Friday, 15 January 2010

Results and pass rates

Well, the results are out for the Strategic Level exams. I guess that means that some of you will be happy (because you've passed), whereas most of you (because the global pass rates for all the papers tend to be less than 50%) will be disappointed. That got me thinking - are these exams too difficult?

I guess that pitching the level of difficulty of the exams is a balancing act, for CIMA. Too 'easy' and the qualification becomes devalued because 'anyone can get it', and too 'difficult' and people are put off studying it.

As you have probably gathered, I've been directly involved with the CIMA examining process, both as a marker and an examiner. I know how well the 'average' student performs in the CIMA exams and, let me tell you, it ain't that well. The majority of people attempting the CIMA exams are ill-prepared, sometimes in terms of technical knowledge (they've learned it, but don't understand it) but mainly in terms of exam technique. While I don't see it as my role (unless I'm lecturing, of course) to fix your technical skills, I am very keen to improve your exam technique.

Take it from someone who knows - the CIMA exams are actually relatively straightforward, if you've done a reasonable amount of technical preparation (which most people sitting the exams have) and you concentrate on understanding and answering the questions set (which most people, sadly, do not). Exam technique isn't 'cheating' - it's just about getting the maximum value (in terms of marks) from the time and effort you've put into technical preparation.


  1. Replies
    1. No, but the average CA student gets more help and support from their employer. Many CIMA students have to do it all themselves.