The Examiner’s Report following the May 2015 sitting of CIMA Managerial Integrated Case Study exams provides past candidates with an insight into the performance of the overall cohort, which will help aid reflection on their performance. Those who failed, should use the guidance to improve their performance in future exams and those who passed this exam should not rest on their laurels and use the lessons identified when approaching their Strategic ICS exam.
As this blog is targeted at current students, they should use the lessons identified to help bolster their performance by avoiding the common pitfalls made by past students and ensuring, as part of their preparation that they follow the footsteps of those who performed well in the ICS exam.
Case Study exams focus on the application of knowledge and theories to a particular scenario. Those who regurgitate knowledge with little application will not pass. CIMA have developed the case study exam to focus on improving the knowledge and skills of Management Accountants as Business Leaders, not bean counters.
The report highlights that some candidates demonstrated an extremely poor understanding of several syllabus areas, including material considered to be core knowledge for a Management Accountant. It is not clear if this relates specifically to core knowledge that has moved between papers as part of the 2015 syllabus amendments, which in itself is not an excuse. The syllabus has changed and as professional people and aspiring accountants, students are expected to remain conversant with updates including the syllabus changes. As part of the BPP programme, students receive detailed guidance on the changes in syllabus content and additional material to bridge the knowledge gap. This is in additional to having access to the entire E2, F2 and P2 syllabus content.
Overall, performance has improved following the March sitting. Tips for future candidates include: –
- Time management, focus on success and start writing the points you are most confident with first. So that when the allocated time expires, stronger answers are marked instead of spending time cobbling something together that you are unsure of and providing an average answer.
- Interpreting the requirement, candidates should note that the exam does provide specific instructions on what is required. The skill lies in interpreting the requirement to ensure you tailor your answer to what is required.
- Planning, an essential part of producing a good answer comes from the planning phase. Whether you do this using the answer box, drafting an outline answer; use the scratch pad to make notes within (which is visible regardless of the screen you are on); or the wipe board that you have access to and handwriting your own notes to form a plan, it remains essential to spend time reading and planning your response.
- Speaking to the audience, professional skills marks are available within the exam for providing an appropriate response to the person who has set the task. Consider if they are an accountant or not, which will determine the level of explanation you provide in relation to accounting concepts.
To summarise, work hard by using the practice tasks in your practice workbook and past exams to develop the skills required within the exam. This assessment led approach will then identify knowledge gaps and then revert to your course notes and study materials to address the knowledge gaps.