Exam focus – the pre-seen case study for the November 2010 Strategic level exams BPP subject specialists Doug Haste, Dave Halford and Daniel Clark analyse the preseen case study for the November 2010 Strategic level exams from the viewpoint of each of the three papers (E3, F3 and P3) Since the introduction of the new syllabus in May 2010 CIMA have used a pre-seen case study as the basis for the 50 mark Section A question in each of the three Strategic level papers (E3, F3 and P3). In this article we will begin by looking at the purpose of the new pre-seen case study before going on to review, from the perspective of each of the Strategic level papers, how the preseen information was used in the May and September 2010 exam sittings and what the key issues are in the latest pre-seen. Purpose of the pre-seen It is very important that you understand that CIMA do not expect significant amounts of your time to be tied up in researching the industry. This can wait until the next stage of your exams – the T4 Part B Case Study exam. Under the old syllabus the practical scenario was only revealed on the day of the real exam. By giving you a pre-seen case study, CIMA aim to ensure that no candidate is put at an advantage or disadvantage by their level of familiarity with the industry involved in the practical scenario. All candidates will now have time to ensure that they have a basic understanding of the main issues involved in the case study before walking into the exam. If CIMA had expected detailed analysis before the exam, they would have given you access to the pre-seen material much earlier than 6 weeks before the exam, which deliberately restricts the amount of time you have to research the pre-seen. The latest pre-seen In the latest pre-seen we are provided with details of DEF - a European airport operator based in a country outside the Euro zone; it is owned by a number of local state governments. We would draw your attention to Manchester airport, which is owned by a number of councils and also to Leeds Bradford international airport which was publically owned until May 2007 and is of a similar size to DEF. Although extensive research is not necessary, we would encourage you to build some awareness of the issues that these airports have faced, for example: the issues that caused Ryanair to withdraw most of its flights from Manchester airport in 2009, and the difficulties that there have been in extending the car park facilities and its current development plans the sale of Leeds Bradford airport for £145.5m in May 2007
A useful link is http://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/manweb.nsf/Content/AboutUs, it will also be useful to research the Manchester Airport Group on Wikipedia. There are a number of articles on Leeds Bradford International Airport on the BBC website. The full text of the pre-seen can be found at www.cimaglobal.com/strategicpreseen; you will need to read the pre-seen before reading the remainder of this article.
F3 Financial Strategy Exam perspective In the previous pre-seen, written for the May and September 2010 exams, it is fair to say that the pre-seen data was of limited importance. In the May 2010 exam the main theme was whether to invest locally or in the USA; the pre-seen had in fact indicated that Asia and Africa were the likely areas of expansion. In the September (re-take) exam, the main requirement was to evaluate the price to pay for the acquisition of a European company; the details in the pre-seen were relevant to part biii (for 12 marks) because this required an awareness of the bank covenants that the company faced. However, even here the covenants were re-stated in the exam question. It remains to be seen whether the pre-seen will continue to be of limited importance to the F3 exam. In the pre-seen that relates to the November exam sitting, there are certainly more numbers than in the previous pre-seen; these numbers may not be crucial but they certainly flag a number of areas that...