecting – why? Not sure, perhaps a combination of nerves and not being 100% comfortable with the whole syllabus.
  • Study text and mock exams are not enough – personally, I think need more study resources than just a copy of the study text and mock exams. It looks like I need video lectures and perhaps even tutor support to make sure I am on the right track.
  • Was my study plan realistic? – having a study plan was helpful but perhaps it was too ambitious and I didn’t cover the required knowledge and moved on with the next area so not to fall behind on study plan. I need to be realistic and honest with myself with preparing for the next exam.
  • Was I overloaded with F2? – under the old syllabus I sat two exams at a time and it seemed to work OK. However, I just sat just one exam this time but would I benefit from studying two subjects at the subject? Would the diversity help?
  • Learn from previous experience – in hindsight, I knew this exam would be a big step up as I just scraped a pass 50% in F1 under the old syllabus so I should have redoubled my efforts when studying for F2.
  • Need to strike a balance – between the theory on the syllabus as well as the calculation side of things. I have a nagging feeling that I missed out on some easy marks by neglecting some of the simply theory in the syllabus, I had a feeling I was guessing at a few questions that I really should have known the answer too.


As already mentioned, I don’t know my exact score yet (I should receive it in 24 hours or so) but it’s been an eye opener for me. I am having the weekend off from thinking about CIMA then will think about how I will tackle the resit as well as looking ahead for the E2 paper I was planning to start studying next.

If you have any CIMA F2 exam tips or advice it would great fully received – feel free to leave any comments below.

10 CIMA Exam Revision Tips


Learning the content of the CIMA syllabus provides it’s own challenges but if you can’t convert that knowledge into a pass mark on exam day then you will be in trouble.

Here are my top 10 (in no particular order) revision tips that will help you pass CIMA exams.

  • Have a peaceful study environment: this means no distractions, no TV, no Facebook and no music playing. Studying for 90 minutes in this environment will be much more beneficial than “studying” with the TV for the whole afternoon on the coach.


  • Create a revision plan: hardly rocket science, but by creating a revision plan it  gives you a structure a clear guide on what you need to cover. And don’t forget to include enough time for mock exams.


  • Study in the mornings: If I know I’m going to have a busy day, I’ll try to squeeze in an hour before work. Firstly, I am fresh and can concentrate better and secondly I am in much better mood for the rest of the day knowing I’ve already hit the books.


  • Study on the go: Take some revision notes with you on the commute to work, take some pictures of the key models and theories on your phone so you can refer to them at any time (doctors waiting room, on the bus etc). Being away from your desk is not an excuse not to study.


  • Take a break: probably one of the most under-rated things you can do. If you have a whole dedicated for revision, don’t forget to take a break for a couple of hours during the day. Go outside for a walk, for for lunch, talk to friends. Staring at your books for hours on end will have little benefit – take a break and your mind off CIMA once in a while.


  • Use the office to study: some people find there are too many distractions at home to study. Well, if you can, use the office as a place of study, study in your lunch breaks or after office hours – you could find you’re more disciplined when in the office environment. I’ve know colleagues who have taken the day off but come into the office to study for the day.


  • Mock Exams – lots of them!!: I mention it a lot on here, mock exams are vital if you want to pass CIMA exams, or any exams for that matter. Diving straight into mock exams will prepare you and highlight your weaknesses. Start taking them a few weeks before exam day and learn from them. Practice, practice, practice. Here is my advice on some of the best CIMA mock exam resources – while you can find my advice on how to pass CIMA objective tests here.


  • Be creative: use lots of different ways to revise for your CIMA exam. Use YouTube videos, make notes on A3 paper and stick to your wall, download podcasts, use post-it notes, buy the re-vision packs, start a study group. This is a great way to keep study fresh, interesting and give you a better chance to pass your exams.


  • Reward yourself: when you reach milestones in your revision plan (passing mock exams for example) you should reward yourself. Go out for a drink, order a pizza or take the next couple days off studying.


  • Learn exam technique: it’s easy to get bogged down in details and theories and forget about picking up the easy marks in exams. Learn exam technique and make sure you pick up the easy marks on offer (i.e. the report or email layout in the case study exams).

The Week Ahead – 22nd February


It’s a nail biting week for the strategic students who are taking the case study exams this week – let’s hope its your final CIMA exam and you get a positive result! However, the operational and management level students can relax (for the time being). Although I would suggest you start thinking about what awaits you in the next level.

Here is what is coming up this week on the site.

CIMA Objective Tests

As mentioned above, I would suggest you start thinking about the next level of CIMA and work on the premise that you have passed the OCS or MCS. This way you can at least start planning when and what order you will study the next level.

