Pass exams first time
In short, the focus was predominantly on CIMA explaining how pass rates haven’t been affected that much since the introduction of the new exams, some technical explanations about how the ICS pass mark, marking and scaling process works, insight into competencies and a ‘job application’ approach to ICS exams. Some handy exam technique tips that we’ve mentioned at IBTC Open Days before were recapped. View the presentations here: IBTCSA
Pass rate analysis
Twenty-five thousand exams have been taken to date. That supplied CIMA with enough statistical data to have some insight into pass rates. A table of pass rates was provided, showing progression rate, first-time pass rate and exam pass rate. All-in-all it was found that pass rates were comparable to the May 2010 sitting, which was also the first sitting of a new syllabus. Having said that, the pass mark for P3 and F3 was lowered after a review, as the exams were found to have been too difficult.
Q: Is the pass mark 70%? A: ‘It depends …’
Each exam has its own pass mark. If the exam was very hard, the pass mark might be 68%. The pass mark is determined by the combined difficulty of the questions making up the exam. So “just prepare as if the exam pass mark is 70%”, was advised by CIMA.
General ‘pass first time’ tips were given, such as:
- Study not just to answer the multiple choice questions, but to understand, because you are going to need it for the case study.
- Just doing a lot of questions as a way of learning the content? Well, that won’t work. Question practice is to test your knowledge, not to teach you the content.
- CIMA suggested that you use the additional CIMA tests available online for more questions practice. (Note that this is not free. There was general student dismay at having to pay CIMA for practice questions, after they have just increased the exam fees.)
- Some general OT exam technique was offered, such as skip questions that require you to select ‘all that apply’ and require calculations or involve numbers. Do the easy ones first.
- Don’t follow the 1,5min per question formula, because some questions are harder than others and may need up to 3 min, while others can be done in 15 seconds.
- Make sure you use the review screen and flag functionality correctly. When you select ‘next’ at the end of Question 60, the Review Screen will appear, which shows you which questions have been flagged or are still incomplete. You may not have left any incomplete intentionally but it will tell you if you did not select the right amount of options or if you didn’t enter your answer correctly. Very helpful if you accidentally missed it during the exam.
Integrated Case Study (ICS)
Examiners consider your script from a ‘Would we employ this candidate in this position (the role of the persona relevant to each level) based on this script.’ Consider your script to be a job application. And consider the pre-seen case study as reading up on the company prior to your interview. It comes down to a pass/fail decision. The examiners ask “would you employ this person based on this script? ’It was recommended that you spend 10 min on answer planning when you have a 45 minute answer.
That’s it. We hope it was useful and insightful. Please note that this document was created from the rough, hand-written notes from some of our IBTC delegates present in the sessions. We can’t guarantee that it’s accurate, unbiased or helpful and invoke all appropriate disclaimers to protect ourselves.