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CIMA errors in exam

CIMA errors in exam

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Okay, I realise that I am going to come across as being a whinger here.

I took the financial reporting exam in CIMA. On the 5th question, all the answers were the same for the same question. This completely threw me and I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at that specific question. I then spent the majority of the exam going back and checking it. It also go me paranoid regarding how they code the correct answers and I spent twice as much time as I would normally on the wording of the remaining questions. In the end this messed with my time management and I had to rush the last 12 questions.

Despite this, I passed three of the four performance objectives and very narrowly missed the pass rate, by 2 questions. Assuming I would have gained even a sixth of the remaining questions I would have passed.

I complained to CIMA, who stated it would be unusual for this to happen. They investigated and now fully acknowledge there were 'technical issues' with my exam and have documented this. Albeit they stated it was one question. Of course I didn't know that it was just the one question. They have also stated that they have done extensive testing to prevent this happening in the future. However they stated they were unwilling to change my score, as I hadn't passed (?).

Rather worryingly, they have stated they consider the matter 'private and confidential'. I am assuming they want me to keep quiet about this. This is all documented by their 'exams director'. I assume written by someone a lot lower down and then signed off.

I am now stuck wondering why I should pay another £70 for an exam and book further time off work. Should I just hope I can be given fair questions? Will the same issue appear? Does anyone have any sensible advice?

I have stated that I find their findings unacceptable and in the absence of this issue would have passed if I hadn't of had to double check their remaining questions. I feel a candidate should have assurance that they are being asked legitimate questions.

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By Phil Yaboots
27th Dec 2015 10:55

Probably not helped your case by making it public if they consider the matter "private and confidential". Exam technique is critical. Allocate time per mark available and stick to it. Don't go back unless you have spare time at the end - which is unlikely.

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By 25101953
28th Dec 2015 13:14

Well I am sure they want it kept private and confidential, just like a plumber who flooded someone's house would like it kept private.

As a customer of CIMA, I expect level playing field to pass a test. I wouldn't expect my driving examiner to turn up drunk at my test and then tell me afterwards he's failed me, cleaned up his act and asked me to keep quiet.

Why on earth would I keep quiet whilst being expected to pay out of my own pocket for CIMA's short comings? Today we live in an open and transparent world, thankfully.

 

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By Phil Yaboots
29th Dec 2015 13:07

Odd

25101953 wrote:

Well I am sure they want it kept private and confidential, just like a plumber who flooded someone's house would like it kept private.

As a customer of CIMA, I expect level playing field to pass a test. I wouldn't expect my driving examiner to turn up drunk at my test and then tell me afterwards he's failed me, cleaned up his act and asked me to keep quiet.

Why on earth would I keep quiet whilst being expected to pay out of my own pocket for CIMA's short comings? Today we live in an open and transparent world, thankfully.

 

 

If you want to join a "club", best not to slag it off in public.  You are not a customer in any real sense; you are a student/trainee hoping to join the august body. If you have that little respect for them it seems bizarre that you still want to. 

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By Bungo
28th Dec 2015 18:10

Don't understand
Perhaps I am misunderstanding you here. But you seem to be saying you were doing a multiple choice test, one of the questions had the same five options for the possible answers and it threw you so much you kept staring at it and rereading it and consequently you blew the whole test? Or did I really misread that?

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By Anne Robinson
28th Dec 2015 20:38

Equal playing field
I must not have understood but why are you different to other candidates taking the exam, did everyone not come across this?

Edited "not"

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
28th Dec 2015 19:20

The error was yours!

You made a mess of your time management in the exam.  As a result you did not attempt to answer all the questions & failed to provide sufficient correct answers to pass.

In other words you failed the exam.

Better 'luck' next time.

RM

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By 25101953
28th Dec 2015 21:33

Thanks for the sensible comments

I see some bitterness, that's okay I expected that from people like runningmate. The internet is an easy way to do that.

I'm a graduate (2:1) and this is a mid level exam I am not precious about the odd exam here or there, as long as I have a level playing field.

FACT: The pre-populated answers were wrong this was set randomly. The majority of the questions are input with data. I was alone in having this specific issue. Which is my peeve here, I didn't have an equal playing field. CIMA documented this.

