Top tips for reading your CIM text books!

Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I shall begin reading

One of the very many challenges associated with professional studying is reading – for learning about a subject, writing an assignment where you need a range of sources and doing the dreaded commit to memory for scary exams.  You might well have done exams at University and burnt the candle at both ends regurgitating long missives long into the night and are now thinking here we go again – more studying, same pressures, but without the student’s union.

I have a confession to make, however.  I have never read an entire textbook in my life.  Aside from the usual holiday reads I pack on to my kindle, I am not actually much of a reader and enjoying a novel is quite different to reading a textbook anyway.

So how does that make me a good CIM tutor you might be wondering?  Surely it’s best practice to read read and read some more.

No, not unless you learn well that way and are able to avidly absorb knowledge.

So what is the best thing to do?

Well, for once, I encourage you to read on……

Be organised….. a constant top tip from me is to plan your work and the need to boss the books as I promise you when you’re working and doing a professional qualification at the same time, burning the candle at either end doesn’t work as well.


When you are revising for an exam – take the ends of chapters first on the topic you are learning about.  Answer the questions.  If you get them all wrong then you may need to look more closely at that topic and read the chapter.  Maybe glance at the glossary.  Do you know any of those terms?  If not, go back over the content.

For visual learners, use mind maps or a more visual means to write out topics and see where you have gaps and then use some selective reading to fill those.

Kinesthetic learners – I really get how you need to move around the “do” things rather than read but a certain amount of reading will be needed for CIM exams – am sorry.  However, use the visual learning approach and create mind maps.  I would also do what I did many years to my long suffering managers in my first marketing job….ask them about marketing stuff.  Get them to explain how it works in your organisation and test their knowledge and debate some marketing topics between you.  You can buy them a coffee and pepper them with questions…..You will be a bit like an annoying Alan Sugar but needs must.

Bring all the reading you have done together (however you have done it) by testing yourself.  Don’t keep reading what you do know, as lovely as that might be, focus on what you don’t.


For assignments – scan the texts looking for the key words and ensure you write the detail in your own words unless you are referencing them properly (otherwise you are committing plagiarism and that’s not big or clever and you will definitely fail).

You will need to reference a range of sources to support CIM assignments so at least you can vary what you are reading but ensure you use credible marketing texts and professional/business marketing sources i.e. Forbes, The Guardian, Marketing Week etc and others.  Not The Sun, Wikipedia or a Finnish student’s MBA submission using a WordPress theme on their blog…..

Ann Prayle – CIM tutor at London Marketing Set (LMS)




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