TOPCIMA: From This September's Sitting, P10 Question Papers Will No Longer Contain the Full Marking Matrix. Teresa Jacobs Explains the Institute's Decision

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In response to questions and comments from TOPCIMA candidates and tutors, the CIMA panel that prepares the case studies for the exam has produced guidance on how the assessment criteria should be interpreted. In essence, it explains what you need to do to earn enough marks in each assessment criterion to pass paper P10.

From September the full version of the marking matrix will no longer appear in the exam paper. This change has been made in response to feedback indicating that the matrix needed to be overhauled to provide better guidance, which could be absorbed in preparation for the exam. Students said that they preferred to focus their reading time on the unseen material presented on the day of the exam. Therefore, in support of the guidance presented below, only a reminder of how the 100 marks are allocated across the criteria will be included in the question paper.

Teresa Jacobs is quality assurance manager at CIMA.

Guidance on mark breakdown

In order to succeed in TOPCIMA you, in your role as consultant
to an organisation, need to:

1 Use analytical techniques to help you analyse the issues in the
unseen material with relevant reference to the pre-seen material
and the industry setting as well as real-life parallels of the
issues. You will also need to apply your technical knowledge.

2 Prioritise the issues and discuss the impact these may have on
the organisation. You will then need to suggest a range of
alternative actions that the organisation could undertake to
address the issues. You will need to discuss the impact these
issues may have on the organisation. In doing this, you also need
to recognise any relevant ethical implications.

3 Make recommendations to whoever has commissioned your report on
your choice of action for each issue from the alternative actions
discussed earlier. Marks are awarded for fulfilling each of the
three stages according to the criteria shown in the tables below.
The pass mark is 50.

1 Analysis of issues

Technical     Use relevant theoretical     5
              techniques and
              frameworks and perform
              relevant calculations to
              help you analyse the
              case material and
              support your arguments.
Application   Use the techniques,          15
              frameworks and
              calculations you have
              produced to support
              your analysis of the
              issues and your choices
              of actions.
Diversity     Display knowledge of         5
              relevant real-life
              situations in the same or
              a similar context as that
              in which the case is set.
              Also, display knowledge
              of real-life commercial or
              organisational issues
              relevant to the situation
              in the case. These may
              occur in the industry or
              organisational setting in
              which the case is set
              or in different industries
              or settings.                 25

2 Strategic choices

Focus            Select the issues you feel to be the         5
                 most important and make sure that you
                 properly address these issues in the
                 report you produce. …