For those self-studying, here are my thoughts on how to approach the CIMA objective tests and what learning providers offer value for money.


The CIMA velocity February magazine was released earlier this month and can be found here. It features articles on what to expect on objective test exam day, while there is also a guide on the P3 paper.

Meanwhile, the CIMA Financial Management (FM) magazine is well worth a read too – the FM website can be found here and you can also find links to download the FM app as well.

The CIMA Student Website

The P2 useful links and resources will be posted on Wednesday this week and this will complete the Management level of resources on the website.

Currently, I am studying for the F2 exam so I will be sharing my thoughts on Deferred Taxation as it’s a topic most people wince at but really the theory behind it isn’t as complicated as you’d expect.

As always, if you’d like to get in touch please feel free to email me on thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com.


The Week Ahead – 8th February 2015



Students who are taking the objective tests in the coming weeks and months have been given some good news by CIMA as calculators are now allowed in the exam hall – hooray!

I came across the news here on the CIMA connect site and it’s a must read for all students as only certain calculators (non-programmable) will be allowed.

Case Study Exams

The OCS exams are beginning this week so Good Luck to all those students on Operational level, meanwhile the MCS and SCS students still have a week or so left before they sit their exams. I posted some industry analysis on the February case study exams last week here – which will hopefully help you with your revision.

The CIMA Student Website

I was approached with the idea of arranging/co-ordinating CIMA students study sessions. So students can get together in the same place and have study/revision sessions -this is particularly important for students who are self studying and lack the setting and interaction of classrooms.

It’s an excellent idea that I will be looking to set-up on the website soon.

If you have any input on this, please feel free to email on thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com

10% Discount on CIMA Materials

Finally, there is an update on the Acorn Financial Training offers for February. As well as the listed offers in their brochure, you can receive an extra 10% discount by placing your order via thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com



CIMA Students Success Stories

Tackling a professional accounting qualification is not a walk in the park. Whether you’re studying for ACCA or CIMA you will need to devote enough time and effort to be a successful student.

And with the February case study exams beginning next week here are some words of wisdom and tips on how to pass CIMA exams from fellow students.

All of the comments, quotes and stories were posted on the official CIMA connect website and can be found here.


Operational Level

OCS Student – Evelina

How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected? 
I did several trial exams before the real exam and practiced a lot, therefore the format of questions in the real exam was as expected. Before the exam I learnt how to deal with the time pressure, so I managed to accomplish all tasks on time. I was also well familiar with the pre-seen material about the company which was very helpful. However, I need to admit that answering questions in the online environment and in the meantime taking notes on the notepad was quite unusual.

What is your winning formula?
Have a clear study plan and study frequently in order to build up knowledge and skills. This has to be done focusing on CIMA exam format and suggested ways of answering exam questions.

Can you offer some advice to other students?
My main advice for the students would be to spend time on CIMA frequently while ahead of exams not trying to put all learning in the last week before the exam. It is essential to do revision of the materials covered and practice questions a lot

P1 Student – Kristiyan

How did the OT exam compare to what you had expected? 
It was exactly what I expected. I was well prepared, so the only thing that surprised me was the Pearson VUE scratch “paper”. I lost a lot of time trying to scratch it… New people should be aware of that and plan their time and font accordingly.

What is your winning formula?
Learn -> Practice -> Learn from the mistakes -> Practice -> Practice -> Practice -> Pass the exam

Can you offer some advice to other students?
If you practice a lot of mock exams at home, you will feel the same relaxed way on the examination. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Management Level

MCS Student – Jacek

How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?

I was using CIMA Official Exam Practice Kit published by Kaplan and I was satisfied with this material. It is logically written, concise and contains many relevant examples thereby allowing effective learning. I also tried to read more widely around key subjects with the focus on the industry from the pre-seen material. I used different publicly available industry reports and well-known business publications such as Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. I also took two practice exams delivered by Pearson VUE which really helped me to identify my weaknesses and practice time management. It is also worth to mention that I was relentlessly thinking about practical application of business models as it was far easier to fully understand the theory.

What is your winning formula?
WINNING FORMULA = STUDY PLAN + IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS PLAN. Unfortunately, it seems that there are no shortcuts. I strongly believe that organising appropriate amount of time is the most important success factor.

Can you offer some advice to other students?
Prepare a reasonable and feasible study plan and stick to it. Try to think about practical application of business models as it would be far easier to fully understand and apply the theory.

Strategic Level

SCS Student – Rebecca

Did you use a tuition provider?

Yes, I studied with Kaplan Financial throughout all exams.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Getting the balance between working full time and studying, not so much of a juggle for the final case study exam as the majority of my studying was done in the classroom, but travelling to Leeds from Hull every Saturday after 5 days of working was quite draining.

