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CIMA Professional Strategic Level

What the syllabus update means for you

There are going to be some changes to the CIMA professional qualification for exams in November 2019, but don’t worry, we can guide you through this year, and what options you have going forward. The main thing is to keep going and complete your qualification so the changes won’t affect you.


If you’ve just sat your Management Case Study, then you could potentially complete Strategic Level and qualify before the syllabus change in November. It will however be extremely hard work to do so and should only be attempted if you have lots of support both at work and at home.

If you have already started the Strategic Level, you have enough time to comfortably complete the whole level. This means you’ll complete the qualification before the syllabus change. It is strongly recommended that you aim to sit your case study by November at the latest. Remember, you still have an opportunity to have another go in February if you did find yourself needing a resit.

Quick reminder - the last date for Objective Tests is the 3rd November 2019, and the last sitting for Case Study under the 2015 syllabus is November 2019.

CIMA qualification update and syllabus change webinar

Join Steve Flatman, VP Examinations — Management Accounting, CIMA and Rebecca Evans, Head of Product Management at Kaplan Financial for an overview of the new CIMA professional qualification, why it is changing and a summary of impact, along with an opportunity to ask for advice on what to do between now and November.

Register now for recorded webinar

Where you’re up to, and our advice from June


If you’re... Next we suggest you do...
Sitting 1st Objective Test Option 1 - speed up by sitting 2 Objective Tests (2015 syllabus) before Case Study to November
Option 2 - Objective Test (ideally E3 or F3)  (2015 syllabus)
Sitting 2nd Objective Test Objective Test (final) (2015 syllabus) and then Case Study to November
Sitting 3rd Objective Test Case Study to August (2015 syllabus)
Sitting Strategic Case Study N/A (qualified)

Differences between current and new Strategic syllabus

P3 - Risk Management

Current Strategic syllabus

The removal of financial risk reduces the number of calculations in 2019 so if you prefer more calculations you may want to attempt it before the syllabus change.

New Strategic syllabus

Fewer calculations following the removal of financial risk. The new syllabus areas on cyber risks are very relevant for the challenges you are likely to face now and in the future. Arguably the most significant syllabus change, so you may find you have a knowledge gap if you are sitting the Case Study under the 2019 syllabus.

E3 - Strategic Management

Current Strategic syllabus

The most straightforward of the three subjects at this level. This leads more naturally into P3 and F3 so arguably the best strategic level subject to start with.

New Strategic syllabus

Sitting under the 2019 syllabus will reduce the new areas of knowledge needed for Case Study.

F3 - Financial Strategy

Current Strategic syllabus

If you have already completed P3 under the 2015 syllabus, studying F3 before the syllabus change will avoid repetition of financial risk management.

New Strategic syllabus

If you haven’t done P3 under the old syllabus, then you should do F3 under the new, otherwise you have missed out financial risk management – this often comes up in the Case Study.

Further information

The 2019 syllabus change shouldn’t affect you if you successfully complete your Objective Tests and attempt your Case Study by November 2019. Even if you need to resit in February 2020, it’ll still be under the 2015 syllabus with the November 2019 pre-seen.

Even if you’ll be sitting your first Strategic objective test in quarter 2 (April - June) you could still complete the entire Strategic level ahead of the syllabus change in November. It will be quite intensive as you’ll need to sit and pass all 3 objective test exams 72 hours before the case study exam entry deadline of the 28th October, but with dedication it is still possible.

However if you don’t feel you will be able to complete the course by November you could:

Sit all your Objective Tests before 3rd November (to ensure they are under the 2015 syllabus), then sit your Strategic Case Study under the new syllabus in February 2020 - therefore your next step would be to take any Strategic Level Objective Test. Please be aware that you may have a knowledge gap if you do your Case Study under the new syllabus, but we have resources to help you through this.

Sit two Objective Tests before November - in this case we'd recommend you attempt either E3 or F3.

You could also just sit one Objective Test before the syllabus change - which one you choose to do is entirely up to you, but we suggest E3 might be the one to go for. Look at the information above to see which one will suit you best.

Speed up your study - OnDemand

If you want to complete your course why not consider OnDemand learning. By combining it with Classroom or Live Online or studying completely via OnDemand you can fast track your studies. You can study at the speed you choose. There aren’t any scheduled sessions, either in a classroom or online, so you can study when it’s most convenient for you. You get everything you need in one go, ready for you to start learning straight away.

If you’re considering studying in the Classroom or Live Online, have a look at our timetables to see what courses are available, when, and get these booked in. To complete the level under the 2015 qualification you will need to sit the Case Study exam in the November 2019 sitting (there will be an opportunity to resit under the 2015 qualification in February 2020 using the November 2019 pre-seen, but first time attempts in February 2020 will have to move to the new qualification).

Completing your Objective Tests and entering for the Case Study exam

You will need to take and pass all of the Objective Tests at least 72 hours before the exam entry deadline for Case Study.

Exam entry deadlines and exam dates

29th July deadline: Exam dates - 20th - 24th August
28th October deadline: Exam dates - 19th - 23rd November


You need to make sure that your Objective Tests have been sat by 3rd November 2019 but we recommend that you don’t leave the exam until the last minute just in case you need to sit it again. It’ll give you peace of mind to have a little extra time to pass should you need it.

If you want to talk to us about your next steps, please call Student Services on 0161 259 7400.

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