Becker CMA is a well-known brand among accountants who want to pursue a CPA designation in the US. Although Becker’s CMA products have gone on and off the market over the past few years, the company launched a new set of review packages at the beginning of 2021. We’ll show you what they offer and how Becker CMA stacks up against the competition.
Overall, Becker CMA offers just two options: CMA Review Advantage and CMA Review Pro. The former is a self-study option, whereas the latter includes a virtual classroom and one-on-one tutoring services. Whereas Becker’s content from several years ago was licensed through Power Resources, the company now produces its own review material.
The CMA Review Advantage package provides access to Becker’s two-part review course and digital textbooks for two years. Here are the review course materials you’ll receive.
Becker’s textbooks aren’t just updates of past material. They’re brand new for 2021, and the digital textbooks are regularly updated with the latest content for both parts of the exam. Additionally, the text covers 100% of the most recent ICMA Learning Outcome Statements.
Unlike before, Becker is now a licensed partner of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which bestows the CMA designation. This does not imply endorsement by the IMA, but it does mean Becker receives up-to-date content.
Becker has been using adaptive learning software to power its CPA prep platform for several years now. Finally, they have brought this technology to CMA exam review. The program is called Adapt2U Technology, and it promises an easy-to-use interface that will create a personalized study plan for you.
The adaptive platform serves early quizzes to assess what you already know and focus your attention on what you don’t. You’ll also take assessment quizzes at the end of every unit. As you progress through the material, the software will identify areas of strength and weakness to help you study more efficiently.
With over 3,000 multiple-choice questions and 70 essay questions, Becker CMA’s quiz bank isn’t quite as robust as Gleim’s CMA prep program. Additionally, the course promises both “unlimited practice tests” and “simulated exams,” and it’s important to recognize the distinction between the two. Practice tests are drawn from the quiz bank, and you can choose a standard distribution of topics or a personalized distribution based on your areas of weakness.
A simulated exam, however, gives you test questions under real-life testing conditions. Some test prep companies have software that closely replicates what the real CMA exam software will look like. Others simply give you a time limit to complete the questions. To the best of Becker CMA’s ability, they mimic the Prometric CMA testing environment in every way possible.
As of right now, Becker CMA promises “video lectures” but doesn’t say how many hours are available. This is because the company’s video library is not yet complete. So far, only the videos from part one of the exam are available. The videos for part two will arrive in “spring 2021.” However, Becker describes all their video offerings as “bite-sized instructor-led lecture videos [that] focus on single topics.” You’ll also receive the slides that go along with the lectures.
As of right now, there is no audio-only component to Becker’s course to review by listening.
The Becker CMA Review Advantage package comes with “success coaching” and “academic support.” Neither of these are one-on-one tutoring – that’s only available with the Pro package – but what Advantage customers receive is more involved than simple technical support.
Although Becker CMA doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, they do promise that if you use their materials but fail the exam, you can repeat the course at no additional cost. To be eligible for the Becker Promise Policy, you must complete 90% of the course, score at least a 50% on one simulated exam, and provide a score report for your failed exam.
Unfortunately, the Advantage package only grants you a three-month extension on your course access. While this is nice, it’s not a very robust guarantee. You can only get a money-back guarantee within the first 10 days of your purchase.
The CMA Review Pro is Becker’s upgraded package that includes tutoring, virtual classes, and unlimited course access. You’ll also receive print copies of the textbooks. If you buy the Advantage package and later decide you want to upgrade to the Pro, you can do so by paying the difference between the two. In other words, you won’t have to purchase the whole thing again. Here’s what the Pro package has that Advantage doesn’t.
With the Pro package, you’ll receive five hour-long academic tutoring sessions. These will be one-on-one virtual sessions between you and an instructor.
Speaking of virtual instruction, the Pro package also comes with LiveOnline webinars that serve as a virtual classroom environment. You’ll have real-time access to the instructors of these courses, which can be accessed anywhere.
Additionally, as of the beginning of 2021, these classes aren’t even available yet. They won’t be starting until “summer 2021,” and there’s no information on how many will be available and how often they’ll meet.
As a CMA, you’ll need to take a certain number of continuing professional education (CPE) credits every year to maintain your certification. In addition to exam prep, Becker also offers some CPE courses, which you’d ordinarily need to pay for. Although your first CPE requirement doesn’t begin until the January 1 after you pass the exam, if you time it correctly, this could be a big help.
Or maybe not. Unfortunately, Becker doesn’t specify when the year of free classes begins. If it starts the day you pass your exam, it’s very useful, especially if you take your exam late in the calendar year. If, on the other hand, it starts the day you purchase the course, it probably won’t do you much good unless you plan on taking the exam very soon after starting with Becker CMA. Once again, we’d really like more details.
