Friday, 20 January 2012

Key to Effective Reading & Planning - CMA Case Exam

Reading the report is time consuming and often by the time you are done, you remember very little and are faced with a report full of endless highlights and side notations which are overwhelming. You end up sifting through the whole case again and again each time you are looking for relevant information relating to alternatives, swot, recommendations, etc. Often key facts that you marked in the case are forgotten and never even make it to the body of the report.

Try using the following steps - I have tutored numerous students using this approach and their feedback was unanimous - they were amazed at just how much time was saved and at how much more complete their report was.
  1. Read the CMA Case Exam Additional Information very quickly once to get the overall idea of what you are dealing with
  2. Open SecureExam and in the Word portion type up the complete outline with every single heading that you will need (i.e. Introduction, Strengths, Constraints, KSF, KRF, Financing Available, Strategic Alternatives, pros, cons, etc.) - do it in the proper order and do not miss any headings
  3. Read the CMA Case Exam Additional Information for the second time but this time, do it thoroughly and as you identify each and every piece of information that is relevant to the case report (pros, cons, constraints, mission, stakeholder preferences, alternatives, strengths, threats, etc.) enter it right away under the appropriate heading - do this as you are reading the CMA Case Exam Additional Information, do not wait to enter this info into the report until after you finished reading as you will likely forget to include key facts.
This way by the time you are done going over the CMA Case Exam Additional Information for the second time, you will already have a large portion of the case exam already complete - sections like constraints, stakeholder preferences, SWOT, Pros and Cons will already be filled out in SecureExam in the headings that you have created earlier. Doing this also reduces the chance that you miss or forget information. See - you just earned marks and you didn't even have to start calculating or analyzing anything yet!

Image: graur razvan ionut /


  1. did anyone try this method? did it work?

  2. not yet but will give it a try this weekend when i will be doing my own mock practice case exam (i basically take a previous sample cma case exam and limit my time to 4 hours... i allow myself some time to look at the backgrounder first though).. will let u know how this turns out.

  3. I tired this method for my last assignment. It helped to manage the time well!

  4. This method has worked for my students - I highly recommend it to everyone as it will help you save time and improve the report.

  5. Is there any way you can post a list of all the headings that you used to ensure that we get everything covered? I find the info given by CMA is very vague

  6. Take a look at the previous year exams posted on the CMA student website. That will give you a good idea of all the headers you need.

  7. I am preparing to write the case exam May 9. This is the approach I have used for all of my practice exams, and I have been successful.

    Great blog, thank you.

  8. I have also used this approach when writing practice exams and it saved a lot of time. It helps in organizing your thoughts as well.

    Good luck! :)


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