A Brief Look at How the Case Study Scaling Mark Works – Activities, Weightings and Levels

*Post was updated on 24 August 2020 to account for the 2019 CIMA syllabus and exam changes

Well, it looked like an explanation of how the case study scaling mark works was that brief, that it warranted a continuance. If you missed the part about the scaling marks, then read here first.

CORE ACTIVITIES AND EXAM WEIGHTINGS

Aside from getting the scaled mark of 80/150, awareness of the different core activities and their exam weightings may prove to be insightful in your case study preparation.

In the operational level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:

Section Core activitiesWeighting
APrepare costing information for different purposes
to meet the needs of management.
12-18%
BPrepare budget information & assess its use for planning
& control purposes.
17-25%
CAnalyse performance using financial & non-financial
information.
17-25%
DApply relevant financial reporting standards and corporate
governance, ethical & tax principles
12-18%
EPrepare information to support short-term decision-making.17-25%
FPrepare information to manage working capital.7-13%
Information from CIMA 2019 Syllabus

In the management level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:

Section Core activitiesWeighting
AEvaluate opportunities to add value.15-25%
BImplement senior management decisions.15-25%
CManage performance and costs to aid value creation.15-25%
DMeasure performance.15-25%
EManage internal & external stakeholders.15-25%
Information from CIMA 2019 Syllabus

In the strategic level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:

Section Core activitiesWeighting
ADevelop business strategy.15-25%
BEvaluate business ecosystem and business environment.15-25%
CRecommend financing strategies.15-25%
DEvaluate and mitigate risk.15-25%
ERecommend and maintain a sound control environment.15-25%
Information from CIMA 2019 Syllabus

You’ll note that the various core activities shift and become more complex as you go up each level, from applying and preparing to managing to developing and recommending. This is similar to being promoted in your company and being given more senior task and responsibilities.

The percentages allocated are applicable to the whole exam, rather than each question. In the exam, you will be presented with 3-4 sections. Each section will have tasks (or “triggers” as CIMA refers to them) that require you to highlight two or more of these core activities.

LEVELS OF ANSWER

A comprehension of the levels of answer may also assist your preparation further. You will need to understand what Levels 1, 2 and 3 answers look like. Each level of answer provides the depth of your competency.

Let’s say for example we get a question where we are asked about a business disruption and its impacts on the value chain. The level of answers would be classified as follows:

LevelDescriptorMarks
No rewardable material0
1Offers a limited discussion of the impacts on the value chain1-3
2Offers a clear discussion of the impacts on the value chain4-6
3Offers a comprehensive discussion of the impacts of the value chain7-9

You’ll note that the higher the level of answer, the higher the marks given for a particular question. The basic difference between the levels is that Level 1 offers brief/limited explanation, Level 2 offers clear/logical explanation, and Level 3 offers full/comprehensive explanation.

Ultimately, I believe that it is beneficial for students to know and understand how marks are structured. There are really 2 main things to remember:

  1. Gain at least a Level 2 or better yet, Level 3 in your answer
  2. Achieve an overall scaled mark of 80/150

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

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