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

Version:
2015

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 26, 2015
Last modified:May 25, 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

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi John,
      Thanks for your note. Whether to get a coaching class or not really depends on your own learning style. I for example prefer self-study, but there are some others who need more guidance. As for whether these coaching classes are useful, there are so many of them that I can’t comment on each of them, but I have this post with my general thoughts (mostly on live coaching classes): http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-prep-course-online-live-class/

      On your specific question on Wiley, yes they do partner with many instructors who use them as their text books. If you like Wiley but want to do self-study, it’s perfect fine to get your own Wiley CMA review as well. There are lots of options.

      If you have further questions please let me know. Best of luck!
      Regards
      Stephanie

  5. Vyshnavi says

    I want know details about degree under recognized university &about experience or any qualification for this course.

  6. Agha says

    Hi all respecteds

    i can not afford the study materials. can any one help me by sending it on my email (adaliagha@gmail.com), if you already purchased it.

    Regards,

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Agha,
      We do not share materials freely on this website due to respect of copyright. It also breaches the rule and undermines the professional ethics, an important topic tested in the CMA exam. If you cannot afford it, please borrow it from the library. Regards, Stephanie

      • shrinivas says

        hi Stephanie,

        i completed my graduation from commerce stream, and i am looking for CMA course..im from india..
        my question is..whether CMA has value in india or not?? and what will be the salary in india after completion of CMA??

  7. Ahmed says

    Hello Stephanie,
    I plan to do CMA in future. I was searching the internet for some tips regarding how to pass CMA and happen to came across by your site. You have done a great job in helping people about CMA. I am little confuse about which course should i take for CMA study. I do have a little knowledge about accounting and finance but not that much. So can you please help me in this matter.

  8. shiwali says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am from India, a Commerce graduate with MBA finance & 10 years or experience in Financial planning & analysis do you suggest me to go for CMA certification and accordingly which study material

    Your comparative analysis is quite crisp for a broad understanding

    Thanks

  9. Farhan says

    This comparison is biased. You have coupons for Gleim so obviously, you’ll try to prove that it’s superior to all other providers. The reality is different though. Wiley’s material is super relevant considering it comes from IMA itself and you don’t need any other material to pass the exams. HOCK on the other hand is the most explained and easy to grasp. If you have accounting background, then go for Wiley and if not then go for HOCK. Gleim is only good for its MCQs.

    Please don’t misguide people just to earn some extra bucks.

    Note: I don’t think my comment will be approved but I have to speak the truth.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Farhan,
      No worries, but I feel like I should clarify. I am a Wiley author myself (for the CPA exam), and have pretty good relationship with Brian/Kevin Hock and their team. Sometimes the providers choose not to provide coupon code for their own reasons, and it is not up to me to decide.

      You have the right to express your opinion, but I also have the rights to express mine. That’s why I leave the comment box open to anyone including those who don’t agree with me. There is no need to assume me (or other bloggers) misguiding people and me deleting anyone’s comments. Not all bloggers are that bad :)

      • Maria says

        Dear Farhan and Stephanie,

        I’m not sure if my comment will count or not but I had used Wiley as well as Gleim so my views might be acceptable :)

        If you are a commerce graduate or have an accounting background you might find Wiley too much for reading. I’m a CPA and used Wiley first for CMA exam. I don’t enjoy reading as my eyes get easily tired and when I saw how THICK Wiley book is my first expression was OMG! BUT I will surely recommend Wiley for those “new” in terms of accounting.

        If the exam taker is like me who’s working and has only few hours to spend for self study (I’m not attending any class),Gleim is highly recommended. Gleim for me is a REVIEW not a means to learn accounting in one sitting.

        Overall, if you got plenty of time, an avid reader and your objective is not only to pass but to get HIGH score – Wiley is the best otherwise use GLeim. One thing is sure BOTH will help you PASS :)

  10. shrinivas says

    Stephanie ma’am,
    I want to order can you please recommend me which are the best books to be referred to study cma Blyth the groups. As I’m not going to join any coaching institute rather I’ll be studying in my own.
    So I kindly request you please tell me the best authors book to study cma which will be very helpful

    WAITING FOR REPLY

    • Stephanie Ng says

      hi Shrinivas, the ones featured in the chart above are the best in my opinion. I like Gleim the most, but this is my opinion based on the general profile of the reader. Please decide based on your own background and budget.

      For Gleim and Wiley CMA Review, you can sign up for a free trial. If you prefer textbooks and not the online version, you can also check out the electronic version of the books in the free trial, then order a physical copy if you like it. Regards, Stephanie

  11. Srini says

    I am a post graduate in commerce ( accounting background) and would like to appear for CMA exam in Sep/Oct window. Please suggest for self study which one is the best ( Wiley or Gleim) .

