CIMA P1 Exam Tips

CIMA P1 Exam Tips

The CIMA P1 Management Accounting is a tricky little paper pass but it’s one of the more interesting papers as it builds your knowledge of Management Accounting and the various concepts involved – and, after all, this is why we are studying for the CIMA qualification!

Over half (60%) of the P1 Management Accounting is concerned with;

  • Cost accounting systems
  • Short-Term Decision making

So with this in mind, I hope the below resources and videos help you on your way to passing the CIMA P1 exam first time!

CIMA Study Text

The starting point for your CIMA P1 studies will be deciding what study text to use, I use a mixture of the Kaplan study materials and the free online Astranti P1 study text – this means I can study on the go and anywhere with an internet connection – and best of all it’s easy to digest (when compared to BPP) and it’s free!

Traditional Costing Vs ABC (Activity Based Costing)

I’d suggest you get a clear understanding of the different cost accounting systems and in particular understand the differences between them all.

A recurring theme in the P1/P2/P3 papers is the reference to Activity Based Costing. So the below video is a great illustration of the differences between traditional costing and ABC.

Understanding the theory and logic behind ABC is really important – I can’t stress this enough – as it’s likely to come up the OCS Operational Case Study exam as it’s a really relevant topic in the case study format.

Linear Programming

CIMA P1 Linear Programming

Is one of the tougher areas in the P1 syllabus and there was an excellent article in the FM magazine a while back that caught my eye.

It’s a relatively simple process to calculate the optimal manufacturing mix when two
products are subject to one limiting factor, but P1 candidates need to know how to find the best combination in cases where two or more resources are restricted.

This is where linear programming comes into it’s own.

You can read the full article on the P1 subject of linear programming by Cathy Shirley in the FM Magazine here.

CIMA P1 Revision Class

For students that are self studying or distance learning, the absence of class room based training can be a difficult hurdle to overcome but the online Astranti P1 revision master classes are a great way to bridge that gap.

You get over 10 hours of videos that covers the whole syllabus and is a great way to revise the P1 paper.

You can find the CIMA P1 masterclass here.

Mock Exams

You will need to have covered sufficient P1 mock exams in order to ready for exam day. That means testing yourself in exam conditions and being confident in your ability to handle the time pressure with the CIMA P1 objective test.

I use a combination of the Kaplan exam kits, the Astranti mock exams and the Practice Tests Academy P1 exam kits.

pass your CIMA exam first time

The Practice Tests Academy have an unrivalled bank of question for each CIMA paper with over 500 mock exam questions on P1 – you get detailed feedback and can mix and match the exam questions to focus on the areas where you are weaker.

You can read more about them here and take a look at the P1 Mock Exam resources here.

The CIMA Student P1 Exam Advice

The CIMA objective tests are a tough nut to crack, especially with papers like P1 and F1 when you have to answer 60 questions in 90 minutes. So you need to make sure you have a time management strategy when sitting the exam.

Here is my P1 exam checklist, if you can answer “YES” to these questions then you are in a good position to pass the exam first time!

  • Have you covered the whole syllabus?
  • Have you taken more than one full mock exam in exam conditions?
  • Have you used the CIMA connect website to
  • Have you spent the final two weeks before the exam taking mock exams and practice questions?
  • Have you identified your weak areas of the P1 syllabus and revised them?

Finally, watch this video on time management strategy for the CIMA P1 exam.

CIMA P1 Exam and Study Tips

CIMA P1 Exam Tips

CIMA P1 Study Text

The foundation of your CIMA P1 studies will be from the study text you choose, whether it’s BPP, Kaplan or other learning providers like Astranti or Acorn. The study text you choose should be suitable for your learning.

I like to use a mixture of the Kaplan and Astranti study texts. I find Kaplan is clear and easy to digest with their pragmatic approach to explaining the key theories. However, I also like to use the free study texts from Astranti.

  1. Because they are free!
  2. I can access them online
  3. The writing style is a bit more personal then Kaplan or BPP.

FREE Astranti CIMA P1 study text

Kaplan CIMA P1 study text

Study Planner

Planning your studies is crucial to passing the CIMA P1 exam. It gives you a timeline of what to cover, when to cover and how long it should take you.

Without sufficient planning you might find yourself studying P1 for months on end without feeling any closer to being ready for the exam!

CIMA’s new and improved study planner is interactive and allows to create your own day by day planner to help keep you on track for exam success.

Another top benefit is the links to the CIMA articles and past exam questions of each learning component in the P1 syllabus.

How to pass CIMA P1 exam

You can find the official CIMA P1 study planner here.

CIMA P1 Revision Classes

Students who self study and just use the study texts to pass their CIMA exams will be missing out on class room tuition and tutor advice. But I find using the Astanti revision master classes a great to cover the whole syllabus and pick information I may have missed when studying the materials myself.

Watching the full revision master class about 2-3 weeks before you sit the P1 exam will give you a better chance of achieving the pass mark!

You can find the CIMA P1 revision classes here.

CIMA P1 Mock Exams

Once you’ve covered the P1 Management Accounting syllabus it’s time to think about taking some mock exams. Again, finding a mixture of different resources in regards to mock exam practice is the best.

You can find past exam questions (in 2010 format) from the CIMA connect site here.

But I would also recommend using the Kaplan exam kit – contains over 200 questions in the style of the new CIMA objective tests – while using the Astranti mock exams which replicate the full 90 minute scenario you will face on exam day.

Kaplan P1 Management Accounting exam kit.

Astranti P1 mock exams.

CIMA P1 Industry Articles

Relating the P1 syllabus to real life scenarios is a great way to really get to grips with the subject you’re studying. And to do that, I would suggest locating as many industry examples or CIMA documents from the CIMA connect site to help you in your learning process.

If you’re struggling to find examples then remember to check the P1 study planner provided by the CIMA connect site – as they have links direct to the articles – under the resources column (see below).

CIMA P1 Industry Articles

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

The P1 paper focuses on management accounting through four main streams; Cost accounting systems, Budgeting, Short-Term decisions making and dealing with risk.

CIMA P1 Connect Group

Finally, I have already mentioned the CIMA connect group several times already but it’s a great source of information for students looking to pass the CIMA P1 exam.

Not only will you find the study planners and industry articles, you can also interact with others students who taking the same exam as you and boucne some ideas and share study tips.

You can find the CIMA P1 connect group here – it’s worth checking the student discussion here every week or so to see what’s happening and pick up some useful exam tips.