Tag Archives: CIMA

The Week Ahead – 24th October

CIMA resources and study tips


The countdown for the November case study begins as it’s just two weeks until the operational level students face their exam. A reminder of the exam dates for the November case study exams listed below as well links to my recent articles on OCS: Marici Power, MCS: Portafone and SCS: ADF pre seen analysis.

CIMA OCS November 2016: Marici Power

CIMA MCS November 2016: Portafone

CIMA SCS November 2016: ADF

CIMA November 2016 Case Study Exams

The CIMA Student Website

This week will focus on more E2 related syllabus areas as I plan to draw near the end of my initial coverage of the E2 text book – then I can start looking at revision and tackle the exam practice kits for the next four to six weeks.

Happy Studying!

The Week Ahead – 10th October 2016



Do you read the CIMA FM Magazine? That’s probably a no. To be honest, it’s something I rarely look at myself but the September edition email arrived in my inbox this morning so thought it would be good opportunity to share and bring this up.

You can find the September edition (and previous editions) of the FM magazine here.

The September issue contains articles on:

  • Managing risk and the value of big data.
  • How to retain talent in your organisation.
  • What it’s like to do business in Moscow.

The CIMA Student Website

The subject of Porters five forces is a familiar one for CIMA students the Porter’s Diamond is a topic that came up in the my E2 studies last week so I will be looking at that, meanwhile I will finally around to publishing the article on knowing your role in the case study exam – a key point to identify for all case study students!

Happy Studying.

The Week Ahead – 3rd October 2016



Not so much news, but more of a general reminder for students to login and check their CIMA connect account every once in a while. There are tons of resources and plenty advice from students/CIMA staff that are well worth reading.

Here are a few articles from CIMA connect that are worth checking out.

Failed an exam: What is your next step?

Stress busters: how to beat exam stress

Student webinar: F3 Exam success

The CIMA Student Website

The final set of pre-seen materials will be released this week so the SCS students can begin their analysis of the case study in question. So you can expect to see an article covering the preview videos for the SCS November 2016 pre-seen.

While I be looking at the different roles OCS, MCS and SCS students will face during their case study exams. It’s crucial to really understand your role in the exam and answer the questions accordingly.

The Week Ahead – 26th September 2016



The CIMA Salary insight 2016 was released recently and gives you a good chance to gauge your current earnings against the average for a CIMA student/member in your respective industry. Perhaps it will act as a motivation to study harder or even give you the urge to speak to your boss about a pay rise!

You can find the interactive salary insight tool for 2016 here.

The CIMA Student Website

This week will be the focus on the MCS pre-seen materials for the November 2016 exam following the release of the OCS materials last week.

Hopefully CIMA are a bit quicker off the mark this week, as OCS students had to wait until Wednesday for the Marici Power pre-seen to go-live (although, in fairness to CIMA, they do say the pre-seen materials will be released the week commencing xxx – so not necessarily on the Monday)

Meanwhile, later on in the week I will be delving into a CIMA E2 syllabus area to share my thoughts.

Last week, saw a brilliant article from a CIMA student in Cameroon – if you haven’t already seen it then you can find it here – and if any other students would like to contribute in some way then please get in touch via twitter or email.

Happy Studying!

The CIMA Student Journey in Cameroon

CIMA Student, Nkunde C Mbong, who is on the management level on CIMA and faces the MCS exam in November, shares her experience of being a CIMA student in Cameroon and the challengers she faces.


image from CIMA connect

Being a CIMA Student in Cameroon

Cameroon is a country in the Central Region of Africa with about 25 million people. However, despite this population, there are only 7 CIMA members in Cameroon as of September 2016 and only one CIMA tuition/learning partner, gaining this status late last year – 2015.

This should let you know, CIMA in Cameroon hasn’t been very popular.

However, there is currently a healthy growing population of CIMA students, but the journey is still not a smooth one. Before Cameroon finally got a CIMA tuition provider, CIMA students generally had to self study or travel out of the country to engage in CIMA.

Most students here choose to self study and it was a great challenge where to get the CIMA texts! A common solution was to have them ordered from Ghana for those who could afford, which wasn’t an easy feat.

Even with the texts, self study proved difficult especially when studying alone as there weren’t many other CIMA students to study with [and that’s if at all you even knew one, because I didn’t when I started]. Moreover, some concepts were extremely difficult to understand without further explanations, and there weren’t known CIMA members to seek help from.

