Frequently asked questions

Who are SSG?

We are the CIM-accredited assignment support and exam preparation experts. We offer briefings, tutorials and other study and revision resources to support students with all aspects of assignment building and exam revision. You can use our expertise in addition to your college lectures.

I’m new to CIM and am unsure what CIM expect from me. How can you help me?

There’s no denying that the CIM’s academic standards are high – but most students wouldn’t want it any other way. If their qualifications are worth having on your CV, they’re worth working hard for. SSG are CIM assignment support and exam preparation specialists. We can advise you every step of the way. All our resources and tutorials are designed to fully prepare you for your CIM assignments and exams.

Should I take all 3 CIM subjects at once?

CIM study success depends largely on how committed you are and how hard you are prepared to work, so only you can really answer this question. CIM recommend approximately 90 hours of study time per subject, including college time and home study. If you are working full-time, taking on all 3 subjects at once is a huge workload. If you are a part-time worker or full-time student then things become more manageable. Be aware though that only 65% (approx.) of CIM students pass each subject at the first sitting (perhaps due to insufficient study time?) It may be better to focus on perhaps 1 subject at a time – to minimise the need for re-takes, the majority of CIM students study 1 module at a time (per term). A mix of assignment and exam subjects may be preferable to help spread the study load.

I haven’t studied for years and don’t know where to start. Can you help?

All SSG’s Tutors have been through the CIM qualifications route themselves, so they know from first-hand experience how tough it can be studying for these professional qualifications, especially if you’re working full-time as well. We offer Tutorials to give you expert guidance through assignments and exam revision. Call us for an informal chat about your studies and to see how we can get you started.

I’m frightened of the CIM exam questions , especially for the case study exams, I’m not sure why, I think it could be because I don’t understand them very well, I feel they’re not straightforward.

You’re not alone in worrying about the CIM exam questions, although your worries may be unnecessary.  To answer the exam questions successfully think: theory/application/evaluation.  Assuming you have mastered your syllabus knowledge – the “theory” – you should be able to concentrate on applying that knowledge in context. This means applying and/or adapting the theory according to the demands of your role (this is usually stated) and marketing situation – the “context” – that you’ve been given. The good news about CIM questions is that they often provide you lots of useful context/background information to help you to set your answer. Remember to identify and state the links between the parts of your answers, number them carefully, and don’t repeat the same ideas / points. All that remains is appropriate "evaluation" as per the command/action words in the questions. This means you need to evalaute, not just describe and be sure to justify all recommendations that you are asked to makle. Finally be sure to use the required format for each answer (assume report if none is stipulated) and you should be fine. Past CIM exam questions and specimen answers are a good way of seeing what pass-standard answers look like in terms of depth and breadth; these are available at the CIM Learning Zone.

I’ve passed everything so far and want to keep on passing. How can you support me?

Moving up a CIM study level isn’t always the smooth ride some students expect. There’s a quantum leap in the different levels of understanding you are expected to show at Certificate, Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma. We’re only too familiar with the common stumbling blocks and areas where students underestimate what’s required at the next level. We provide opportunities for you to check your progress throughout your studies to ensure you’re on track to impress the CIM Examiners.

I failed my exam/assignment. Can you show me how to get back on track?

Of course we can. SSG was originally founded for the 35% of UK students who fail or defer their CIM assessments. We can offer you support that will give you both a reality check and a confidence boost. We’ll show you where you went wrong and how you can go right. We can help you pass this time.

I’m a Distance Learner but would like to share ideas with other students and check I’m up to standard with an expert tutor. How can you help me?

SSG provides expert support specifically with Distance Learners and ‘self-studiers’ in mind. Many of our best customers have achieved their CIM qualifications without ever actually meeting their SSG tutor face-to-face. We’ve designed a Distance Learning Package around virtual learning techniques such as directed reading, research tasks, tutor-led teleconferences and emailable homework tasks. We offer mock exams by email and assignment support by telephone as well. We’ve helped hundreds of CIM students from far and wide to share ideas with each other, benchmark progress and most importantly – stay motivated.

I’m not sure what to do with my Assignment?

Whether you’ve run out of ideas, steam or time, we offer a range of Assignment study support to get you started, get you unstuck and help you finish. We have CIM subject experts available to help you dissect the brief and build your report up to and beyond CIM Examiner standards.

Can you help me complete my old unfinished CIM qualifications?

SSG can help you identify your study needs and plug the key topic area gaps within the new subjects. As long as your studies are completed within CIM’s ‘10 year rule’, any mixture of old and new subjects should suffice, but please call us to check first.

I’m based overseas, is there any study revision support you can offer?

The role of the Student Support Group is to help CIM students with their assignment and exam preparation, and we specialise in providing revision services for CIM students who have failed or deferred their assignment or exam and so are sitting re-takes. Working with top CIM tutors, developing revision materials, running this website etc. is a costly project, so we do charge (very competitive) fees for our individual tutorial services (the latter are increasingly delivered by telephone email and so are available to those studying outside the UK). 

How many examples should I use in my CIM exam answers?

CIM expects you to know the theory and be able to apply it. They also want you to do this in context, i.e. adopt the role given and take account of the marketing situation described. Examples for the mini-case answer will usually be drawn from the mini-case material itself. There’s no exact answer as to how many examples you need per question (it depends on the nature of the question), one (or two) per question is usual and shows the examiner you are a practicing, up-to-date marketer. We advise students to have prepared at least one example (related to your subject syllabus) for each of the following: product marketing, services marketing, consumer marketing, business-to-business marketing, not-for-profit marketing, international marketing. This sounds a lot but can easily be achieved by visiting websites (see our links page) and / or reading the quality business and marketing press.