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Srini, my general recommendation based on the general readers’ profile is Gleim, but it really depends on your own background, budget and learning style. That’s why I tried to list out a few choices than one choice.

      I encourage that you sign up for the free trials available for some of these review courses. Gleim and Wiley CMA reviews have full access free trial. This is the best way for you to find out whether you like it and if you find it useful. Regards, Stephanie

  12. Saurabh Meshram says

    Hello ma’m, i have accounting background and as u said that gleim would be benefecial if 1 has an accounting background! but as i checked the stats it shows that gleim’s price is comparatively lower than wiley’s! so i am in state of uncertainity now as to which 1 should i opt for? i know its stupid to ask but still i will.. just because wiley’s material is more costly, does it imply that its content is better compared to gleim’s?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Saurabh,
      There is no stupid question at all! On your question, it also makes me ponder why the pricing can be so different. But I guess Wiley is demanding a premium given its material is officially endorsed by the IMA. Having said that, IMA does state that the Wiley materials do not give you any edge in guessing more of the actual exam questions. So it’s up to you to decide. I personally find Gleim more than enough to help you pass. The two courses’ focus is slightly different but I won’t say one is more detailed than the other.

      The best way for you to find out is to sign up their free trials. Both Gleim and Wiley CMAexcel has one. Let me know how you feel like using each of them! regards, Stephanie

      • Saurabh says

        Thank you so much ma’m! I also want to know whether gleim’s study material consists of recorded video lectures or it just consists of the course in written form? Felt a need to ask because recorded video lectures could be more helpful in case anyone has a doubt understanding the topics. Please revert. Thank you:)

        • Stephanie Ng says

          Yes they do have videos, sometimes on the subject matter but in many cases it’s going through the classic but more complex questions. I think those are pretty useful. The best way for you to find out is to sign up for the free trial. It gives you full access (unlimited time) of the first study unit.

  13. Rob says

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am in Canada and I am interested in the CMA. Does the IMA provide text books when we sign up as well? or do we need to get these supplements as our only source of materials? (ie. Gleim). Also is it realistic to complete 1 exam with 3 months of study and full time employment? how would you break up the study plan? (I have an extensive background in accounting but not specifically cost accounting so I will need to brush up).
    Lastly, are there forums like this where we can discuss with other students about course work? and maybe set up group studies in our own regions of residence?
    Thanks.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Rob,
      IMA doesn’t include textbook in the CMA entrance fee, but they do have an officially licensed/endorsed materials published by Wiley (the Wiley CMA Learning Sytem mentioned above). You may want to get that although they have stated clearly that this material won’t give you an edge in terms of guessing the actual exam questions.

      I think 3 months is fine given your background. On the forum, always wanted to set it up, but I haven’t got time to moderate it. For now the Facebook page somewhat helps candidates connect. I will think about how to do this in an efficient way. Thanks for the suggestion! Stephanie

  14. Rob says

    Hi Stephanie,
    I recommend a google group for north american students. In Canada for designations, we have forums on the actual site that allows us to make google groups privately that people join.
    But if you have a more efficient way to connect everyone.. that would be great.
    Also, would the Gleim material be sufficient as a primary study source?

  15. Lina Contreras says

    Hi Stephanie,
    Do you recommend the live classes provided by vendors listed on the IMA website vs. buying the course? given that the self study courser are really good
    Thanks in advance

  16. Joginder says

    Dear sir..
    Last year December I took admission in Cima. In the may this year I was scheduling my p1 exam than Cima denied me I can not appear exam because I do not have last name in my any government id proof. At the time of registration I mentioned my last name but I didn’t know it will mandatory to show id proof at the time of examination. Cima not allows any body with single name. If you want to do cima . you have to a government id proof with first and last name. Sir please tell me CMA has also this type of requirements. CMA allows people with their single name..

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Joginder,
      I believe the rule is the same for CMA, but it is a global certification and I believe IMA is happy to resolve the issue with you in advance (emphasis: has to be in advance). Regards, Stephanie

  17. Rob says

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have the gleim material for the cma and I was wondering what they want us to do when it comes to the “how to pass the cma exam: system for success” part.
    They are telling us to do these multiple choice questions before we start studying. Is all that mcq practise and essay writing needed before I have even read the material? if you don’t know the material, isn’t that a waste of time and should be done after?
    Thanks.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Rob,
      I know what you mean. I had the same feeling before. But I did try to follow whatever they told me to do, and it helps.
      Let me explain.
      I did get quite a few questions wrong given I’ve forgotten everything on the topic, but wasn’t as bad as I though. So it’s a good feeling. Also, the questions were like a warm-up exercise so I didn’t zoom out as much as I would have. Give it a try and see if it also helps you!

