The Pass Mark

The pass mark is 60%. That's a tough target and higher than the 50% that used to be required in exams up until the change in 2015. However, do not be fooled by the figure itself. In conjunction with changing the pass mark, CIMA also changed the way the exams were marked. As a whole it should prove no harder or easier to become a CIMA qualified accountant that it was before the change.

Marking the SCS

The strategic case study is marked according to the 4 key ‘generic finance competencies’ as defined by CIMA. These are applied to the SCS as follows:

Technical skills (25%)

Technical skills demonstrate your knowledge of the theory from the E3, P3 and F3 exams. SCS takes you beyond the requirement to perform specific calculations or a straightforward demonstration of knowledge as is often tested in the OT papers and instead tests your ability to use theoretical techniques to analyse the situation, explain the benefits of applying certain techniques to the scenario or to interpret the findings of a previously prepared analysis or report.

Business skills (25%)

Strong analysis with good logical recommendations show your ability to apply good judgement to the case study. Business skills marks are awarded for showing good business awareness, which can ultimately be tested by asking whether if presented to a real life board of directors or CEO whether your report, memo or email would make good practical business sense and whether they would act on your findings.

People skills (25%)

People skills include good communication, persuasion skills and understanding the needs of others. You will earn good people skills when you show this in your report alongside meeting the specific needs of your role, which, as we discussed earlier include analysing strategic options, making logical recommendations, analysing risks, and looking at financing options.

Leadership skills (25%)

Leadership skills marks are given for solid, logical business advice as you might expect from a leader of an organisation or team, considering the wider strategic implications of a decision, including the management of change, shareholder impact, consideration of competitive position, impact of markets and links to customers, links to quality, production and suppliers.