Saturday, 9 October 2010

Saving time by using abbreviations

K asked:
I have a question relating to time saving. I'm also worried that my English and grammar will let me down and I don't want to compound this by not meeting the examiner's expectations.

As an example, in the exam, is it better to refer to Non-executive Directors as NED's, or do the examiners prefer to see something written in full, or is a statement such as 'Non-executive Director's hereafter referred to as NED's' preferred?

Well, K, this is an easy one. There's no problem at all in using common abbreviations (NEDs, ABC, BPR, NPV...) in your answers. The correct form is to write the term in full, the first time you use it, followed by the abbreviation in brackets. From then on, just use the abbreviation.

For example, "If you are learning about Non-Executive Directors (NEDs), you might consider the number of NEDs on the board, their independence, their appointment, and their responsibilities. NEDs should..." You get the idea?

Please DO NOT 'invent' your own abbreviations. Don't refer to the organisation as 'the org', or to variances as 'vars'. This just makes your written work look unprofessional.

In general terms, your English only needs to be good enough so the reader (the marker) understands clearly what you mean. The CIMA exams are NOT a test of written English.

I hope this helps.


  1. what about verbs that go up the hierarchy level. e.g. if it asks you to discuss something, would that mean you have to define, explain and write down pros and cons with a conclusion at the end?


  2. Thank you for replying