      Cheers, Stephanie

  18. Muhammaud Usman says

    Hi Stephanie – I did B.COM from Pakistan 10 years ago, have no practical experience in accounting. Currently working as business analyst for last 7 years for a manufacturing company, have experience in transfer pricing.

    Based on that should i go for Gleim, if not, what do you reckon?

    KR
    Muhammad

  19. Vish says

    Hi Stephanie,

    Greetings from Dubai :)

    I have both Wiley and Gleim study material for CMA Part 1. My experience is Gleim MCQ is much more comprehensive and difficult than Wiley.So MCQ I am doing from Gleim.However the theory(study material) in Gleim is very less compared to Wiley.l want to ask you if I read theory from Gleim ,is it enough to clear the exam.? TIme is certainly constraint for me as I have to squeeze time remaining after work and family. I have exam in coming Oct.

    Regards
    Vishal

    • Rob says

      Hi Vishal,
      I know your question is for Stephanie but I also had a question.
      If you found the Gleim material to be less detailed and the MCQ’s more difficult, would that mean for practise you recommend Gleim for mcq’s and essays?
      Thanks.

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Vishal, you are exactly right. Gleim focuses more on practice questions and the format is designed in such a way that you learn by doing lots of them. While Wiley has more extensive explanation. It really depends on your learning style. For me I do think learning by doing is better. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  20. Vish says

    Hi Rob,

    For MCQ and Essays yes I felt Gleim is better but Wiley theory part is much more detailed compared to Gleim. Gleim theory part is precise and summarized version. I am not sure if studying theory from Gleim is enough to pass exam or there is risk of inadequate preparation .

    Regards
    Vishal

    • Rob says

      Hi Vishal,
      I think doing both wiley and gleim is not a sufficient use of time from what everyone including stephanie is saying. It is better to practise the questions of one of the courses. I picked gleim because of superior reviews everywhere (not just here).
      what exam are you writing first?

      • Muhammad Usman says

        Gents – Rob and Vishal, may i ask if you guys have any background in accounting? It’s because most of the comments suggest Gleim for having some knowledge of accounts.

        regards
        muhammad

        • Rob says

          Hi Muhammed,
          I have a background educationally in accounting yes (degree) but my job is not accounting at this time, it is more sales.
          so yes I have a background you can say.
          regards.

  21. Muhammad Usman says

    Hi Stephanie – I did B.COM from Pakistan 10 years ago, have no practical experience in accounting. Currently working as business analyst for last 7 years for a manufacturing company, have experience in transfer pricing.

    Based on that should i go for Gleim, if not, what do you reckon?

    KR
    Muhammad

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Muhammad,
      Thanks for your note. In the US, business analysts have exposure in accounting but I am not sure if this is your case in Pakistan. If not, ideally if you have a book on basic cost accounting, then study with Gleim, it would be the best.

      If you aren’t sure, I encourage that you sign up for the Gleim free trial and see if you think it’s fine. Don’t worry about getting many practice questions wrong — we all do the first time — but whether you find the reading material sufficient.

      • Muhammad Usman says

        Stephanie – I am actually working in London. I have a MA degree from UK uni in business & financial mgmt and BA role actually revolves around pricing, nothing to do with accounting. I feel that I do have basic knowledge of accounting from BCOM experience.

        Reading comments from this forum it gave me impression that Gleim is better for those with some basic knowledge.

        Many thanks Muhammad

        • Stephanie says

          Yes, I am an Economics major myself and I find Gleim pretty ok. I had exposure in accounting and audit through my job but the job itself was more in finance / strategic planning than in accounting. So I think you’ll be fine :)

  22. says

    Hi Stephanie, I had just 2 question:

    why do employers choose or prefer to hire CMA’s???

    In the various posts of accounting, where can a CMA certification take you. can you become a finance manager just by doing CMA?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Noel, these are good questions. Employers value CMA because it shows the candidate with commitment to corporate accounting, not just accounting in general. Also, the syllabus is very practical, as you can see from Casey’s blog post here: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/why-cma-certification/

      I also have a few more general reasons here: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/why-become-a-cma/

      On your second question, you actually can be a finance manager with or without the CMA. The CMA’s value isn’t really on directly leading you to a job, although if your company has the tradition of hiring CMAs (such as the Fortune 500 manufacturing companies), it does help. In most cases it is more indirect, you know. Regards, Stephanie

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