Further, with the then really bad connectivity issues in the country, making proper use of online resources wasn’t really an option.

The challenges ahead

Doing CIMA was just a challenge to many and it just tells me anybody who chose to do CIMA then, among the other more popular professional options available, really knew the benefits and difference in being CIMA certified.

The challenges were numerous!

Using old texts, texts not arriving on time, if ever, having to travel far away to write the then paper based exams, having to still pay PEARSON VUE centres because they complain of not having many students who register to write with them, and the greatest challenge was just sitting studying by yourself, with no support whatsoever because your family and friends have no idea about the relevance of what you are studying, it being so unpopular in Cameroon.

You see, the idea and advice in Cameroon is “Do something which sells” – CIMA was unknown and therefore wasn’t selling like other professional certifications in the field.

Eventually, the tendency was many students failed to complete and become certified especially when they got a job which gave them a level of comfort because our employers too didn’t know CIMA. Some just altogether gave up because of all the challenges.

A new dawn for students in Cameroon

However, last year 2015, the 7 CIMA members in Cameroon driven by their passion for CIMA decided to come together and create a better platform for the CIMA students and members in Cameroon.

They decided to forge an enhanced path for CIMA students and prospects, gain recognition and ultimately let Cameroon know that we are a unique brand, business leaders who will soon take over reign in companies and institutions.

It was like a new dawn in Cameron for CIMA. They organised the first CIMA seminar and participants were made up of some CIMA students and others, and they were informed about CIMA and its benefits.

Many students were encouraged to continue as the CIMA members pledged their support to them. Alas, the CIMA students were excited to meet CIMA members! Later that year, we got our very first tuition partner in Cameroon!!

Members and students were very excited at this progress. Students could now get books from Cameroon and have the option to study full time or part time from our own CIMA learning partner, along with other benefits!

What good news it was for us students.

By April 2016, following another CIMA orientation seminar, attended now by even more students as the news of CIMA was getting around and the network was growing, an executive body was created by a unanimous decision to steer CIMA activities in Cameroon, made up of CIMA students and members.

Students connecting and sharing ideas

From then on, whats-app groups were created and students were able to know each other, and study with others depending on their CIMA level or just provide support.

This was when I also met for the first time someone at my level – I was so excited to discuss my struggles and difficulties with someone I knew was in the same level with me – and would therefore understand. This was the same type of exchange going on among many other CIMA students now across Cameroon.

We shared ideas, exchanged resources and directed others where/how to get help from the now available online resources with our now much better internet connection, and how to go about simple processes such as connecting with other students worldwide via CIMAconnect.

We were all now connected to each other, and surprisingly, the network kept growing! Who knew there were so many CIMA students in Cameroon – all struggling in their own corner.

Next, it was another seminar targeting college students (as prospects) and employers, and the CIMA Cameroon steering committee just kept creating a really good platform for us students to succeed.

Limited materials from learning partners

As it is, the CIMA community in Cameroon is now growing and learning has become much easier. Many who dropped out, are now getting interested again and some more are registering as students. The struggle was real, but it’s not all gone.

As our learning partner is still in it’s infancy, it doesn’t yet offer tuition for all levels and some students located in different towns are unable to benefit from the tuition they provide, but the CIMA Cameroon steering Committee is really a great support now to the students and as mentors too.

Basically, the common challenges now are those which I believe are common to many CIMA students such as fees etc. We are now a proud CIMA community in Cameroon!

There will be more insights from Nkunde in the coming months as she progresses further in her CIMA journey. 

You can follow her on twitter here

The Week Ahead – 19th September 2016



I noticed the official CIMA website has had a revamp and looks all nice, new and shiny. It feels much more like the CIMA connect interface, so it’s worth checking it out as it feels a much more user-friendly experience than the previous site.

A reminder, of course, the November case study exams pre-seen materials starting being released from this week and it’s still not to late to enter for the exams.


The CIMA Student Website

This week will see some brilliant content on the blog coming up – firstly, the OCS pre-seen materials are released for the November exam so I will gather all of the pre-seen videos from Astranti together.

However, I will be saving the best until last this week when, on Friday, I will post an article written by a CIMA student in Cameroon – who will give an insight into the journey CIMA students face when studying in a developing country. And how they are overcoming the obstacles they face.