You’ll continue to have access to updated Becker CMA materials as long as you need them to pass. And you won’t have to rely on the Becker Promise guarantee to enjoy a longer access period, as Advantage users do.
|CMA Review Advantage||CMA Review Pro|
|Type of course||Self-study||Full package|
|Price||Get price||Get price|
|Length of access||24 months||Unlimited|
|Textbooks||Digital||Digital and print|
|Practice tests||Unlimited simulated exams||Unlimited simulated exams|
|Video/audio content||Lecture videos||Lecture videos|
|Support||Success coaching||Success coaching|
|Tutoring||N/A||Five 1-on-1 sessions|
|Virtual classroom||N/A||Live webinars|
|CPE subscription||N/A||Free for one year|
Here is my analysis of the four major CMA exam prep companies:
|Becker CMA||Gleim CMA||Wiley CMAexcel||Hock CMA|
|IMA Licensed / Strategic Partner|
|# Practice Questions||3,000+||4,500+||5,500+||3,447|
|Customer Service||Tutoring||Personal counselor||Instructor mentoring||Teacher support|
|Free Trial||(14 days)||(Unit 1)||(14 days)||(14 days)|
|Access Time Limit||24 months or unlimited||18 months or unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Money-Back Guarantee||Partner Until You Pass|
|Pricing (2-parts)||$2,099||$1,279 (w coupon)||$1,800||$1,499|
|Recommendation & Analysis||Gleim CMA analysis||Wiley CMA analysis||Hock CMA analysis|
It’s encouraging that Becker CMA offers a 14-day free trial. Thus, if you’re interested or your employer is willing to sponsor the Becker CMA course for you, it’s good to take a look and compare the offering with the competitors. Gleim and Wiley also have free trials that you can sign up for without strings attached.
Although it’s only available with the Pro package, Becker CMA does offer unlimited access to its study materials. Additionally, the 24-month access for the Advantage package is also fairly generous. If other CMA prep programs have a cut-off, it’s usually at 18 months.
Again, this only comes with the more expensive Pro package, but Becker CMA does offer two types of live instruction: virtual classes and one-on-one tutoring. These give you the chance to ask questions of a real person who can help explain concepts to you in a way you’ll understand. Tutoring alone can be very expensive, and having five built-in sessions may be perfect for you.
Becker CMA’s cost is, in part, due to the company’s sterling reputation in the CPA prep market. The IPass team rates it as the #1 CPA review course. Therefore, a company with this kind of clout wouldn’t risk it all on a sub-par CMA product. Becker CMA mirrors the quality and helpfulness that made its CPA product so successful.
What percentage of candidates who use Becker go on to pass the exam? It’s impossible to answer that question because, at the time of writing, no one who uses Becker has had time to take the exam yet. Just six weeks in, it’s difficult to even find reviewers who have dug substantially into the program. The first version of anything is likely to have some bugs. Although fortunately, the Adapt2U platform has already been tested as part of Becker’s CPA program, the CMA materials on it have not.
The program is so new that it’s not even complete yet – videos for part two of the exam and all live webinars don’t premiere until later this year. Therefore, we recommend you start with Part 1 first.
Right now, Becker CMA’s products are limited to two packages. There’s no option to purchase the test bank separately for a lower price. Nor is there the option to purchase materials for only one exam part. If you want any of Becker’s products, you must buy them as part of a much larger package.
The Becker Promise Policy is only useful under a narrow set of circumstances. If you purchase the Advantage package, complete 90% of it, and fail the test, you get three more months of access. That’s it. The wording doesn’t even make it clear whether you get three months added on to the end of your 24-month access period or you just get three months starting from the date you fail the exam.
Of all the CMA exam review products we’ve reviewed, Becker is the most expensive by a substantial margin. At $1,499.99, even the self-study program is pricier than many full review packages. Given that there are no cheaper a la carte options, you can’t even buy Becker’s test bank or flashcards to use as supplemental materials. However, there are Becker CMA discounts that bring the cost down considerably.
Becker has always priced their CPA product at a big premium, but that’s based on specific history and reputation. However, even with discounts, putting the prices at $1,349 and $1,699, respectively, this is the high end of the cost spectrum.
Overall, we find that there’s just too much information missing to pass a definitive verdict on Becker CMA yet. The company has a good reputation in the CPA prep department, and hopefully, these CMA materials will have the same high quality. However, there are still too many unanswered questions.
Additionally, because the materials are so new, they have yet to be “battle-tested” by actual CMA candidates sitting for the exam. How easy are the textbooks to understand? What kind of webinars are available through the LiveOnline classroom? How well does the exam simulation resemble the actual exam? How helpful is the academic support and success coaching? We just don’t know yet.
Moreover, the extremely high price point makes all these questions doubly important. If you’re going to pay this much for a CMA review course, you want it to be comprehensive and effective. However, since there’s a free trial, you can certainly test out the materials and the software to see if you like the course.
If you are new to the CMA exam, there are several well-established, family-run, and comprehensive review courses out there, as shown in the chart above. Check out my comparison page on major CMA course providers for even more information.
If you are about to start your CMA journey, I am happy to help you out! Feel free to subscribe to my free mini-course, to be delivered to your email for 7 days. You may also want to get the details of this mini e-course here.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.