FACT: There were technical issues with my specific exam. Whilst this might have phased most people I still performed well. However given then that I had to look out for other technical issues this did eat well into my time. I scored circa 85% of the questions I had time to answer. Ironically, if I hadn't realised that there was an error, I almost certainly would have passed.

FACT: I did not cause the technical issues in my test. CIMA did and they have admitted this.

FACT: I have paid to take the test. I have given time up from my well paid management position, If but for the fact there was a technical issue then I would have had to pick a couple of additional points and would have passed. 

Assuming there are no further 'issues', I am 100% certain I would pass. What I am struggling with is the morality of paying an organisation that has caused the issue and allowing them to profit from a mistake on their part.

Ultimately, I want to be proud of my organisation. Not being asked to keep their mistakes 'private'.

Thank you for the sensible answers.

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By Bungo
29th Dec 2015 04:19

Why on earth?

25101953 wrote:

I see some bitterness, that's okay I expected that from people like runningmate. The internet is an easy way to do that.

I'm a graduate (2:1) and this is a mid level exam I am not precious about the odd exam here or there, as long as I have a level playing field.

FACT: The pre-populated answers were wrong this was set randomly. The majority of the questions are input with data. I was alone in having this specific issue. Which is my peeve here, I didn't have an equal playing field. CIMA documented this.

FACT: There were technical issues with my specific exam. Whilst this might have phased most people I still performed well. However given then that I had to look out for other technical issues this did eat well into my time. I scored circa 85% of the questions I had time to answer. Ironically, if I hadn't realised that there was an error, I almost certainly would have passed.

FACT: I did not cause the technical issues in my test. CIMA did and they have admitted this.

FACT: I have paid to take the test. I have given time up from my well paid management position, If but for the fact there was a technical issue then I would have had to pick a couple of additional points and would have passed. 

Assuming there are no further 'issues', I am 100% certain I would pass. What I am struggling with is the morality of paying an organisation that has caused the issue and allowing them to profit from a mistake on their part.

Ultimately, I want to be proud of my organisation. Not being asked to keep their mistakes 'private'.

Thank you for the sensible answers.

Why on earth would other people be bitter about the situation you describe?

It seems to me, there was a very clear and obvious mistake in your exam. It would have been a mistake in many other people's exams too, even with computer generated tests, they don't write unique exam questions for each individual, there is a database of questions and each candidate gets a selection. Most people would recognise this as a mistake (mistakes happen you know in life) would have dismissed it and carried on with the rest of the paper. You did not do this, you lost your cool, mismanaged your time and failed. CIMA should have given you the point for that question, but that is it. Take the paper again, learn that life is not mistake free and move on.

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
28th Dec 2015 21:39

Clarification

I see you ask for clarification of your error.  OK.  Your error was that you mismanaged your time in the exam with the result that you did not attempt to answer all the questions.

I suggest you get over yourself & retake the exam.  As you say you are 100% certain you would pass.

RM

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By 25101953
28th Dec 2015 21:56

You stated 'the mistake was yours'. If but for the mistake from CIMA, then my average time per question would have been spot on.

Yes, I should have plugged on and 'had faith'. However the fact is, the test was flawed and I didn't know how many issues might have been caused. They have documented this and stated they have made changes to the way the answers are placed.

Why should I pay and use my time when I have not been assessed as another student would have been done?

They have not apologised. They have however admitted the issue and have stated that is would have been 'unsettling'. They have not offered to reimburse me my fee or for my time.

Are you seriously saying there is no liability whatsoever on CIMA's part here?

 

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By cheekychappy
28th Dec 2015 22:03

I think if you had been more confident, the questions would not have phased you and you would have ploughed on and would not have encountered time management issues. 

 

Knowledge is only part of the exam, application and exam technique are equally important. 

 

I don't think they should give you leniency. However, given the circumstances, I think your exam fee should be refunded.

That said, I would be more inclined to move on and rebook. Life is too short. Especially to be fighting uphill battles with the professional bodies.

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By cparker87
28th Dec 2015 22:14

Move on

You're unlikely to get anywhere with the issue. If anything, it will probably take between now and the next sitting to get a conclusion. Move on. 

