The CIMA case studies represent a significant milestone in the professional qualification and require the appropriate planning, hard work and dedication.
With this in mind, and the fact I am sitting the MCS exam myself in February 2018, I’ve decide to release CIMA case study tips article earlier and add more depth to it.
CIMA Case Study Approach
Before we go into the various resources from CIMA and Astranti I believe it’s worth starting with the approach required with the case study. As it’s very different to the approach required to pass the CIMA objective tests.
Know Your Role
Remember you are playing the role of accountant/manager/director of an imaginary company created by CIMA. So you should answer your questions from that point of view. But don’t waffle on in your emails to the boss about how your weekend was! Keep it relevant and to the point but use the structure and format as if you were responding to your boss’s request to evaluate pricing decisions.
CIMA are encouraging us as students to show our business acumen in the case study exam, so when showing your technical knowledge don’t keep it to factual and dry – you’ll need to apply to the pre-seen and new information – make observations and recommendations on how the business can use it to their advantage, like you would be expected to the real world.
Cover All Bases
Make sure you submit a balanced exam paper, cover all bases that CIMA are looking for. Remember, there are 4 areas that CIMA are looking for us to cover in the case study exam – as I mentioned you need to showcase your business, people and leadership skills alongside the technical skills we have already picked up from the objective tests.
- Technical Skills
- Business Skills
- People Skills
- Leadership Skills
Know the Pre-Seen
There is no excuse for not understanding the pre-seen materials inside out, there are 6 weeks or so between the pre-seen materials being released and the exam itself. Don’t remember it word by word (as of course the pre-seen is available on exam day itself), but we need to link all of the information to give a us a clear picture of the company, industry and the strengths and weaknesses we face,
Knowing the industry your case study is operating will give you some valuable information on real life trends and news. Showing this on exam day is a great to score marks and give some context to your answers.
Technical Knowledge v Hands On Case Study Revision
Having watched the Astranti keys to passing the Case Study video earlier this week, I noted not to go overboard in studying the E2/P2/F2 syllabus I’ve already covered. I had initially planned to spend most of time in next week or two studying the technical content but I plan to scale that down a bit – and go back to syllabus content in conjunction with the pre-seen materials and mock exams.
There are a few elements to this.
Firstly, you’ll need to plan your answer efficiently, identifying the question requirements and planning the content of your answer before fully committing to writing out the full answer.
Then you’ll need to make sure you don’t overrun with time, if there are 4 sections to the exam then you should spend 45 minutes on each section, no more.
Then break it down even further. Split the 45 minutes into sub sections, or allocation 10 mins for reading and planning, 25 minutes for completing full answer and 10 minutes for reviewing to ensure you have covered the points you planned.
CIMA Connect Resources
If you don’t visit the official CIMA connect site when preparing for your exams then you are missing out on a host of resources.
All of the below mentioned resources are linked to the CIMA connect site where you will require your login. And they are specially for the MCS exam and it’s an exam I will be sitting in February (you can find similar resources for OCS and SCS on CIMA connect).
How to analyse the pre-seen material – article by David Harris
MCS Exam question walk-through – article by CIMA
CIMA MCS Feb 2018 What’s App group – a thread created on by a student on the CIMA connect site.
Astranti Case Study Course
In my opinion, the Astranti case study courses are unrivalled when it comes to the CIMA case studies as my first hand experience with the OCS exam a couple of years ago.
I have enrolled on the MCS course for February and will be posting blog updates during the course to share my feedback with other students.
- Study Text 1: how to approach the case study
- Study Text 2: syllabus content from the previous objective tests
- Pre-Seen Analysis: video analysis of the pre-seen from astranti tutor
- Strategic Analysis: strategy based on the case study scenario
- Top 10 Issues: the most likely issues to be tested on exam day
- Industry Analysis: the case
- Masterclass 1: live session with CIMA tutor on how to pass the case study.
- Masterclass 2: another live session focusing on CIMA syllabus revision.
- 3 Mock Exams: based on the actual case study (with marking and feedback).
- Personal Advice and Guidance – via private forums and progress reviews.
- Ethics Pack – a favourite CIMA topic that should never be overlooked.
Other CIMA Tuition Providers
I like to promote and mention other CIMA learning providers outside of the big guns of BPP and Kaplan and there are two or three that I have been spoken to and used their materials to some extent and would also recommend to check out;
Practice Tests Academy – I use them for their mock exams for the objective tests but they have also started to release resources for the CIMA case studies and definitely worth checking out.
Important Dates – February 2018 Case Studies
Below is the schedule of important dates to remember – don’t forget you still have plenty of time to get prepared before the pre-seen materials are released!