Best CIMA Courses 2022

Before we discuss the best CIMA courses, it’s essential to know what the CIMA qualification is. Based in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is the largest professional management accounting organization in the world. Additionally, this organization puts out a monthly journal and promotes local accounting training. Most importantly, it offers a CIMA professional qualification for official members. Therefore, if you want to receive this qualification, you’ll need to pass many tests. Here, we’ll outline the content of those tests and recommend the best CIMA course to help you pass.

The CIMA Exam

To receive the CIMA qualification, you must work as a management accountant for at least three years and then pass a series of 12-16 tests. These CIMA exams will test you in four levels: Certificate, Operational, Strategic, and Management. However, if you already have an accounting degree, you’ll be exempt from the Certificate level, which consists of tests called BA1, BA2, BA3, and BA4.

On the other hand, the remaining three levels of the CIMA qualification exams are more standardized. For each level, you will take one exam each in the fields of enterprise, performance, and finance (called the three pillars or objective tests), finishing with a case study test.

Operational

Management

Strategic

Enterprise

E1

E2

E3

Performance

P1

P2

P3

Financial

F1

F2

F3

Case study

OCS

MCS

SCS

*OCS – Operational Case Study; MCS – Management Case Study; SCS – Strategic Case Study

The above chart contains the common abbreviations for each exam. For example, the CIMA Management Case Study exam is usually referred to as the MCS. You’ll take them in order down each column, starting with Operational (E1, then P1, then F1, then OCS) and proceeding to Management, and then finally Strategic.

CIMA Prep Course Overview

Astranti

Practice Tests Academy

Viva Financial

Study texts Printed or digital Digital only Digital only (cannot be printed)
Study guides Syllabus, review notes Study notes BPP text
Video Question analysis, syllabus tuition, exam technique, theory review Short lectures, case study analysis, ethics 100+ hours for each test
Qbank 200-400 per exam section 500-600 per exam section 800+ per exam section
Mock exams 5 per exam 3 per exam (7 for case studies) 3-5 per exam
Support Tutor via email, online discussion board Support groups, ask-a-tutor Unclear
Guarantee 14-day money-back, access until you pass 7-day money-back, 6-month extension Case study exams only
Length of access 6-12 months 90 days-1 year Subscription-based
Pricing (per level) £449-899 £129-299 £80-279
Pricing (complete course) £1,500-2,000 £594 £299/year

 

Top Three CIMA Courses

Since the organization that bestows the CIMA designation is based in the UK, US-based candidates should note that some of the terminology within this article is slightly different from those presented in American English. For example, the word “revision” is often used instead of review, and “scheme” may be used instead of program. Additionally, you will sometimes see the exams themselves referred to as CIMA papers.

Astranti CIMA Review

First and foremost, Astranti Financial Training is a provider of CIMA test study materials, though it also offers some professional development courses. This company claims to have helped over 90,000 test-takers in 208 countries since its founding in 2002.

Astranti’s course dashboard for E1

Astranti Courses

Firstly, Astranti provides many free resources for all levels of the CIMA exam. Moreover, the entire certificate course is free, and for each level, you can receive a free mock exam and access to the first week of the course. Essentially, Astranti offers 13 courses: one for the certificate exam, one for each of the objective exams, and one for each of the case study exams. These courses take the form of on-demand classes that you can access online whenever you want.

Certificate Course

If you’re brand new to CIMA, Astranti offers its certificate exam prep course completely free. The company states that it’s so confident you’ll like the course that you’ll continue your journey with their paid CIMA study materials. Here’s what the free certificate course contains.

  • Printable online study texts
  • Hours of tuition videos (most are 30-70 minutes) with downloadable audio content
  • Exam practice kit with 400+ questions per module
  • Three full-length mock exams
  • Review notes with key terms, topics, and examples
  • Tutor support via email
  • Online discussion boards
  • Tips and tricks for studying and taking each exam
Objective Courses

Here’s what you’ll get for each objective exam course (E1-3, P1-3, or F1-3).

  • Printable online study texts
  • Exam practice kit with 200-400 questions per module
  • 100 Questions video series
  • Five full-length mock exams
  • Syllabus tuition videos with downloadable audio content
  • Review notes with key terms, topics, and examples
  • Interactive slide presentations
  • Tutor support via email
  • Online discussion boards
  • Tips and tricks for studying and taking each exam
Case Study Courses

Additionally, here’s what you’ll get for each Astranti CIMA case study review (OCS, MCS, or SCS).