Take it as a good lesson. Not everything goes your way. 

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By 25101953
28th Dec 2015 22:18

Thank you for the comment.

I am and remain confident. My concern was the IT marking behind the system.

I was worried that given the many repeated answers that there was something wrong in 'the script'. I was legitimately concerned that even if I was typing in the right answers I would still be marked incorrectly due to an IT issue (literally computer 'says no'). I lost faith with CIMA's processes and not my knowledge.

It has taken 2 months for them to admit this and to be honest I don't want to spend the best part of a grand to go to another body to get equal credit.

They have admitted the fault was bad enough to change their processes and stated it must have been 'unsettling'. Not bad enough to stick their hand in their pocket or apologise.

Yes, I am annoyed about this and yes, I probably will have to rebook it, but at least by coming on sites like this and also by notifying my industry specific finance association I can let people know about the problems I had with CIMA and hopefully this will educate new entrants who are undecided on what body to take (at least those who can choose).

 

 

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By tom123
29th Dec 2015 07:19

Years ago I took the first CIMA 'case study' paper at the final level. Failed, the global pass rate was shockingly low.

I took the paper again in the next session - and passed.

Some time later, it was generally accepted that this first case study paper was duff.

Chalk this up to experience - you have two choices - retake, or walk away from CIMA.

 

No-one (or at least few people) has a trouble free march through all the professional exams in any case. At least these days you can re-take more frequently than twice a year.

Try not to harbour too much bitterness about an organisation you are attempting to join.

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By 25101953
29th Dec 2015 08:23

Just to reiterate the point I made earlier. Looking to educate the future of accountancy students who may be considering CIMA.

If someone looks at this board and is weighing up CIMA or ACCA, maybe they will go ACCA.

Yes, CIMA have annoyed me, but if they do this to someone else at least they have been warned.

The fact that it is advertised will hopefully assist in CIMA taking some serious thought in thier shortcomings to improve themselves.

They have stated it only affected me. They could be lying, who knows?

Transperancy over secretness.

People should have a fair crack at the exam. IF accountancy bodies can't hold a fair exam, they should be brought into account. They should not profit from thier mistakes at the expense of others. If they make a few quid on thier mistakes, where is the incentive for improvement.

I appreciate a lot of people are saying 'in my day'. But in people's day, there seemed to be a lot of 'rolling over' and doing what ever the boards say without holding them to account.

However accountancy bodies are respected, so they need to start earning that respect.

 

 

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By Bungo
29th Dec 2015 11:41

Out of proportion

25101953 wrote:

Just to reiterate the point I made earlier. Looking to educate the future of accountancy students who may be considering CIMA.

If someone looks at this board and is weighing up CIMA or ACCA, maybe they will go ACCA.

Yes, CIMA have annoyed me, but if they do this to someone else at least they have been warned.

The fact that it is advertised will hopefully assist in CIMA taking some serious thought in thier shortcomings to improve themselves.

They have stated it only affected me. They could be lying, who knows?

Transperancy over secretness.

People should have a fair crack at the exam. IF accountancy bodies can't hold a fair exam, they should be brought into account. They should not profit from thier mistakes at the expense of others. If they make a few quid on thier mistakes, where is the incentive for improvement.

I appreciate a lot of people are saying 'in my day'. But in people's day, there seemed to be a lot of 'rolling over' and doing what ever the boards say without holding them to account.

However accountancy bodies are respected, so they need to start earning that respect.

 

 

I do not think that many people will base their decision on which accountancy body to join on there being an error on one multiple choice question in 2015. And if they did they would be foolish, although at least if they see the responses you have had from more seasoned accountants, I am sure most will keep perspective. You are blowing this out of all proportion.

Life is not perfect, people are not perfect, organisations are not perfect. I agree with a post above, you sound very young and to have had a trouble free life so far to be overreacting to this degree over one question on one paper. You could have quite easily skipped that question (or rather picked any answer) and done the rest, you must know that but I think are looking for someone else to blame.

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By 25101953
29th Dec 2015 12:47

As discussed at length previously. Once an error has occured, how am I to take reliance that there are no further technical issues with the way the script is answered.

