Studying for the CIMA Case Studies require a completely different approach from the objective tests. I also find there is also added weight of pressure and expectation that comes with a case study exam.
It’s a milestone.
It’s three hours long and you will have write somewhere between 3000-4500 words.
No select all that apply (thank god).
No flag for review.
You get the picture.
The Case Study Countdown
With the SCS exam in my sight, I feel like a boxer in a training camp for a big title fight. I have the experience of the previous two case study exams, not to mention the countless objective tests to date.
But this is the big one.
Potentially the final CIMA exam I will take.
The preparation also mirrors that of a boxer entering a training camp, once the opponent (Zoom) has been announced (pre-seen materials released) there is an intense six week training camp.
And much like a boxer, I am trying to peak at the right time with my preparation of pre-seen analysis, question practice and finally leading up to the fully marked 3 hour practice mock exams.
That would my advice to anyone CIMA student sitting a case study, the preparation is all about doing the right things at the right time, gradually build yourself up until you are confident enough to tackle a full mock exam in exam conditions.
As I have just entered the final two weeks before my exam on August 20th and I feel confident at this stage, well in terms of my preparation.
It all seems to be falling into place – at the moment I feel calm.
This can and probably will change as the final few days tick down.
Be Practical and PLAN!!
With this in mind, I thought I would share my TWO top tips on how to handle your case study exam.
Be Practical Rather than Technical
A case study answer that goes in depth on technical detail will score lower than a hands on practical answer.
And you should use this to your advantage, if you are struggling to refer back to the technical side of the syllabus then you should think practically.
When planning your answer, think;
How I do answer this in terms of the scenario?
Give practical advice on the situation.
Avoid general wishy washy statements.
Backup your thoughts with reasons how and why.
Plan your Answer
I spend around 20% of my time at the beginning of each section planning my answer. Firstly, identify the requirements and calculate how many marks I need to score.
A 60 minute question equates to 30-33 marks, so assuming your score 2 marks for every valid point made, you’ll need to make about 16 valid points in that 60 minute question.
A 60 minute question will usually have 4 sub questions inside the task, meaning I’d need to make approx. 4 valid points for each sub question.
If it has 3 sub questions I would make between 5-6 points on each.
Then I make headings for each point I want to make that directly fulfills the requirement. During that time I also add some brief notes under the heading of where I want to refer back to specifics in pre-seen, industry examples or technical content.
With the remaining 75-80% time left, then only I begin to type out my full answer.
Finally, here is some advice from I gathered from twitter on how to tackle your next CIMA case study exam;