If you have any suggestions, ideas or comments then feel free to get in touch via twitter or the comments section below.

Happy Studying!

The Week Ahead – 12th September 2016



The November case study exams will be in most students thoughts as the pre-seen material for the OCS exam is released from next week, with this in mind below is a schedule for the important dates for exam entry, pre-seen material and exam dates for all levels.


Are you worried about automation of accounting processes will have a negative impact on your role? Well a recent CIMA study has revealed that businesses and finance professionals are welcoming automation and “robots” in the finance function – 1,628 CIMA members were surveyed and around 83% support the idea of automation if it saves time, money and helps with indecision in the business.

You can read more about this in the CIMA press release here.

The CIMA Student Website

This week I will be continuing to look at the E2 syllabus as I go more in-depth into this paper following last weeks blog post on business strategy. While I’ll also be looking at the Astranti case study materials for the upcoming November exams.

I passed the OCS exam this time last year using Astranti materials and I’d thoroughly recommend them to other students in the same boat. You can read more about how I passed the OCS exam here.

The Week Ahead – 5th September 2016


After passing an exam, I tend to take my foot off the gas a bit with the CIMA studies and that’s also been reflected with the amount of activity on the blog over the last week or so. But it’s back to business this week as I (finally!) crack on with my E2 studies and get some more content up on the site.


If you were not aware (I only found out via Twitter) CIMA announced Andrew Harding FCMA, CGMA as their new chief executive. It’s not something that will directly impact us as students but still useful information to know – you can read the full press release from CIMA here.

The CIMA Student Website

This week I will be looking at The CIMA Grad Club and see what advantages it can offer to students who are looking for a boost in their career by learning new skills and career tips. Elsewhere, there will be an article on the E2 subject on formulating a business strategy.

A reminder for those who want to take advantage of the 10% discount on ALL CIMA materials from Acorn Financial to email me on thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com – you can find there full list of CIMA resources here.

New CIMA Self-Study Guides

CIMA released a whole set of new self study guides for all levels of the qualification earlier this month and they look much better than the previous versions.

The idea behind it remains the same i.e. it acts as a week-by-week study guide aligning the syllabus objectives with the recommended study time. However, CIMA have gone all interactive on us and added a few nice touches that make the self-study guides much more appealing!

CIMA Self-Study Guide: What’s new?

Well, firstly they look much more polished and professional than the original “wordy” study guides offered by CIMA. Secondly, and more importantly, you can personalise and customise the guide to fit around your study plan.

Here are a run down of the new and improved features:

  • Stage-by-stage checklist.
  • Weekly planner covering the whole syllabus.
  • New PDF format that you can download, edit and save.
  • Personal study planner you can update.
  • Tips from subjects experts.
  • Advice on how to achieve exam success.
  • Guidance on relevant resources for each learning component of the syllabus.

All of the study guides can be found on the CIMA connect website and here is a link for the E2 self-study guide. You just need to navigate to the specific paper you are studying for and the self-study guide should be under the “featured content”.

CIMA Self-Study Guide: What does it look like?

Firstly, you will find the nice, new shiny cover page with an overview of the contents.

Tip: Once opening the document, save a copy on your desktop and you can edit and personalise the study guide as you like.


One of the best features is the study planner.

They give you an example of a completed study planner with a breakdown of how many hours you should be spending on each are of the syllabus and how they fits into a designated 12 week period.

Personally, I have yet to follow such a rigid plan but I will give it a go with the E2 exam to see if helps me stay focused and on track.

Below you can see the example provided for the E2 paper and on the following page there is a blank weekly study planner that you can amend for your own purposes and tick the weeks off as you go. Very nice!


Diving into the study planner detail you will see the detailed learning outcomes along with the study guidance and tips. However, there are two GREAT features here:

  1. Resources: the study planner contains live hyperlinks that will take you straight to the published resources on that topic.
  2. Practice Questions: secondly, you can find a list of the past exam questions that relate to the learning component you are working. (it even gives you a nice box to tick once you have attempted the question).


*Note: each practice question is not individually linked, you’ll have to find them via the search on the CIMA connect site.

Overall, I think it has some very nice touches and the fact you can save a copy of the pdf file and open it offline is great too.

Not too mention all of the links, tips and resources for the paper you are sitting are ALL together in one document will make it a very valuable tool.

