As part of CIMAs Success Stories, Stylianos has shared his thoughts on how to pass a case study exam!
The original article can be found here.
“This new type of exam is very much focused on real life examples” – by a March 2015 Strategic level Case Study Prizewinner
I sat and passed the Strategic case study exam in the 2015 syllabus. CIMA asked me to share my experience. Here’s how I got on. Good luck to other students sitting case study exams!
How does it feel to be one of the first students to pass a case study exam?
The fact that I completed my CIMA studies and exams with such an achievement is emotional by definition. On top of that, I felt extra excited receiving the results and that I won the prize for the second position in the world in this first CIMA SCS sitting. This is not just a prize for me, it is a confirmation that real life experience is as important as studies and it is an incentive for me to continue learning and apply this knowledge to broaden my experiences.
How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected?
The case study was very different to what I had seen from the previous paper based version (T4). On the other hand, it was so close to a real life example that my experience helped me a lot to tackle it using the correct approach.
How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?
I was self-studying using multiple resources from online material, the official syllabus and a lot of practice using past papers. I found the latter the best source of what is required at the strategic level from the perspective of the assessors.
Did you use a tuition provider?
No, I didn’t.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was to understand what is really expected in this new type of assessment as it was not clear and all the online instructions I had found seemed to be guesses as well. I used the guidance published by CIMA and I tried to familiarise myself as much as possible with that.
What is your winning formula?
Make sure you know the basics (theory), familiarise yourself with the company in the case study finding a similar company in real life and put yourself in the shoes of the managers in such a company asking yourself “What would this manager do if he had this challenge in real life?”
Is there any one thing you wished you’d have known before entering the exam room (apart from the answers?)
Can you offer some advice to other students?
This new type of exam is very much focused on real life examples. Theory is as important as experience. Put yourself in the shoes of the managers who would actually work in the company in discussion and make sure you empathise and you have built a holistic understanding of the challenges they may face before answering any of the questions.
What’s your next step?
I am a person who believes in continuous learning and development as well as building professional experience. Most probably I will pursue an additional qualification in another field that would complement my knowledge.