CIMA Studier Tips

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We know that studying for Accountancy exams whilst working is very challenging

We know that studying for Accountancy exams whilst working is very challenging. Rest assured it is definitely worth the effort if you want to progress as there are far fewer opportunities at management level in Finance for those who are not fully qualified.

This candidate was studying CIMA and passed all his exams first time. So we have asked him to share his experiences to help those facing the same challenges.     

“After Uni I got a job in Finance doing the costing on multimillion tenders. It was a very pressurised role at times, but I enjoyed it and started studying CIMA. I did all my studies online rather than attend college in the evenings/weekend. The online course involved watching pre-recorded videos with tutors explaining the various topics and you follow along filling in a workbook (there is also the option to do online live, where you can speak to the tutors in real-time). Following the various topics there would be online multiple choice tests, which were very similar to the real exams and probably the most useful revision tool. The case studies at the end of each level are different as they are written exams, but I still found these multiple choice tests useful for revision for these exams to make sure you remember all the little facts. They also provide some other useful revision material, such as flash cards with the essential information on for each topic, which I would often read on the way to exams.

I think the hardest thing for me was the fact I wasn't doing an accounting job the whole time I was studying and so wasn't benefiting from doing debits/credits etc in real life, having to just understand them in theory instead. As I'd done Economics at uni I had a couple of exemptions in the Certificate level, but that was pretty insignificant compared to others who had done Accounting degrees at uni and were exempt from all Certificate and some of Operational/Management level exams.

After 12 months I relocated and took a 6 month contract at a Media company before moving again to my current employer. This did cause some issues re study costs but each of my new employers helped with the pay back cost.  Also different companies offered different study packages, but I was able to negotiate suitable arrangements. I averaged 3 days per exam off from work (including the exam day itself). For me this was enough time as I would also spend most evenings in the week leading up to the exam studying.

I did the exams in quick succession (which I think was definitely beneficial as they are all linked so you are less likely to forget things) and finished them within two years. Then had a year of working to complete my log book before being fully qualified. 

I've now been qualified for a year and am working for a large global FTSE 100 company. I work as a Finance Business Partner to the Information Management department, which covers everything from internet connections in the London office to new technologies being deployed in Brazil. I work closely with outsourced suppliers and internal stakeholders based across the globe. As a studier, finalist and newly qualified there seem to have been a lot of vacancies for me, so I would strongly recommend doing the exams”.