How to get the most out of your CIMA study text

It is not always enough to simply read through a text book or from a computer screen, processing large amounts of information on a monitor can make it tricky to track your progress. It is always useful to use different ways of revision to ensure you are remembering all the key bits of revision.

I am often approached by students who are finding it difficult to take in key theory from the text, despite having read it through a number of times. In my experience, one of the most effective way of taking in information from any text is by making notes as you go along. The process of reading a portion of text and then translating this into a written note, helps some learner's consume and understand information easier and faster. 

Another useful tip that I have found is to use a highlighter when going over texts. Do not go crazy and highlight everything! Nor should you just highlight some things and just focus on them. In my experience, I have found highlighting the things I find most difficult is a useful tool to remind me that I need to go back over it. That way, the highlighted text is a reminder to focus on that particular area!

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How to save yourself time in the CIMA case study exams

How to save yourself time in the CIMA case study exams
How to save yourself time in the CIMA case study exams

The LAST thing you want to do when are you sat down in the exam is to be reaching for the pre-seen because you did not completely cover it in your revision, time will not be on your side as you have three hours to get through tough questions. In my experience, the best way to save time in the exam is to make up for it now and get to know the pre-seen inside out so that you don't ever have to look at it in the exam itself. Who else agrees?

The Examiners definitely agree. Every examiner's report will refer to how well students managed to engage with the pre-seen (or not). If you don't believe me, let's see what the examiners had to say in the latest OCS examiner's report: 

"Preparation on the pre-seen material is vital. Ensure that you are very familiar with the business, especially the financial information, before the exam as this will help you with applying your knowledge and will save you time."
So what can you do to help you remember all the key points from such a sizeable document as the pre-seen?

1. Make your own revision notes or scratch-cards as you go. You should then keep coming back to them, even re-writing them over and over again to cement these into your memory. Perhaps even use different colours and highlighters for the extra important information.

2. Once you have done this, you can scribble down notes and ideas that you think are linked with this information, doing this as early as possible will definitely make you feel a lot more comfortable with the pre-seen when you are finally going into the exam! Particularly useful when it comes to knowing the industry!

Make your own voice recordings of important information about the document. Research has shown that you are more likely to remember information when you are listening to your own voice; alternatively just talking through the information can help with information retention. When you have your recording listen to it from day to day, before you know it you'll have the pre-seen covered!

Making your own voice recordings and notes is not always for everyone though. If this is you, do not fear!

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Top tips to pass CIMA SCS exam in first time from Nissanka

Top tips to pass CIMA SCS exam
Top tips to pass CIMA SCS exam

Nissanka Silva was passed his CIMA SCS exam recently he is working at Accenture Lanka as an Assistant Manager in Finance. He is overlooking Group finance reporting, statutory audit, corporate finance and taxation.. He is also a Associate member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka as well.

We thanked Nissanka for the great tips gave  for the future students and wish him all the very best with his carrier.

I joined CIMA through Gateway route and got through strategic level under the previous syllabus.
I only managed to get 72 marks in my first attempt of SCS in May 2016. I then analysed where I went wrong and changed my strategy. As a result of that, I was able to get 120 marks (which is 80%) in my second attempt in August 2016 and which is a turning point.

My advice to you will be as follows.

  • ·        Analyse the pre seen in detailed and prepare a summery. In my case I prepared a summary of AEN pre seen into just 4 pages.

  • ·         Go through tuition providers pre seen analysis, e.g. KYP, KYI by LearnCIMA, Practice work book by Kaplan and strategic analysis by Astranti

  • ·         Analyse the related industry to some extend as it will be useful in the exam to use real life industry examples. Industry analysis of Astranti will be useful.

  • ·         Attempt at least 15 mocks from different tuition providers as it will cover most of the possible issues. Kaplan and LearnCIMA mocks are preferred.

  • ·         Have your own 5 mocks (variants) based on your analysis of the given pre seen and past papers. When analyzing past papers, focus should be given on Leadership and People skills where 50% of marks is based on this (25% each)

  • Pre seen is issued 6 weeks before the exam which is first week of the previous month of the exam. During this month (first 3 weeks), fully focus on analyzing the pre seen and be familiarize with it. You will not have a time to refer to the pre seen in the exam, so knowing the ins and outs of the pre seen will be key here.

