A Brief Look at How the Case Study Scaling Mark Works – How Does 100 Equate to 150?

*This post has been updated on 24 August 2020 to cover the 2019 CIMA syllabus and exam changes.

Dear MJ

Thank you for Saturday’s class.

I am re-taking MCS this sitting and I have a question with regards scoring.

Last time I sat the May exam, I did not make it and only got 77. I failed because I was below the minimum 80 while the max score was 150.

In the masterclass, you mentioned having an available 100 marks, but how does the 100 marks reconcile back to the scaled 150 score?

Best regards


Hi John!

You are very perceptive. I intentionally did not focus too much time on the link between the 100 marks to 150 scaled score in the masterclass. Although it is not an overly complicated process, I didn’t want students spending many restless nights understanding scaling when content and exam preparation should be given more attention.

I will try and explain the case study scoring in simpler terms with an example below. The main thing in any event is that you’ll need to try and score well for the 100 marks so that when it is scaled, you will still get a good scaled score.

So I will illustrate a sample MCS exam variant, where the exam is 3 hours = 180 mins. In that 180 mins, you need to make 100 marks. Let’s say that for this particular exam variant, the split of the question time is:

Q1 = 45 minutes = 25 marks
Q2 = 45 minutes = 25 marks
Q3 = 45 minutes = 25 marks
Q4 = 45 minutes = 25 marks

You’ll note here that our planning of mark allocation in the masterclass is very similar to the above split.

CIMA scales the marks from 100 to 150 so as to even out the playing field. There are 3 variants on each exam sitting. Each variant has varying degree of difficulty. The uncertain part of the scoring comes in when you get whichever variant on the day of the exam.

Now in your last MCS exam that you took, I’m not sure if your specific variant was the easiest of the lot or in the middle of the pack or the most difficult one. If you scored just around 50/100 for it, there is a likely possibility that you’ve failed. CIMA themselves urge students to attempt to get at least 60% on a 100-mark exam. I am assuming here then that on average, when the 60/100 is scaled, you are around the 80/150 scaled mark.

If your mark was close to the 60/100 level, let’s say around 57-62%, then there might be a chance that you did not pass, depending on the exam variant that you got on the exam day. So do be careful about scoring just enough. The goal should be to score better than 60/100. The truth of the matter is that if you obtain a good mark, then there is really no way that it could be scaled into a fail.

I hope this helps you understand the scoring a bit.

Your tutor

PS It might also be a good idea to know about the core activities and the level of answers that gain you the best marks – check those out here.

To see CIMA’s take on the Case Study Exam Results, check out this video: https://youtu.be/YEGqXfjQ_y4

>> Need more practice mocks to get a better score? Check out Astranti’s OCS Mock Exams, MCS Mock Exams, or SCS Mock Exams.

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