I made a study planner right at the start of tuition which I hung in my kitchen so I could see if I was achieving what I’d set myself to do. My employer is also very understanding when it comes to studying and offer paid study leave nearer the exam. Lots of sleep was helpful too!

What is your winning formula?
I always try to start (and stick to) a study plan as early on as possible, I think it’s much easier to make the links between the 3 subjects (F, P and E) later on in the studying, when completing past exam questions, if the basic understanding is there. I recommend visual aids for revision, mind maps, images and silly acronyms really help to implant the knowledge in my head. The sillier the better as I’m more likely to remember them!



CIMA Release 2015 Exam Success Rates

CIMA have officially released the 2015 exam pass rates and they make for interesting reading. Below is a screenshot of the results for the Case Study and Objective tests.

The official comments from CIMA executive director Dr Noel Tagoe of the pass rates under the new 2015 syllabus were of a positive tone

“Our new exam system has now been live for a year, and we are seeing students feel increasingly comfortable with it, and increasingly confident in preparing for the more flexible, on-demand tests. As a result, pass rates are either remaining steady or are becoming higher, which is great news for our thousands of students looking to progress through their exams as fast as possible”

Dr Noel Tagoe – CIMA executive director of education

The CIMA 2015 Syllabus change was a massive shift in terms of how each subject is examined. It was especially tough for those students who were part way through their studies and had to adapt and decided to sit a case study in the first sitting.

Case Study Results

I feel particularly sorry for the students who sat the OCS in August as only 34% of them passed the exam, which makes me wonder what the reason was. Especially considering that 64% of the students passed in the previous sitting.

Was it simply a tough exam? Or where the questions too vague and difficult to understand the requirements?

In that respect, I consider myself somewhat fortunate to have sat the OCS in November when perhaps they took on board some of the criticisms or feedback from August.

Another interesting point here is how many people passed the MCS (Management Case Study) with the last three sittings getting a 62%, 77% and 78% pass rate. Even the Strategic students had a really healthy pass rate of 70%, 67%, 62% in the same period.

What this could tell us is the fact that by time you reach you the MCS and SCS level you will have the necessary skills and experience to apply yourself well. It’s an interesting thought as I would expect the OCS pass rates to be the highest.


Objective Tests

Personally, I’ve yet to sit an objective test under the 2015 syllabus so I was really interested to see how people get on during 2015.

However, there was nothing really surprising that stood out. The E1, E2 and E3 exams are generally well passed. But the difficulties usually come with trying to pass the Financial Reporting or Performance Management papers.

I am slightly concerned about the pass rate for the P2 and F2 papers – both of which I will tackling in the next six months – only 44% of students passed P2 first time while 47% of students managed to pass F2 first time. So that’s less than a 50% chance of passing my next exams first. <— this reinforces the fact I feel that I will need to work extra hard to pass these papers at the first attempt.

Nevertheless, there was some intriguing reaction on the CIMA group on LinkedIn <— well worth joining if you are not a member already.

The general consensus being that the available exam materials for the objective tests are quite poor and can contain mistakes.

Students are also questioning the amount of time they have to complete the objective tests. Although there was some praise for the BPP materials and CIMA Aptitude materials for the objective tests – so this is worth bearing in mind you are preparing for exam any time soon.

You can find the full list of CIMA 2015 Exam Pass Rates here.


F1: Useful Links and Resources


The operational level of the CIMA qualification covers the implementation of strategy as well as reporting on the implementation of the strategy. It’s focus is purely on the short term.

The main area of the F1 syllabus revolves around Financial Accounting and Reporting. However, you shouldn’t neglect business taxation as it represents a quarter of the F1 area.

Useful Links

Astranti Operational Level Membership – Free Study Text 2015 – Astranti offer some great free study texts for the whole of the operational level. The complete study text for F1 is available for free (but only the online version), you will need to pay if you want to print the text.

CIMA Connect  F1 Group  – here you will find the F1 homepage on the official CIMA site. It contains various documents and articles related to the syllabus as well as a discussion forum that can e very useful before exam time.

F1 Study Notes: Ethics – this article on Ethics is a great insight into a real life example and will help you when preparing for the F1 paper.

F1 Study Notes: Financial Reporting and Taxation – a brilliant article from CIMA on the 2015 syllabus and how it’s affected the F1 paper. A must read for all students sitting the F1 exam next.

F1 Study Resources Homepage– here you can find all of the study resources that the official CIMA website provides.


*note: you may need to login into your CIMA connect account for some of the above links.

CIMA Exams – one at a time?


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.

  1. To add variety to your studies
  2. 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.