I don’t want to scare you but….! Did you know that there are 12 weeks to go until the CIMA exams in November? If you’re lucky enough to be attending a tuition course you will hopefully already be in full swing, but if you’re self-studying you might benefit from some direction. So here’s a countdown guide to what I recommend you do over the next 12 weeks to get yourself prepared for the CIMA F2 exam on 21 November.
Note that all study times mentioned are only guidelines – you might find that you need to invest a little more time than suggested or you might find that you feel quite comfortable with topics having spent less time than suggested. So feel free to flex the timings to suit.
Week 12 to week 7 inclusive
I would recommend spending approximately 5 hours per week in this phase. The emphasis at this stage is on making sure that you learn the technical knowledge required. But remember that learning knowledge won’t happen by simply reading about it – you will need to practise some questions too. Textbooks from any of the main tuition providers will include such exercises for you to practice.
Week 12 – w/c 26 August 2013 – Analysis
Analysis involves learning the formula for the ratio calculations, together with developing your skills in being able to write appropriate analysis comments. The key here is to explain why the ratio’s have gone up/down or are higher/lower.
Week 11 – w/c 2nd September – Earnings per share / Operating segments
EPS involves being able to calculate EPS when there are share issues during the year as well as being able to calculate diluted earnings per share.
For IFRS 8 Operating segments, focus on appreciating the benefits and limitations of segmental disclosures as well as the basic requirements of IFRS 8.
Week 10 – w/c 9th September – Consolidated SFP, SCI and SOCIE
This week is about making sure you are comfortable with the fundamentals of group accounts. A lot of this might be revision from F1 Financial operations (such as fair value adjustments, intercompany and PUPs) but you will now be introducing non-controlling interest shareholders into your group structure. Mid year acquisitions are also new for F2 compared to F1.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this week – it is the foundation for the next 2 weeks, so is really important to get to grips with.
Week 9 – w/c 16th September – Changes in group structure / complex groups
For changes in group structure, you need to be able to understand and the impact on the group accounts of the following situations:
- non-control to control step acquisitions
- Control to non-control disposals
- control to control scenarios
For complex groups, make sure you can get the correct ownership percentages and date of acquisition as hopefully everything else will then follow.
Week 8 – w/c 23rd September – Foreign currency / Consolidated statement of cash flows
Foreign currency involves being able to remember the correct exchange rates to use for translation and also how to calculate the foreign exchange gain/loss for the year.
To do well on consolidated statement of cash flows questions, the essential ingredient is to have learnt the proforma.
Week 7 – w/c 30th September – Issues of recognition & measurement / Developments in external reporting
Issues of recognition & measurement includes learning the following topics:
- IFRS 2 Share based payments
- IAS 19 Retirement benefits (pensions)
- IAS 32/39 Financial instruments
- Concept of substance
Developments in external reporting includes learning about:
- the convergence project
- non-financial reporting
- human resources accounting
Again, do not underestimate the importance of these topics. Although individually they are small topics, they will account for approximately 30 marks in the exams.
In week 6 down to week 4, you should be moving into revision mode and increasing your study time to in the region of 6-8 hours per week.
Week 6 & 5 – w/c 7th October & w/c 14th October
Use these two weeks as the opportunity to refresh your knowledge from the first few weeks. This would be the time to be preparing revision notes / flash cards (or to be using those available from tuition providers) to recap your knowledge.
Week 4 – w/c 21st October
Now start practising exam questions. For this week, do the questions with the aid of revision notes where you need and also take your time. The focus is to understand the nature of the exam questions so that you know what to expect in the exam.
Things are starting to heat up now – only 3 weeks to go! So you need to increase your study time about 8 to 10 hours per week.
Week 3 and week 2 – w/c 28th October and w/c 4th November
Continue to practice past exam questions but now attempt the questions to time and without the aid of your revision notes.
At this stage stick to practicing questions per topic. In other words, in one study session practice several analysis questions. In another study session practice group accounts.
Week 1 – w/c 11th November
This is the week to be doing mock exams. Everything now needs to simulate the exam. Try to attempt two full exams in this week.
In the last couple of days before the exam, just keep everything ticking over in your mind by reviewing your flash cards / revision notes. Make sure that you also build in a little rest time in these last couple of days – after all, you want to be in top form on 21 November!