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Study Zone

Sharing can be a dangerous thing

CIMA has dished out a salutory lesson on how not to use social media during exam windows!

March 2018

The institute has stamped down hard on students in a WhatsApp group who shared information about one of its operational level case study exams. More than 30 students from the UK, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and South Africa have been disciplined over what went on in the instant messaging group ‘OCS’ prior and during the November 2016 exam.
Many students have had their November exam results declared void. There has also been a range of punishments, including reprimands, severe reprimands and even cancellation of students’ registrations.
In many cases where the student was reprimanded they have been told to sit and pass the Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law exam, before being permitted to sit any further CIMA exams.
The CIMA case study exams take place over a period of five days, so some students will see the questions and unseen material before others attempt the exam. To reduce the risk of disclosure students do not all take exactly the same exam. There are at least five ‘variants’, which are allocated to students randomly.
CIMA acted quickly when it discovered quite a number of the 256 students in the WhatsApp ‘OCS’ group were exchanging instant messages with each other during the exam window.
The institute accessed all the correspondence in the group, which was then highlighted in many of the disciplinary cases. One student, who was severely reprimanded and told to pay £330 in costs, posted: “Ppl plz show some gratitude and post whatever you get.” She also said: “Guys as we don’t hav much time to prepare… come up with details plz”. Then she got more specific: “Guys the first question on risk approach is that on maximin Or risk adverse risk seeking those?” This student’s November exam was voided, but she subsequently passed OCS in May 2017 and this and other exams were allowed to remain valid.
It appears some PQs knew that what they were doing wasn’t right. One student asked: “What if he reports to CIMA.” The student was told: “Its not our fault its CIMA’s fault.” They went on: “they [CIMA] leak all the variants within a few day so ya”.
One reprimanded student asked just one question: “Anyone for the evening variant?” But that was enough for them to have to go before the disciplinary committee and be punished.
In many of the disciplinary cases that followed

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