Sunday, 30 January 2011

Problems with E3 and P3


Leevan wrote:

I am currently in Strategic Level papers. I got through my F3 paper last May 2010 but unfortunately I wasn't successful in E3 and P3. I made a second attempt for both of these papers last Nov 2010 but it wasn't successful as well. I got 40 and 46 for both E3 and P3. CIMA gave me the breakdown of marks for both of these papers. For E3 I got 19 for Q1, 11 for Q2 and 10 for Q3. For P3 I got 17 for Q1, 15 for Q2 and 14 for Q3.

I attempted quite a number of pass year question before facing the exams. I honestly don't know what went wrong. Please advise me what I should be doing to pass these 2 papers next May.

P.S I am taking the exams in Malaysia
Well, Leevan, you are not alone. A lot of students have problems with E3 and P3, as they are both very practical exams. The trick, with both of them, is to take a practical approach that is informed by theory, rather than just writing about the theories themselves. Your marks breakdown suggests poor performance on all questions, but a serious issue with question 1. I would suggest the following:
  1. Take a look at the way you approach the numerical parts of question 1. At the Strategic Level you need to be able to add value to the calculations. It's common to get only 1/2 to 1 mark for each step of the calculation, but up to 2 further marks for analysis and comment. There are frequently more marks for analysis than for the calculation itself. What do the numbers mean? What issues might the numbers indicate? What could or should the organisation consider? Look back at the post-exam guides for the appropriate papers, to see how the marks are awarded.
  2. Make sure that you are familiar with how to use the pre-seen material in question 1.
  3. Concentrate on answering the questions, rather than trying to cram your answers full of theories. The theories are just tools to help us solve problems.
  4. Get some feedback. Find a college or tutor that is willing to mark your questions, and advise where you are going wrong. Practising questions is fine but, without feedback, you don't really learn from them.
  5. Watch my exam techniques video, on the CIMA website - it is very relevant to E3 and P3.
I hope this helps.

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