The aim of the CIMA Strategic Case Study exam is to teach students how to apply the knowledge gained from the three objective test papers in the workplace. Each level within the CIMA Professional Qualification is tested by a three-hour case study exam. You must pass all three objective tests (or receive exemptions for them) within a level before you can take a case study exam. Once you have passed the case study exam you can start studying the next level. ( )

Why is the case study exam difficult – The exam format is different, the marking approach is unique, the learning difficulty is higher…and you have to complete each section if to have hope of passing. You need to demonstrate the required competences for each level.

How to succeed in the Case Study Exam.

1.Know your role,

At each level of the CIMA qualification structure, the pre seen will assign you a role to play in a typical simulation of a workplace. You will be asked to provide recommendations or solutions that will help the business to solve its problems.

2.Follow a Focused Study Plan and start early.

Starting your study is often the hardest step to take. Develop a study plan that will guide you as you prepare for the upcoming exam. Don’t wait for the pre seen to be released, in fact get started with revising of theory of the 3 pillars ahead of the release of pre seen material.

  1. Know your theory

For all the topics throughout your P, E and F papers, some are more likely to be tested in your CIMA case study exam than others. You need to demonstrate application of your knowledge depending on each level. For the Operation level, you need more technical knowledge. It is important to always remember the competency framework as you present your answer.

4.Have solid industry knowledge of the pre seen

Invest time to read as many articles as possible relating to the given pre seen, in this day of big data, the internet is a good source to get as much information as possible. Tip – Avoid pilling up redundant information, look for fresh and recent information about the industry. Read and understand the company, use knowledge gained on each pillar to break it down.

5.Mock Exams & Practice Packs

Knowledge is power, but knowledge without exam technique won’t get you the desired exam success. Mastering the art of presenting the answer is very important. Spend a lot of time practising how to present your answer.

You can choose from face to face tuition, supported distance learning and online classes to prepare for the exam

Mock exams are a fundamental part of your study because:

  • They provide an opportunity practice different techniques and methods and figuring out the best approach to use on the exam day.
  • Practicing exam standard questions and past exam questions allows the student to evaluate themselves and work on weak areas before the final exam
  1. On the exam day

Case study exams are nerve wrecking because they stand between either progressing to next level or completing the qualification. On the day of the exam, each task is timed, so no need to rush. Make use of the time and remember once you close or you are timed out, you cannot return to the task again to add more details. Think carefully before you move on to the next task.

  • Identify and deal with each requirement in each scenario
  • Apply knowledge from the pre seen and the new information to solve or recommend
  • Always remember the competency framework in everything you do on the day covers

 -All main elements in the marking criteria

– Technical, business, people, leadership skills and digital.

  • Integrate the knowledge for the different pillars where applicable

Tip – The answer script should demonstrate all the components of the competency framework


The pass mark for case study is 80, out of a scaled score of 0 to 150. The candidate must also score a “Moderate” or “Strong” across all competencies in order to pass the case study exam