A CIMA, or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Certification can be a great way to fast-track your career.
Being involved in CIMA and going through their examinations can be a great addition to your resume.
Recruiters always prefer someone with a CIMA certification, as it is a global and well-renowned management accounting body.
Since many people who end up taking the CIMA exams are people who already have other commitments, CIMA has made it easy for many people to take the examination at their own pace.
But with any professional certification, it’s natural to wonder, can you study CIMA on your own and still succeed?
Or should you enroll in a class?
Let’s find out.
Can You Study CIMA On Your Own?
Yes, you can study CIMA on your own and ace the exams. You can get the course materials online, buy books from your local bookstores, and do self-study. There are also many options available for you to evaluate your progress by taking practice tests and quizzes.
The CIMA official website offers many resources, from study planners to exam guidance, so that you can study at your own pace.
The best part about learning independently is that you can juggle your studies with your other commitments.
People who already have jobs, kids, or families to take care of or are short on time can’t always enroll in a class that runs at a particular time each week.
When you take a class, not only do you need the time for the course itself, but you also have to take into account the commute, the extra resources, homework, and self-study.
Many people with a full-time job or other responsibilities could be tempted to skip the exam due to a lack of time.
This is why CIMA has made it much easier for anyone who wants to take these exams by allowing them to study for them in a way that suits their schedule and pace.
So, yes, you can definitely learn CIMA on your ow and many people do.
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How To Study For CIMA On Your Own?
There are two main ways to study for CIMA on your own:
1) you can take an online course (like the one designed by CIMA, or one like this by Eagle Education or 2) you can get the syllabus online and buy the necessary resources.
Either way, you’ll have to discipline yourself and stick to a routine. The main challenge with self-studying is not to give up and to be disciplined.
Here are a few tips to help you get started on your own.
Do Your Research
The first step to starting anything should be to do adequate research. Thanks to the internet, you can pretty much look up anything online.
Learn about the CIMA exam and how it’s taken.
Read up on the syllabus and see if you qualify for any exemptions. Check out how to register for these exams. Remember to register as early as you can.
Search for courses online that you can take that will help you. Many online educational websites offer courses you can finish at your own pace.
There are no fixed class times or exams. You can watch video lessons and take tests and deadlines at your own pace.
So look into courses like these and see if you like them.
-> Learn more about the 7 best websites for self-learning
Decide on a Route
Once you have a better idea of what you are signing up for, you can decide which route to take. Consider the pros and cons of each.
You can either choose to get all the resources and study alone with textbooks in a more traditional approach.
Or you can subscribe to an online course with lectures that tackle each topic in a more organized manner.
There’s also always the option of enrolling in a physical classroom. Many people benefit from the rigid structure offered by these classrooms.
The routines are set for you, you get the resources, and everything is explained to you.
But the time you might need to give to a more rigid classroom structure is often what steers people to study alone. See which one is easier for you and decide on the route.
Get All the Resources
If you decide to take an online course, you must pay for it (if it’s not free). They will provide you with the necessary resources, like pdfs of the textbooks, quizzes, etc.
Otherwise, you must collect the syllabus, textbooks, previous test papers, etc., on your own. You can easily buy them from any local bookstore or even at a library.
You can also opt for online versions of everything if you are comfortable with it, as it’s much cheaper, and you can get a lot of resources for free.
Make a Routine
Whether you decide to study along with an online course or study with textbooks, you need to be very disciplined about your routine.
Perhaps the best way is to set aside a specific time of the day where you can commit to dedicating your time to studying for the CIMA.
The routine is very flexible and is the best part about studying alone. You can fit in study sessions according to your schedule and don’t have to sacrifice other responsibilities, which can often make learning much harder.
Whatever routine you do end up setting; however, be strict with it and stick to it.
Be Realistic About Your Goals
While it might be great to study 12 hours a day and give your all to acing the exams, that goal is not realistic for most of us. Try to give yourself enough time to study.
Taking small steps every day will usually lead to a better result than trying to cram everything into a short period.
Remember to set aside time for sleeping and meals in your hectic schedule, and don’t compromise your health.
Set realistic deadlines for yourself, and don’t be too harsh if you can’t meet them.
Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s okay. Just pick back up where you left off and allow yourself a break.
Get a Study Partner
The hardest part about self-study is often the lack of motivation. While you might start strong with a routine, it can be complicated to stick to it over time, especially if you are doing it alone.
Many people prefer to follow along with a class because they are held accountable.
A way around this is to get a study partner. If you have a friend or family member who can also take the test, you can help each other out.
Having a study partner not only allows you to keep each other accountable for meeting goals, but it’s also good to have someone to talk to and discuss problems you’re facing.
You can also join online groups and forums if you can’t find friends to help you.
These groups can often help set reminders or get information, and it’s a valuable community where you can be there for each other.
Practicing exam materials will help you get a hold of your progress. It not only makes you feel well-prepared for the exam but also points out your weak points.
Notice where you face problems and focus on those topics a little more.
The CIMA website offers aptitude tests that you can take for mock exams. There’s also a lot of exam-prep material available on the website.
You can also find plenty of tests, quizzes, flashcards, etc., online on other unofficial sites. Use the resources.
Mix it up! Remember to test yourself in between each lesson so that you retain information.
Once you get close to the exam dates, you can make a checklist of what you must do. Check what items you might need to take the exam.
You can also tell your boss or employer that you are taking the exams. Some companies encourage their employees to take the CIMA, so they can offer financial support or discounts or even study leaves or resources.
Go over the materials that you have studied and revise everything!
Try to solve past exams and maybe even talk to people who have already given the tests, so you know exactly what to expect.
But most importantly, take time to relax and take breaks, so you don’t fall sick.
So, can you study CIMA on your own? While anyone can study CIMA on their own, whether that’s the best solution depends on you and your situation.
If you stick to routines and are pretty disciplined, you can study independently.
But it might be worth the expense to enroll in a classroom learning environment for someone who struggles to do things on their own and finds it hard to stick to goals.
Either way, the study material is the same. So your success depends on your methods.
While studying by yourself is a lot more flexible and less expensive, if you are someone who prefers a teacher guiding you and the structure they bring, then you might be better off learning in a class.
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