What’s in a Paragraph?

Dear MJ,

I am currently preparing for the SCS in August.

Can you give me an idea how many paragraphs per question would be needed to pass and how many sentences? I understand 3 sentences in a paragraph are not enough?


What's in a Paragraph?.png

Good day Alina

To pass a CIMA case study exam is a little different. Number of paragraphs and sentences are not the only factors that you will need to think of. Students are required to fulfill competency skills (Technical, Business, People, Leadership) on a case study exam as well.

I normally don’t want to set exact numbers of paragraph and sentences as a goal post. Students tend to treat them as targets to be reached, not realizing the more important part is that the answers within should be in-depth.

A good paragraph should be on point and relevant. This does not normally mean 3 sentences. Sentences are structured differently each time so I would tell you rather to focus on the content of the paragraph. If you’ve properly explained your key points through, sometimes 2 long sentences can be enough. It all depends on whether the paragraph is addressing the requirements or not.

I prefer to keep my paragraphs simple so that my explanation and analysis don’t become too convoluted for the examiner/marker to read through and follow.

The length of your answer is determined by the number of marks available in a question. If we set aside skills and solely discuss paragraphs, then I’d say that one good paragraph deserves one full mark. One and a half or two marks, if stretched. Working on this assumption, then paragraphs would need to be in the range of 15 to 25 good ones to gain a decent score on a 25-mark question.

I hope this helps.

Your tutor

Test your skills on some mocks – OCS mocks, MCS mocks, SCS mocks.

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