In this guide we will introduce you to the Business Strategy and Technology exam. We will cover what the Business Strategy and Technology exam is, what to expect when sitting the exam, what to look out for and preparing for the exam.
Introducing the Business Strategy and Technology exam
You will have three questions to complete in 2.5 hours. The first question is usually the longest and can be anything from 40-50 marks. This can require you to read and assimilate up to four pages of information and data. The remaining questions are usually shorter with less information being presented.
30% of the marks are for knowledge of the syllabus with the remainder awarded for applying your knowledge to the given scenario. Do not regurgitate theory from your studies. Instead, use models as your tools to identify and evaluate the issues facing the business in the question.
The pass mark is 55%.
What to expect when sitting the exam
Try to keep an open mind about the exam so that you are not surprised by the layout or format of the question. The examiner can test anything which you have learned to date as well as material covered in your Business Strategy and Technology course notes. The examiner is always fair and gives you a lot of “clues” to steer your answer. If you stay calm you will be able to spot these and produce a good answer.
There is likely to be one mini case study or data question which is usually question one, although data can be included in all questions. It is usually a good idea to tackle the bigger question first whilst you are fresh – but make sure that you stick to your time plan.
What to look out for
- Key words which you recognise from question practise as these will help you to identify whether the examiner is looking for a specific model
- Key themes facing a business e.g. is it suffering from strategic drift or rising costs. All case studies will have one or more themes which will inform your answer
- The examiner will almost always flag key issues in the narrative as well as in the data you are supplied with. Try to spot these
- Show that you understand the business by including indicators which are specific to the business e.g. for a training business the number of students per tutor and pass rates will be important as well as profit margins and ROCE. This demonstrates that you are applying your knowledge not just reproducing the textbook
Preparing for the exam
Make sure that you know the core theories.
Improve your business awareness. Watch relevant TV programs such as fly on the wall documentaries business rescue programmes as well as the business news. There are also lots of business podcasts which are free and help you to think strategically.
Notice how businesses operate, e.g. next time you buy a product online, consider how the business is using technology to develop a relationship with customers, how is their website laid out? What pricing strategies are they using?
Practise past questions to time. It is difficult to pass the exam unless you answer all of the questions.
Take the time to mark your own work and be honest! Did you really explain that point clearly and use evidence from the scenario to back it up? Remember the marks are not for what you meant but for what you actually said.