CIMA Case Study Exam 101 for the Overwhelmed Student

This is from the “Accounting Makes Cents” podcast episode #3 released on Monday, 27 December 2021.

In today’s episode, we’re going to do a case study exam 101, which will hopefully answer questions like: Where do we start? What resources do we use? What do we need to pass this exam? Make sure you stay till the end, especially if you are a current case study student, so that you can find out more about case study tips and resources.

Jump to show notes.

Where do we start?

This is dependent on where you are currently as a learner. Are you a student who’s just taken the OT exams? Are you a gateway student who’s come in with some exemptions? These two paths will of course lead you to very different starting points. Admittedly, as a gateway student, I feel you would need more time to acclimatise with the study materials because there is more to cover. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start with students who’ve recently just done the OTs. The good news is, you’ve already started without you realising it. Remember those theories and technical knowledge you’ve accumulated whilst studying for the OT exams? Well, I am here to tell you that you did not gain that knowledge in vain. You’re going to need that knowledge as you take on the case study exam. I’ve mentioned this before in a previous episode that there’s some differing opinions about learning technical knowledge for the case study exams. I’m such a believer that one starts the case study journey, whilst you’re in OT. I think it’s like riding a bike, once you learn it, it’s kinda hard to forget it. Anyways, so that is the natural starting point for OT students. Aside from that, if the pre-seen is already out or is being released soon, that is your next starting point. Of course, knowing the technical knowledge won’t mean much without a business to apply it to and so this is why getting hold of the pre-seen and thoroughly reading will be your next step.

Now, having said that the journey starts in OT doesn’t mean that it’s useless for gateway students. For those unfamiliar with the term, Gateway students get exemptions on certain subjects on certain levels. Most of them get introduced to CIMA and have their first exam appearance for CIMA in a case study exam. So, there’s a lot to deal with. Different way of learning and studying, different approach to exam, technical knowledge, which you’ve literally skipped over. There will be some that you will know about, but others may be new information to you. I’m here to say that whilst it is admittedly harder because I feel that it’s all about using your preparation time wisely, it is certainly doable. Many students have been able to do it. The starting point for Gateway, would be almost the same as OT students, except minus the time advantage. Gateway students will have to familiarise themselves with some of the technical knowledge whilst learning and immersing themselves into the preseen environment.

What resources do we have?

Well, there’s a lot. There are free ones and there are paid ones. Both kinds are helpful and beneficial to students. There are of course some limitations on the free ones, but we’ll discuss it further when I touch upon tuition providers. There are many debates on the DIY way and the tuition provider way. And I’m here to say that it’s not just one way or the other. You can incorporate a hybrid way as well. 

I normally ask students to do an assessment on themselves. What are your strengths and weaknesses? If you are the type of student, who can organise yourself and have the discipline to push yourself in line, then you can probably go it alone. But if you’re the other type of student where you know you’ll need help and assistance, then you should probably consider finding a tuition provider to help you. I’ve likened the situation to someone who’s fallen ill and may need a doctor for an assessment and a cure. The type of help will depend on your needs as well. You are likely the best person who’ll know what you need in terms of materials and resources. So if you need study texts, then you should get those, and if you only need help with the mocks, then that’s what you should get. Again, in the medical example, if you have the flu, then you should probably take flu medicine so that you’ll get better.

On the topic of providers, most would provide a free version of what they offer. Just check out the websites and you’ll find that the free ones will give you a taste of how good the paid materials will be. And you can base your decisions from there. I do offer recommendations on resources so I’ll just leave this here.

What do we need to pass this exam?

I think the usual – dedication, hard work, determination. The thing here is that ultimately, no one will be as invested in this as you will ever be. This is your future. I can say that as a tutor, I know we have influence in pushing students with regards their studies, we care what happens to the student. I mean, I’ve yet to meet a tutor who sets out to fail students. Ultimately though, the person that does the work and passes it, is the student. So I will say that it is dependent on how much the student commits to do this.

End note

Well, we’ve come to the end of another episode of Accounting Makes Cents. I am your host, MJ the tutor. Thank you for joining me on this episode. I hope this has been beneficial to you, and I’ll see you again next time.

I will end off here. I hope you enjoyed this episode learning more about CIMA, the OTs and the case stuIf you enjoyed the show, please hit subscribe or follow to catch the release of the next episode. You can also connect with me on various social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter under the handle @mjthetutor. You can also visit my website, Till next time. Ciao for now.

Show notes simplified

In this episode, MJ the tutor covers Case Study Exams 101 for the Overwhelmed Student. She briefly discusses where to start, study resources and materials available, as well as what is needed to get the exam done.

“Ding Ding Small Bell” ( by JohnsonBrandEditing ( licensed under CC0 Licence.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.