CIMA Operational Case Study – Exam Technique Series

How to pass the operational case study exam

The Case Studies are difficult to pass with around 40-50% of people typically failing each sitting.

That’s rarely because people don’t understand the theory – they’ve proven they can do this at the Objective Test exam stage.

It’s not because people don’t know the pre-seen – most people research this very well.

It’s primarily because people don’t fully understand what it takes to pass a Case Study.

They don’t know how to:

  • produce answers that meet the examiner’s needs
  • play the role assigned in the exam
  • plan effectively
  • manage their time to create balanced answers
  • write answers that score high marks

Having helped thousands of students to pass the Case Study, Peter Stiff, Astranti’s Case Study expert, has pooled his years of experience teaching CIMA Case Studies and produced over 10 hours worth of video content to show you exactly what you need to pass your CIMA Case Study exam.

We’ve also written a comprehensive study guide for you to work through alongside the video series, so that you can cement your understanding and begin to apply it to your exam.

Why use the Astranti exam technique series?

Learn what it takes to pass

  • Understand what the examiner says you need to do to pass
  • Learn how to play the role you are assigned in the company
  • Develop the key skills necessary to score highly
  • Learn the typical reasons people fail and how to avoid these mistakes

Perfect your exam technique

  • Master your time management – one of the key reasons why students fail the exam
  • Develop your writing style based on what the markers say you should and shouldn’t do
  • Learn how to create effective answer plans

Maximise your marks

  • Review past students’ scripts to learn from their successes and failures
  • Examine the examiner’s reports to see what the examiner is saying about the exam
  • Learn how to review mock exams so you improve from mock to mock

Find out more and access our samples

Part 1 – what does it take to pass the exam?

  • Chapter 1: The keys to passing the OCS
  • Chapter 2: The exam
  • Chapter 3: Your role
  • Chapter 4: How to analyse the pre-seen
  • Chapter 5: Answering the question

Total video running time: over 3 hours

Sample chapter: The exam

Sample video: The exam

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Chapter 1 – the keys to passing the OCS

What are the most important factors in passing the CIMA Operational Case Study exam and what do you need to do to achieve that? Our first video answers these key questions as well as providing a general introduction to the exam.

Chapter 2 – the exam

In order to pass the exam you need to understand what it looks like! We review the nature of the exam and run you through what you will be faced with on exam day.

Chapter 3 – your role

CIMA provide you with a ‘role to play’ for your exam. What is that role and what does this mean for the way you answer the questions in the exam? The examiner has commented that people playing the role well score more marks, so this is critical to you passing.

Chapter 4 – how to analyse the pre-seen

The CIMA examiners regularly comment that people do not use the pre-seen information enough in their exam. We provide a step by step approach to analysing the pre-seen to get the most from it which is useful to those people who don’t use the Astranti case study analysis.

Chapter 5 – answering the question

The examiner’s most common criticism of student scripts is ‘not answering the question asked’. The problem is people not properly identifying the requirements – it’s harder than it sounds! This video shows you how to avoid this most common of errors.

Part 2 – exam planning and writing

  • Chapter 6: Why you must plan your answers
  • Chapter 7: The 8 stages of exam planning
  • Chapter 8: Planning practice
  • Chapter 9: Writing approach
  • Chapter 10: Writing practice
  • Additional content: Lessons from student scripts

Total video running time: over 4 hours

Sample chapter: Why you must plan your answers

Sample video: Why you must plan your answers

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Chapter 6 – why you must plan your answers

Planning is one of the keys to passing the CIMA Operational Case Study, yet most people don’t plan. In this video, we outline why planning is so important and why it is key to passing.

Chapter 7 – the 8 stages of exam planning

Our 8 step planning approach ensures you create answers that meet all the key requirements the examiner requires from a script. Follow these steps as the first stage in producing an excellent answer.

Chapter 8 – planning practice

You will only excel at planning through practice. Having been shown how to plan, it’s now your turn!  We provide a question for you to plan, run through the solution and show you what an excellent plan for that question would look like.