Please feel free to share your experiences or practical experiences with the new CIMA self-study guides in the comments below.

E2: Project Management

What is Project Management?

Project management is a topic that crops up in the E2 syllabus and the official definition from CIMA can be seen below:

“The integration of all aspects of a project, ensuring that the proper
knowledge and resources are available when and where needed, and above
all to ensure that the expected outcome is proceeded in a timely, cost-
effective manner” – CIMA Terminology

Project management is human activity that achieves a clear objective against an agreed timescale. The follow types of activity can be seen as “projects”:

  • A one off event.
  • A budget and set of resources to achieve a specific goal.
  • A project manager organising the project.
  • A clear objective with an agreed timescale.

The Project Management Institute (PMI)

Was setup in 1969 and is a non-profit professional organisation for project management and has around 500,000 members and counting.

They provide a framework and set of standards that project managers should adhere to. The PMI also offer a host of different courses and accreditation’s their members can take and they range from CAPM (Certified associate in project management) to the PMP (Project management professional).

For more information on the PMI you can visit their website here.

9 Key Areas of Project Management

The PMI have identified the 9 key areas of project management that need to be understood and managed correctly if projects are to be successful.

They are the core objectives of the project and they need to be met.

  • Scope: In order to provide clarity and ensure team members stay focused, a clear scope of what the project covers and doesn’t cover is crucial. Otherwise tasks can wonder off track and lead to non-value added time.
  • Time: Another key objective is time. The project should have a realistic time frame and act as a deadline for when activities need to be completed. It’s no use have an open ended project otherwise results will be never be achieved.
  • Cost: The project board and directors will be keen to keep costs under control too, otherwise the benefits gained in the project may not outweigh the expense occurred in delivering the results to the business.
  • Resources: The right resources and expertise should be allocated to the project otherwise the delivery will be in danger.
  • Quality: The end customer will want to receive the required quality they was set out in the deliverable’s. If the quality is not met then the project will deemed to be a failure.
  • Procurement: The materials purchases need to be kept under control and also the quality needs to the be maintained. A focus on procurement is crucial for the project manager.
  • Integration: The project should be well managed and integrated into the business at every possible stage. There needs to be sufficient control and well planned tasks.
  • Communication: Possibly the biggest point to consider, ALL stakeholders need to be well informed and communication to the end customer and business should be clear, concise and on a regular basis.
  • Risks: They need to be understood by the project manager and minimised at every opportunity.

Who are the Stakeholders?

The project manager is responsible for co-coordinating and communicating to the project stakeholders on a regular basis. But they also need to consider the importance of each one and act accordingly.

Here are a few of the stakeholders to be considered.

  • Project sponsor
  • Project board
  • End Customer
  • Board of directors
  • Project team
  • Suppliers

Stakeholders who hold little interest and power will require minimal effort and time invested into them, whereas the stakeholders with a lot of power should be at the forefront of the project managers mind.

Stakeholder Mapping

Mendelow’s Matrix is used to map the important of the stakeholder so the project manager can see what action he needs to take with each group.


For example, the end customer would be considered to have HIGH power and HIGH interest so, according to Mendelows Matrix, should be Managed Closely.

Whereas the project team would have HIGH interest but LOW power so they will would fall under the Keep Informed category. This of course is dependent on the project itself and the dynamic of the company but you get the idea on how this works!

Project Success

In order to achieve the goal of a successful project all of the points above need to be considered and the appointment of the project manager and coordination of the project team members are crucial.

Project Manager – needs to have excellent communication skills and will need to inspire his team to achieve the results required. They will also need to be able to present and communicate to a range of different stakeholders.

The Project Team – will need to be well organised and familiar with the project management process. They will also need to be team players and be able to identify problems and risks and build solid working relationships with a range of different departments and areas of the business.

If projects are beginning to wonder off track then the project manager can go the project sponsor or board and look for further support. This could be in the form of more resources, expert advice or a change in scope or deliverable’s of the project if they are deemed to be unrealistic.

All in all, the project team will need to have the right blend of experience, skills and be able to create a good team spirit to achieve the results required.

CIMA Student Webinars


You may think you have exhausted all of the free resources, CIMA exam tips and help available from CIMA but you’ve probably overlooked the student webinars that are held by the CIMA learning support team and tutors.

What are Student Webinars?

