My value-add to you
I joined CharterQuest in Semester 1 of 2015 to do my CIMA Strategic Level (E3, P3 & F3). The semester began in February and ended in May. Upon completion of classes, I wrote my 3 Objective Tests and passed all of them. I then went ahead and joined the Strategic Level Integrated Case Study class at CharterQuest again to sit for my August exam which I passed 1st time. Throughout, I found that my studying aids fell into three categories:
1. Study Material
The study notes or text books provided by CharterQuest are very important to get firm grounding on the actual content of the syllabus. Therefore this was the starting point in my study plan. I found that there is a lot of detail in the text books and at the start of my strategic level this felt very cumbersome to get through and therefore it is important to start with this early on in the semester. I study by way of summarizing the information and I allowed one to two pages per chapter to consolidate the salient points made. I ensured that I understood these points/models before I wrote them into my summary. These summaries were important when exam time was near as I only referred to these and not the text book.
CharterQuest lectures are by far the best way to grasp concepts and understand the syllabus. I ensured that each lecture I attended I paid careful attention to the focal points of the chapter being discussed and added these to my summaries above. Be part of the conversation in the lecture and ask questions as this will help you remember what is being discussed. I was surprised how much this helped when I was in the exam as I would see the syllabus area being tested and immediately remember the discussion I engaged in my lecture with my CharterQuest lecturer and other students.
3. Past exam papers
Past year papers is the final step in my study plan and I found that leaving enough time to go through as many papers as possible is key to passing. I aimed for at least three weeks prior to my exams to be done with all my summaries and having understood the syllabus well. Try not to rush through the past papers but rather identify what is being tested and how it is being asked. Once this is identified I would add this detail to my notes to ensure that all the knowledge that is required to pass is captured.
In addition, I also found TIME MANAGEMENT to be critical in the following ways:
Studying. I had a full time job while I undertook to complete my CIMA qualification, therefore managing my time effectively was important. I work best in the evenings so I would go to a board room after work for 2 hours during the week and study. I will also make time for gym etc after my study session, as you need to find a way to relax and stay mentally and physically alert.
Exam. I passed my exams mainly due to effective time management. I knew the amount of questions being tested and the time constraint for one to complete the exam. Therefore before each paper I would write on the scratch pad provided, on what question I should be on by what time. This ensured that I attempted every question and had the time to do so.
Lastly I must say CIMA has produced a very informative and exciting syllabus to study, and I found that while I studied I applied concepts and models to my work experience, which made the content real and relevant.
All the best and good luck with your studies.