5 Best CMA Review Courses in 2015 (and My Recommendation)

Version:
2015

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 26, 2015
Last modified:April 28, 2015

Summary:

Check out the pros and cons of these major providers, or go directly to my recommendation:

cma review courseHere is my analysis on the pros and cons of the CMA review courses based on readers’ experience and comments from participants in major accounting forums.

Let Me Find the Best CMA Review Course for You!

I don’t believe in people who say their study materials are the absolute best, because different courses suit candidates with different background and learning style. I am however confident that you will find one that suit you the best here.

gleim_cma_reviewWiley cma review course (premium)Wiley CMA learning Systemexam matrix cma Hock CMA
IMA Licensed / Strategic Partnersmallticksmallticksmallticksmallcrosssmallcross
Video/Audio-Visualsmallticksmallticksmallcrosssmallcrosssmalltick
Test Prep Software5-star4-star4-star5-star3-star
# Practice Questions2,900+1,850+1,850+2,500+2,245
Performance Trackingsmallticksmallticksmallticksmallticksmalltick
Audio Reviewsmallticksmallcrosssmallcrosssmallcrosssmalltick
Customer ServicePersonal counselorTechnical support onlyTechnical support onlyTechnical support onlyOnline forum
Free Trialsmalltick(Unit 1)smalltick (14 days)smalltick (10 days)smallcrosssmallcross
Access Time-limit18 months or until you pass*12 or 24 months12 or 24 monthsn/a (CD format)Unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee*smallticksmallticksmallticksmalltickRe-registration Guarantee option**
Pricing (2-parts)$720 (w coupon)$1,795$950$599$720 / $990**
Pricing (single-part)$405 (w coupon)$1,255$655$339$395 / $540**
Recommendation & Analysisgleim-button2wiley-cmaexcel-button2wiley-cma-learning-system-buttonExammatrix CMA review courseHock CMA review

* Conditions apply. Please check with the respective providers for details. ** The higher price includes re-registration guarantee.

Detailed CMA Review Course Comparison

Gleim CMA

Gleim is one of the most popular CMA review courses available and is especially preferred by those who study on their own.

Pros

  • Very established; one of the earliest providers of CMA review course (as well as for CPA, CIA and EA).
  • The Gleim CMA Review System offers an integrated learning approach with audio-visual presentation, test prep software in both various modes, audio review, text books, essay wizard and an online study tracking system called Gleim online.
  • Most comprehensive practice questions with exam mode that closely simulate the real exam you will encounter at the prometric center
  • The free trial for one study unit and money-back guarantee is very attractive.
  • One of the most affordable integrated review courses in the market.

Cons

  • If you have no accounting background, it may be tough to follow (but if you have basic knowledge in accounting e.g. taken one or two introductory classes it should be fine)
  • Not all audio visual presentations are converted to the new video course format.

Recommendations

If you have some accounting background and are the type of candidates who learn from practice i.e. doing lots of practice questions, I have no doubt that Gleim is the best for you.

Wiley CMA Review (CMAexcel Course)

Wiley offers two versions of CMA review material. This is the premium “integrated review course” with 21 hours of video instruction, interactive online study planner, performance tracking, final review, text books and test prep software (known as the test bank).

Pros

  • I really like the Professor Douglas Clinton, the lecturer in the video. He is knowledgeable and at the same lively teacher. You can tell that he is an active and well-liked professor (and indeed he is).
  • The interactive online planner is very useful in helping you to plan for the study, and keep you on track.
  • The 14-day free trial gives you full access to the entire course.

Cons

  • The practice questions in the test bank are not as complex and comprehensive. I personally prefer tougher practice questions to get me fully prepared for the exam.
  • Most expensive option.

Recommendations

If you are a fan of CPAexcel or that you learn best by watching videos, definitely your best pick.

  • You can get a more detailed evaluation of CMAexcel here.

Wiley CMAexcel (CMA Learning System)

This is the self-study version, also commonly known as the “IMA study materials”, because the content was previously developed and distributed by the IMA.

