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:
In the management level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:
In the strategic level, the core activities and their weightings are as follows:
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 core activities. Have a look below (February 2020 MCS Exam Variant 1 on the pre-seen Trevel):
Section 1 has 2 triggers, which covers core activities C and A. Section 2 has 2 triggers, which covers core activities D and B. Section 3 covers core activities A and D. And section 4 covers core activities E and C.
As each section on the MCS is 45 minutes, it is logical to assume that each section gives 25 marks (to make up the unscaled 100 marks – see how we get back to the scaling marks?)
Now let’s take core activity C, which can be found on Section 1 and 4. In Section 1, core activity C weighs 50% of Section 1. That means 50% of 25 marks = 12.5. The core activity C in Section 4 weights 40% of 25 marks = 10. Core activity C totals to 22.5% for this variant then.
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.
Here’s a look at the same variant above, but this time we’re only focusing on Section 1 (a):
You’ll note that task (a) shows the levels of answer, the higher the levels, the higher the marks given. 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
To recap, here’s a look at the whole picture – from case study exam, variant, section, tasks, etc…
*Post updated 24 August 2020 to account for the 2019 CIMA syllabus and exam changes