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CMA Course Price Comparison: Which is the Best in 2021?

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One of the most important steps in your CMA exam prep is to pick the best CMA course. This is actually very subjective as it depends on your own background, learning style and budget, but in order to offer some tangible help, I’ve done an analysis based on a CMA price comparison. Also, if you’re ready to jump in and purchase a course, I highly recommend you review my Gleim CMA Discounts and Becker CMA Coupon.

Of course, if you’ve done any research into books to pass the CMA test, you’ll know that not all review courses are the same. In addition to CMA exam prep books, most courses come with materials like test question banks, CMA practice exams, video or audio lectures, and more. Thus, CMA material course prices vary by what’s included.

Integrated and Guided CMA Course Materials

This is subject to different interpretation, but my definition of a “full package” includes study materials beyond the basic test prep software + CMA exam book combo. Most companies only offer these packages for both exam parts at the same time, but a few allow you to buy CMA exam study books for only one part.

In my opinion, Gleim CMA 2021 offers the best value for money. It offers the best CMA software with many additional features, including video lectures which I find very useful.

1. CMA Single Part (Part 1 or Part 2)

Only two CMA review companies allow you to buy their full review courses by exam part: Gleim CMA Review and Hock CMA 2021. However, each of these companies has two levels of full exam courses to choose from.

A bar graph comparing the prices of full course review packages from Hock, Gleim, and Gleim with a discount

2021 full course review packages for one CMA exam part

* Pricing of Gleim reflects a 20% discount like the one that you can get from my site.

  • Gleim Traditional (digital and physical textbook + review course + audio lectures + Personal Counselor + study planner + test bank + final review + one full-length exam rehearsal): $825 ($660 with discount)
  • Gleim Premium (Traditional Package + video lectures + digital flashcards + instructor support + an extra exam rehearsal + Access Until You Pass Guarantee): $950 ($760 with discount)
  • Hock Standard (textbook + interactive study guide + teacher support + test bank + practice exams): $424
  • Hock Complete (Standard Package + classroom recording video/audio + “You Pass or We Pay” guarantee): $874

2. Two-Part Bundles

Many more exam prep companies, including Wiley CMA 2021, offer full review packages for both parts of the exam. The two-part bundles for Gleim and Hock include the same offerings from above.

A bar graph comparing the prices for full course reviews from the companies listed in the bullet points below

2021 full course review packages for both CMA exam parts

  • Becker Advantage (digital textbook + review course + flashcards + test bank + video lectures + exam simulations + unlimited practice tests + success coaching): $1,499
  • Becker Pro (Advantage Package + physical textbook + virtual classroom + access until you pass): $2,099
  • Gleim Traditional: $1349 ($1,079 with discount)
  • Gleim Premium: $1599 ($1,279 with discount)
  • Hock Standard: $699
  • Hock Complete: $1,449
  • PRC Exam Review Pro (digital textbook + question bank + mock exam + pass guarantee+ live online course): $1,295
  • PRC Exam Review (digital textbook + question bank + mock exam + pass guarantee): $525
  • Surgent Essentials Pass (digital textbook + review course + test bank + ReadyScore + unlimited practice exams +18-month access + pass guarantee): $699
  • Surgent Premier Pass (Essential Pass + video lectures + 24-month access): $999
  • Surgent Ultimate Pass (Premier Pass + virtual coaching + printed flashcards and textbooks + unlimited access): $1,699
  • Wiley Gold (textbook + video lessons + assessment quizzes + instructor mentoring + test bank + access until you pass): $1,350
  • Wiley Platinum (Gold Package + 11th Hour final review + flashcards): $1,800

CMA Course for Self Study: Test Prep Software + Book

If you are on a budget, you can consider this combo of CMA courses. The CMA course cost for self-study is substantially lower than that of the full packages. You will have to be more disciplined to keep track on your studying, but it does help you save a few hundred dollars.

1. Single Part (Part 1 or Part 2)

Again, only two companies allow you to buy self-study courses separately by exam part. Rigos offers the cheapest price because they only sell CMA course books and software containing some old CMA exam questions. Thus, if you need any other course materials, you will need to get them separately.

