Ask the expert - 2010 syllabus part one

Replies : 10

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions about the new 2010 syllabus through our Ask an Expert form. The response was excellent.

Answers to the first ten questions are below. Part two and part three of the answers are now also available.


Question 1
CIMA requires students to sit all three strategic level exams at once. Is it against CIMA rules to concentrate on only one with the intention of passing the other two at a later sitting?

The reason I ask is that I would like to pass one exam in November 2009 before the 2010 syllabus comes into place.

You must enter for, and attempt, all three Strategic level papers at your first sitting of the Strategic level. Each paper is marked/assessed separately and you need 50% to pass a paper.

If you sat all three Strategic level papers and, for example, were awarded 54% for P3, 20% for P6 and 15% for P9, you would receive a permanent credit for paper P3 (or its equivalent paper under the new 2010 syllabus). You would need to resit the remaining papers at a later sitting.

If you have a good reason for missing one or more Strategy papers at your first sitting, you will need to provide an official document or certificate (for example, from your doctor) to prove that you were unable to sit the exam.

This may then enable you to receive credit for any papers that you pass. If you cannot provide an official document or certificate, all the Strategy papers you have taken will be declared void and you will have to resit them, even if you have reached the pass mark.

Please remember that the rule of sitting all three Strategy papers at the same time applies because of the integrated nature of the three Strategic level syllabi. You are more likely to be successful at any paper at this level if you have an understanding of all of the syllabi, rather than treating each paper as a standalone unit.

We recommend that you have a good attempt at all three papers at the November sitting rather than concentrating on just one paper. If you are unsuccessful in any of the subjects, you can use our guides, which will be available at the end of August, for a better understanding of the 2010 syllabus and to identify any new syllabus topic areas or any topic areas that have been moved or removed.


Question 2
Will the current P10 TOPCIMA assessment matrix change within the 2010 syllabus for paper T4 Part B - Case Study?

Yes. A new assessment matrix will be included with the specimen exam paper at the end of October 2009. However, the differences are relatively minor.


Question 3
Can we take the current P10 TOPCIMA exam twice - in September and November 2009?

If you take the P10 TOPCIMA exam on computer in September and do not pass, you have a choice of resitting the exam on computer, or sitting the paper based exam in November. The exam in November uses the same preseen material as the September exam.

If you want to resit the paper based exam, the following apply:
• CIMA will email you after the results have been released offering to automatically enter you for the next TOPCIMA paper based diet.
• We will ask you to confirm your centre choices, or let us know if you do not want to resit this time or are resitting on PC with your tuition provider (see below)
• If you do not confirm by email, CIMA will automatically enter you for the paper based exam and you may be charged if we subsequently have to remove you from the exam.
• Payment for this exam must be settled within five working days of receiving results by email, should this payment not be received your entry may be cancelled and a fee charged.
• A confirmation of your exam entry will be emailed to you, confirmation can also be viewed via your MY CIMA account.

If you would like to resit the exam on computer, you must check with your tuition provider to confirm that they are offering places for resits and if there is availability. You are not guaranteed to be able to resit on PC, so please check with your tuition provider early to avoid disappointment.


Question 4
I am writing Strategic level exam papers in November. If I fail a subject, will I need to buy a new study system for the new 2010 syllabus subject?

We always recommend that students use the most up to date study text for each exam. We are producing guides, which will be available online at the end of August, to help you identify changes to the new syllabi - for example where syllabus subject content has been added, removed or moved to a different syllabus area.


Question 5
Will the 2010 syllabus change also affect students who have finished Managerial Level before 2010? According to the 2005 syllabus, can we sit for the TOPCIMA examination just after finishing Strategic level?

Both the Managerial and Strategic level syllabi have been updated. Our guides (available at the end of August) will show how each individual syllabus has changed.

The rules for sitting the Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting still apply. You must have completed all three Strategic level papers before you can attempt any components at the new T4 level, including the T4 Part B Case Study exam. (Please note that under the 2010 syllabus the Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting comprises two component parts that must both be passed in order to complete the test.)

The Test of Professional Competence comprises:

T4 Part A - Initial Professional Development – Work Based Practical Experience (maximum 50 credits)

Students must prepare and submit a CIMA Career Profile for assessment of their personal work based practical experience and skills development. An approved Career Profile is awarded 50 credits – the amount needed to meet the requirements for Part A of the Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting.

T4 Part B
Case Study Examination (maximum 50 credits)

Students must sit and pass the Case Study examination – a three hour assessment of competence, completed within a supervised exam environment. 25 credits must be awarded to meet the minimum requirements for Part B of the Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting.

To pass the T4 Test of Professional Competence, students must achieve an aggregated minimum of 75 credits – comprising a minimum of 50 credits for Part A (maximum 50 credits) and a minimum of 25 credits for Part B (maximum of 50 credits).

Students are advised to undertake Part A and Part B concurrently, although either can be taken in any order once all strategic level examinations have been completed. The overall result for the Test of Professional Competence in Management Accounting can only be given when both component parts have been completed.


Question 6
I am starting CIMA in August 2009 and plan to sit exams for paper P1 and P7. I know that the syllabus is changing from January 2010, so what happens if I fail and need to retake paper P1 and/or P7? Will I need to retake the whole two tuition courses again?

If you fail either paper in November 2009, you will need to resit its ‘matching’ paper P1 or F1, under the new 2010 syllabus in May 2010 (or at a later sitting). We are producing guides, which will be available online at the end of August, to help you identify which areas of the new syllabus you will not already have studied and where you will have gaps in your knowledge. These guides should help you decide whether you feel you need to take another tuition course or if you can study the relevant topic areas on your own.


