Tag Archives: Home Study

The Week Ahead – 3rd October 2016

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CIMA News

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 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.

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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

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CIMA News

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.

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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 – 5th September 2016

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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.

CIMA News

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.

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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!

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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).

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*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.

The Week Ahead – 15th August 2016

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The OCS students can now breathe a sigh of relief after their exams for the August case study finished last week but it’s now the turn of the MCS and SCS students.

Here is what’s coming up this week.

CIMA News

A very interesting email popped up in my inbox last week from CIMA about new self-study guides for all CIMA subjects. The new inter-active study guides sound great, especially for students who are home studying, and you can check them out on the CIMA connect site as usual.

The CIMA Student Website

This week I am preparing for another F2 exam (third time lucky?) so I will post my thoughts on how I fared at the end of the week, meanwhile, as mentioned above I will be exploring the new self-study guides from CIMA to see what all the fuss is about.

MCS and SCS students can find out all of the exam resources for their respective case study exams on the site already (just click on the MCS and SCS categories).

Finally, here is a nice little video from Astranti on the SparkSpace MCS exam that kicks off this week. A free 56 minute master class from an Astranti – how very nice on them!

Good Luck to all those taking exams this week (and next week).

CIMA Student Webinars

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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.

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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.

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs dates back to 1943 when Abraham Maslow identified five sets of needs that we need as individuals to function and then to flourish.

It’s mapped out in a pyramid structure with each level needing to be fulfilled before moving onto the next. For example; the base level belongs to basic physical needs like shelter, food and warmth. I’ve found a useful illustration that applies Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to employee engagement.

Level 1: Survival (Physiological)
These are the basic physiological needs required for “survival” – if they are not met then the human body cannot function and fail. That’s why they are deemed the most important and should be met first.

Level 2: Safety (Security)
The next level relates to the safety and personal well being. Everybody needs to have a certain level of security and safety in the workplace. This comes in the form of job security, safe environment to work and working for a well run and managed company that will be able to offer long term employment.

The first two levels of the hierarchy is essential in motivating staff. If they are not met in any way they will act as DE-MOTIVATING factors and lead to very poor engagement of employees. The usual traits in this case be employees who clock-watch, will leave the company when they can or the “im here just for the money” attitude.

Level 3: Belonging
Once the first two basic levels are met the next element relates to “Belonging” and hacing the sense of community in the workplace. This can come in two forms; firstly it could be the social aspect of the company and having close friendly relationships with your colleagues. Secondly, it could come in the form of really identifying with the common goal of the company and having the sense of belonging to the cause.

Level 4: Esteem and Importance
Nearing the top of the pyramid is the Esteem. All humans and employees have the need to fill respected – once a person satisfies the sense of belonging they will be looking to feel respected and important in the workplace. This is a real motivating factor and will lead to the step of the hierarchy of needs

Level 5: Self-Actualisation
Scaling the top of the pyramid is the Self-Actualisation factor. Maslow identified this level as a desire to accomplish everything that one can. Then the employee will look towards how I can help others achieve their goals too? However, to really fulfil this need the individual needs to have “mastered” the previous four levels of the pyramid.

Understanding of the above hierarchy will help students pass their CIMA exams in the enterprise pillar of the CIMA syllabus.

If you have any additional reading then feel free to leave a link in the comments section below.

The Week Ahead – 23rd May 2016

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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!

CIMA News

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!

CIMA Study.com – new and improved!

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The $64 million question for CIMA students who are self studying revolves around which learning provider you will choose for your CIMA studies.

As I use Astranti materials for the bulk of my studies I feature them quite alot on here, but I saw an interesting email pop up in my inbox about CIMAStudy.com – they have improved their online learning courses and how it can be viewed on mobile devices and tablets.

Who are CIMA Study.com?

CIMA Study.com is the ONLY online resource that is designed by CIMA, which will reassure students they will be on the right path to pass.