A bar graph comparing prices for self-study courses from Rigos and Surgent

2021 self-study review courses for one CMA exam part

  • Rigos (textbook + analog test bank): $97
  • Surgent (digital textbook + test bank + unlimited practice exams): $499

2. Two-Part Bundles

What’s included in these self-study courses varies widely, so pay attention to what you’re getting for the price. Some offer CMA test prep books, software, and practice exams, while others offer only CMA sample exam questions.

A bar graph comparing self-study review courses from the companies listed in the bullet points below

2021 self-study review courses for both parts of the CMA exam

  • Gleim (digital or print textbook + test bank + exam day emulation): $999 ($799 with discount)
  • Hock (test bank only): $499
  • PRC Powers Up (question bank + mock exam + pass guarantee): $330
  • Rigos (textbook + analog test bank): $180
  • Wiley Silver (textbook + video lessons + assessment quizzes + access until you pass): $900

Best Book for CMA Preparation

It’s hard to identify the best CMA prep book apart from the rest of the exam review course. After all, no company except Rigos sells only books to study for the CMA exam and no other materials. If you want the Becker CMA part 1 book, for example, you’ll at least have to buy the Advantage package, which comes with a number of extras. However, for most people, this is a good deal, as studying usually involves far more than simply reading CMA preparation books.

As far as the best book for the CMA exam, though, Gleim CMA books are famous for being incredibly detailed and thorough. However, this can also make them overwhelming and a bit hard to read. In fact, even Gleim’s study guides don’t recommend reading the books from cover to cover. Instead, you’re instructed to look at individual sections covering the topics you’re weakest on.

The Hock CMA textbook is less detailed, but many candidates report it’s easy to read. There’s even space in the margins of the physical books to take notes. The Surgent books are actually one of the limitations of that company’s prep course, as some students say they’re sparse and lack detail. The Wiley CMA books price is no longer the highest, thanks to Becker, but with even the self-study course coming in at $900, there’s no low-cost option. The new Becker CMA book, which we haven’t yet had the opportunity to review, is simply out of most people’s price range.

CMA Test Prep Cost: Conclusion

Hock and PRC are the most affordable among the full courses. In terms of discounted pricing and best value for money, however, Gleim CMA Review stands out in the full course category. We find the additional materials to be worth the extra CMA test prep cost.

For self-study, the Rigos books and software are dirt cheap – one-tenth of the price of other companies’ full course packages. However, you need to consider what you’re getting: some textbooks and simple software. The CMA certification exam is a difficult one, and most people need to factor more materials than that into their CMA exam prep costs. Hock and PRC are again the most affordable, but given that they’re just question banks with no textbook, I would pick either Surgent or Gleim as supplement.

I have another CMA course comparison page that lists factors in addition to price. If you’d like to know more, visit the page here or drop a note below if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get a book for CMA test prep?

In case it’s not clear by now, it’s hard to narrow down good exam prep materials into a single book. However, all of the full review courses and nearly all of the self-study courses discussed in this article come with textbooks. Typically, if you purchase one, you’ll need to decide whether you’d prefer reading a digital file, usually a PDF, or a physical textbook.

There is no extra charge to download a file, but you will usually need to pay shipping and sometimes an additional charge to receive an actual book. Of course, with a physical book, you can highlight important sections and take notes in the margins. If this is how you study best, it may be worth the extra fees to purchase a printed text.

What’s the best book to use to study for the CMA exam?

Each textbook put out by each different test prep company has strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I find Gleim’s incredibly detailed CMA review books to be the best resource, but they also have their downsides. These are long, dense textbooks, and they can be overwhelming to some students.

Here’s a quick rundown on what I know about other companies’ CMA textbooks:

  • Becker: new for 2021, haven’t had a chance to review it yet
  • Hock: easy to read, well-formatted with space for taking notes
  • PRC: only available in digital format and only with full packages
  • Rigos: textbook content is limited (unsurprising given the low price)
  • Surgent: printed books include questions and answers, both digital and print books are updated frequently
  • Wiley: rumors of some errors in the books that have yet to be corrected

Luckily, all these companies offer free trials of their CMA review materials. So if you’re still undecided, you can sample these free CMA materials and see which textbook is most appealing to you.

 

About the Author Stephanie Ng

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.

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