Log in   Menu

20 December 2018

Neil’s Reaction: BM Examiners’ Report and what next?

Home > Blog > Neil’s Reaction: BM Examiners’ Report and what next?

Have you read the ICAEW Case Study Examiners’ report on the November 2018 exam, Bespoke Monograming?  Whether you are sitting Case Study for the first time or failed BM, it is full of useful information about what the examiners are looking for you to do, and not to do.  We have summarised the key points for you, and shown those of you who were unsuccessful in November what to do next.

Overall, the examiners emphasise the crucial importance of:

  • In advance, thoroughly understanding the Advance Information for yourself
  • In the exam, integrating your knowledge of the AI with the new information provided, managing your time effectively, and covering all 4 elements in your report (an Executive Summary, and a balanced answer across the 3 requirements).

The quality of the underlying report, good technique (using the essential data, analysis, judgements, conclusions and recommendations provided in the main report) and time management played a major part in determining the quality of the Executive Summary.  The performance differentiator was identifying the most important factors: the unsustainable decline in the GP margin, the critical impact of the 2nd period on the decision whether to use Wisher, and a summary of both options for MEC.

Requirement 1 was the analysis of BM’s 2018 results to Operating Profit and was well answered by most candidates.  The examiners state that they now require a 4-column analysis in Appendix 1.  The main performance differentiators were using the Exam Paper information to evaluate effectively the movements in each line of the income statement, and commenting on the reason for the continuing decline in GP margin.  The discussion of the trade receivables provision and write-off was the weakest part of most answers.

Requirement 2 was the evaluation of the proposed contract with Wisher for the supply of base products, and was well answered.  Most candidates used the statement of profit or loss as a template,  found the calculations straight forward, and used the supplier criteria in the Advance Information as a framework for their commercial evaluation of Wisher.  Weak candidates did not demonstrate their scepticism sufficiently on their assumptions underlying their Operating Profit or Loss calculations, nor their assumptions about the quality of Wisher as a supplier.

Requirement 3 required an evaluation of a proposal containing 2 options for new customer, MEC.  Most candidates used the product cost template and the customer criteria in the Advance Information as a framework for their calculations and discussion.  Those that did not produced an un-focused answer, with the discussion of the financial implications being particularly poor.

The report spells out the key messages contained in our free video: “How to prepare for your Case Study exam”.  You need to:

  • Be well prepared and master the AI to understand the business thoroughly
  • Cover all key aspects of the exam to obtain an even spread of competent grades
  • Manage your time effectively to produce a balanced report
  • Make good use of the case material (both AI and EP) to describe the wider context
  • Question assumptions and demonstrate your professional scepticism
  • Address the relevant business trust and ethical issues
  • Give appropriate attention to your Executive Summary.

What now?

If you were unsuccessful in your November 2018 Case Study attempt you need to understand what went wrong, and start planning NOW for your re-sit while BM is fresh in your mind.

  1. Request your Marks Feedback from ICAEW

The examiners say this document is "worth its weight in gold", and we agree. It will help show you where you are going wrong, giving you a starting point for your next phase of revision. It takes up to 15 working days, so get your request in NOW. Send yours to us (info@training-by-eos.com), and we'll help you interpret it free of charge.

  1. Get the BM Examiners' Report from ICAEW’s website

Listed under the resources section of their website as a "Case Study November 2018 examiners’ report and marks plan", this document is essential reading. Having sat in many key development, marker training and results determination meetings ourselves when we worked at ICAEW, we can tell you that the things written in this Examiners' Report are the things they say to each other during this process. We have summarised the report above, but you should download the full document and read through it, making notes of things that are new to you, things you think you need to improve on and the things you do well.

  1. Complete our BM Self Analysis Questionnaire.

We have used the BM marking key to create a BM Self Analysis Questionnaire. Use this checklist to see where you struggled or might have missed out on marks. Self-analysis can be hard and it is important to be honest - if you ticked 'good enough' for everything then you don't understand what the examiners are looking for.

  1. Read the ICAEW Illustrative Scripts

ICAEW have also published 2 student scripts, along with the examiners' comments. This is another chance to see what the examiners are looking for in a passing script, so make sure you read these and make some notes about the style of writing and important things to include.

Once you've completed these tasks, you will feel ready to move on from BM and start planning your preparation for November.

Our July 2019 Tuition is open now for booking, so get your preparation plan in place. We have complete courses as well as top up tuition - choose which suits you from our Classroom and Online options.