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CIMA Classroom vs. Online Learning: Which is Better for You?

This article will help you figure out whether studying CIMA online or in the classroom is a better choice for you.

Man checking call in front of laptop

There are advantages and disadvantages to studying for your CIMA exams online compared to a traditional classroom. Which one is best for you?

  • Classroom vs online: which style suits you better?
  • Am I more likely to pass CIMA online or in a classroom setting?

These are the questions you may be asking if you’re thinking about sitting CIMA. Or maybe, you’ve already started but keep failing your OTs and case study exams. This article will help you figure out whether studying CIMA online or in the classroom is a better choice for you. It will also give you some key things to look for when it comes to choosing a learning provider.

CIMA Classroom Learning Pros

Studying CIMA in a classroom doesn’t have many advantages anymore, so it’s becoming less popular amongst students. One of the big downsides is the necessity to travel, which is often after a long day from work to lectures. However, if you live or work close to a good college or centre, that can help mitigate some disadvantages.

In addition, studying CIMA can be a lonely journey. So, the sense and finding of community people to study within a classroom setting can help ease study. This support mechanism can help take the pressure off and motivate you when studying becomes challenging.

CIMA Classroom Learning Cons

Classroom learning is a huge time commitment. Often, more than it needs to be. Earning a CIMA qualification will benefit your career, but it probably doesn’t feel like it when you have to leave work early all the time for lectures.

Plus, lectures are not the best way to learn and can be inefficient. You’re in a class with many other students who set the pace, so you’re often going much slower than if you studied solo. Another thing to consider is that classroom learning can be expensive. Bricks and mortar institutions have large overheads, so student fees are higher to make up for it.

CIMA Online Learning Pros

More and more students are choosing to learn CIMA online as it’s convenient, faster, cheaper and can provide a better standard of teaching than the classroom. Here’s why. Studying CIMA online means you can study at your own pace, where and when it suits your schedule and life. That means you’re more likely to take in what you learn and can learn more in less time. In addition, as it’s available on-demand, you take out the need to travel to a college in the centre that’s miles away.

You can also get a better standard of teaching by learning online, as you can learn from tutors without the distractions of a classroom setting. This means you get more streamlined teaching that you can follow more easily. Plus, all you need to do is log in to review any material you may have missed or are struggling to understand. The most significant benefit is, of course, the cost. Online learning works out much cheaper than classroom learning, as the only overheads are tutors. This means you get better teaching for less. An added bonus is that you can ask it confidentially and not in front of people if you have a question! So if you’re one of those people that get embarrassed asking questions, online provides the perfect platform.

CIMA Online Learning Cons

Some CIMA learning providers record classroom lectures and deliver them online. While this saves time compared to being in a classroom, it’s got the same disadvantages. Plus, recorded lectures are even less impactful at a distance because you can’t ask questions. If you’re going to watch full online lectures, you might as well study in the classroom.

You are taking out the classroom and the real-life community with online learning. However, with the right provider that offers opportunities to communicate with peers (e.g. live webinars), you can build relationships that allow you to connect with students on the same journey. While you may miss the opportunity to ask face-to-face questions to a tutor, every good learning provider will have personal tutor support to get any queries answered as and when you need help.


So, while it’s not wise to write off traditional classes. For some students, particularly those near a college or learning centre, classroom learning can be a viable learning method. Tutors are generally experienced, and the content is good, even if a classroom isn’t the best way to get that content across.However, learning CIMA online is a much better option for most. Studying online is a more efficient way to learn in terms of time and cost because it leverages the full potential of the online medium. After all, most industries have embraced the flexibility that digital technologies bring, and now education is catching up – and so are clever students!

Katie Ni Choileain
3 min read

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