The inaugural Operational ICS Examiner’s Report highlighted that the majority of candidates were well prepared for their exam and naturally demonstrated the competencies of business acumen and people skills in their answer.
Candidates must be prepared for an examination that covers the syllabi for E1, F1 and P1. It is also worth highlighting that the examiner has stated in the report that each variant has technical integration marks for being able to link knowledge and content from different pillars.
Time management is a major factor within the exam, the first time CIMA (or any professional body) have introduced forced time management at a task level, within a professional stage exam. Each task will have a pre-determined time allocation within which candidates are required to read the information, identify the requirements and respond. Spending too long thinking or planning at the expense of writing, or vice-versa and candidates will not be considered competent. I find it incredibly reassuring that despite the challenges the forced time management presents, that “virtually all candidates” completed answers for each section.
A major area of concern is that some candidates rote learned answers, which will not attract credit within the context of any case study examination as you are required to assume the role of an employee within the company specified, Valley Spring. Answers lacking any application or reference to the scenario will not have scored well and would fail to add any value for Valley Spring (see page 12).
I recommend that you review the examiners report in detail to identify any knowledge gaps that you may have and those areas where students struggled in order to ensure that you are prepared for those issues in your own exam.