You shouldn’t get the webinars confused with the CIMA syllabus content, you won’t find in-depth detail on costing models or financial instruments.

The webinars are geared around FOUR main areas.

  1. Exam structure
  2. Exam preparation and tips
  3. Question styles
  4. Common sticking points for students.

Every paper (I believe) will have a student webinar you can attend or access the pre-recorded webinar that was help.

If you are attending the webinar live you can ask the tutor specific questions on the practice exam, which is a great way to address any concerns you have.

My Experiences with Student Webinars

I watched the pre-recorded the F2 Student Webinar last week and it was held by a Kaplan learning professional who went through one of the practice exams that are available from Pearson VUE and gave plenty of tips on how to approach the exam.

It was over an hour long and contained some interesting information on the F2 exam itself that I wasn’t aware of.

For example; it explained that there are 28 questions that are “one from four multiple choice”, 13 questions with “select stated number of options” and so on. Which is very useful information for those sitting the exam for the first time.


Some of the points raised were common sense and most students would be aware of them but there are also some great insights to how the exams are structured.

It could give you an extra mark or two on exam day so I would thoroughly recommend you watch the webinar before sitting your next CIMA exam.

How to sign up for Student Webinars?

Well, you can find a list of the student webinars that have already been recorded from the CIMA website here. Meanwhile, the live student webinars that are due to be scheduled can be found here on the CIMA website.

All you will need is your CIMA ID number, name and address when signing up to access the webinars.

Please feel free to share your experiences with student webinars below or any other advice and tips for other students.

The Week Ahead – 1st August 2016


This month signals the beginning of the August case study exams – all of my resources, notes and comments have already been posted on the site – so Good Luck to those sitting case study exams this month.

The CIMA Student Website

This week I will be looking at an underrated tool that students perhaps don’t even know exist – The Student Webinars.

CIMA have student webinars that are free of charge and accessible for all CIMA students. They cover all of the papers in the qualification and contain some excellent information. Make sure you check them out!

All of the information is available on the CIMA Connect site and I will be providing full details in the article later this week.

I’ll also be taking a look at Project Management – an area that is covered in the E2 paper. If you have any questions or would like to see any specific topics on the website then feel free to get in touch by email or the comments section below.


CIMA Careers and Salary Advice

Studying for CIMA is no easy task.

There are countless amount of exams and each level of the CIMA qualification gets progressively harder. Throw working full-time and juggling family responsibilities into the mix makes passing your CIMA exams even harder.

However, we mustn’t lose site of what lays ahead when finally becoming a CGMA member. It will open doors in your career that previously were not there.

Here is a taste of the different roles and opportunities that can present themselves after (and perhaps even during) your CIMA qualification.

  • Financial Accountant
  • Finance Manager
  • Finance Director
  • Financial Business Partner
  • Business Analyst
  • Finance Controller
  • Tax Manager
  • CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Risk Manager
  • Credit Manager

You get the picture. The roles and positions are really out there and becoming CIMA qualified will help you achieve your ambitions.

Jobs – CIMA Case Study

No, this isn’t about the CIMA case study exams but a look at CIMA members and they career opportunities they have been given by qualifying.

Paul McNiven – Financial Controller, Ford

Manohari Abeyesekera – Strategic Business Development

Purusottam Sen – Professor of Finance and Control

Emma Blake – Consultancy and Venture Capitalism

All of the above insights and case studies and stories are taken from the official CIMA website and should act as an inspiration for aspiring CIMA members.

CIMA Students and Job Hunting

This video below is a great five minute clip on how to network your way to a great job. It’s specially aimed at students and gives five useful pointers on how to get the job you want.

CIMA Jobs and Salary Expectations

You can read this article I published earlier this year on jobs that are available for CIMA members and the salary expectations to go along side. I’ve also found another useful video below that was released by CIMA on the salary survey.

The CIMA “My Jobs” website is a great place for job hunters to find their ideal role as well as checking out the market to see what’s available and what salary you can expect.

You can find the CIMA My Jobs website here.

Good Luck and keep going!

The Week Ahead – 25th July 2016


Fresh back from summer holidays it’s time to get back to the books. Here is what is coming up this week.


CIMA and AICPA joint venture to create a new association has been given the green light by members of both associations. Of those members who voted, around 90% of CIMA memberd endorsed the joint venture while around 87% of AICPA also endorsed it.

