Another article from a recent student on how to pass your case study exam, focussing on question practice to develop your skills!
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Strategic Case Study Exam
“Question practice is definitely key” – 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?
It feels amazing, especially for it to be my last CIMA exam, it’s a great way to round off the past 3 years of studying.
How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected?
I can’t really say what I was expecting, because the format seemed so different from what I’d heard T4 to be like previously from colleagues and friends, I kept pretty open minded to what the format would be like. I did however like the format on computer and how it replicated an every-day work environment.
How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?
Most of my studying for the exam was done during classroom time, as my tuition provider had drafted some really useful practice questions based around the case study. Question practice is what I’ve always found most useful, particularly a couple of weeks leading up to the exam, to get a good feeling of what’s expected from a well-rounded answer. I found the advice articles available on CIMAconnect useful, as they gave a good insight to how the examiner would test us, and the practise exam format available from Pearson Vue was very useful too, to get used to the software.
Did you use a tuition provider?
Yes, I studied with Kaplan Financial throughout all exams.
What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Getting the balance between working full time and studying, not so much of a juggle for the final case study exam as the majority of my studying was done in the classroom, but travelling to Leeds from Hull every Saturday after 5 days of working was quite draining.
I made a study planner right at the start of tuition which I hung in my kitchen so I could see if I was achieving what I’d set myself to do. My employer is also very understanding when it comes to studying and offer paid study leave nearer the exam. Lots of sleep was helpful too!
What is your winning formula?
I always try to start (and stick to) a study plan as early on as possible, I think it’s much easier to make the links between the 3 subjects (F, P and E) later on in the studying, when completing past exam questions, if the basic understanding is there. I recommend visual aids for revision, mind maps, images and silly acronyms really help to implant the knowledge in my head. The sillier the better as I’m more likely to remember them!
Is there any one thing you wished you’d have known before entering the exam room (apart from the answers?)
Leading up to the exam, there seemed quite a bit of uncertainty around how many marks were available for the whole exam, and not knowing the marks allocated to each requirement within each of the 3 questions made it more difficult on where to prioritise my time. I understand why the new syllabus might cause changes in the marking guide, but it was quite unnerving not having a solid understanding of this before sitting the exam.
Can you offer some advice to other students?
Question practice is definitely key. It’s reiterated so often, by tutors, past students, current students, in CIMA articles etc, but I do think it really is the best way to be as prepared as possible, and feel comfortable with the format and language used.
What’s your next step?
I’m aiming to complete my experience log in the next couple of months, and keep working on developing my skills at work to progress further within the company and propel myself further in my career.