CIMA and Kaplan have worked in conjunction to bring you CIMAStudy.com and there are various different packages you can choose, whether it’s a CIMA Study Prime Package (includes 120 hours of content, revision kit, tutor support etc) or just the online question and answer bank that comes part of “CIMA apptitude” packages.

Personally, I haven’t purchased any materials from CIMAStudy.com yet but I am tempted as the CIMA exam practice kits from Kaplan have been a great resource for me – so I’d hope the quality would be on par with Kaplan materials, if not higher!

CIMA Study Improvements

– Tablet Friendly layout and improved mobile experience
– Easier navigation around the site
– Improved functionality including faster load times

You can try out a free demo of the new and improved site here.

Why Students use CIMAStudy.com

Here are a couple of testimonials from students who used cimastudy.com to pass their CIMA exams – this was taken from their website.

 I first heard about CIMAstudy.com from an advert on CIMAglobal.com. I prefer to structure my own learning – so I really didn’t want to go and sit in a lecture hall in my time off! CIMAstudy is great as you can carry an entire syllabus with you wherever you are. I found the audio and video clips throughout the course to be invaluable for my understanding of some of the more complex subjects – and the integrated assessments really pushed home the message. CIMAstudy helped me achieve 83% in P1 and 83% in P7!

Oliver Gearing – Financial Analyst

Working full-time and studying for the CIMA qualification means that effective time management is vital. I first purchased CIMA.com last October when I started revising for my Managerial level exams. I particularly like the direct links to further reading material which is absolutely key to getting a good pass. There are plenty of practise questions and direct links to past exam questions and answers. Having direct links like these saves a lot of time when you are under pressure, and it means I can be flexible and access study materials wherever I am and at any time. For example I will often do some reading during my lunch break at work. I purchased CIMA.com for my current level of studies as soon as it was available as I have no doubt it will be of benefit.

Angela Thomas – Cost Accountant

If you have any experience with CIMAstudy.com please feel free to leave your comments and feedback below. It will be helpful for me and other students as I may look towards purchasing some of their materials in the coming months.

Good Luck and happy studying!

CIMA Masterclasses

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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

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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.

ONE IMPORTANT POINT TO NOTE:

  • 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 – 2nd May 2016

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Time flies! As we are at the beginning of May and this time also coincidences with the beginning of the next round of CIMA case study exams.

Another week has also slipped by for me personally in regards to my F2 revision and I’ve rescheduled the exam for next month as given my other commitments this month it was unrealistic thinking that I would be in a position to pass the retake this month.

Here is what is coming up this week on the site and CIMA in general.

CIMA News

I’ve had quite a few search terms on the site recently where students are asking when they will receive their objective test results. With this in mind, here is an article I wrote last month on what to expect when expecting your CIMA objective test results. 

As a general rule, from my experience, you receive a provisional “Pass” or “Fail” as soon as you have completed the objective test in the exam centre. Then, up to 3-4 working days later, you will receive an email stating you can login to your MyCIMA account and find the out the scaled score (out of 150).

So students should ensure they have set up their email contact correctly in CIMA so you receive the email! If not, you can always login and check you CIMA account to see if it’s been updated with your exam score and feedback.

The CIMA Student Website

This week I be looking at the difference between a Bonus Issue and Rights Issue of shares when a company is looking for long term finance via the equity markets. I’ve also had contact with a couple of CGMA members who recently passed their CIMA exams, so I will be looking to get an article up on their advice and tips for other CIMA students.

If you have any requests on CIMA topics you’d like to see on the site then please get in touch via the usual outlets.

Good Luck! (especially to the OCS students who sit their case study exam next week!)

The Week Ahead – 11th April 2016

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Another week, another CIMA syllabus area to concentrate on.

On a personal note, I ordered and received the F2, E2 and P2 exam practice kits from Kaplan last week as I felt that practising and practising exam questions is the best way I learn, so I am hopeful these resources will complement the other materials I use from Astranti.

CIMA News

I’ve mentioned it before, but the following CIMA LinkedIn group is worth following and provides some useful news and advice from other CIMA students and members.

