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CIMA Professional Operational Level

CIMA Operational is the first level of the CIMA Professional qualification. After completing this level you can progress onto the Management level, then complete the Strategic level to become a chartered management accountant.

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Available to mix and match across all study methods.

CIMA 2019 Syllabus: now available on all study methods.

1. Structure

The level is made up of three Objective Test subjects and one Case Study. You must pass all three Objective Tests before moving onto the Case Study, which tests what you’ve learned overall in the level. You need to pass all assessments to be able to progress to the Management level.

Entry requirements

You’ll need to have completed CIMA Certificate, AAT Professional (Level 4), or have an accountancy or finance degree.


The Objective Test subjects can be sat in any order. You must have passed all 3 Objective Tests before you can book your Case Study examination.


CIMA syllabus update 2019

CIMA have updated their Professional Operational Level syllabus for exams from November 2019. For more information and advice for your next steps, please visit our update page.

CIMA Operational Level update >

Courses on the new syllabus are available to buy on all study methods - Classroom, Live Online, OnDemand and Distance Learning.

Objective Test subjects

Current (2015) syllabus -
E1 Organisational Management
  • Number of lessons:
    Classroom: 4 days
    Live Online: 8 sessions
    OnDemand/Distance Learning: study at your own pace
  • Subject assessment: OnDemand computer based exam (CBE)

You’ll learn about the structure and principles that underpin the operational functions of a business, and the efficient management and interaction needed to attain strategic goals.

  • Course content:
    Introduction to organisations
    Managing the finance function
    Managing technology
    Operations Management
    Managing Human Resources
£329.00 - £1,079.00
(inc. VAT) Buy now
New (2019) syllabus -
E1 Managing Finance in a Digital World
  • Number of lessons:
    Classroom: 4 days
    Live Online: 8 sessions
    OnDemand/Distance Learning: study at your own pace
  • Subject assessment: OnDemand computer based exam (CBE)

You’ll learn about the role of finance in organisations, the structure and shape of the finance function, how the finance function interacts with the organisation to create and preserve value, data usage by the finance function and the technology landscape and its impact on organisations and the finance function.

  • Course content:
    Role of the finance function
    Technology in a digital world
    Data and information in a digital world
    Shape and structure of the finance function
    Finance interacting with the organisation
£329.00 - £1,079.00
(inc. VAT) Buy now
Current (2015) and New (2019) syllabus -
P1 Management Accounting
  • Number of lessons:
    Classroom: 5 days
    Live Online: 10 sessions
    OnDemand/Distance Learning: study at your own pace
  • Subject assessment: OnDemand computer based exam (CBE)

You’ll learn the importance of costs in the production, analysis and use of information for decision-making in companies. P1 covers short-term budgeting, and making short-term decisions on products and services, as well as digital issues in costing.

  • Course content:
    Cost accounting systems
    Budget and budgetary control
    Short term decision making
    Dealing with uncertainty in the short term
£329.00 - £1,079.00
(inc. VAT) Buy now
Current (2015) syllabus -
F1 Financial Reporting and Taxation
  • Number of lessons:
    Classroom: 6 days
    Live Online: 12 sessions
    OnDemand/Distance Learning: study at your own pace
  • Subject assessment: OnDemand computer based exam (CBE)

You’ll learn about the regulation and preparation of financial statements, giving you the skills to produce financial statements for individuals and groups. You’ll also learn about working capital and business tax.

  • Course content:
    Regulatory Environment
    Financial accounting and reporting
    Working capital and cash management
    Fundamentals of business taxation
£329.00 - £1,079.00
(inc. VAT) Buy now
New (2019) syllabus -
F1 Financial Reporting
  • Number of lessons:
    Classroom: 5 days
    Live Online: 10 sessions
    OnDemand/Distance Learning: study at your own pace
  • Subject assessment: OnDemand computer based exam (CBE)

You’ll learn about the regulation and preparation of financial statements, giving you the skills to produce basic financial statements for individuals. You’ll also learn about working capital and business tax.

  • Course content:
    Regulatory Environment
    Financial Statements
    Principles of taxation
    Managing Working Capital
£329.00 - £1,079.00
(inc. VAT) Buy now

Case Study

Integrated Case Study
  • Number of lessons:
    Classroom: 5 days
    Live Online: 7 sessions
    OnDemand/Distance Learning: study at your own pace
  • Subject assessment: Integrated Case Study exam (CBE)

You’ll be tested on your overall knowledge of E1, P1, and F1. Using the skills gained during the level, you’ll resolve issues that a management accountant may come across at work.