You can find out more information on what this means on the official CIMA website here.

The CIMA Student Website

The August CIMA case study exams are rapidly approaching and it’s about this time when I post the Industry Analysis articles on all three levels – OCS, MCS and SCS. You can expect this to be on the website on Friday.

Meanwhile, I will also be looking at CIMA qualified jobs that are currently available and a look at the CIMA related careers advice that is currently out there.

I had an order last week from a student for some CIMA materials from Acorn – remember that Acorn are offering readers of this site a 10% discount off ALL materials.

You can find there latest offers here.

To claim the 10% discount email me on thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com.

The Week Ahead – 6th June 2016



It’s been over a week now since the last May CIMA Case Study was taken, so many of you maybe wondering when the results are? Well, here is a reminder that the results for the OCS will be released in just over two weeks time (Thursday 23rd June)!

If it’s your first case study exam then here is an article of what to expect when you receive your results and how to analyse them.

Elsewhere, CIMA have announced their advanced diploma in global business services. It’s their second offering as part of a three tier certified GBS professionals programme that targets GBS leaders and senior management. You can read the full press release from CIMA here.


The CIMA Student Website

This week I will be looking at more topics in the F2 CIMA syllabus as well global reporting initiatives (as requested by a reader of the website through twitter). If there is anything else you would like to see on the site then please get in touch via the usual channels.

This website is designed to help CIMA students of all levels, so it would be great hear from of you on what you would like to see/not see on the site.

Happy Studying!

The Week Ahead – 23rd May 2016


The IC Optical CIMA management level case study was the focus last week, nevertheless it’s the final exam in the May sitting beginning this week. The strategic students have the scenario of DreemPark for which my links and resources on this exam can be found here for those needed some last minute revision!


Summer holidays will be on most people’s minds as we approach the end of May, but there is still time to sit and pass your next CIMA objective test! 

You can schedule your objective test exams with CIMA and Pearson VUE and pay later – I think you must pay in full at least 10 days before you sit the exam – but by scheduling the exam you will have a target a motivation to get studying!

The CIMA Student Website

Last week I went into detail on the an F2 area of the syllabus; Financial Instruments. This week, however, I will be changing tact and looking at the E1 and E2 subject of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I found a good illustration on this subject and will use it as a base for discussion.

Meanwhile, I will be finally getting round to posting an article of the afore mentioned NEW management accounting standard that was announced last month.

For those who missed it and are lacking motivation with their CIMA studies, you should take time to read this interview with a successful CIMA student who became recently qualified – you can find the full interview here.

Happy Studying!

Student Success: Interview with a new CGMA member!

This is the first in a series of interviews with newly qualified CIMA members – hopefully it will act as an inspiration and a motivational tool for current and new CIMA students.

Andrea Murphy recently passed her final CIMA exam (the Strategic Case Study) and was kind enough to answer a few questions for the site. twitter.com/IEZfVmYo79

Q – Why did you choose to study CIMA over other accounting qualifications?

Andrea – I think CIMA is a good all-round qualification in comparison to ACCA. I started out doing ACCA then switched over after completing 3 exams. I think CIMA not only gives you a good financial understanding but also a good business understanding meaning skills can be used in a variety of roles. 

Q – When did you qualify as CGMA and what was your first reaction when passing?

Andrea – I qualified in April 2016 and I was in complete shock! After so long studying it was a sheer sense of relief. My result came through at 6am and I hadn’t slept at all the night before! It was such an emotional time due to the fact of knowing how hard I had worked and I had finally achieved success. 

Q – Did you learn with classroom tuition or home study?

Andrea – I learnt with a combination of home study and classroom. I funded the majority of the qualification myself therefore I mainly studied using the text books. I was lucky to have been funded by my company while I was on my last 3 exams so I studied for 2 OT strategic exams and my SCS exam in the classroom. 

Q – What were your biggest challenges when studying?

Andrea – As I self-studied for a large part of the qualification, my biggest challenge was discipline. I had to be really disciplined in order to get through the material. I had to make sacrifices in terms of my time in that I spent most weekends and evenings studying. 

Q – What materials did you use while studying for CIMA and why?

Andrea – Whilst self-studying I used mainly Kaplan. I found Kaplan really easy to follow and very thorough. Whilst in the classroom I used BPP because my employer had an agreement to use them as a provider. Whilst I did think BPP were helpful, in terms of material I prefer Kaplan. 