Pros

  • The notes are clear, precise and easy to read.
  • I feel like the authors really want to teach (versus just want you to pass) through the book, and I actually quite enjoy reading most of the sections.

Cons

  • The practice questions in the test bank are not as complex and comprehensive. I personally prefer tougher practice questions to get me fully prepared for the exam.
  • Still relatively more expensive

Recommendations

The text books are easy to read and are organized. Strictly in terms of learning experience, I actually prefer Wiley to Gleim and Hock (although a few of my readers like Hock better). In terms of test prep software, we all think Gleim give us more comfort to pass the exam.

Exammatrix CMA Test Prep

Exammatrix is an accounting test prep developer that prides itself on a unique offering — a software that learns from your answer.

Pros

  • The “adaptive learning technology” that analyses your weakest areas based on the performance of each study session has a lot of potential.
  • There is a money-back guarantee as long as you are a “good student” (parameters include how much time you spend on the questions, and % of questions done correctly at the end).

Cons

  • Most readers comment that the book is not as comprehensive.
  • Fewer features e.g. no video lecture, audio review and flash cards, although this is somewhat reflected in the lower price.

Recommendations

A good choice for those who know the exam content materials but need to a test prep software for exam preparation. It is also a great choice of supplement if you are looking for additional set of practice questions.

Hock CMA

People may not have heard about Hock outside of CMA review courses but they are quite popular among international candidates.

Pros

  • Great notes that explain the concepts well with classroom recordings.
  • Unlimited access.

Cons

  • Practice questions are good but coverage is not as wide as Gleim’s.
  • No interactive online study planner.

Recommendations

If you need more explanations on the concepts behind the topics covered in the CMA exam, but find Wiley too expensive, Hock could be a good alternative. If you need more practice questions, you can get Gleim or Exammatrix as supplement.

My Recommendations

Gleim CMA review courseGiven that this is mostly a computerized test, the thing that will make or break a review program is the multiple choice questions. I believe most candidates would agree that Gleim CMA has the best test prep software, free trial, personal counselor support, reasonable pricing… all with the Gleim Guarantee. What do you think? Drop a note here and we can discuss.

Comments

  1. Mallik says

    Hi Stephanie:

    Really it is very useful to go thr comparative note on various options. Still I am not clear.

    My concern is, If I plan to take exam in Jan/Feb 2016, will there be any changes in the content of Wiley or Gleim !!

    Not clear what should I go with for prep material, Wiley or Gleim ???

    Sorry for asking same inspite of above comprehensive note

    Thanks.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Mallik,
      Sure, this comment section is for you and other readers to ask questions. If you sign up for the online courses, there are updates available online sometime between September to November, and you have the choice whether to switch, and when to switch to the new version.

      For printed text books, they will also be out towards the year end (maybe around Nov) but for that you can’t get automatic updates, of course.

      In any case, I don’t expect major changes in 2016, so don’t worry.

      In terms of Wiley vs Gleim, it really depends on your learning style. They are quite different. If you like the online offerings, both of them have free trials and I encourage you to give both of them a try and then pick the one you like after a few days of checking out the platforms. In terms of which is more popular, more readers choose Gleim but then I only get data points from my own readers, and because Gleim is a lot more affordable. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  2. Anya Nelson says

    Hello Steph,

    Thank you so much for the briefings. Is it possible for me get these materials even without joining IMA?
    I actually want to make sure my success is certain by reading this material before I invest into CMA.

    Regards,

    Anya Nelson.

  3. muhammed sabith says

    I myself learning by using wiley material and practise questions using gleim exam prep software….what is your suggestion about this study plan?

  4. John says

    Hello Stephanie

    Thanks for providing all information in depth. Its really really useful for those, who want to be a CMA candidate. I am looking for coaching class either online or class room base to prepare exam; the mostly, I found the classes that offered online by universities or like CMA Exam Academy and they are going to use the Wiley CMAexcel exam materials, as per your comparison the Gleim materials looks good, I am very much Confused, what to do next , which class & materials are best for, how do i do that and which one is the best option or institute for..?? i am expecting your helpful guidance.

    Thanks again, and appreciate your free efforts

    Regards
    John
    Houston, TX

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