The key to writing an effective case study answer

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By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

25 February 2019

Answering a case study can seem intimidating to many TPE students, especially under the pressures of an exam. Follow our four-step guide to producing a great case study answer.

Being able to offer clear, well-informed advice in a concise and professional manner is a key CA skill.

1. Make a plan

Familiarise yourself with how case studies are marked and use that as a guide for the content and order of your answer. This can also indicate how much time you should spend on each section and allow you to prioritise your time management.

Doing something as simple as putting down some headings and bullet points before writing anything else can really help structure your writing. Remember, complete case studies are around 17 pages long – it can be easy to lose the thread if you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to spend time on.

2. Don’t forget the details

Give a full answer and always explain why the action you are recommending is important. Will it solve a long-standing issue? What will the impact be? Is it practical to implement? Are there any ethical concerns?

Finally, consider who this advice is for. Are non-accountants likely to understand a lot of technical jargon? Pay attention to the specific scenario you are writing about and adjust your answer accordingly.

3. Double-check the numbers

Everything should add up correctly. As a CA, you should be able to competently analyse the figures provided as part of the question.

Think of your case study as a real scenario – a business could be relying on your expertise to rectify their finances. A careless error can be catastrophic.

4. Be confident and concise

Your case study should demonstrate that you possess the cumulative expertise of a CA. Your advice should be just that – yours.

Trust that the solutions you are offering are the best ones and don’t hover in the middle of any decisions. Your answer is backed up by what you know, and you should be able to stand by it with confidence.


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