Looking forward to your response.

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By Bungo
29th Dec 2015 14:39

Hard to say

25101953 wrote:

As discussed at length previously. Once an error has occured, how am I to take reliance that there are no further technical issues with the way the script is answered.

Looking forward to your response.

And as already replied, most people would not over react or panic in the way you appear to have. Most people would just see that there had been an error, would acknowledge that occasionally errors happen in life, would have made a note of the question number I am sure, but would then have just carried on and completed the rest of the paper. Raised the issue afterwards or even with an invigilator at the time. It is unfathomable quite why you decided to sit and stare at what was clearly a computer error. And then why you blame somebody else for your exam technique shortcomings.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
29th Dec 2015 12:03

Overconfidence

25101953 wrote:
Looking to educate the future of accountancy students who may be considering CIMA.
This is the only thing you have posted on this site. This is therefore an unsupported anecdote from an anonymous person without a proven track record. I very much doubt anyone is going to put a lot of weight on such a thing.

You have also skirted very close to making defamatory remarks about CIMA. In just this post alone you said.

Quote:
They have stated it only affected me. They could be lying, who knows?

Whilst you have shied away from outright stating they are lying, that is dangerous ground for a professional person to tread.

You say the accountancy bodies need to start earning that respect. I would say that you very much need to do the same. Even taking your story at face value (as someone who I don't know and who has posted nothing here before), it sounds like you let a minor error throw you completely. You are likely to come across a whole bunch of issues in the course of your professional life. If you cannot cope with them with such things without major problems, then you may not be suited to such a life.

CIMA and most respondents here have taken the same view. CIMA acknowledge the error, but do not consider it serious enough to warrant remarking or a free retake. Having spotted the isolated error a professional should have been able to move on with the rest of the exam. You should now either decide whether you want to move on with CIMA (given your clear lack of respect for them) or take a different path.

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By 25101953
29th Dec 2015 12:46

You're right, I didn't say they were lying.

They acknoweldged that it was unsettling and that they have changed the way that they process the exams.

At least my complaint has achieved this.

It is very difficult to sue someone who is speaking the truth.

The posters said it affected everyone.  Some think this is not the case, I have stated CIMA's response, who am I to say who is lying?

Are you implying the other posters are incorrect? Grateful for your clarity over this.

 

 

 

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
29th Dec 2015 13:07

More arrogance

25101953 wrote:
The posters said it affected everyone.  Some think this is not the case, I have stated CIMA's response, who am I to say who is lying?

Are you implying the other posters are incorrect? Grateful for your clarity over this.

This and your subsequent post read as if you feel entitled to demand answers. This is a free forum and you are an entirely new member. I would repeat that you are the one that needs to earn respect.

Other posters have suggested that everyone would be affected the same on the basis that most exams are the same for all people in that sitting. They may be mistaken in that belief with respect to this particular exam. That is not the same as lying. You have however implied that you consider CIMA may have been lying when they said you were the only one affected. Again, that is a serious accusation that it is dangerous for a professional person to make, even when they are just suggesting it as a possibility. To turn your query back, who are you to even suggest that a professional body would lie about this?

The "technical problem" you experienced was a blatant one. It was immediately obvious that five answers the same could not possibly be right. Yet despite this being clearly an error, you then spent an inordinate amount of time looking at that question, even spending the majority of the exam going back and looking at it. A professional has to learn to recognise such an error and move on, not get hung up on it.  To put it bluntly, how is CIMA to tell the difference between a person thrown by a blatant error and a person with poor exam time management?  Unless you are asserting there actually were technical errors with the other questions then the problem is of your own making.

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By 25101953
29th Dec 2015 18:06

look in the mirror

stepurhan wrote:

25101953 wrote:
The posters said it affected everyone.  Some think this is not the case, I have stated CIMA's response, who am I to say who is lying?

Are you implying the other posters are incorrect? Grateful for your clarity over this.

This and your subsequent post read as if you feel entitled to demand answers. This is a free forum and you are an entirely new member. I would repeat that you are the one that needs to earn respect.

