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CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a UK based professional body offering training and qualification in management accountancy and related subjects. It is focused on accountants working in industry, and provides ongoing support and training for members.

CIMA is one of the professional associations for accountants in the UK and Ireland. Its particular emphasis is on developing the management accounting profession. CIMA is the largest management accounting body in the world with more than 227,000 members and students in 179 countries.[1] CIMA is also a member of the International Federation of Accountants.

CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

Here are some tips that will help you to pass the case study papers comfortably.

1. Analyse the pre-seen materials:

CIMA issues the pre-seen materials 9 weeks before the respective CIMA exam window through CIMAconnect. Carefully read, understand and analyse the pre-seen material and do not leave out any section. This will be the foundation of questions that will be asked in the examinations, and the better you know it, the higher will be your chances of passing the exams.

2. Develop the necessary skills:

CIMA tests a variety of skills of the candidates through the case study exams, and these go beyond the basic domain knowledge. The candidates are tested for their analytical, presentation and communication abilities and CIMA can also test any other skills that it deems to be fit.

You will need to acquire and develop these skills so that you are able to answer the case studies carefully.

3. Read the question carefully

As per the examiners’ reports, the commonest mistake many candidates make is to rush through the process of reading the question paper. This mistake proves to be very costly since the candidates end up answering the questions in the wrong way. You need to spend adequate time in reading the questions so that you do not end up giving a wrong answer.

4. Give complete answers

Another mistake that you need to avoid is giving incomplete answers to the questions. While reading the questions, understand and note down what the examiner wants. Then provide the complete answer to the question in the right way to score the maximum marks.

5. Answers should be to the point

Another thing that you need to remember is to give relevant answers, instead of writing simply whatever you know. Many students simply do not understand what the examiner whats, and they end up writing whatever they know. This is not going to help at all, and you will end up scoring negative marks.

CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

Well let’s look at my recommended steps below…

Step 1: Planning

  • Decide when you will take your exam and book it – You need to be disciplined as to when you book your exam and stick to it – if motivation is a problem, you’ll keep putting off the exam date
  • Decide on your method of study – you can self study (not recommended) or  join an online course
  • Have a study plan that you will realistically stick to right the way through to your exam date. This will be made easier if you use a proven structure from an online course provider. 6-8 weeks should be sufficent.
  • Decide when and where you’ll study – aim to study when and where you’ll be most productive
  • Familiarise yourself with the skills being tested and the role you’ll play, from by blog.
  • Familiarise yourself with exam format and functionality using the CIMA practice exam for your paper
  • Review any Examiners Guides on CIMA Connect.

Step 2: Studying

  • Revise key theories from the 3 subject papers on your level and work through the material that is likely to be tested in your case study exam. Your case study study text will help you focus on the right topics and how they are relevant to the exam you are taking. There are also courses and masterclasses available which are really useful in helping you to revise these topics.
  • Pre seen analysis – Work through the relevant pre seen material from CIMA Connect, paragraph by paragraph asking yourself which models/frameworks/techniques from the 3 objective test papers on your level seem the most relevant to that paragraph and make notes on your pre seen. More detailed advice on pre seen analysis here
  • One Page Summary – summarise all the key information you have obtained from your pre seen analysis into a one page summary and revise regularly
  • Top ten questions – List out the top ten likely questions you’ll be asked in your exam based on what your pre seen analysis suggests. Think about how you would deal with each to pass them should they come up.
  • Business awareness – Keep up to date with what is going on in the business news as it may just be the case that a key issue you have identified earlier will be played out in the real world and so you’ll be able to use how they dealt with it (successfully or otherwise) to demonstrate your business skills in your exam
  • Learn the exam technique required – the things to especially focus on are answer planning, time management, identifying all the requirements, reading the unseen and how to write your full answer to please the examiner.

CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

Step 3: Exam Practice

  • Learn the marking criteria – the four skill areas you need to pass
  • Attempt full mock exams under timed conditions and be strict with your time management
  • Make sure you spend enough time on your answer plans and sense checking your answers for each section
  • Review the solutions – You should review the solutions to your mocks. As you do so take note of the following key elements:
  1. What are the requirements and did you find them all?
  2. What models/theories have been used that you did not use?
  3. What are the key points that you did not make that you could use for similar issue in the future?
  4. Notice the style and approach of the solution and remind yourself of the writing style required to pass
  • Get your mocks marked so you can review the feedback – Ideally you will get expert feedback on your mock exams as this will give you a knowledgeable and experienced point of view on your level of performance to tell you how well you are getting on. You can review your own script if you fully understand the marking scheme of the exam and note any key lessons learnt ready for your next mock exam attempt – but I find this very rarely works as we are not very good judges of our own performance.
  • Draw up action plan on what to focus on – don’t overlook this step! Look at the areas of weakness in your mocks and work on those. Perhaps it’s a particular model or theory you need to revise further. More importantly if you are struggling in your time management or writing approach, consider doing some sections of the exam again with a focus on rectifying the problems you have identified.

Step 4: Pre Exam Days

  • Re read the pre seen & the one page summary of your analysis
  • Create a list of key points you want to use in your exam
  • Review all the key lessons from your mocks
  • Re read the key theories just to refresh your mind
  • Try to visit your chosen exam centre
  • Make sure you have your admission slip and ID ready
  • Take it easy the day before your exam – no last minute cramming
  • Sleep well and relax the night before the exam
  • Practice thinking positively ahead of your exam – visualise success

Step 5: During Your Exam

  • Go into exam with confidence – even if you don’t feel like it, try and act like it (trust me this works)
  • Work quickly through your exam and aim to make lots of points
  • Keep going right to the end and try to maximise your marks
  • Keep an eye on the time throughout and stick to your timings
  • Stick to what has worked in your exam practice

CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

  1. You may consider paying for tuition, exams and annual subscription. I would advise to pay only for tuition and for maximum of 4 exams per year.
  2. You may suggest that the qualification be completed in 3 years time (this is what big 4 does)
  3. You may suggest the maximum number of failures; say each exam could be failed only once and minimum failed mark; say 45% (the pass rate is 50%), so if failed below 45 you may consider to stop the support.
  4. You may also offer paid study leave period, usually 1 week before the exams.

CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

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CIMA Strategic level preparation tips

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