Q – What advice would you give for students are self studying CIMA?

Andrea – The main advice I can give is to advise you put the time and effort in! If you do this you are sure to succeed. Without putting the time and effort in, you will struggle. There is a lot of material to get through but it is do-able!

Q – You must have passed exams under the 2010 and 2015 syllabus, how does it compare?

Andrea – Yes I did. In my opinion, the 2010 syllabus was better for the Enterprise pillar as you were able to put your point across and explain it whereas under the 2015 syllabus it’s just a right or wrong answer. Also, the 2015 syllabus contains questions such as ‘select all that apply’ which I didn’t enjoy. It is good however that you get an instant result on your OT exams instead of having to anxiously wait for 6 weeks!

Q – Did you find the 2015 objective tests “harder” to pass than 2010?

Andrea – It is hard to compare with them being so different.

The pass mark is higher under the 2015 syllabus being 70% compared to 50% however the questions are multiple choice. You would expect a multiple choice question to be relatively easy but it isn’t! If I had to pick I would probably say the 2015 is harder due to the fact that you can’t explain your answer or obtain marks for your workings like you could under the 2010. 

Q – What advice would you give current CIMA students on how to get qualified?

Andrea – I would say putting the time in is key. I personally don’t think you can get qualified by not putting adequate time and effort in. You will need to make sacrifices but they will be worth it! 

Q – Did you use your experiences in the office to help your CIMA studies? If so, how?

Andrea – As with any job, you have to be punctual, disciplined and organised. These are all skills  needed to study, particularly self-studying. I had a study plan for each paper which I stuck to and I included in this dates and times for when to study. 

Q – How did you study for exams? Any special revision advice or techniques?

Andrea – I always had a study plan for each paper which I worked backwards from the exam date. I aimed to finish the syllabus with at least 2 weeks for revision and question practice. Question practice is definitely key for OT exams. I also created a brief summary for individual topics on A3 pages which I stuck up in our living room, much to my husbands delight!

Q – What are your plans now you are a CGMA member?

Andrea – My plan is to move up the ladder in terms of my career. I am currently a financial analyst which I thoroughly enjoy however I have done the role for 2 years and I feel it is time for a new challenge. I am keen to get more experience in a different role to broaden my knowledge. I am unsure where my career will take me but I am excited for the future!

Q – Any final words of wisdom for CIMA students?

Andrea – Keep going!! There were many times I felt like giving up but I got there in the end. I have shed many tears of frustration over the last few years but it was all worth it! It’s a small part of your life that is tough, but it’s not forever! There will come a day when you no longer have to give up every weekend and feel guilty for enjoying yourself 🙂


CIMA Masterclasses


Studying CIMA via distance learning and self funding gives you a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to WHEN and HOW you study but it also throws up some tough questions you need to address.

Trying to pass your CIMA exams at the first attempt gets tougher and tougher the further you progress in your studies and you’ll need to squeeze out any advantage you can when preparing for the exam without the help of classroom tuition and tutors on hand.

Studying CIMA in the class room is a great (possibly the best) way to achieving a pass mark in your next exam but without the support of your company to fund your studies it can be a  major challenge to progress with your studies.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of alternative resources out there you can use to supplement your own studying methods.

An affordable way of tackling your CIMA objective tests would be to cover the syllabus yourself with the CIMA study texts (either from Kaplan, BPP or Astranti) and then take a CIMA masterclass from Astranti to ensure you have understood ALL of the key areas of the syllabus.

CIMA Masterclasses

Astranti offer pre-recorded CIMA masterclasses for ALL of their papers that students can buy for a fraction of the price of classroom tuition. It’s the perfect way to revise and consolidate the knowledge you have already picked up.

Each objective test has a “masterclass” that was filmed over two days and covers the whole syllabus area. The video content also contains a live chat feed dialogue where students asked questions during the class that the tutor answered.

Here is what you can expect with the full CIMA masterclass for the CIMA objective tests.

  • Over 10 hours of content on the specified course (E2, P2 etc. etc.)
  • Filmed over two days and covers in detail the key syllabus areas
  • You can pause, rewind and stop the recording at any point.
  • Features exam style questions.
  • You get a free printable study text to go alongside the masterclass video.

You watch a preview video below of the P2 Masterclass here to get a feel of the content and the structure.

