On the day of the exam you will be presented with a range of new information in the form of a meeting, emails, newspaper articles, memos, reports and other forms of both internal and external information.
Each new section of the exam will present you with new information that reveals something new, and which is very likely to be related to the previous section of the exam, so that there is a link between the variou sections.
There will be significant piece of information, most likely to be in the form of an email or discussion at a meeting, which will come from someone more senior to you in the organisation and will outline the situation and more importantly the requirements.
The requirements will NOT be immediately clear. That is a feature at strategic level that may not have been as prevalent at management or operational level. The requirements will be hidden away in the information you will be given. You'll need to identify what your manager is asking from you from their instructions. This is a key new skill that you must develop. In the Pilot paper, for instance, every section has two sub-
As an example, in the pilot paper you were asked to examine the reactions of different stakeholders. You were not specifically told you use Mendelow's stakeholder matrix to do this, but using it would have provided and excellent structure for your answer and gained valuable technical marks.
As an example, here is a sample requirement section from the CIMA Pilot Paper for the SCS. It relates to a meeting you are having with your boss, who also happens to be the group CEO.
"I hope that you slept well last night because today is going to be busy. The CEO has just sent me a copy of a letter and I have to brief the board on the most appropriate response this afternoon.
The only thing that surprises me about this letter is that it has taken so long for them to make a formal request. The shareholders have been talking about this for ages.My big worry is just keeping everybody happy. I need you to work out who is going to be affected by this. I always think that identifying the stakeholders lets you know who will be affected and how. So I need you to give me a list of stakeholders, along with an explanation of why each is affected and how their interests will be affected.
While you are doing that, I also need you to think about Arnold. He owns so many shares that we need to keep him happy at all costs. I met with him recently and asked what he thought about a quotation, but he just gave me a sneaky smile and said that lots of people ask him that very question all the time, then he changed the subject.
I want to be ready because the board is bound to ask how we should deal with Arnold. He didn't sign the letter from the shareholder group, although I don't know if he was even asked to. I need you to think about a strategy for dealing with Arnold and to put your thoughts down on paper.
I know this doesn't leave you much time but i need all that within the hour.”
Notice then – no specific requirements are shown, you need to identify from this what those requirements are and make sure you deal with them specifically. During your studies you should find out you what you need to look for to fully identify the requirements.
Other information is there to support you in developing your answer. It might be more information about the company, a letter, newspaper article, industry analysis, piece of financial information or whatever the examiner deems will be useful to you.
Most likely, this information will tell you about a particular problem or issue, and it's this information that you will need to analyse to help develop your answer. Given that there are theory marks going in every section of the exam it is highly likely that you will be able to apply some theory to this information, to help you gain those theory marks. It is also likely that you will NOT be told which theory you will have to use, and you will need to make a decision as to which is the best theory to use to gain useful information from from the case study.