  • During the following month (last 3 weeks), more focus should be on mocks. The more mocks you attempt, you will cover most of possible issues.

When answering in the exam, do focus on below areas.

  • ·         Always use headings for each requirement and sub headings for each paragraph. Keep in mind that the examiner is looking for quality rather than quantity.

  • ·         Always argue for both benefits and drawbacks (Pros and Cons) even not asked to do so.

  • ·         Always conclude your answer with a recommendation and justify your recommendation.

Hope above tips will be useful to you for your preparation and wish you all the very best and good luck for the SCS exam and all your future endeavors. 

Best wishes,

Nissanka Silva

Top tips to answer the CIMA exam Questions ..

How to answer the CIMA exam Questions ??? -  Top tips
How to answer the CIMA exam Questions ??? -  Top tips

A key skill being tested in the case study exam is your ability to work out exactly what you are being asked to do. 

If we go back to the August OCS Examiner's Report the examiners placed importance on students getting straight to the point with their answers and addressing the key requirements of the question:

"The tasks set are tests of effective communication skill as well as technical know-how. In some tasks it was clear that candidates had knowledge of a particular area, but were unable to apply it effectively to the case study."

Some of the sections in the exam will have two or three sub-requirements. It is a massive risk to miss any - as you'd have missed out on a significant portion of the marks. Miss two and you may as well re-book your place at the next sitting! However with care and by following some simple steps, the requirements can become clear:

1. Read through carefully 

This may seem like an obvious, but it's amazing how reading through the text really carefully can help in highlighting the requirements of a question.

2. Don't 'assume' your own requirements 

under timed conditions, it can become tempting to jump to conclusions and think you have found a requirement when in reality the requirement may have been yet to be discussed.

3. Plan your answer

 Plan your answer

Learning how to effectively plan your answer will naturally help you to answer exactly what the question is requiring from you.

During your practise in the last couple of weeks before the exam, make sure you are highlighting the requirements of the practise questions, and are then addressing these requirements directly. This will develop good habits for when you come to sit your real exam.

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Top tips to pass CIMA OCS exam from students who did the exams

Top tips to pass your CIMA OCS exam
Top tips to pass CIMA OCS exam

Here are some tips shared by the OCS students in a survey regarding the CIMA Operational case study exam have a look may help for your future OCS exams good luck 

1) Do things within the given time.

2) Do more practice exams.

(as many as you can find) Do revision of theory Go through previous exam questions and the answers. Typing speed is really very important, Learn touch typing, That would make things easier Go through the pre-seen analysis few times. Time management.

3) Practice as many past test papers as possible.

4) Find time to do industry research and don't loose focus. Finish answers well even if you feel you could have done better.

5) Practice more mocks and get the feedback package because it helps you get to on your personal weakness before the real exam.

6) Spend time on your theory and prepare to answer questions by putting your theory into context. Take your time and take a minute to calm yourself if you don't know the answer.

7) No your theory.

8) Time management is very essential to pass. So they have to practice more to manage their time

9) Absolutely revise theory the most!! Its useful to do industry analysis but very hard to make such points in the exam under exam conditions. I was very confident in my industry analysis but very disappointed in the fact that i found only 1 chance to talk about in a 3 hour exam.

10)  Do more practice of CIMA past exams Q&A's and Astranti mocks Q&A. Refer Astranti text material (which is excellent summarized material to the point to clarify concept if needed). If done this, there is a bright chance that they can pass OCS exam in the first attempt.

11) Practice your time management by completing mock exams a few times before the real exam, it would be almost impossible to successfully sit the exam without experiencing this beforehand at least once

12) Getting a wider view on the subject by not just relying on information from the CIMA syllabus

13) Look after yourself psychically and emotionally too!

14) Practice as many questions as possible

15) Know 100% of the E1 F1 and P1 syallabus. Anything could come up.

16) Everyone must be physically and mentally fit before entering into the exam hall especially one must have a good sleep and not be tired at all. 

17) Must complete revision of the entire syllabus at least once just before the exam.

