In this article, we’ll explore the differences and links between the papers a little deeper. Each paper allows you to demonstrate a different skill set to the examiner and therefore needs to be approached differently. Knowing what the examiner is looking for will be a huge help on exam day, as we will reveal below.
Why is E not the same as F and P?
No, it’s not the start of a joke or even a riddle! When studying CGMA at operational, management and strategic level you will see all 3 of these papers. By understanding that the skills needed for success are different with the E papers, you will see that success here needs a different approach. Whilst E doesn’t stand for easy necessarily, E papers are not technical like F and P, and serve a completely different purpose.
CGMA Core Papers: Art or science?
With F and P papers, there is a lot of technical content linked to the day-to-day role of an accountant. Management accounting and financial accounting is based upon a clear set of rules and principles. They follow the same logic as a science and once you have mastered the system you can practice with different numbers in readiness for the exam.
An E paper however is much more of an art than a science. Nuance is everything here as detail in a scenario can make a big difference to the right answer when you are discussing ethics or strategy.
Imagine an organisation deciding whether they should follow a strategy of organic growth or use acquisitions. There is no one right answer here, it will depend upon how fast they are looking to move, how much money they have, whether there are targets to buy and how willing they are to be distracted by a transaction.
With objective test questions in the E papers, it’s vital to read the scenario brief carefully to find the clues that will guide you. In the example above, if they mention a cash rich organisation looking for a quick move into a new sector then acquisition lead growth would be a sensible suggestion.
How to review?
When you don’t get the right answer in an E paper mock or question practice, it’s tempting to consider learning the right response. The challenge here though is next time with a different organisation and a different scenario the answer is also likely to be different.
Instead, look at understanding why you didn’t pick the right response. Was it a clue that you missed in the scenario to lead you to a response? Was it a negative word in a question that you missed for example which of the following is NOT one of the fundamental ethical principles?
Once you start to see a pattern in responses, you are better able to think like the artist and build your E skills.
CGMA Core Papers: Planning your next pass
Art or science – there’s room for both in CGMA!
Now that you know this, you’ll be in a good position to plan your next route to a pass. However, we’d also recommend reading our Guide to planning your CIMA/CGMA Studies. Then, once you’ve created your master plan for the core papers, it’s a good idea to start understanding the Case Study.
Best of luck with your exams!