Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Don't make the same mistakes as past students. Find out what they are...

So there's not much longer until the start of the CIMA Strategic Case Study exams! Are you ready? 

These last few days will be absolutely vital to your CIMA success, so make the most of the limited time available. I thought I would share with you the key points from the latest CIMA Strategic Case Study Examiner's Report as I really feel this is a great source of valuable information for everyone taking the exam in the coming weeks.

What better advice can you receive than from the examiners themselves? After all not only do they write the exam, they also mark it!

I attended a conference in London where examiners fed back on the performance of CIMA students. It's a shame that you were not all in the audience with me as they gave some great advice on how students can perform better in the exams. 

It was interesting to hear in the conference that the examiners were disappointed that many CIMA students did not take the time to read their reports, as the same problems were coming up time and time again. So to overcome this, we've captured the key points across the Examiner's Reports from the most recent sitting:

Industry and pre-seen knowledge

A surprising point made by the examiners, involved students' knowledge of the May pre-seen and the industry within which the pre-seen company operates.

“... Many candidates did apply their answers to the industry which was good, however some candidates did not appear to be familiar with the pre-seen material at all.."

It's vital that you get to know the pre-seen and the wider industry inside-out! The SparkSpace pre-seen was released six weeks ago, so there should be no excuses for not knowing everything there is to know about the pre-seen and the industry in which it sits.

Application is key

In another point, the examiners showed concern over the apparent use of pre-learned paragraphs:

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

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. We do suggest that preparing pre-learned paragraphs can be a useful tool for saving time in the exam, however, you MUST link the paragraph to the question and the situation that you have been given.


This is a point that we have raised on numerous occasions, and it is one that the examiners also highlight as important:

“...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."

In order to answer a question with the required detail, you must firstly have sufficient knowledge but also have a good plan in place. Take some time to think through each point you're going to make in your answer and use this as a framework to ensure you cover all the points in detail. 

Don't forget, for more useful CIMA exam hints, tips and resources, visit our website by going to

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