18) Revise all aspects of theory and more of F1

19) Use materials from providers like Astranti , PTA, and VIVA , you can access the sites directly by clicking the name 

20) Studying past mocks and their answers is the best way to increase passing chances and know your theory in and out , study the pre seen material and practice time management.

CIMA exam latest pass rates October 2016 - Case studies & Objective tests

CIMA exam latest pass rates August 2016 - Case studies & Objective tests
CIMA exam latest pass rates August 2016 - Case studies & Objective tests 

Please check the updated latest CIMA pass rates here 

The latest batch of CIMA pass rates are in, and they are looking good!

The August case study exam results will please lots of CIMA PQs. The Strategic pass rate has jumped from 46% in May to 63% this time around (August). The management pass rate is a healthy 71%.

CIMA’s exam chief, Steve Flatman, pointed to the good news at F2. CIMA has piut in a lot of effort here and worked with its learning partners to help improve the material. He stressed that the computerisation of exams means that he is able to drill CIMA case study down into the data and really see where the help is needed. Having instant access means CIMA can react in real-time and provide instant guidance.

There has also been very slight increases in the P1 and P2 pass rates, to 43% and 45% respectively. Flatman admits he doesn’t miss the ‘terrible headlines’ about these pass rates. 

The E1 and E2 OTs continue to have the highest pass rates. E1 has a first time pass rate of 76% and E2 is even higher at 86%. 

For Flatman the pass rate story is “all about consistency, reliability and fairness”. And he believes CIMA has achieved this yet again. 

CIMA Case Study Exams –  

August 2016 pass rates: 

Operational     64% 

Management   71%

Strategic          63%.

CIMA OT overall pass rates (to October 2016): E1 86%; P1 67%; F1 82%; E2 93%; P2 71%; F2 75%; E3 80%; P3 77%; F3 75%

CIMA OT first time pass rates (to October 2016): E1 76%; P1 47%; F1 72%; E2 86%; P2 51%; F2 51%; E3 64%; P3 55%; F3 54%

CIMA OT total pass rates (to October 2016): E1 73%; P1 43%; F1 68%; E2 84%; P2 45%; F2 48%; E3 62%; P3 50%; F3 50%

The pass rates cover the objective test sittings 

Overall exam pass rate: Percentage of students who have passed the exam after one or more attempts.  86%67%82%93%71%75%80%77%75%
First time pass rate: Percentage of students who have passed the exam on first attempt.  76%47%72%86%51%51%64%55%54%
Exam pass rate:Total exams passed / total exams taken.  73%43%68%84%45%48%62%50%50%

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Typing Speed in CIMA case study exams

Typing Speed in CIMA case study exams
Typing Speed in CIMA case study exams 

Find out if you are typing fast enough to pass? Whilst you are working extremely hard to learn all of the key theory and considering how this can be applied to the pre-seen company, do you know if you're able to type quick enough to get enough marks to pass the exam? As such it is vital that you aim to type as quickly as you can and write as much as you can without compromising on the quality of your work.

For the majority of CIMA students who use computers regularly, most from a very young age, tying speed will not be a barrier. PC use is not a part of everybody's everyday activities, if you think this might be you then it would definitely be advisable for you to practise your typing to improve it prior to the exam. Your goal should be to get to a minimum of 20 words per minute. Ideally though, the faster the better!

If you want to find your own typing speed then just search online using the term “test typing speed” and you will find a host of free online typing tests you can take to test your speed along with a range of tools to help you improve. Here are a few free websites  which allow you to test your typing speed for free:

Also Try here a free mini mock of Astranti and improve your timing and thinking skill 

I'm sure you are and will work extremely hard in your revision to cover all of the key topics, so it would be a great shame if your typing speed was a barrier to Operational success. If you discover that your typing speed is not very quick, make sure you spend enough time practising to try and improve this.

One way to practise your typing speed under pressure is through the use of Mock Exams - whether you are doing the Case study exam or the objective test, mock exams are often the best revision tool! Practice makes perfect, so the more you practice what you have learnt through mock exams the more aware you are of what you are doing right, and where you need to improve.


Nick Best from