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2015 Syllabus and Assessment

Strategic Case Study


Exam Success Workshop
18 Nov 2015

Samuel Li, ACMA CGMA


Learning Support Manager

Agenda

2015 Syllabus and Assessment the rationale


Case study passing criteria
Exam techniques question walkthrough
Be exam ready!

The 2015 CIMA Qualification

5
4

Case studies
(Long and short answer essay questions)

Objective tests

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1
4

CGMA competency framework

Approach to Case Study

Exam logistics

3 hours
Preseen available to download 7 weeks before exam
3 5 tasks in each exam
Each tasks will have a specific time assigned to
Students will be forced to move on when time is up
Not possible to return to previous task once moved on
Human marked
Result given in 4 5 weeks
Available 4 times a year. Each sitting has a window of 5 days
Total of 5 variants, randomly selected by the system
Possible to reschedule up to 14 days before examination
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Passing case study exam

80 out of 150
Meeting the minimum threshold (approx. 1/3) against each competency
Competency

Mix at strategic level

Minimum threshold

Technical

23%

8%

Business

23%

8%

People

22%

7%

Leadership

23%

8%

Integration

9%

3%

You will be issued one of three categories indicating your performance for
each competency
Fail: Below the minimum threshold
Moderate: Between the minimum threshold and just above the
performance of a minimally competent candidate for the specific
competency.
Strong: Demonstrating a high level of competency

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Competency mix at different level

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Example 1
Competency

Weight

Threshold

Student score

Result display

Technical

23%

8%

10%

Moderate

Business

23%

8%

10%

Moderate

People

22%

7%

5%

Fail

Leadership

23%

8%

3%

Fail

Integration

9%

3%

3%

Moderate

Total

100%

31%
50/150

FAIL

Overall fail (less than 80 out of 150)


Student should review ALL competencies before re-take
Special attention should be pay to the People and Leadership
skills
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Example 2
Competency

Weight

Threshold

Student score

Result display

Technical

23%

8%

10%

Moderate

Business

23%

8%

10%

Moderate

People

22%

7%

10%

Moderate

Leadership

23%

8%

10%

Moderate

Integration

9%

3%

4%

Moderate

Total

100%

44%
70/150

FAIL

Overall fail (less than 80 out of 150)


Student should review ALL competencies before re-take
The scale score (out of 150) will show how close the student is
from passing
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Example 3
Competency

Weight

Threshold

Student score

Result display

Technical

23%

8%

20%

Strong

Business

23%

8%

20%

Strong

People

22%

7%

20%

Strong

Leadership

23%

8%

5%

Fail

Integration

9%

3%

3%

Moderate

Total

100%

68%
90/150

FAIL

At least one competency not reaching threshold, so fail


Focus on Leadership before re-take

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Example 4
Competency

Weight

Threshold

Student score

Result display

Technical

23%

8%

20%

Strong

Business

23%

8%

20%

Strong

People

22%

7%

20%

Strong

Leadership

23%

8%

10%

Moderate

Integration

9%

3%

5%

Moderate

Total

100%

75%
100/150

Pass

Above 80/150 and all competencies meeting minimum threshold


In order to pass, student must develop an all rounded approach

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What will a good answer looks like?

Requirement(s) correctly interpreted


Answered the question set / all requirements
Logical and coherent answer
Demonstration of understanding of theory / principles
(appropriately)
Theory / principles applied well to specific problem / issue
Conforms to the format required
Short concise sentences with less punctuation
Headings and sub-headings
Short paragraphs, and make a separate paragraph for each point
Selective underlining
Answered within time
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Good answer earns marks


There is no difference in what would earn marks in Case Study
Exams, because it is always about answering the question!
It is extremely unlikely that a well-prepared student who answers
what is asked would fail to meet the threshold for all the
competencies.
Need not worry about competencies as a good answer will hit the
competencies.
A strategic level question will ask for a different approach from an
operational level question (e.g. more complex)

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LOOK (March 2015 SCS)


Summary of pre-seen
Look is similar to Google: listed with high P/E ratio
3 founders have 10% of shares but majority votes due to two tier
share structure
9 business units:

