Thursday, 14 July 2016

Must know tips from the SCS examiners!

The May 2016 CIMA Strategic Case Study Examiner's Report has just been released – as always it contains valuable information for students about to take their CIMA exams. 

It amazes me that so many CIMA students don't pay attention to the Examiners' Reports. After all, they are the people you need to impress on the big day!

These reports highlight the same old issues that come up time and time again. They summarise the mistakes students are making in the exams and give important and helpful advice on areas they should improve.

Make sure you don't ignore these! To help you out we've captured the key points from the May report here:

Getting to the point

The first point made by the examiner is about candidate's getting to the point with their answers:

"The main problems were candidates failing to answer what was asked and writing everything they knew on the topic being asked about." 

It's important to assess what the question is asking of you and ensure your answer addresses this as directly as possible.

It can be tempting to feel like you need to make your answer as long as possible by embellishing it with extra information. However this will not get you any extra marks, so try to answer exactly what the question is asking of you.

Application is key

In a similar theme to what is mentioned above, the examiners also stress the importance of application:

A good level of knowledge of the three strategic syllabi is necessary in order to do well in the exams. It is not enough to have knowledge of topics, candidates must be able to apply their knowledge to a variety of situations and show they have an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter."

Simply explaining a theory you know will not get you any marks, unless you can apply it to the scenario that you are faced with.

Pre-seen analysis

Success in a case study exam relies on effective analysis of the pre-seen. This is something which cannot be stressed enough and it is a point which the examiners again make:

Some candidates however, still did not demonstrate much knowledge of the pre-seen material which was surprising, it was as if candidates did not realise it was important. Candidates should read the pre-seen material carefully and come into the examination understanding the industry and the company which will be the focus of the exam. This will help candidates formulate good answers that relate to the questions.

The point raised by the examiner is interesting in that it mentions the need to take your pre-seen analysis further. Not only do they recommend you analyse the pre-seen company, but also analyse the industry in which it operates.

This analysis will help with that all important application that the examiners remind us is so important.

Know your Ethics

Throughout the sittings over the last couple of the years, it has become apparent that Ethics is a topic which is likely going to be tested. 

However, for whatever reason, it seems that students still overlook this in their revision:

"Ethics was one poor area, where many candidates could not name the ethical principles, apply them or ever recognise an ethical issue"

You really will do well to include some revision of Ethics in your revision as history suggests that this will be a topic that comes up in your next case study exam. 

Materials to help

We have materials which can specifically help to address the issues raised above. Why not take a look through our SCS resources?

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