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Study Zone

CIMA lecturers’ conference: the management level

For the management level you are expected to take on the role of a manager. What has the first nine months of the new syllabus brought to light?

February 2016

F2: Section A’s sources of long-term finance is the big problem for F2 sitters – and that includes even those passing the paper. It is, however, new to the syllabus (it comes from F3) and only amounts to 15% of the syllabus. PQs should also note that financial reporting, which is 60% of the syllabus, has some new areas. These include accounting entries applied to revenue, leases, provisions and deferred taxation and ethical accounting policies. Three articles have been publishing for F2 on ratios (two) and ethical accounting. The past nine months of results show successful students are performing strongly in sections B and C, with unsuccessful students poor overall.

P2: CIMA has found that area A – cost planning and analysis for competitive advantage – is the one students struggle with most. Successful students are just about passing all sections, with the opposite for failing students. The institute’s assessment manager directed students to various articles available for P2 that are already out there.
There is a P2 OTQ types with example article, one on WACC and another on investment appraisal.

E2: With a pass rate of 83%, CIMA feels students are performing strongly in most areas. The one area where weaker performance can be found is in section D, managing change through projects. There is a new section and learning outcome, which comes from E3 – discuss the concept of organisational change and recommend techniques to manage resistance to change. For D2a,c there has also been a verb upgrade to ‘discuss’. CIMA pointed students to three articles published for E2 on project management, big data and managing change through projects, so search these out.

Management case study

Pass rates
February 2015 – Construction company Bild 33%
May 2015 - Shipping company Flote 62%
August 2015 – Fragrance manufacturer Scent 77%

The lead marker felt it was too soon to generalise about the case study; the problem was the number of weak attempts in March. Happily, the quality of scripts picked up in May and August. The hope is candidates (and tuition providers) are getting an idea of what is expected.
A big tip for sitters is to read the question and answer the question. By all means think about the pre-seen, but don’t answer the question you have ‘spotted’ in advance.
The marker stressed that there are no optional questions in the case and a weak answer to one question may not be compensated by another if they are different competencies. And if the answer is coming straight from study materials then it is probably not answering the question directly.
Finally, it was explained that the length of the answer says very little about the likely mark achieved. Although spelling errors appear to be getting worse you will not be marked down for these. The only thing that really matters is that the markers know what the candidate is trying to say. They also like headings and paragraphs. The better answers often cite models or technical issues and then set about demonstrating their use to resolve the specific requirement.

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