There is also some very interesting articles posted in this LinkedIn group that will keep you up-to-date with industry news.

The CIMA Student Website

The full range of May 2016 case study resources have been posted on the website for those sitting the exams. So this week I will be focusing on some revision areas from F2 I am working on as well as look at the E2 exam which I have started to look at as well.

If you have any specific requests on what you would like to see on the site please feel free to get in touch on thecimastudent[at]gmail[dot]com

CIMA F2: How to pass it?

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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.

IAS 24: Related Party Disclosures

This accounting standard is fairly straight forward and doesn’t involve any complex calculations or rules but it doesn’t mean you should neglect it in your studies. I found, when studying for F2 paper, I kept getting tripped up on questions on this accounting standard by making silly assumptions, so I thought it would be helpful to cover this on the site.

IAS 24: Related Party Disclosures

The purpose of this accounting standard is to ensure that the financial statements disclose to the shareholders the effect of the existence to related parties, any material transactions with them and outstanding balances.

I’ve highlighted the two key phrases above and will explain in a bit more detail what they mean in the context of IAS 24 Related Party Disclosures.

What is a related party?

Well, if a party is related to a company then it would have the following characteristics; if it has control over the entity, or the ability to exercise significant influence over it.

For instance; the subsidiary or an entity would be considered a related party and so would senior management (and even the family members – as they would be able to exercise significant influence over the senior management) of the entity would also be considered a related party.

Considered to be related parties:

  • Key Management
  • Close family members of key management
  • Shareholders controlling 20% or more of voting right of entity
  • Subsidiaries of an entity (although additional information is required to confirm)

NOT a related party to an entity:

  • Two entities that have a common director/key management
  • Finance providers (banks)
  • Customers and suppliers
  • Two joint venturers

What are related party transactions?

Quite simply put, it is the transfer of resources or obligations between related parties regardless whether a fee has been charged or not.

The key point here being the fact that money doesn’t have to change hands for it to be considered a related party transaction.

Examples of related party transactions:

  • Purchase/sale of goods  or services (parent to associate and vice versa)
  • Leasing arrangements
  • Management contracts
  • Transfers of finance arrangements (loans etc.)
  • Settlement of liabilities on behalf of the entity

Disclosure of Related Party Transactions

Now its been established who/what is a related party, we need to understand how this should be displayed in the financial statements. The minimum requirements for disclosure are as follows:

  • The amount of the transaction (even if it’s zero)
  • The amount of any outstanding balances.
  • Provisions for bad debts on outstanding amount
  • The expense recognised in the period in respect of the bad debts.

 

For further reading on IAS 24: Related Party Disclosures I would recommend this overview on the standard from BDO international.

 

 

 

10 CIMA Exam Revision Tips

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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).

F3: Useful Links and Resources

F3

The F3 paper will be one of the last CIMA exams you need to pass. The Financial Strategy syllabus kicks off by looking at the formulation of financial strategy, while the next area is geared around fiancing and dividend decisions. Finally, the final part of the CIMA F3 paper is focused on corporate finance.

Please see below some useful websites, resources and articles on the CIMA Financial Strategy paper. Good Luck with your studies!

Useful Links and Resources

CIMA Connect F3 group – if you want to pass the CIMA F3 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.

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.

F3 self study guide – as always, here is the link fot the CIMA self study guide for the F3 Financial Strategy paper. A useful tool and guide when planning your CIMA study time.

Discounted case flow analysis – this article was written in November 2015 by a CIMA lead examiner and describe how F3 students should approach discounted cash flows. This topic is also relevant for the E3 paper.

Dividend Policies – an article on the CIMA connect website that looks at what factors companies need to weigh up when forming a dividend policy.

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 F3). 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 F3 CIMA paper then please then a link in the comments box below.

P3: Useful Links and Resources

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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.

The Week Ahead – 22nd February

weekahead2

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.

CIMA News

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.

 

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