A case (study) of believing

June 2020

Recently qualified CIMA student Brent Holden offers some hope and encouragement to those trying hard to study during these uncertain times.

Like a lot of students, I was pleasantly surprised about CIMA’s announcement to make case study exams available from home during the Covid-19 crisis.

Since hearing this news I received my strategic case study exam results, which I sat in February 2020 – and I passed. So I’m ending my CIMA journey without needing to take a ‘home exam’, and it struck me how fortunate students are to be able to sit the exam and not wait for an update, and do it in the comfort of their own homes.

I must admit I was extremely jealous on reading this news as I had to endure Pearson Vue’s strict, almost military conditions in some cases. I was feeling 50/50 on the outcome of my case study result, so the prospect of a home exam was like a dream.

I hope that students sitting exams at home are able to utilise the advantage of being in familiar surroundings, avoiding the stress-free travel to the exam centres, and not sitting in a booth next to a persistent cougher. This will help them pass and relieve nerves.

I have noticed an increase in negative responses from students in recent PQ editions who seemed at their wits end with CIMA, and the lack of progress is down to meaningless exam feedback and poor communication with the body.

While personally I had to conquer my own CIMA demon’s, namely the OCS and F3, I can say that I never relied on exam feedback from CIMA. I tried to use advice from my training providers on mock exams to its greatest effect, as they are also qualified accountants and specialise in exam techniques and exam pitfalls.

I urge all students really struggling to use their tutors as effectively as possible, even when all avenues seem exhausted, because they too will have been sat in your position, thinking the impossible. As in most things in life, two pairs of eyes are better than one.

Students can begin to feel that the qualification is a huge burden in their life, a problem that’s getting in the way, like a ball and chain around their ankle.

Try to see the positive aspect, that you have a fantastic opportunity to qualify in a highly regarded field. True, your friends are out having fun, while you study, but remember there will be other sunny days to come.

I hope all my fellow calculator-wielding CIMA warriors will soldier on through the tough times and come out at the other end better off. There is light at the end of that long gloomy tunnel and, if I can pass I believe you all can. Self belief is the key!