Other posters have suggested that everyone would be affected the same on the basis that most exams are the same for all people in that sitting. They may be mistaken in that belief with respect to this particular exam. That is not the same as lying. You have however implied that you consider CIMA may have been lying when they said you were the only one affected. Again, that is a serious accusation that it is dangerous for a professional person to make, even when they are just suggesting it as a possibility. To turn your query back, who are you to even suggest that a professional body would lie about this?

The "technical problem" you experienced was a blatant one. It was immediately obvious that five answers the same could not possibly be right. Yet despite this being clearly an error, you then spent an inordinate amount of time looking at that question, even spending the majority of the exam going back and looking at it. A professional has to learn to recognise such an error and move on, not get hung up on it.  To put it bluntly, how is CIMA to tell the difference between a person thrown by a blatant error and a person with poor exam time management?  Unless you are asserting there actually were technical errors with the other questions then the problem is of your own making.

 

I could have stated they were mistaken. I have not accused anyone of lying, I have made a comment when someone stated disbelief at what I had told them. I have stated what they informed me. Do not twist my words to say I have accussed anyone.

With respect, I don't know you. You don't know me. There are some post qualified on here, some part qualified, some not qualified.

There are areas you will be better than at me. There are some areas I am better than you. This isn't the Jedi Order where I will  be subserviant due to the amount of posts I made. You seem to be suggesting the more post I make the higher esteem I should be held in. This a free forum indeed.

Before you accuse someone of being arrogant, take a look at yourself.

If for the want of a nail..... In this case if not for the mistake on thier part, we won't know what the answer would have been. All I know is that I scored circa 85% on the questions I had and I was well under my time per question until I received that question.

I have been robbed of the opportunity of a fair test because of CIMA's mistake. Simples.

 

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By Anne Robinson
29th Dec 2015 10:02

Life
Obviously in your young life you have not had many set backs. If this is the only disaster you ever come across you will be a very lucky person. At least this one you can rectify without too much trouble.

Now man up and get on with it without whinging. It doesn't show you in a good light for future employers/clients.

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By tom123
29th Dec 2015 12:57

Life is hard work without good faith.

As I said above, I had some issues during professional exams, and who doesn't.

In another institute to which I also belong, I failed the odd exam by 1 mark.

Was it my error or was there a problem with marking - who knows.

I decided to move on, and you should do the same.

Exam performance can knock self esteem - but you need to find a way forward.

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By Anne Robinson
29th Dec 2015 18:06

In the words of Frozen
Let it go, let it go, let it go.

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By 25101953
29th Dec 2015 18:15

good choice

I don't care
what they're going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway

Oh by the way, rights go to frozen, I'll probably be accused of plagarising in a minute.

 

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By Helen Pearson
13th Feb 2020 23:34

I'm really shocked by the comments 'man up' and 'get over it'. Honestly if you pay for something you expect it to work, and if it doesn't you expect something to be done. It really isn't acceptable you should get your money back and cima should be doing all that they can to ensure that there are no mistakes, it takes away from the integrity of any exams and qualifications. In education there are vigorous checks this should be the same for cima. People are spending their own money and taking time to work hard to gain professional qualifications and quite frankly this is totally unprofessional. Not good enough and if you're in business you should know better.

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Replying to Helen Pearson:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
14th Feb 2020 11:11

I'm sure this comment would have been really helpful 4 years ago...

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Replying to Helen Pearson:
Quack
By Constantly Confused
14th Feb 2020 11:40

Helen Pearson wrote:

I'm really shocked by the comments 'man up' and 'get over it'. Honestly if you pay for something you expect it to work, and if it doesn't you expect something to be done. It really isn't acceptable you should get your money back and cima should be doing all that they can to ensure that there are no mistakes, it takes away from the integrity of any exams and qualifications. In education there are vigorous checks this should be the same for cima. People are spending their own money and taking time to work hard to gain professional qualifications and quite frankly this is totally unprofessional. Not good enough and if you're in business you should know better.

Why did you sign up to AW just to post that on a 4 year old thread?!?

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By Helen Pearson
14th Feb 2020 23:12

I know someone currently struggling with their online course, it teaches one thing in the book and then asks questions but says the answers are wrong, I was just looking for some other people's views came across this and it really annoyed me....

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