Monday, 26 July 2010

CMGA: are exemptions ever a good idea?

Production Management wrote:

I have just achieved my MBA. I am seriously considering taking CIMA up on their CMGA offer where I can go directly into the Management Level study. Do you think this is the right way to go to rather start CIMA from the operational level?

For those of you who aren't familiar with the CMGA, it's a 'fast track' for holders of MBA qualifications. Applicants pay an increased fee, get a package of support from CIMA (application fee, subscription, exam entry, modules) and sit a single, 3-hour, exam containing questions on P2, E2 and F2. On passing this exam, the CMGA goes on to sit the three Strategic Level exams then the Case Study. CMGA applicants still need to prove they have 3 years relevant experience, in order to qualify.

There are advantages (faster progression, no need to repeat stuff studied before) and disadvantages (loads of hard work, the first CIMA exams are always a shock, missing things in earlier levels). So, how should you decide whether to take the CMGA route, or to enter as a 'normal' student?

I would suggest that you look at how much finance and accounting you have covered, both in your MBA and earlier studies. If the answer is 'quite a lot', take the CMGA route. If the answer is 'not much', take the normal student entry route. A good starting place is the syllabus, and some past exam papers (in the 'study resources' tabs).

Indeed, this is pretty much the advice from CIMA themselves:

I am an MBA holder. Do I have to take the CMGA?
We recommend that you look closely at the syllabus for CIMA papers E2, F2 and P2 and also at the relevant past exam papers. If you feel confident that you have a good understanding of the syllabus areas, then the CMGA may be preferable. If you are in any doubt about your competence in any of E2, F2 or P2, we recommend that you take the normal exemption route.

In fact, that's pretty much the advice I would give anyone considering whether or not to apply for exemptions, at any level.

Hope that helps.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Work experience and Strategic Level

Anonymous (don't be shy!) said:

I would like to know if practical work experience is essential in passing Strategic Level.

No. It helps, of course, if you've been working for a couple of years as you will have a better understanding of how business works and loads of good 'higher' skills that you've developed at work. However, I know loads of students who've passed Strategic Level with little or no practical experience. You just need to understand the skills being tested at that level, and work hard (in the right way) to develop those skills. There's loads of stuff in earlier posts about the skills being tested at Strategic Level.

The T4 Case Study, though, is a different matter...

Is it knowledge, or exam techniques, that let me down?

Anonymous said:

"Well failed E3 by 3 marks - gutted - dont know best way forward as I came out of exam thinking I'd done ok. Just purchased your book Pass First Time to see if that helps. It possibly could be exam technique as I felt as if I knew enough about the subjects examined. Waiting for the post exam guide now to see if that helps. Any advice on what to do now."

In my experience, a student with good knowledge and poor exam technique may either pass or fail, but a student with mediocre knowledge and good exam technique will probably pass comfortably. Enough said? Read the book, check out the post-exam guide, then post again if you need more specific advice...

Been to Sri Lanka, results...

Hi all. Well, the results are out so congratulations to those of you who passed, and commiserations to the rest.

I've just come back from a week in Sri Lanka (work, not holiday) and I met some great people, both students and tutors. Thanks to everyone there for making my stay pleasurable and interesting. Hopefully, some of my new Sri Lankan friends will be along soon, to add to this community. Off to Malaysia next month, then back to Africa in October.