Ten top tips for the TPE Case Study exam
In our latest blog, ICAS Director of Professional Qualifications, Catherine Devaney CA, shares ten top tips ahead of the upcoming TPE Case Study examination.
Have you ever wondered, “what advice would my tutors give me in preparation for the Case Study exam?”
Read on to find out just that.
Self-review is key at TPE
Before the exam,you need to review your own work. Doing case study after case study will not allow you to see how your answers comes across on paper. You need to reflect on your case study technique and ask yourself some key questions.
- Have I followed the guidance in the paper?
- Have I prioritised?
- Have I made recommendations and explained why they need to be made?
- Have I explained adjustments and can the reader follow what I have done?
- Is the layout easy to follow?
- How could I improve my answers?
Actively read the paper
Be sure to properly read the paper and make notes as you go through. You could break it down into the following ways.
- Split out the information into what parts of your answer they will help you with.
- Note down the odd word or two to capture what you are thinking as you read which will help you when you come back to deal with that point in your answer.
Know the purpose
Ask yourself why have I been asked to do something in the case study? For example, you might be asked to appraise the business plan for a company.
In the scenario, look at why you need to do this. It might be that they are going to the bank to ask for more funding and need this business plan to present to the bank. You know the purpose so you can focus on the bank perspective, ensure that the funding being asked for has been properly considered, this will help inform your answer.
Plan - do not jump straight in
Set some time to plan when tackling each part of your answer. Take a few minutes (no more than five minutes) of the allocated time on a section to think about:
- what you need to do
- which points you want to mention – prioritise
- think about links between the different parts of the scenario
- how you are going to set out your answer
Go with your gut!
Trust your instincts when completing the case study.
Keep a commercial head on
If opportunities are being presented to you, ask yourself does this make sense/will this work. Do not go for every opportunity unless it makes sound business sense. Use the information in the paper which tells you about the company/industry to help with commercial awareness.
Say what you mean to say
Always ask yourself - so what?
Imagine that the client is sitting across from you. What would they ask/want to know?
Do not forget ethics
Make time for ethics in the case study as there will always be something in the paper. What is the issue you want to raise and why (e.g impact/implications/stakeholders), what action(s) should be taken? Bring through the ICAS Code of Ethics principles where you can such as questioning director integrity (if they are not telling truth).
Do not miss out the executive summary
There is a communication competency dedicated to this in the professional marks section. Be clear, concise, and decisive in your executive summaries.