Common Misconceptions

CIMA Case Studies: Common Misconceptions


The articles highlight common misconceptions among CIMA students, based on my 10+ years of CIMA tutoring experience. I’ve also debunked all these myths in this article itself.


Misconception 1: I can pass without attempting mocks


This is the misconception which leads to certain failure! Note that you must accustom yourself with real exam conditions. The first step towards achieving this is to start attempting mocks. It is recommended to attempt at least 5 mocks, since it takes 5 mocks to cover the full syllabus content under each stage of study. This is akin to the recommendations provided by the CIMA examiner.

When it comes to attempting mocks, there are 2 approaches you can adhere to.


Option 01: Attempting mocks on your own 


This route is applicable for students who possess extreme levels of self -discipline and commitment. First, you need to find a peaceful and quiet place, without any disturbances. Then you must attempt the entire mock exam in one go, thereby replicating a real exam situation on your own.

Further, you must be honest to yourself and stick to the time allocations per each task. Even if you run out of time, you need to keep pushing forward.

After completing each mock, you must compare your answers with the suggested answers and figure out differences. If you are comfortable with self-studying, you can easily carry this out.


Recommended package:


The Essential Pack. This package carries all the additional material and 5 exam standard mock exams and suggested answers, which is all you need to pass the exam if you are a student with utmost levels of commitment and self-discipline.

However, under this package, you will not have access to the online mock exam platform, theory recaps (revision cards) or personalized feedback, since the package is designed for students who are comfortable with self-study and for those who had aced their OTQ exams.


Option 02: Attempting mocks on TCS’s Online Exam Platform


This route ensures that you practice all mocks under real exam conditions. All mocks can be practiced over TCS’s Online Mock Exam Platform, which is akin to Pearson VUE. Further, when using the online mock exam platform, you are left with no option but to attempt the entire mock in one go, which helps you get accustomed to real exam conditions.

After completing the mock exam, a copy of your answer will be automatically sent to a Lead Tutor of TCS. You will then receive constructive and personalized feedback within 48 hours, backed by mark breakdowns.


Recommended package:


The Value Pack. This package carries all the additional material and 5 exam standard mock exams, along with access to the online mock exam platform, theory recaps (revision cards) and personalized feedback.

The package is designed for students who have struggled with OTQ exams or for those who are returning to CIMA studies after a prolonged study break. This package is highly recommended for students coming through the exemption routes (FLP or Gateway) as well, since you will need additional tutor support and mentoring to pass the case study exam.


Misconception 2: I can pass if I refer to past exam variants


This is a common misconception held by students attempting case study exams. The past exam variants provide a glimpse into the type of questions which appeared in previous exam sittings. However, the past variants are based on different pre-seen documents, which are different to the pre-seen which is relevant to your exam.

Hence, it is mandatory that you attempt mocks which are relevant to your pre-seen, 100%. It is better if you can attempt 5 exam standard mocks.


Misconception 3: I can pass easily if I memorize theory/ concepts


Although you need to possess an understanding about theories and concepts, just because you know your theory, it does not mean that you can pass a case study exam. Unlike OTQ exams (which are designed to test your knowledge about theories and concepts), case study exams test whether you can apply knowledge considering practical business situations.

Further, if you are coming through the exemption route (FLP or Gateway), you need to get your bearing s on how a CIMA case study exam works. As I stated before, just remembering all concepts won’t help you.

So, what’s the solution? Simply, you need to practice exam standard mock exams and go through the suggested answers. It is better if you can seek for personalized tutor feedback to finetune your answers as well.


Misconception 4: I can pass easily if I have extensive knowledge about the industry


Wrong! CIMA never expects you to be an industry expert, even if you are following the Strategic Case Study (SCS) exam.

Remember that each pre-seen is based on a fictitious company and an industry, and there is absolutely no point of trying to possess extensive industry knowledge. Yet, you need to remember the most important points which are highlighted in the pre-seen in relation to industry dynamics.

I can sense your confusion! What is considered as the essential level of knowledge and what is excessive?

Simple answer. Just refer to the Annotated Pre-seen (Click to access sample) and the Industry Analysis document (Click to access sample), which comprises of only the relevant information you need in a highly concise manner, which makes it easier for you to remember the most important facts!


Concluding thoughts


All in all, you need to understand that there are no shortcuts when it comes to passing a competitive case study exam. The only solution is to stick to a proper study plan and at the same time, use high quality exam standard material.

There is no point of preparing yourself partially. Thus, it is prudent to invest on a good tuition provider and pass the case study in your first sitting itself.

Please refer to the article, The Pre-seen Is Out. What Now? to gain insights into what you need to do, when preparing for the case study within 6 weeks.



Looking to pass your case study exam in the first sitting? You are just a click away. We at TCS provide exam standard mock exams and suggested answers, along with premium quality additional material which consists of videos and content which are concise and downloadable. In fact, all our products come with a Pass Guarantee!

You can attempt all mock exams under real exam conditions via our very own exam platform, which is akin to the platform of Pearson VUE. Professional feedback is provided for three mock exams and all answer scripts will be marked by our Lead Tutors with more than 10 years of CIMA tutoring experience.

You will also have access to the online discussion forum moderated by TCS’s Lead Tutors and you can share your knowledge, clarify doubts, and connect with Lead Tutors and colleagues 24/7, via the discussion forum.

Checkout our website on to get a glimpse into the type of services offered by TCS. You can also gain an insight into the quality of material provided by TCS by referring to the sample material which are included under each product page.

You can access the free content by accessing our website. The free content consists of pre-seen analysis video 01, video on exam technique and a mini mock exam and suggested answers.

About this blog

  Nic Jones
  4th May 2021