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If your November results were not what you had hoped for, here is how to get yourself back on track. By Jackie Durham, education and training consultant, CIMA.
Most of us don't want to think about the 'F' word, but professional exams are not easy and many future management accountants fail a paper or two along the way.
If your November results were not what you had hoped for, remember that it's only a temporary set back on your path to a successful career. What you need to do now is learn from your mistakes and plan for future success.
What went wrong? First you need to establish what went wrong so you can prevent similar problems occurring in future exams. Did you struggle to grasp the content of the paper? Did you not have time to complete all the exam questions? Did you simply not study enough? Once you know where you went wrong you will know where to focus your efforts for next time.
Action planGive yourself a pep talk - remember why you are studying CIMA and remind yourself that a professional qualification will help you earn more money, become more employable and may give you a better chance of weathering the current economic downturn.
Remember, too, the CIMA exams you have already passed - you do have the ability to get through them. You may just need a bit of extra help with technique or a bit more time spent on particular papers.
Book a resit When you fail an exam it can be hard to find the motivation to book a resit - but this is often the best thing to do. Don't be tempted to defer sitting troublesome papers; you've already invested the time studying, now you need to make that investment pay off by resitting while the content is fresh in your mind.
Occasionally it may be worth deferring a resit if you have chosen an unusual combination of papers and lack the necessary underpinning to succeed. Ask your tutor or visit the Studying area for ideas on logical study paths and paper combinations.
Review your approach to studyThink about how you studied for the exam and assess whether you could do things differently this time. Using a CIMA approved learning provider, joining an online study group or signing up for a revision course can all be very effective study methods. Read the guide to effective studying in this edition for more ideas.
Consider a script reviewIf you sat the strategic level papers or TOPCIMA and you obtained between 40 and 49 marks, it may be worth getting a script review to see where you went wrong.
Understand why most students failMost people fail for the following very simple - and easily resolved - reasons:
Poor examination technique: This could include poor time management in the exam, not answering the question set, failing to do the calculations correctly or to show workings, and writing bullet points instead of full answers for discursive questions.
Insufficient knowledge: You can't pass a paper if you haven't studied properly. Some students enter exams such as Organisational Management assuming that a bit of reading plus some general knowledge will be enough to get them through - it isn't.
Another common pitfall is topic or question spotting - there are no shortcuts, so you really do need to cover the whole syllabus and be prepared to answer questions on any aspect of it.
Misreading questions/not understanding how the CIMA verbs are used: The verbs used in the question link to the topic's learning outcomes and tell you exactly what the examiner wants you to do and the level to pitch your answer at. Familiarise yourself with the verbs and learning outcomes and practise answering lots of past exam questions.
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