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.

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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.