£429.00 - £1,509.00
(inc. VAT) Buy now

2. Study methods

Do you prefer face-to-face learning or studying online in your own time? Do you have family or work commitments that you need to fit your studies around? With four different study methods, we have a course that will meet your needs.

Study methods available for this qualification

Whatever study method you choose, you’ll benefit from high quality learning materials, practical learning methods, hundreds of practice questions, marked mock exams and expert support even on evenings and weekends. You can be confident with Kaplan.

grid_on Study method comparison table

OnDemand ›

Award-winning structured online course with the flexibility to start anytime and study anywhere.

  • Topic focused learning modules, containing tutor-led bite-sized videos
  • Engaging activities designed for effective online learning
  • Integrated programme to guide you efficiently through the whole syllabus
View OnDemand demo ›
Classroom ›

A traditional scheduled programme with face to face tutor-led classes.

  • Classes with your peers at set times of day
  • Centrally located in most major cities: View all classroom locations
  • Access to our award winning OnDemand online learning resources to access when doing work outside of the classroom.
View Classroom demo ›
Live Online ›

Live interactive online classes at a set time, which you can watch from anywhere.

  • Live lectures delivered online by a tutor
  • Re-watch and replay lessons through recordings
  • Access to our award winning OnDemand online learning resources
View Live Online demo ›
Distance Learning ›

Self-study online modules for you to work through at your own pace.

  • Study remotely with printed and online materials
  • Study guide to provide direction
View Distance Learning demo ›

Timetables - Classroom and Live Online

date_rangeView timetables

3. Exams and sittings

Timings and working towards an assessment

Each subject is assessed by an objective test, and the level as a whole is assessed by a final Case Study. Remember, you’ll have to book your exam as well as your course.

The Objective Tests are computer-based and are 90 minutes each, taken at a Kaplan centre or Pearson VUE test centre. The exams can be sat at any time of the year, and can be taken in any order. All assessments are marked by computer. Your results will be available with 48 hours.

In the Case Study, you’ll be expected to use what you learned in the Operational Level to work through a real life scenario, where your ‘role’ will be a Finance Officer. The Case Study exam is 3 hours long, is computer-based, and available to take in four windows throughout the year (February, May, August, November), at a Kaplan centre or Pearson VUE assessment centre. It is marked by a human, and results are available 5 weeks after the close of the exam window. It will test your research and analysis skills, how you present information, and your persuasion and communication skills.

Book an exam

How long does it take to pass?

Students usually take around one year to complete the level, but this depends entirely on your preferred way of learning and study method.

Dates and deadlines for Case Study exams.

All the key dates and deadlines for the 2019 Operational Case Study exams are listed below for you. Please note that Kaplan have an earlier exam entry deadline than the official CIMA deadline.

Exam sitting: August 2019

Exam entry opens: 23/01/19

Pre-seen material released to students: 21/06/19

Kaplan exam entry deadline: 15/07/19

CIMA exam entry deadline: 23/07/19

Exam week: 06/08/19 - 10/08/19

Results released: 19/09/19

Exam sitting: November 2019

Exam entry opens: 26/04/19

Pre-seen material released to students: 20/09/19

Kaplan exam entry deadline: 14/10/19

CIMA exam entry deadline: 22/10/19

Exam week: 05/11/19 - 09/11/19

Results released: 19/12/19

4. Study materials and delivery costs

Study materials

Classroom, Live Online and OnDemand students will receive printed and online study materials, while Distance Learning students have the option of printed and online, or online only. The CIMA materials are the only official CIMA study materials that cover the full syllabus, and are reviewed and approved by CIMA faculty, so you can be confident of their quality. 

The following materials are included in each Objective Test course:

  • Study text

    Textbook covering the full subject syllabus with worked examples and activities.

  • Integrated workbook (not included for Distance Learning)

    The integrated workbook helps you work through the syllabus, with room to write your notes. It helps you keep everything in one place to make it easy to study and revise from.

  • Application modules

    Helping deepen your knowledge of key topics areas, understand how smaller topics fit together and how you might see them in a work environment.