Chapter 9 – writing approach

Using the right writing style makes a significant difference to the mark you score. So what is the style you should use that will enable you to score the most marks from the ideas you generate? This video demonstrates the style that markers say helps them give you the most marks.

Chapter 10 – writing practice

Can you produce a script like the good scripts you’ve just been shown? You will be given a question and will be shown how to evaluate that script to ensure you are writing your answer in a way that is scoring the most marks from the points made.

Additional content – lessons from student scripts

We examine a range of student case study scripts. You will see the good scripts, so you’ve got a clear idea what to produce in the exam, and the bad scripts, so you can learn what not to do!

Part 3 – how to score high marks on the pre-seen

  • Chapter 11: How is the OCS marked?
  • Chapter 12: Time management
  • Chapter 13: The optimum approach to preparing for the OCS exam
  • Chapter 14: Application to the OCS
  • Additional Content: The examiners’ analysis of a real student script
  • Additional Content: The marking grid
  • Additional Content: Review of examiner post exam reports

Total video running time: Over 3 hours

Sample chapter: Preparing for the exam

Sample video: Preparing for the exam

More information...

Chapter 11 – how is the OCS marked?

By understanding how the Operational Case Study exam is marked, you can tailor your answer to ensure you pick up all the key marks and miss out things that aren’t scoring well.

Chapter 12 – time management

The most important skill to master to pass this exam is time management. That’s not just us saying that it’s the top answer to the regular post exam poll we conduct of our students. Why is this so important and how do you master your own time management in the exam? This video will show you.

Chapter 13 – the optimum approach to preparing for the OCS exam

As you approach the exam what do you need to do to prepare in the best way? We will guide you through the steps you need to take to ensure you pass.

Chapter 14 – application to the OCS

Having the ability to apply your knowledge of the theory to the pre-seen scenario is crucial when preparing for the OCS exam. This section provides a series of templates and guides for you to do just this, linking in with some of the key theory and models from operational level.

Additional content – the examiner’s analysis of a real student script  

There’s nothing better than hearing what the CIMA examiner wants from your Case Study exam. Luckily the examiner has provided us with an analysis of a real exam script with her commentary on what’s good and how it can be improved. We analyse this script and her comments and pick out the key learning points so you can produce a script which meets her needs.

Additional Content – The marking grid

Our marking grid is tailored to give you feedback on the key areas of exam technique required to pass the OCS exam. In this video, we review each of these key areas and show you how to use the feedback given from your marked mocks to improve.

Additional Content – Review of examiner post exam reports

At the end of each exam, the examiner provides guidance on the key strengths and weaknesses in that set of exams. By examining a range of reports over a number of years we learn what she is looking for from your script, what you need to do to score well and what traps you need to avoid. We also examine how her feedback has changed over the years so you understand her current thinking.

What our students say

Please see our testimonials page for our latest student reviews. Here are a couple of examples:

Second sitting of the CIMA Operational Case Study and despite what felt like a tough exam which left me feeling not too confident managed to pass by a comfortable margin. I can only attribute this to the methodology of how to approach the exam and effective time management that was taught by Astranti. Its all too easy to get off topic and write a lot of material which is irrelevant and just repeating what you’ve already stated. Which cost me marks and ultimately the exam in my first sitting. Thanks to Astranti, the lectures and my marker for the mock exams for providing the guidance to help me pass!

Mr Calder

CIMA Operational Case Study Student, June 2019

“Astranti were absolutely vital in helping me to pass this exam first time, the masterclasses, condensed notes and Mock exams are brilliant in preparing you for the exam. I cannot recommend them highly enough if you want the best chance of succeeding first time in your OCS exam.”


CIMA Operational Case Study Student, December 2019

Purchase the exam technique series

OCS exam technique series

The exam technique series is available for 12 months after purchasing and can be accessed online only. Audios of each video can be downloaded and used offline, and the study guide can be printed in full or by chapter.

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