*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:
|A||Prepare costing information for different purposes |
to meet the needs of management.
|B||Prepare budget information & assess its use for planning|
& control purposes.
|C||Analyse performance using financial & non-financial|
|D||Apply relevant financial reporting standards and corporate |
governance, ethical & tax principles
|E||Prepare information to support short-term decision-making.||17-25%|
|F||Prepare information to manage working capital.||7-13%|
In the management level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:
|A||Evaluate opportunities to add value.||15-25%|
|B||Implement senior management decisions.||15-25%|
|C||Manage performance and costs to aid value creation.||15-25%|
|E||Manage internal & external stakeholders.||15-25%|
In the strategic level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:
|A||Develop business strategy.||15-25%|
|B||Evaluate business ecosystem and business environment.||15-25%|
|C||Recommend financing strategies.||15-25%|
|D||Evaluate and mitigate risk.||15-25%|
|E||Recommend and maintain a sound control environment.||15-25%|
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:
|No rewardable material||0|
|1||Offers a limited discussion of the impacts on the value chain||1-3|
|2||Offers a clear discussion of the impacts on the value chain||4-6|
|3||Offers a comprehensive discussion of the impacts of the value chain||7-9|
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:
- Gain at least a Level 2 or better yet, Level 3 in your answer
- Achieve an overall scaled mark of 80/150