What does CIMA’s Case Study marking system mean for you?

CIMA’s Case Study marking can be tricky to get your head around. I’ve spoken to countless students who found it difficult to understand why they’d failed. Often, students receive a ‘fail’ mark even when their results show they have a reasonably good understanding of all subject areas.

So, what can you make of your Case Study results? Let’s take a look at what CIMA are looking for in order to grant that allusive ‘pass’!

CIMA Case Study exams are marked using not one, but two scoring systems. Students needs to obtain a certain result in BOTH of these marking systems in order to ‘pass’.

Scaled scores:

One of the marking methods CIMA uses is a ‘scaled scoring’ system.

CIMA acknowledge that certain papers on the same module may differ in their difficulty levels. Therefore, exam results should be adjusted to reflect this. Scaled scores reflect a student’s ability, no matter which particular paper has been sat.

For example, if Student A sits a paper that contained harder questions and scored 35. Student B sits a paper that contained easier questions and scored 35. Student A would therefore receive a higher scaled score.

In this way, the scaled scoring system is designed to make the exam results fairer. These scaled scores are also used to mark the OT exams from Certificate – Strategic level.


The second method of assessment used in the CIMA Case Study exams is the ranking of individual ‘competencies’. These scores show how strong a student’s understanding of that individual area is.

This is what the following ranks mean:

  • Strong.  You performed well in integrating across subjects and competencies and have demonstrated business competence.
  • Moderate. You exceeded the minimum threshold for this area but didn’t perform strongly. This competency should be reviewed before your next exam.
  • Fail. You failed to achieve the minimum marks for this competency. These are roughly 30% of the marks available.

To pass the case study exams, you will need to achieve a scaled score of 80 points or more. This is IN ADDITION to achieving at least a ‘moderate’ grade in ALL the proficiencies.

Now, this is where CIMA students can fall down. The key is to understand that there are essentially TWO aspects to these exams. Firstly, applying knowledge gained from your OT exams to the particular business scenario. Secondly, understanding the scenario itself as well as the industry and the issues that particular industry faces.


What does this mean?

So, what happens if you get a ‘moderate’ or ‘strong’ grade in all of the competencies but still fail the exam?  It’s likely that you have correctly applied your knowledge from the previous OT exams to this particular business situation. However, you have failed to understand and explore the particular scenario given in the pre-seen in enough depth.

It really is crucial to have an in-depth, sophisticated and practical understanding of the pre-seen. This includes the particular industry and market in which the fictional company is based. If you failed based on this, you have a much better understanding of the pre-seen industry going into your next sitting.

I believe Astranti’s pre-seen analysis pack is the best tool on the market. These materials will make sure that you’re up to speed on the CIMA pre-seen and can confidently score an 80+.

Operational Case Study:
Astranti CIMA Case Study Pre-seen Materials
Astranti CIMA Case Study Course

Management Case Study:
Astranti CIMA Case Study Pre-seen Materials
Astranti CIMA Case Study Course

Strategic Case Study:
Astranti CIMA Case Study Pre-seen Materials
Astranti CIMA Case Study Course