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Put yourself to the test
What sort of a learner are you? Jackie Durham has devised a light-hearted quiz that might help you focus your studying!
1. When you sat your first Objective Test exam did you feel:
A. Fine, there were no surprises and it went well.
B. Generally ok, not quite like you thought but do-able.
C. Confused, this wasnít what you expected.
D. Nothing really, I didnít know what to expect.
E. I havenít sat an exam yet, I donít feel ready.
2. When you are reading up on a new topic, do you:
A. Follow a set plan, read, make notes, test yourself, review, repeat.
B. Want to really get into it and know everything there is to know about the topic.
C. Donít bother with a lot of reading, you like to get straight into question practice.
D. Focus on the facts and figures, you love tables and formulae.
E. Feel overwhelmed, you never know where to start.
3. Overall, how do you feel about studying CIMA?
A. I want to do well and pass with good grades, but Iím not that bothered about the actual studying part.
B. I love it, I love studying and exploring concepts and putting them in context.
C. I enjoy it although itís hard sometimes; I just focus on one subject at a time, pass and move on.
D. Iím not that interested in the studying side of things, I just want to be a qualified management accountant.
E. Not always sure why Iím doing it, I just want it to be over!
4. If you fail an exam whatís your approach next time around?
A. I havenít really failed so far/failed only one.
B.I go back and study everything again, in depth, I donít want to miss anything.
C. I just get stuck in and book a resit, Iím sure Iíll do better next time around.
D. I donít understand why I failed. Help!
E. I havenít failed except failing to book an exam.
5. What study techniques do you think work best for you?
A. I always need a plan, I think of it as Ďpreparing to passí and it works for me.
B. I like to study broad and deep so that I feel I am thoroughly prepared and really understand each topic.
C. I do lots and lots of question practice from day one.
D. I donít have a particular technique, I try to learn all the facts and figures for the OTs though!
E. I think I need a study technique.
What do your answers say about you?
If you answered mostly ĎAí: You are an Ďorganised learnerí, you take a very strategic approach, planning and preparing to pass. You might not find every subject easy, but you have a disciplined approach that means youíll stick with it until you understand everything and have a strong chance of passing. This is the most effective approach for professional exams.
If you answered mostly B: You love learning and enjoy studying for its own sake, you are likely to use a Ďdeep learningí approach. This is a great way to study but for professional exams it can mean you get a bit bogged down in the detail or distracted by the bigger picture. It might take you longer to progress as you feel you need to know everything there is to know about every aspect of the topic and how it links to everything else before you feel confident to enter the exam. Hold onto your love of learning, but make sure you plan your time so your studies are focused and book that exam so you have a deadline to work to!
If you answered mostly C: You are most likely a Ďsurface learnerí. You want to crack on and get the exams out of the way so that you can get on with the job of being a management accountant. You may feel irritated with the new assessments because they require you to study every aspect of the syllabus. Your approach might have been successful in your previous exams, but for the CIMA 2015 assessments you need to adopt a wider, deeper but still focused approach. Become an organised learner (see A, above) and donít rely too much on question practice as exam preparation.
If you answered mostly D: You may have a tendency to focus on Ďrote learningí, trying to cover all the facts and theory, but perhaps not fully understanding their application. This may cause you to struggle as you progress and/or in the case study exams where an integrated approach and broad understanding across the syllabus is required. If you are a self-studier, use the new CIMA self-study guides to plan your studies and help you become an Ďorganised learnerí who plans for and achieves success.
If you answered mostly E: You need to review your whole approach to your CIMA studies and remind yourself why you are doing them. If youíre not sure about that, maybe a full-scale career review is required. If you are struggling to get started, donít worry. There are lots of resources to help you on the CIMAconnect, you just need a plan. Our self-study guides are a great place to start, thereís one for each OT on CIMAconnect. Most of all book an exam so that you have a deadline to work towards Ė you will feel better when you do!
ē Jackie Durham, Education & Training Consultant, AICPA-CIMA
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