Marking Changes on the 2019 CIMA Syllabus

After the recent arrival of the 2019 CIMA Professional Qualification syllabus, an exam blueprint for each of the three CIMA levels (operational, management, strategic) has been released to show changes made on exam structure and weighting. The blueprint also revealed what topics were covered, what you’re being assessed on and generally, just an overall “what to expect at the exams”.

Many of your questions as students would have been answered by the blueprint, for sure.

In the old 2015 syllabus, assessment was done in twofolds. One was to ensure that you showed enough skill for the individual competencies (technical, business, people and leadership). The second was to ensure you achieved a good enough overall mark to gain a pass (scaled mark of 80 over 150).

In the 2019 syllabus, the 4 competencies have been replaced with various core activities at each level (6 in operational, 5 in both management and strategic). While we are still dealing with a scaled mark of 80 over 150 as the pass mark and you will still be provided with performance feedback for each core activity, there will no longer be an expected minimum threshold to be met at each core activity to pass. Is that a “Yay!” I hear over there?

As mentioned, the 4 competencies and the varying degree of weighting presented at the 2015 syllabus are now converted as core activities at each level.

For operational level, the 6 core activities and their weightings are:

  • Prepare costing information for different purposes to meet the needs of management – 12% to 18%
  • Prepare budget information and assess its use for planning and control purposes – 17% to 25%
  • Analyse performance using financial and non- financial information – 17% to 25%
  • Apply relevant financial reporting standards and corporate governance, ethical and tax principles – 12% to 18%
  • Prepare information to support short-term decision-making – 17% to 25%
  • Prepare information to manage working capital – 7% to 13%

For management level, the 5 core activities and their weightings are:

  • Evaluate opportunities to add value – 15% to 25%
  • Implement senior management decisions – 15% to 25%
  • Manage performance and costs to aid value creation – 15% to 25%
  • Measure performance – 15% to 25%
  • Manage internal and external stakeholders – 15% to 25%

For strategic level, the 5 core activities and their weightings are:

  • Develop business strategy – 15% to 25%
  • Evaluate business ecosystem and business environment – 15% to 25%
  • Recommend financing strategies – 15% to 25%
  • Evaluate and mitigate risk – 15% to 25%
  • Recommend and maintain a sound control environment – 15% to 25%

The exam is structured similar to the 2015 syllabus. Each question will have requirements, which will be split into sub-tasks or sub-requirements. Each sub-task will cover a core activity. Two or more sub-tasks may cover the same activity. The marks you get for a particular core activity will depend on how well you answer the sub-task.

The underlying concept remains. CIMA is still focused on ensuring that a student is competent enough once they’ve reach a certain level of study (be it operational, management or strategic).

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