Astranti recommend you should watch these masterclasses at least 1 or 2 weeks before sitting your CIMA objective test to give yourself the best chance of passing.

Astranti P2 Masterclass preview

You can find the full set of CIMA masterclass videos for each level at the links below.

CIMA Operational level Masterclasses here.

CIMA Management level Masterclasses here.

CIMA Strategic level Masterclasses here.

The cost of around £100 to £120 per masterclass is barely 10% of the price you’d pay for classroom tuition with either Kaplan and BPP and comes highly recommended from other students who have taken them and passed their next CIMA exam.

Good Luck with your next CIMA exam!

Equity Shares: Bonus Issue vs Rights Issue

Share price

It’s easy to mixup subjects within a topic when studying CIMA and I’ve found myself making silly mistakes when it comes to mock exams for the F2 subject. One particular area I found myself tripping up on was the difference between a rights issues and bonus issues of shares.

Here is a run down on the difference between the two.

Bonus Issue of Shares

A bonus issue of shares (also known as a script issue) is quite simply an issue of ordinary shares to existing shareholders at no additional cost.

This usually happens when a company has a surplus amount of reserves and they want to capitalise it into share capital. If a company is announcing it making a Bonus Issue of shares it usually means they are sitting on a large amount of funds.

No additional funds are raised by the company if they decide to make a bonus issue. However, the share price will be affected by the number of bonus shares issued. For example;

  •  Company X has 50,000 shares in issue at £10 per share
  • Which equates to a total for £500,000 in ordinary share capital
  • At the end of the year, Company X decides to offer a bonus issue on a 1 for 5 basis
  • Now the total number of shares in issue is 60,000
  • This gives a new share price of £8.33 (£500,000/60,000)

Why issue bonus shares?

It might seem a pointless exercise to issue shares for “free” but in fact it can serve a very useful performance. Firstly, it rewards current investors and encourages them to purchase more shares on the basis the company is performing well.

It might also be used to stimulate growth and generate extra investment, as the share price will drop this will encourage investors who may have been put off the higher share price while it also improves liquidity in the company by increasing the number of shares in issue without any extra cost to the company.

Rights Issue of Shares

A rights issue of shares is also to existing shareholders (the only common trait it has with a bonus issue), however, a rights issue will cost the existing shareholder money to purchase the shares – albeit at a lower price.

In this case, the rights issue is offered at a discounted price to the shareholder and is a way of raising additional capital into the business. So unlike a bonus issue, the purpose of a rights issue is to RAISE additional funds and it in fact could be seen as a sign the business is struggling due to the fact it’s looking to raise finance at a discounted price.

Here is a example of a rights issue and how it would affect the existing shareholders:

  • Company Y had £750,000 in share capital (100,000 shares@£7.50 each)
  • They offer a Rights Issue on a 1 for 4 basis at £5 each
  • All shareholders take up the option for rights issue
  • Company Y now has £875,000 in share capital (125,000 shares@£7 each)

You can see the share price has dropped to £7 per share with the rights issue but the company has raised an additional £125,000 in the process, so, in theory, if they put the investment to good use they will see their share price in the future.


  • A rights issue will have a negative impact on the existing shareholders who DO NOT take up the option of purchasing the additional shares through a rights issue.
  • For example;
  • Company ABC has in issue 1000 ordinary shares (10 shareholders have 100 shares)
  • The company offers a rights issue for 1 in 4 basis but only 9 shareholders take up the option.
  • This means there is now 1225 shares in issue: (9×25)+1000 = 1225
  • So the shareholder who didn’t take up the option only now owns 8.2% of the company, where previously they owned 10%.


The Week Ahead – 25th April 2016


We are another week closer to the CIMA May 2016 case study exams with the operational level students having just two weeks until exam time. The MCS students have three weeks until their exam while the SCS students still have four weeks remaining to get exam ready. Last week I posted an article on the industry analysis for each case study exam – you can find it here.


Not so much news, but I read an interesting tweet that should act as a motivation for people studying CIMA!

The CIMA Student Website

This week I will be focusing on F2 exam style questions as I received the exam kit for Kaplan so I will post a few of the questions up with the detailed answers and explanation too. Meanwhile, I’ll try and get another article up on the upcoming CIMA case study exams.

If you have any burning issues or topics you’d like to see on the site then please get in touch via social media or the email address that is thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com


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