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The CIMA Gateway Exam – All You Need To Know

Your guide to understanding and preparation for the CIMA Gateway exam with all the fine details

This blog is to assist you in your understanding and preparation for the CIMA Gateway exam. Whilst there is no set syllabus for the Gateway exam, the application of knowledge which you are assessed is underpinned by the syllabus content of the three Management level subjects – E2 Project and relationship management, P2 Advanced Management accounting and F2 Advanced Financial reporting.

So, for example, in the exam, you may be tasked with providing commentary on some stage of a project or an explanation on some financial ratios, and you need to have the knowledge and understanding of this topic area to enable you to apply this to the case study scenario at hand.

Refer to the CIMA Management level exam blueprint to have a deep understanding of the learning outcomes (both lead learning outcomes and component learning outcomes) of each of the three papers. Each component learning outcome starts with a verb, like discuss, calculate, evaluate etc. The gateway exam will test you on your ability to perform the same tasks, but within a company scenario, that is essentially the pre-seen document provided seven weeks before the exam.

As your read the blueprint, you will notice that you will have certain knowledge and understanding gaps. We recommend you start working on filling this gap. The Learnsignal quarterly subscription is ideal for this, as you will get instant access to training material on all three papers and can work through them simultaneously and faster.

Case study exams test the applicant on a fictitious company of a real-world industry through a series of time-bound tasks. The exams are computer-based and available worldwide through the 5,500 Pearson Vue test centres. Even with the FLP route, case studies are here to stay. The gateway case study exam, also known as the management case study exam, is available four times a year, in Feb, May, Aug and Nov, lasting over a three-day testing window, tested through multiple variants. You will receive one of these variants at random in the exam.

Prior to starting the exam, you will be provided with a 15-minute mandatory tutorial on how to navigate the online exam portal. Gateway case study exams are three hours long and made up of three tasks, for 1 hour each. Once you finish a task, you cannot go back to it. So, it would be wise to use the full 1 hour allocated for that task because the spare time does not get added to the next task. With 5 minutes left, you will be given a 5-minute warning before the exam automatically moves to the next task. The system saves your work continuously, so you do not need to be worried about this. Hence allocate your time in proportion to the marks allocated (say 50-50 or 60-40 of that 1 hour).

At the Gateway level, you are playing the role of a Middle Manager, reporting to the CFO or the board, which requires your advice in dealing with various operational issues and evaluating various options and choices. Your marks will be reported as a scaled score from 0 to 150, with 80 or above as your pass marks.

Once you are through with the various learning outcomes of the three core papers, you would want to decide which case study window you would like to sit in. Seven weeks before the exam date, the gateway exam pre-seen material will be released. You would like to do a thorough analysis of this pre-seen of register with a registered tuition provider, who will do this analysis for you. The best way to test your understanding and application ability of the pre-seen is to work through free and paid mock exams, again something your registered tuition provider will assist you with.

Some other tips and tricks:

  1. Look at past management case study exam questions and suggested answers. Please do not be concerned that they are based on a different case study. You need to evaluate if the questions apply to your pre-seen and, if yes, how you would respond to that question, factoring in information from your pre-seen. Check out past question papers here.
  2. Time management and answer planning are key to case study exam success. Remember NOT to use bullet points in your answers unless you have been specifically asked to do so. Studying with a registered tuition provider will help you master these tips and tricks faster than you must figure this out on your own!
  3. You are not marked on your grammar or language, as English is not everyone’s first language. However, please ensure you explain your point in a clear and concise manner. Make it easy for the examiner to mark you upwards. We can show you how!

I hope this quick brief on Gateway exams was useful. If you have further queries on this exam, please leave comments in the chat box, and we will address them.

Evita Veigas
3 min read

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