  • Study modules (Classroom, Live Online, OnDemand only)

    Engaging, online modules including bite-sized tutor led lectures taking you step by step through the whole syllabus.

  • Revision cards

    Pocket-sized, brief revision notes that highlight and prioritise the essential topics you need to understand to pass your CIMA exams.

  • Study programme

    Outlines the course structure, providing guidance on what to do, and when.

    If you choose Classroom, Live Online or Distance learning, you can access the study programme through MyKaplan, and it will guide you through your course.

    If you choose OnDemand, we’ll provide you with a printable study programme. You can choose one of three study durations,, as not everyone learns at the same pace.

  • Exam kit

    The kit gives you plenty of exam style questions and answers to test your knowledge and practice.

The following materials are included in each Case Study course:

  • Study text

    The official CIMA textbook covering Integrated Case Study Exam preparation with worked examples and activities.

  • Familiarisation and Practice Workbook

    An examination preparation tool, based on the case study, including ethical considerations, key issues, how to prioritise, and plan your answer. The workbook includes 10-12 case specific tasks including a familiarisation quiz and exercises.

  • Case analysis videos (except Distance Learning)

    Watch a tutor walk you through the pre-seen, highlighting key facts, information and potentially examinable topics.

  • MyKaplan videos (except Distance Learning)

    Technical recap recordings that will help you revise key syllabus areas from the underpinning subjects, and introduce you to how those topics could be examined in a case study examination.

To buy the materials separately...

You can buy CIMA approved books for each subject on this level from Kaplan Publishing.

Buy CIMA bookslaunch

Delivery costs


How much it costs to deliver your study materials and how long it takes depends on where in the world you live.

If you’re completing a classroom course, your materials are provided on the first day of your course.

Delivery fees are as follows:

UK and NI - £7 for the first package, £7 for subsequent packages
EU - £30 for the first package, £30 for subsequent packages
Rest of the World - £50 for the first package, £50 for subsequent packages

A package relates to all the materials for a specific subject, for example CIMA P1 Management Accounting. If purchasing a course for more than one subject, the additional package charges will apply.

Delivery fees are capped at 3 x the cost, per single order. So, if you buy 5 courses for UK delivery in a single order, it will be £7 x 3, rather than £7 x 5.

Our standard delivery times are:

UK – 3 to 5 working days
EU – 5 to 7 working days
Rest of the World – 7 to 10 working days*

*Subject to availability.

Delivery charges apply to all Distance Learning, OnDemand and Live Online courses which include printed materials, and selected Classroom courses. If delivery charges are applicable for your course, they will be shown during the online checkout process, before you complete your payment details.

5. MyKaplan: Online Learning Portal

Illustration showing elements available in MyKaplan
Watch our video explaining MyKaplan (1:30)

MyKaplan is your online learning portal where you can access all of your online learning and testing resources, including online versions of your study materials. Accessible from your computer, tablet or via the dedicated mobile app, it’s the one stop shop for everything you need with practical resources to help you prepare for your exams.

Online Features

  • check
    View your detailed study programme and online materials in one place and access your content in a few clicks
  • check
    Contact a tutor directly using LiveChat. You can also email or request a call back
  • check
    Complete practice tests and get instant feedback (Objective Tests)
  • check
    Track your performance by topic and easily identify where you need to improve; you can even compare yourself with others in your class
  • check
    Take part in forum discussions with students and tutors and find answers to common questions
  • check
    See instantly when your assessments have been marked (Case Study)
  • check
    Use the mobile app to study on the move and access your study materials offline
  • check
    Access to VideoBank - hundreds of tutor-led videos to help you get the most out of your course. 

Access duration

Your chosen study method determines how long you can access your online content for. For Objective Tests:

Three months from last course date.

Live Online
Three months from last course date.

Six months from selected start month.

Distance Learning
12 months from selected start month.

There is also one free extension for 3 months, and a further 3-month extension for £50.

For the Case Study, access durations are all six months after the selected exam sitting.

computerMinimum system requirements for MyKaplan

6. Tutor support

We’ll support you every step of the way throughout your CIMA learning experience with us. You can contact a tutor and get the help you need quickly and easily.