Look Search: search engine giving 90%+ of profit but mature


Look Space: maps giving 9.4% of profit
Look OS: free smartphone operating system (loss making)
Look Apps: downloads of Looks and 3rd party apps 0.3% of profit
Look Phones: premium smartphones 2.7% of profit
Look Lens: in-eye display units (loss making)
Look Media: streamed content 5.9% of profit
Look Cloud: pay for storage (loss making)
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LOOK (March 2015 SCS)


Summary of pre-seen (cont)
CSR commitments in areas of energy use and staff welfare
Questionable corporate governance due to dominance of founders
Rumours that one founder thinking of leaving
Data on Friendtime, a listed social media site (like Facebook)

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SCS March 2015 v4

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SCS March 2015 v4: Task 1

Time given: 60 mins (33%)

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SCS March 2015 v4: Task 1

Time given: 60 mins (33%)

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SCS March 2015 v4: Task 1 Requirements

E3

P3

Is LOOK Payment a good strategic fit for LOOK


What are the risk to LOOKs reputation from this venture

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SCS March 2015 v4: Task 1 Answer

E3

Strategic fit?
E3 (B) evaluate the process of strategy formulation

LOOK is already a well known and trusted brand


Build critical mass of business with existing advertisers
Build data and gain insight
Technically capable though lacking finance experience
Synergy with mobile products

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SCS March 2015 v4: Task Answer

P3

Reputational risk
P3 (B) evaluate the tools and processes required for strategy
implementation

Commercial failure bad publicity


Target of fraud and hacking
Customers may receive fraudulent e-mails using LOOKs logo
Careless overspending on internet
Disputes between consumers and suppliers
Concerns about person privacy

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Marking guidance

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Competency mix by subjects

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Insights
Two answers may earn same marks students need to believe in
their intuition and business common sense
Students need to identify what the company could / should do,
and of course justify
Elaborate your answer with why avoid bullet points
Magic words in the answer
because
However,
Alternatively, .

Students need to think within the Job Role in the pre-seen


No specific marks for calculations, and marks are for interpretation

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Insights
Markers will NOT be making decisions or applying marks against
competencies

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Examiners report v4 Task 1


Reasonably well attempted, although some candidates produced
quite repetitive answers.
Most candidates used the Suitability/Feasibility/Acceptance model
which whilst not inappropriate did lead to the same points being
raised several times.
Relatively few explored the Big Data issues effectively.
Identification of risks was generally sound, with many candidates
expanding on the personal privacy issues arising from data
gathering.

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Examiners report overall comment


The main problems were candidates failing to answer what was
asked and writing everything they knew
Using completely irrelevant models.
No marks available for random models and candidates sometimes
had long lists of models in their answers.
There was little evidence of knowledge of the preseen material
In most of the questions it was hoped candidates would be able to
use industry knowledge and knowledge of the company to help
formulate answers, there was little evidence of this.

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SCS March 2015 v1: Task 1

Time given: 60 mins (33%)

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SCS March 2015 v1: Task 1

Time given: 60 mins (33%)

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SCS March 2015 v1: Task 1

Time given: 60 mins (33%)

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Examiners report

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Retained earning (from pre-seen p.14-15)

F3

Retained earnings closing balance =


Retained earnings open balance + Profit after tax Dividend paid out
54,976 = 45,839 + 18,074 - Dividend paid out
Dividend paid out = $8,937 million
LOOK paid almost 9 billion, 50% of its profit as
dividend
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Be exam ready!
Fully absorb and analyse the pre-seen information in order to step
into the assigned role in that organisation on exam day (story of
the organisation and its environment / stakeholders) - exam tasks
draw on pre-seen materials.
Understand the requirements / question set, and answer the
question(s)
Answer planning is very important (1/3 of the allocated time): think
more-write less!
Relate the answer to the pre-seen information all the time (to
ensure students demonstrate the four skills and ability to
integrate)
Time management do not run out of time for well known topics
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Useful links

CIMAconnect The study support platform


2015 Professional Qualification syllabus
Practice exams
Guide to writing a report in the case study exams (login needed)
Guide to writing an email in the case study exams (login needed)
FM article by By Helen Crofts and the Case Study Exam writers
(login required)

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Samuel Li ACMA CGMA


Learning Support Manager
samuel.li@cimaglobal.com