How Much Time Does It Take to Crack the CIMA Exam?

Are you a graduate student who wants to do CIMA or in a part time job who is ‘thinking’ to go for CIMA? 

Or Someone who has answers in bits and pieces from eclectic sources about cracking the exam but nothing clears your doubts?

If yes, then you too are probably stuck in a poll of questions-how,why,what and looking for answers that actually help? 

Well, you are not alone. And, here we are with all your answers. 

It is often seen that students decide to take the CIMA exam without planning. This puts them in confusion when it comes to studying for the exam. 

The biggest confusion occurs regarding the study time that they need to give while preparing for CIMA. So, how do you decide how much to study and where to start from? Well, let’s first know what CIMA is. 

CIMA, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is the first known global body of accountancy. 

On average, it takes 3-6 years to finish the CIMA professional qualification. Moreover, the passing rates of students vary from 60%-65%. 

Valid in 180 countries around the globe, the CIMA qualification involves 12 exams at three levels. It includes nine objective tests and three exams of case studies. Since this qualification offers both online and offline modes, students get full control over their exams and the studying process. This ultimately makes the CIMA course time duration flexible for each student. 

Once your CIMA qualification is completed till the last level, you become eligible for the CIMA membership. This membership not only allows you to be with like-minded people of your profession but also increases your professional credibility. This is just one of the many benefits that CIMA qualification provides. 

Why Should You Take the Examination? 

Since the CIMA completion time is flexible, it gives you the freedom of multi-tasking. You can do a job along with your preparation or follow your hobby while you are focusing on CIMA. 

Moreover, the CIMA qualification gives knowledge and professional skills to the students. These skills match the requirements of the employers in the finance sector in such a way that one can easily bag a prosperous job. 

Here are some benefits of CIMA you should consider when making your decision:

  • Learn at your own pace and take exams at your own pace. 
  • Get good-paying national as well as international jobs. 
  • Enhances your professional skills of accounting and management. 

What are the Aspects Covered in CIMA Exam Preparation? 

There is a reason why CIMA holds a strong credibility for employers. And, the reason is that CIMA covers a broad range of subjects in finance and management. 

A student gets to develop skills and knowledge around three pillars of learning- Enterprise, Performance, and Financial pillar. These pillars focus on developing knowledge in different areas. 

The syllabus of CIMA further consists of three professional levels- Operational, Strategic, and Management level. But before these three levels, students are required to complete a basic certificate level qualification. 

Each of the three levels includes three exams and one case study exam. On the other hand, the certificate level includes four exams. 

Awards You Get During your CIMA Qualification

During the whole CIMA course, various qualification letters are awarded to a student. The sequence of those awards is following: 

  • Basic Certificate Level 

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting (received on completing the exam of four subjects).

  • Operational Level 

CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Dip MA) (Received on completion of three exams and one case study exam. 

  • Management Level 

CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Adv Dip MA) (received on completion of three exams and one case study exam) 

  • Strategic Level 

Membership of CIMA (received on the completion of three exams, one case study exam, and assessment of Practical Experience Requirements, PER). 

The duration of the 12 objective tests that are done online in CIMA is 90 minutes per test. On the other hand, case study exams are 3 hours long and are also done online. 

All the objective tests can be taken on demand but case study exams occur in four windows every year. All these exams can also be given in offline mode if you schedule them right. 

Students who already hold a specific degree or qualification are also eligible for exemptions in the CIMA professional qualification. The number of subjects’ exemptions for which students are eligible depends on the degree they hold or their previous qualifications. 

How Much Time Do One Need to Crack the CIMA exam? 

Honestly, the time one may take or need to crack CIMA would depend on their ability. Usually, it can take only one year to pass each level of CIMA. This makes it four years in total. 

However, it is not necessary that every student would be able to crack the CIMA professional qualification in four years. 

If you are a part-time working student or already in the middle of completing another qualification or degree, it may take more than a year for you to pass each level of CIMA. 

Ultimately, your CIMA completion time might increase if your preparations are not focused and regular. But even then, your CIMA professional qualifications should be done within 6 years. 

Now, if you are planning to pass the levels within time, you need to plan your studying process for each level. Analysis of the syllabus at each level is necessary for proper planning. 

Here are a few tips you can use to plan your routine in a way to manage your time and studies. 

  • Keep a few hours dedicated everyday for the preparation if you are in a job or a graduating student. This will help you gain a balance between studying and working. 
  • Keep a day for the revision at the end of the week of what you learned throughout.
  • It is highly recommended to join a reputed institution where industry experts help you to crack the CIMA exam with ease. 

It is also advisable to register and schedule your theory subjects one by one as you complete them. This will allow you to focus on each subject individually. When it comes to case study exams, you need to remember that a case study requires you to apply your theoretical knowledge practically. 

So, ensure that you are aware of your theory subjects before applying for the case study exam. A case study only has 3 to 4 essay-based questions which students are required to answer in 3 hours. 

As mentioned earlier, case study exams occur in four windows- February, May, August, and November and go on for a week in every window. 

A pre-seen document is released by the CIMA for every window of the case study exam. This document gives some information to the students based on which questions might be formed. It is released 7 weeks before the main exam week. 

It can be said that there are two main things to do before you appear for your case study exam-one: go through all the theoretical concepts of your syllabus; two: go through the pre-seen document in detail. 

How Many Hours Should Be Given to CIMA Preparations? 

All of this planning for CIMA professional qualification will be useful only if it is well-executed in your routine. We agree with the fact that executing what you plan is harder than expected. But, self-control and self-discipline are two things that can make any task possible for you.

So, if you are planning to crack CIMA as soon as possible, you have got to plan your week. It is recommended to give at least 11-12 hours of study per week when preparing for CIMA professional qualification. 

Moreover, your study hours per week would also depend on your background or previous qualifications. But dedicated hours of  study should be at least 8-9 hours per week in any scenario. 

You need to be furthermore focused on your studies if you are a part-time student. No matter what, your studies need to be regular without long breaks running into days. This becomes more important when you are planning to minimize your CIMA completion time. 

Ready to Prepare for the Exam? 

Cracking the CIMA exam and holding its degree indeed opens a bunch of doors for today’s young generation. Preparing for such an exam can be exhausting and quite good time management would be needed. However, it might all become super easy for you when you have a guide to go to. 
If you are planning on preparing for the CIMA qualification, IMS ProSchool is where you can go. Enroll at IMS ProSchool today and minimize your CIMA completion time along with proper preparation and great results.