  • Pre-seen analysis documents and videos
  • Five complete mock exams (with detailed marking and feedback on the first three)
  • Two full-day, interactive virtual classes (introduction and review)
  • Study guide (275-350 pages)
  • Exam technique videos
  • Theory review videos
  • Ethics videos, text, and sample questions
  • 60 exam-style practice questions

In addition to the complete courses, Astranti also sells most of its CIMA materials a la carte. However, materials purchased individually typically come with a six-month access window, whereas complete courses come with 12 months of access.

Moreover, you’ll receive Astranti’s double guarantee with any paid courses. You’ll get the benefit of a full money-back guarantee for the first 14 days. After that, you won’t be able to receive a refund. However, if you complete the course but don’t pass the exam the first time, you can continue receiving access to the course until you do pass.

Astranti’s Chapter 1 exam practice kit

Astranti Prices

Although you can purchase each exam’s course individually, you’ll save money by bundling them. If you only need materials for one or two of the objective exams plus the case study course, that’s also an option.

Certificate

Operational Management

Strategic

Complete course

Free

£1,500 £1,750

£2,000

Each objective course

Free

£449 £499

£549

Case study course

Free

£699 £799

£899

Case study + 2 objectives

Free

£1,250 £1,500

£1,750

Case study + 1 objective

Free

£1,000 £1,150

£1,350

 

As previously stated, many study materials may be purchased individually. Here’s a breakdown of CIMA materials for the nine objective exams:

  • Study text: £99 for digital or £29.99 for print
  • Exam practice kit: £99
  • Mock exams: £99 each or 4 for £49.99
  • Review notes: £99
  • 100 Questions videos: £99

Materials for each case study course are also available a la carte, though their prices vary based on the exam level.

Astranti Pros & Cons

Overall, Astranti is one of the first names that comes up for CIMA prep, and for a good reason. The courses are comprehensive, the study materials can be purchased separately, and there are plenty of free resources to try. In fact, the entire Certificate course is free, and this is one of the few courses to put out a printable PDF textbook. Additionally, Astranti CIMA reviews often mention that this course’s mock exams are the most challenging and thus the best prep for the actual CIMA test.

The downside is that the price for the paid courses is steep, especially when you buy the complete course packages, though there are Astranti discount codes that can help offset the cost. The money-back guarantee is only valid for two weeks, and you won’t receive access until you pass unless you can show that you completed the course but still failed the exam. Finally, besides the two webinars, tutor support is email-based, which might not be ideal for candidates who learn best from one-on-one interaction.

Practice Tests Academy CIMA Review

Above all, Practice Tests Academy is an accredited provider of CIMA courses in cooperation with the Kaplan study course. Thus, it uses some of Kaplan’s materials, including the official study books. The company’s founder actually took and failed the CIMA tests after studying with other courses. Thus, after creating her own study materials and passing the exams, she worked with other students and professionals to develop the Practice Tests Academy review with what she had learned.

Practice Tests Academy’s course dashboard

Practice Tests Academy Courses

For each exam level, Practice Tests Academy offers free, barebones packages, mock exams, and complete courses. So we’ll list the contest of the complete courses here, beginning with the Certificate levels. Here’s what you’ll get for each level, BA1 through BA4.

  • Digital materials based on Kaplan study book
  • 500+ practice questions
  • Unlimited mock exams pulled from the qbank
  • Tutor-monitored support group
  • Detailed feedback
  • Pass assurance

For the objective exams, each Complete Course package also has a structure based on the Kaplan study books. So here’s what you’ll get for E1-3, P1-3, or F1-3.

  • 600+ practice questions
  • Three full-length mock exams
  • Detailed feedback
  • Revision kit
  • Printable study notes
  • Video lectures (15-45 minutes each)
  • “Ask a Tutor” access
  • Pass assurance

Finally, the Ultimate package for each case study includes the following.

  • Preparation video series
  • Pre-seen analysis videos and PDFs
  • 15 single tasks
  • Ethics videos
  • 7 mock exams with 5 markups
  • Two webinars
  • Personal tutor

Many of the above materials are available for individual purchase, as well.

