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CIMA case study: so what's cooking?

Want to pass your CIMA case study? Jackie Durham suggests some new ingredients to help you with your preparations

December 2016

We all know Peter Stewart loves a good curry and has used that analogy in a previous PQ article. I’m more of a ‘Bake Off’ girl myself (I love cake!), but we both agree that there’s a very simple recipe for success in the CIMA exams – assemble your ingredients (resources), whip up your mixture (do your preparation), check you haven’t left anything out or forgotten to put the oven on (revision) and then put your creation in the oven (sit the exam). If it fails to rise, you need to review your preparation, work out what went wrong and put the baking powder in next time!
To add to your ‘ingredients list’, the Learning team at CIMA have just published a new suite of resources for case study students at each of the three levels – Operational, Management/ Gateway and Strategic. These complement the existing range of resources available to case study students and should ensure that the already strong pass rates for case studies are maintained and, quite probably, improved.
Students frequently ask what a ‘good’ answer looks like. Although we already have the examiner’s suggested answer, we felt that students would value an insight into an actual passing script. So our first new resource is a walk-through answer of just that – an actual script from each level in the February case study exams. These aren’t prize-wining scripts and certainly don’t represent the only way to secure a pass but they are good examples of what it takes to score well.
Used in conjunction with other resources such as the Grade Descriptors for each level and the other resources discussed in this article, they will really help our students see what they need to do to pass. The walk-through takes the reader through the strengths and limitations of the answer, pointing out where points have been well made as well as areas where more depth or application would have improved the response. Opportunities to integrate the answers are also demonstrated.
The case study is essentially a virtual role play and we encourage students to think of it almost as a job interview. This is their opportunity to demonstrate their competence to work at a certain level, for example finance officer, within a realistic business scenario. To bring this element of the case studies to life, we have produced a document called ‘Roles and Responsibilities in the CIMA case study’ in which we look in depth at the ‘personas’ used in the cases. The personas and the roles they play are an essential element within the cases as they help students (and employers) see how they contribute to employability by building competence across a range of essential business skills. They also showcase the innovative, employment-focused approach which underpin al the 2015 assessments.
To complete the suite of new resources we have a set of self-check lists that will give students confidence that they are ready to sit their case study exam and, if they aren't quite ready, will highlight the areas they need to focus their remaining study time on. There are four sections made up of a series of questions in which we ask students to reflect upon whether they have:
• Understood the principles behind the case study (with links to the ‘Personas’ document above).
• Learned enough.
• Prepared enough.
• Practised enough.
When they have worked through these questions and really thought about their exam preparation they will either feel really positive that they have prepared to pass or will know where to focus their remaining study efforts in the run up to the exam.
Great preparation and lots of practice has always been the best way to secure a pass, the assessments may have moved on but the recipe for success remains the same!

Find the resources for your case study on CIMAconnect:
• https://connect.cimaglobal.com/groups/
operational-case-study-exam/resources
• https://connect.cimaglobal.com/groups/
management-case-study-exam/resources
• https://connect.cimaglobal.com/groups/ strategic-case-
study-exam/resources
• https://connect.cimaglobal.com/resources

• Jackie Durham is learning and development manager at CIMA

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