Provided by our Academic Support team (our dedicated team of expert tutors):

  • LiveChat (instant response via online messenger system)
  • Email (we'll get back to you within 4 hrs)
  • Discussion forum (we’ll get back to you within 4 hrs)
  • Request a callback so you can speak to a tutor (we'll arrange a call with you within 24 hrs). Please note request a callback is not available to overseas students

Academic Support opening times

Monday - Thursday: 8am - 8pm
Friday: 8am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 9am - 1pm

Ways to get support

If you think you'd benefit from additional tutor support while studying, we recommend the structured study methods such as Classroom and Live Online.

7. Testing and mocks

We have a wealth of materials to help you revise for and pass your exams.

Objective Test

For the Objective Test, all study options come with the following:

Knowledge checks
As you go along knowledge checks help assess your understanding of a topic before you move onto the next one.

Consolidation test
Each course has a consolidation test approximately two thirds of the way through the knowledge/application phase. It has the same look and feel as the real exam but is a little shorter, with 40 questions. It'll test how you are doing and allow you to identify and address problem areas early on in the course so they don't become 'big problems'.

Progress test (not available with Distance Learning)
Check your understanding with this exam standard test. It as the same look at feel as the real exam so is a great start to your revision. It will help diagnose your weaker areas to help you focus your exam preparation on the topics that need most attention.

Test yourself
This online question bank is made of  hundreds of questions so you can build your own tests to  target weak areas, or check your overall knowledge.

Two mock exams
Practice your exam technique with two mock exams so you can check your progress. The mock exams have the same look and feel as the actual exam.

Case Study

The Case Study is a difficult exam, testing your overall knowledge across the level, and is tested by a written exam, based on a business scenario. We support you with resources that match the feel of the real Case Study:

Can You Remember tests
You can get a feel for the style of the exam early in the course. We can mark it if you'd like to know how you are doing.

Past case mock
Classroom, Live Online and OnDemand students will also get access to past case resources including a full exam standard mock exam will help you gain confidence in analysing a pre-seen and attempting an exam before you start work on the live case.

3 mock exams based on the live case (2 for Distance Learning)
All marked with personalised feedback.

Recorded debrief of all 3 mocks (not for Distance Learning)
To help you understand the approach you should have taken and some common mistakes that were made.

8. Pricing structure

Subject prices can differ depending on your study method, location and the time you choose to study (if you’re choosing Classroom). Go to our study methods page to learn more about each option.

Subjects are all priced individually, so you can purchase them altogether (for a discount), or separately as you need them.

Scheduled Flexible
Classroom Live Online OnDemand Distance Learning
from £979 (inc. VAT) from £919 (inc. VAT) from £679 (inc. VAT) from £329 (inc. VAT)

Funding options

Apprenticeships ›

You may be eligible for an Apprenticeship through your employer, depending on your circumstances. Speak to your employer to find out more.

Employer sponsored ›

Your employer may fund the costs of your studies if you’re already working in a related field and want to develop your learning. You’ll need to speak to them to see if if they’re willing to provide this support.

Payment plans ›

CIMA Operational is covered in our interest-free payment plan. The plan lets you spread the cost of your studies over 12 months, with no extra costs. You’ll need to buy all subjects in the level to take out a payment plan.

Why study CIMA with Kaplan?


The UK's largest accountancy training provider. Over 50,000 students train with us each year.


Complete course with everything you need to pass, and tutors available when you need them.


Get confident with marked mock exams and 100s of practice questions.


8/10 UK's top accountancy firms use Kaplan.

Official publisher

We’re the only official CIMA publisher, meaning you can study with confidence in your learning materials.

4 ways to study

Whether you prefer online study, or learning in a classroom, you’ll find 4 study options to suit your lifestyle.

4 ways to pay

Pay directly online, invoice your employer, or choose from more flexible options like interest free payment plans, or study through an Apprenticeship. Terms and conditions apply.

100s of practice questions

Get exam confident with testing at every stage of your studies, including 100s of practice questions and marked mock exams that look like the real exams.

Don't just take our word for it

Vivi Sargioti

“Kaplan is the best CIMA provider. They know what they are doing and what they are talking about. Their material is the best available. No wonder Kaplan is the official CIMA partner!”

Vivi Sargioti
Kaplan CIMA Live Online student

Frank Fagan

“The tutors have surpassed my expectations in making the classes easy to understand, interesting and enjoyable.”

Frank Fagan
Kaplan CIMA classroom student

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