Monday, 9 February 2015

Study methods

Wayne asked:
My name is Wayne from S. Africa, I enrolled for CIMA starting at Operational level. I just want to ask the Guru, is it more wise to study via a tuition provider or distance learning using cimastudy website or perhaps will the cima publishing books offer me the best chance to succeed?

Hi Wayne
OK, let's start at the beginning, as this will be relevant to lots of students.

1. College,, or just buy the books? In order of preference, and also of cost (probably); attend a good college, attend any college, use, just buy the books. Passing CIMA exams needs more than just knowledge and understanding of the syllabus material, which is what you'll find in the books. The more advice you can get on your approach to studying, and how to do what's required in the exams, the better. This particularly applies as you progress up the qualification, as the skill levels increase and what you need to do moves further away from what you can read in the study text. Anything you can do to mitigate the risk of failure is a good investment. It's a personal decision, of course. If you've studied a particular subject at University, for example, you might get away with just the Text.

2. How do I find a 'good' college? Well, step 1 is to check the college finder on CIMA's website. It's on the menu on the right of the page I've linked to, but the college finder seems to be unavailable as I post. Only consider an accredited provider, as they meet quality standards. Next, speak to the college, and see if they impress you. Finally, get recommendations from other students via social media of CIMAConnect (CIMA's online community). Ask about the tutors for the courses you're interested in. Even good colleges have stronger or weaker tutors.

I hope that helps.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Objective Test (OT) exams

I’ve had a couple of questions about the Objective Test (OT) exams (Thanks Princess and Simon), so I thought I should start off by posting ‘what I know’ about these unusual exams. As usual, feel free to comment on this post, if you have any questions…

1. There are still nine subjects, arranged in three pillars.

2. Each subject is examined in two different ways:

- Through an ‘objective test’ (OT) exam, which is only on that subject.

- Through a ‘case study’ exam, one at each level, which examines all three subjects at that level (I’ll start posting soon about these exams).

3. All the exams are computer-based.

4. Each OT exam is 90 minutes long, and you can choose when to sit your exam.

5. Each OT exam consists of 60 questions, each of which is worth one mark.

6. To pass, you must achieve a score (the ‘pass mark’) of 70% (i.e. you need to get at least 42/60 answers correct).

7. In each OT exam, the questions are generated from a large collection of questions, so each candidate gets a unique exam. There’s no value in asking someone else “what was in your exam?”

8. You’ll find out whether you’ve passed straight after the exam, so you don’t need to wait for a marking process.

9. If you don’t pass, you can book another attempt as soon as you like.

10. You need to pass all of the OT exams, at a level, before you’re allowed to enter for the case study exam for that level.

I’ll do another post, soon, looking at the different styles of OT question that you might find in the exams. There are practice exams available from CIMA, so you can have a try before the real thing. There’s also a load of support material on the CIMA website.

Any questions?