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