Practice Test Academy’s exam practice kit in study mode

Practice Tests Academy Prices

Practice Tests Academy offers many choices that a full pricing list would be extremely long. Thus, for simplicity’s sake, this chart reflects the most comprehensive version of each course, which includes everything listed in the previous section. However, you can find out the entirety of what’s available on the company’s website.

Operational

Strategic

Management

Each objective course

£129

£129

£129

Any two objective courses

£210

£210

£210

All three objective courses

£295

£295

£295

Case study

£299

£299

£299

All

£594

£594

£594

 

Practice Tests Academy’s BA1-BA4 Certificate courses range from a bare-bones free package to a £45 practice kit. However, you can purchase all four kits for £140.

Practice Tests Academy Pros & Cons

Practice Tests Academy’s courses are substantially less expensive than Astranti’s, and you receive more practice questions for the price. Additionally, the price doesn’t increase for later levels of the test. There are some free materials available for every test level, so you can try the platform out and see whether it works for you. If it does, you don’t need to buy a complete package if your budget can’t support it. Most materials are available a la carte.

However, the downside of all these individual products is that the packaging options and pricing structure can get confusing. You’ll also need to pay careful attention to the length of access you’ll get for what you’re buying – some are as short as 90 days. And although there’s a money-back guarantee, it only covers the first seven days, so you’ll only have a week to decide whether the paid options work for you. Finally, there is no package discount for buying complete courses – you must pay for the objective tests and case study exams separately.

Viva Financial Tuition CIMA Review

Viva Financial Tuition only produces review courses for the CIMA exams. Its founder passed seven of the CIMA exams in only nine months and developed this process into a study formula that became Viva. The company’s online, streamlined service allows them to keep costs low, and the system seems to be working. In fact, Viva won a Global Pass Rate Excellence Award from CIMA Global in 2020.

Viva’s E1 course dashboard

Viva Courses

Although Viva doesn’t produce study materials for the Certificate exams, it does offer dedicated courses for all nine objective and three case study exams. However, please note that these digital study materials cannot be printed or downloaded. Therefore, you’ll need an active internet connection to study, and you won’t be able to mark up the text outside of the program. Here’s what you’ll receive for each objective course.

  • Full BPP text
  • 800+ practice questions
  • Customizable practice quizzes
  • Exam simulator software
  • Progress tracker
  • Unlimited access

Alternatively, here are the materials for each case study exam.

  • Theory review videos
  • Pre-seen analysis videos
  • 3-5 full mock exams
  • Videos for: study preparation, exam day strategy, full industry analysis, applying objective test material, key issues
  • Annotated financial ratios and pre-seen
  • Professional marking service
  • Lifetime Pass Guarantee

With Viva’s Lifetime Pass Guarantee, if you fail a case study exam after using Viva’s study course, the company will give you access to future study materials for that exam for free. Essentially, you’ll receive updated study materials until you can pass the exam.

Viva Prices

When it comes to pricing, Viva gives you two options. You can either subscribe for a set period or purchase the materials outright. Firstly, a subscription gives you access to all study materials for all exam levels. Here’s how that breaks down.

  • 3 months: £129
  • 6 months: £199
  • 12 months: £299

However, if you only need certain materials or your study schedule will be spread out over a more extended period, you can purchase the courses individually.

Operational

Strategic

Management

1

£5-80

£40-80

£40-80

2

£40-80

£40-80

£40-80

3

£40-80

£40-80

£40-80

Case study

£60-199

£60-279

£60-279

All

£145-439

£180-519

£180-519

 

Note that there are no combination packages or Viva Financial Tuition discount codes that allow you to save money by purchasing materials for multiple exam sections. Instead, Viva clearly prefers you to sign up for a subscription.

Viva’s F1 instructional video

Viva Pros & Cons

Viva bills its subscription service as the most comprehensive CIMA review course at the lowest price, and that’s hard to argue with. It’s the only major review course that offers a time-based subscription service, and the price is very reasonable. So even if you subscribe for four years, you’ll pay less than you would for the least expensive Astranti complete course. For this price, you’ll also get the largest question bank on the market, plus more than 1,000 total hours of video content. Obviously, the award for high pass rates is also impressive.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of unknowns about this course. Viva’s website is difficult to navigate and doesn’t allow you to compare course contents side-by-side since everything is geared toward getting you to subscribe. Additionally, while the subscription page offers “live webinars,” there is no other information about these webinars on the site, not even which exam(s) they’re associated with. Some Viva Financial Tuition reviews mention an “Elite” course for the case study exams, including live tuition, but there’s no information about this. And though there are many practice questions, there seems to be little in the way of actual written course content – and of course, you can’t print out the study materials.

