How to plan your CIMA Qualification
You can use this guide as a base for you to create your own study plan for how you will progress through your CIMA studies towards qualification. CIMA consists of four levels. The information below details specifics for each level:
The Certificate level is made up of four papers. The papers at this level can be sat at any time (the exams are “on-demand”) and in any order – you don’t have to complete them in order they are numbered.
The most common approach for students at this level is to take these papers one at a time.
At Certificate level, each paper will require between 35 – 50 hours of study (this would include attending tuition sessions if you study via a classroom, virtual classroom or Online Live course) and, as such, many students find that planning to study each paper over 6-8 weeks is a reasonable target.
On this basis, many students complete the Certificate level over 6-9 months which allows for plenty of time to study and also a few well-earned breaks:
Operational, Management and Strategic levels
The following three levels each contain four papers. Each level contains three Objective Test (OT) papers (each linked to a specific pillar e.g. E1) and an Integrated case study.
The OT papers can be sat at any time and can be completed in any order; however, you must have completed all of the OT papers within a given level before you can sit the case study exam. The Case study exam can be sat at one of four sittings a year (Feb, May, Aug, Nov). Many students find it helpful to identify when they would like to sit the case study for the level they are studying and then work backwards from there to create their study plan.
Each OT paper will take between 45 – 60 hours study (this would include attending tuition sessions if you study via a classroom or Online Live course) and so people tend to take 8-10 weeks to complete each OT paper.
With that in mind, many students find that completing a level within 9 – 12 months is a sensible time frame to aim for – this allows for steady progression whilst also being able to balance your other commitments.
We have created a high level timeline below that looks at how a student starting their Operational level in January and working towards the November Case Study sitting may plan their studies: