CIMA Classroom vs. Online Learning: Which is Better for You?

CIMA Classroom vs. Online Learning: Which is Better for You? - credit: Austin Distel

There are advantages and disadvantages to studying your CIMA exams online compared to in a traditional classroom. Which one is best for you?

  • Classroom vs. online: which style suits better? 
  • Am I more likely to pass CIMA online or in a classroom setting? 

These are the questions you may be asking if you’re thinking about sitting CIMA. Or maybe, you’ve already started but keep failing your OTs and case study exams. 

This article will help you figure out whether studying CIMA online or in the classroom is a better choice for you. It will also give you some key things to look for when it comes to choosing a learning provider. 

CIMA Classroom Learning Pros

Studying CIMA in a classroom doesn’t have many advantages anymore, which is why it’s becoming less popular amongst students. 

One of the big downsides is the necessity to travel which is often after a long day at work to lectures. However, if you live or work close to a good college or centre, that can help mitigate some of the disadvantages. 

In addition, studying CIMA can be a lonely journey. So, the sense and finding of community people to study with in a classroom setting can help ease study. This support mechanism can help take the pressure off and motivate you when study becomes a challenge. 

CIMA Classroom Learning Cons

Classroom learning is a huge time commitment. Often, more than it needs to be. 

Earning a CIMA qualification will benefit your career, but it probably doesn’t feel like it when you have to leave work early all the time for lectures. 

Plus, lectures are not the best way to learn and can be inefficient. You’re in a class with many other students who set the pace, so you’re often going much slower than if you studied solo. 

Another thing to consider is that classroom learning can be expensive. Bricks and mortar institutions have large overheads, so student fees are higher to make up for it. 


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CIMA Online Learning Pros

More and more students are choosing to learn CIMA online as it’s convenient, faster, cheaper and can provide a better standard of teaching than classroom. Here’s why. 

Studying CIMA online means you can study at your own pace; where and when it suits your schedule and life. 

That means you’re more likely to take in what you learn and can learn more in less time. In addition, as it’s available on-demand you take out the need to travel to a college of centre that’s miles away. 

You can also get a better standard of teaching by learning online, as you can learn from tutors without the distractions of a classroom setting. This means you get more streamlined teaching that you can follow more easily. Plus all you need to do is log in to review any material you may have missed or are struggling to understand.  

The biggest benefit is of course the cost. Online learning works out much cheaper than classroom learning, as the only overheads are tutors. This means you get better teaching for less. 

An added bonus is that if you have a question you can ask it confidentially and not in front of people! So if you’re one of those people that get embarrassed asking questions, online provides the perfect platform. 

CIMA Online Learning Cons

Some CIMA learning providers record classroom lectures and deliver them online. While this saves time in comparison to being in a classroom, it’s got the same disadvantages. 

Plus recorded lectures are even less impactful at a distance because you can’t ask questions. If you’re going to watch full online lectures, you might as well study in the classroom. 

With online learning you are taking out the classroom and the real-life community. However with the right provider that offers opportunities to communicate with peers (e.g. live webinars) you can build relationships that allows you to connect with students on the same journey. 

While you may miss the opportunity to ask face-to-face questions to a tutor, every good learning provider will have personal tutor support so you can get any queries answered as and when you need help. 


So, while it’s not wise to write off traditional classes. For some students, particularly those near a college or learning center, classroom learning can be a viable method to learn. 

Tutors are generally experienced and the content good, even if a classroom isn’t the best way to get that content across. 

However, learning CIMA online is a much better option for most. Studying online is a more efficient way to learn in terms of time and cost because it leverages the full potential of online medium. 

After all, most industries have embraced the flexibility that digital technologies brings, now education is catching up – and so are clever students! 

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Topics: CIMA