Honorable Mentions

In addition, here are some other options for CIMA review courses.

CIMA Study

The CIMA faculty partners with Kaplan to provide study materials for all exam levels. However, you must purchase them individually for each test, and they currently cost £141.67 or £212.50 for the objective tests or about £270 for the case study exams. Specifically, each basic course comes with 120 hours of e-learning, practice questions with feedback, and real-life examples. Also, the Prime version adds the official CIMA Online study text and review kit, plus phone contact with tutors for candidates in the UK.

aCOWtancy

A registered CIMA tuition provider with an amusing name, aCOWtancy offers study materials for all Certificate levels plus E1, P1-2, and F1-3. There are some free materials for each level, but the complete course will cost $199 per test. Although reviewers praised the free materials and the lectures, some said that the course structure was confusing, presenting questions on topics before reviewing the material for that topic.

OpenTuition

Unlike the other resources on this list, OpenTuition is entirely free at all levels. You can watch video lectures for each test, download lecture notes, review practice questions, and even post questions to tutor message boards. However, there are no resources for the case study exams. Additionally, while many candidates use OpenTuition, most remark that they need to supplement it with other review courses for a complete understanding of the material.

The Best Course for You

If you decide to pursue a CIMA certification, the study materials you choose need to fit your learning style. Therefore, here are our recommendations for different types of studiers with differing needs and time frames.

Astranti is the best choice if you:

  • Plan to complete your studying over a more extended period.
  • Prefer comprehensive study materials, including printed or printable text.
  • Learn well from lecture videos.

Practice Tests Academy is the best choice if you:

  • Want lots of mock case study exams.
  • Only need materials for a few individual test levels.
  • Learn well from live webinars.

Viva is the best choice if you:

  • Plan to complete your studying in a concentrated time frame.
  • Learn best by completing practice exam questions.
  • Can study entirely on a computer screen.

Also, remember that these companies sell many of their products a la carte, so you can purchase one review course and supplement with the others if you want.

CIMA Course Discounts

Since Astranti is our #1 pick for the best CIMA prep course, we’re working on offering a special discount code for Astranti to our readers. In the meantime, you can use our link to receive access to several mock exams. You can also check the company’s website for seasonal offers. Moreover, you can save money by purchasing an entire course package for each level (operational, management, and strategic) of the CIMA exam. Thus, stay tuned for our Astranti CIMA discount code.

Next, Practice Tests Academy also offers discounts if you bundle objective test courses together. For example, if you purchase all three objective courses for the operational level, you’ll save £92 over buying each one individually. We’re also working on procuring discount codes for Practice Tests Academy’s CIMA courses.

Finally, Viva Financial Tuition already offers excellent value for money with its £299 per year subscription package. With this, you’ll receive access to review materials for all 12 exams, and you can continue to renew as long as you need to. If we receive Viva discount codes, we’ll share them here.

Final Thoughts

Since all three of our top choices offer some free materials, it’s a good idea to take a look at these offerings to see which course is most appealing to you. Some CIMA candidates use a hodgepodge of materials, some free and some paid, rather than purchasing a comprehensive course, which can be quite expensive. However, you may find skipping between materials to be disruptive and time-consuming. Thus, a complete course may ultimately be more appealing to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are available from CIMA for free?

CIMA Global releases some free study resources for each new syllabus, the last of which was updated in 2019. Thus, you’ll need to register with the website to receive the CIMA formula sheet, study planner, and international accounting standards for the CIMA Finance pillar. Although the organization doesn’t release any official CIMA past papers, these are easy to find with a simple internet search.

Is Astranti good for CIMA?

According to reviewers on Reddit and Trustpilot, Astranti has done an excellent job of preparing many candidates pursuing CIMA membership to pass the exams. There is no Astranti app, but most CIMA accounting review courses aren’t at the point where they’re able to offer such an app.

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