Question 7
Will there be a computer based T4 Part B Case Study exam in the new 2010 syllabus?

Yes, it will operate in much the same way as the current P10 TOPCIMA exam and be available four times per year.


Question 8
Unfortunately, I failed all three strategic papers and do not want to put myself under the pressure of sitting all three again in November 2009. If I defer one until May 2010, how different will I find the new syllabus and would the tuition that I have attended this year be sufficient to pass? I plan to resit P3 and P9 in November 2009 and defer the resit for P6 – the new E3 exam – until May 2010.

Fundamentally, all three of the strategic level papers are very similar – old syllabus to new syllabus. The new E3 (old P6) does have a new ‘Change Management’ section (which has been elevated from the current P4 Organisational Management and Information Systems at Managerial level). It could therefore be argued that having covered some of this topic already in previous studies, it might be advantageous to defer the re-sit of the new E3 (old P6) until May 2010.

Our guides, which will be available online at the end of August, will help you identify any areas of the new syllabus you may not already have studied and where you may have gaps in your knowledge. These guides should help you decide whether you feel you need to take another tuition course or if you can study any knowledge gaps you may have on your own.


Question 9
Can you confirm that the practical experience requirements (PER) Career Profile forms, processes and criteria have remained unchanged in the new syllabus, with the only change being that it formally forms part of the new T4 Test of Professional Competence?

Can the Career Profile still be submitted on completion of Managerial Level?

The practical experience requirements, assessment criteria and submission process (using a Career Profile) will not change under the new 2010 qualification structure. For full details see the online brochure.

The practical experience element, under the 2010 qualification, forms Part A of the new two part T4 Test of Professional Competence.

Students are advised to undertake T4 Part A and T4 Part B concurrently, but they can be taken in any order once the Strategic level has been completed. The Career Profile cannot be submitted on completion of the Management level.


Question 10
It seems I have a new paper F1 (old P7) to pass in order to get the new Operational level of the course completed. I would like to know if I will receive the new Diploma in Management Accounting (once the 2010 syllabus kicks in) if I sit and pass P7 at the November 2009 sitting? I hope a pass in P7 in November 2009 will qualify me for the Diploma and that I need not defer my appearing in the examination until May 2010.

If you complete P7 from the 2005 syllabus in November 2009 (and have already completed P1 and P4) you will not receive the Diploma in Management Accounting when your credits are transferred over to the new 2010 syllabus.

With the introduction and implementation of any new award, there has to be a cut off for eligibility and, as the new award relates to the revised syllabus content and learning outcomes, only those students who complete the Operational level by sitting at least one paper under the new 2010 syllabus will receive the award.

However, we do not recommend that students defer their studies in order to achieve this award. Instead, we hope that students will continue with their studies as planned and quickly progress to the higher award of ‘Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting’ upon completion of either the Managerial level (under the 2005 syllabus) or both the Operational and Management levels (under the 2010 syllabus).

Julia Harrison
Student support manager

Read more expert answers about the 2010 Syllabus:

Read Ask The Expert: 2010 Syllabus - Part Two
Read Ask The Expert: 2010 Syllabus - Part Three

re Question 9

I am slightly confused !! I have passed P3 at strategic level and was contemplating compiling and submitting my practical experience prior to completing the strategic level (as was advised under the old syllabus). If i happen to fail the remaining strategic papers at the Nov 2009 sitting and have to resit them under the 2010 syllabus will the practical experience requirements have to be re-submitted to obtain a credit against the new part A T4 ?

2010 syllabus

I would like to suggest that the students who are doing their existing syllabus should be allowed to continue in the same for 1 or 2 years more, so that they could write and pass exams in the same syllabus which they have already started studying instead of changing into a new one abruptly. Exams and corrections may be done seperately on the basis of 2005 & 2010 syllabus and from 2012 onwards exams and corrections should be strictly based on 2010 syllabus. I hope it would be a relief for the students who are doing the existing syllabus.

Study Material for Strategic Level exam per 2010 Syllabi

All the above questions and answers are relevant. However, please advise when the study meterials for strategic level under 2010 syllabus will be published and available for students to purchase. The sooner the better....I am planning to sit for May 2010 strategic level if i get study material and other online study support now, it would be a great help in enabling me for an exhaustive exam preparation.

2010 Study Materials

2010 CIMA Study Systems available from Tesco (UK) for last month or so, although there low on stock of some so have to wait up to 28 days. Also available from CIMA Publishing, Elsevier site.

what is the easiest way to study the haviest book of ciam ?

it is too difficult to iranan students to study these books . because our langues & your writting is difficult , when i commper tour text with usa texts.


If I complete P1, P2, P4, P5, in November 2009 and F1 and F2 in May 2010, can I be Awarded tow award ( CIMA Advance diploma in management Acccounting and CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting??

Clarification for question 9

Hi Craig

An approval of experience under the 2005 syllabus (gained after passing the current Managerial level) will be treated in the same way as a pass in an exam – credit will be given for T4 Part A.

Best wishes

Julia Harrison

Student Support Manager

Re: Award

Hi Kutubuddin

Yes, in this scenario you would be awarded both the Diploma and the Advanced Diploma.

Best wishes

Julia Harrison

Student Support Manager

Certificate subjects

A few of my friends are planning to become CIMA students but are unsure of where to start off. They have no basics in accounting. How do they start off? Under the 2005 syllabus, students wanting to pursue CIMA, had to sit for the 5 Certificate papers. Will the Certificate papers be retained in the 2010 syllabus for those with no accounting basics?

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

Hi Jerusha

The CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting remains the same and is an entry qualification for those students wanting to progress to the Professional qualification.

For full information about the Certificate in Business Accounting please go to:

Best wishes

Julia Harrison