We are currently working on the seminar material for the OCR F297 Strategic Management Case Study on Verdant Ghar Ltd and want to share a few further thoughts with you on possible time series analysis questions.
Question 1a)
Based on the 2 past paper questions on time series analysis (since June 2009), a numerical (ie 13 mark question) on time series for VGL is likely to be one that requires students to predict further into the future than 2015 Q3 and Q4 and for students to do this by drawing a line of best fit through the various trend points plotted on a graph to reach the relevant quarter to be forecast, and then deducting the relevant average cyclical variation calculated for this particular quarter to give a more accurate forecast.
In terms of lines of best fit, when there is a lot of variation students can be advised to draw a shape around all trend points plotted on the graph, and then draw a line through the middle of the shape to give a roughly equal area on both sides.
Students may very well be given actual and / or trend figures for Q3 and / or Q4 on the day of the exam and asked to predict further into the future, and so obviously need plenty of practice using hypothetical figures.
Be careful not to assume Q1a will be a time series analysis question.  Although this is, perhaps, the most obvious 13 mark numerical question – calculation of liquidity and activity ratios are also standing out as strong contenders (as well as calculations relating to investment appraisal).
Question 1b)
Q1b is likely to be related to the calculations made in Q1a and so, if Q1a is on time series analysis Q1b may very well ask students to discuss the appropriateness of time series analysis in the context of the case study, which is clearly signposted as a possible question in lines 38-39 of the case study.
Other Key Questions to be covered in our F297 Seminars:
Our 64 page analysis of the Verdant Ghar case study, which takes a good 3 to 4 weeks to write, has already covered the key issues raised in the case study and identified a range of possible questions that students could be asked.  Our F297 seminars build upon this analysis but focus on exam technique and how to demonstrate the skills required to secure high grades in relation to specific questions set.
Questions on Time Series Analysis will certainly be discussed in our F297 seminars, along with some of the other more obvious questions eg ‘Should VGL diversify into textiles recycling.  Justify your view’ and the ever present question on the impact of External Factors on the case study business, as well as those requiring students to ‘Discuss’ or ‘Recommend and justify’ a strategy to achieve a specific objective / address a particular problem facing VGL.  The seminars provide plenty of activities for students to get them thinking and writing responses to specific questions worthy of Level 3 and Level 4 marks.
We hope you are having a good year.  Do let us know if you feel there is a gap in the market for specific resources relating to the new Business specifications that you would like to see developed to support you with your teaching, and if you have not enquired about our seminars there is still plenty of time to do so – these run from 11 April until the day before the exam.
Claire Baker
Chief Writer, Editor and Director