I Pass The CMA Exam!

CMA Exam Prep Ultimate Guide [50 Super Actionable Tips]

I have taken the time today and write down the CMA exam prep tips collected in the last 4 years. Thank you readers, review course providers and industry experts for all your sharing.

tips1 tips2 tips3
 Efficient prep  Effective study  More Productive Time
tips4 tips5 tips6
Multiple choice prep tips  Multiple choice test-taking tips  Essay writing tips


If you find it helpful, this is how you can prepare for the CMA exam in the shortest amount of time:

Efficient CMA Exam Prep

cma exam prep: efficient preparation

1.Understand the Beast

First of all, don’t panic. Knowing exactly what you need to do in order to pass helps confine your goal into something concrete and workable.

The passing score is 360 out of 500. This means that you do NOT need to maximize your score. Many readers fall into this trap of spending as much time as they need to “perfect” one study unit before moving on, thus seriously running out of time for the rest of review materials.

A smart candidate should “optimize” instead of maximizing your study effort. Remember the 80/20 rule: set a comfortably high standard of 80-85% accuracy for your practice test questions.

Similarly, while you should cover all study materials, it’s okay to be confident in most but not all (say 80-85%) of the exam content. You can always go back and go for a higher target when time permits.

2. Pick the Right Tools

It is most important to pick a review material that fits your own background and learning style (not whether others say it’s good). I encourage you to:

Unless you are very tight in budget, always get the latest version so you don’t need to worry about missing a few points due to outdated materials.

3. Persist with a Workable Plan

Creating a study plan takes time, effort, and is against human nature — most candidates understand the importance of getting organized but few actually implement it. That’s why so many candidates fail the CMA exam.

A good plan makes sure you don’t fall behind and are able to cover all study materials given the time you have. Gleim CMA and Hock CMA have excellent interactive online tools to map out a plan for you.

4. Space Out Your Prep Time

Research has indicated that spacing out your studying time (e.g. reviewing 10 hours per week in the course of 2 months) is better than intense studying over a short period of time (e.g. 5 hours a day for 3 straight weeks).

Everyone has different learning patterns, but studying in the morning is in general better than late-night cramming.

5. Immerse in “Real” Testing Environment

Try to practice in an environment similar to the actual exam. For example:

  • Practice with questions online (because the exam itself is fully computerized)
  • Study in a quiet, isolated work station. This could be your office, an undisturbed room at home, or the library

Effective CMA Exam Prep


Being “effective” is different from being “efficient”. An effective student can learn more and perform better given the same amount of studying time.

6. Clean Your Desk

Studying in an uncluttered space with minimal distraction forces you to concentrate on your studies.

7. Restrict from Emails and Social Media

It’s not practical to stop checking your emails, Facebook and Twitter altogether; but you can certainly set a time of the day for that (e.g. 15 minutes each in the morning and evening), and be strict about it. You will be amazed at how much concentration you can regain with this strategy.

8. Prioritize Based on Long Term Goals of Your Life

If you insist in watching that TV show or uploading your cat photos to Facebook, think about what these mean to you 10 years down the road. Would they get the promotion, the dream job and a better life for you and your family? Let’s prioritize based on our long term goals instead of short term enjoyment.

More Productive Time


9. Minimize Sleeping In

Getting adequate amount of sleep is very important so I don’t suggest cutting back your resting time for CMA exam prep. However, you can make better use of the time when you are awake but not physically out of bed.

I’ve tried putting the alarm clock on the opposite side of my room, and have my favorite snack ready for me to grab as an extra incentive. Once the routine is established, it is much easier to keep the discipline.

10. Make Best Use of Idle Time

Some of you may have lots of time between activities, such as waiting to pick up kids for stay at home moms, and long commute for those living in suburbs.

With the proliferation of mobile devices, we are now able to study on the go in the form of audio review, streaming video instructions or test prep apps on smartphones. These learning tools may not work for everyone, but do explore and see if one fits your learning style.

If everything fails, the good old 3″x5″ handwritten flashcards always work for me. Give it a try.

11. Delegate, Outsource, Seek Help

Don’t be shy to ask for help from your husband/wife, parents, aunts, neighborhood friends and possibly colleagues. It makes them happy to feel helpful and appreciated during your CMA exam preparation.

If you have older children, it’s a perfect time to give them extra responsibility for their own personal development.

12. Combine Family and Studying Time

I tried bringing my daughter to the library every Saturday morning, so she could read books beside me while I studied. I also flipped my flash cards when watching my little son shower. Be creative to find extra time for your studies.


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Multiple Choice Studying Tips


Multiple choice questions represent 75% of the CMA exam. Therefore, the characteristics of MC questions determine the style of the test. For example, MC questions are generally used to test a wide variety of topics but they usually don’t go deep, as in they cannot ask you to analyze a scenario. Because of this, you can expect the CMA exam to be a mile wide or an inch deep.

A. Implement Retention Strategy


13. Engage Your Brain When Studying

Your brain needs to be engaged when studying. Reading the text book over and over is too passive, and this affects retention.

How do you engage your brain? Give it something to do! Examples:

  • Highlight the important parts of the book (not just reading paragraphs highlighted by someone else)
  • Jog down notes on the margin
  • Summarize the concept after watching the video, listening to an audio lecture, or reading the textbook
  • Make flashcards as you go through the materials (instead of buying a set).

I personally find the process of reading, watching, listening, and then writing out the key points help a lot in retention vs reading the materials alone.

Any of these methods will prolong your CMA exam prep but it’s totally worth the effort in my opinion.

14. Pay Attention to Key Definitions and Terms

This is true for multiple-choice questions in any exams.

Examiners love to test fundamental concepts, definitions, and terms in multiple-choice questions. Therefore, make sure you understand the important terms and be able to differentiate them.

15. Know the Concepts (Not the Mnemonics) by Heart

There are CMA review courses that focus a lot on mnemonics. While these are useful don’t blindly memorize them without understanding the concept behind it. Also, don’t rush to complete all practice questions without a good grasp of the concepts.

16. Apply the Concepts at Work

As one of our bloggers Gavin suggested, we can practice important CMA exam concepts in real business situations, in our everyday work. It could be cost accounting, variance analysis, or internal control. Just keep an open mind and find opportunities to practice your skill.

B. Improve Accuracy in Practice Questions


Another characteristics of multiple-choice questions that there is always a correct answer hidden among the 4 choices. The difficulty of the question depends on (1) whether you know the correct answer; and (2) whether you get tricked by any of the wrong answers.

17. Don’t Try to Outsmart the Examiners and Pick “Hot” Topics

Candidates are busy and they often make an educated guess or ask around on which topics they should focus on, given the limited amount of time for studying.

This approach is risky because you never know what’s on in each exam. Some topics e.g. cost accounting will certainly be on, but it doesn’t mean we can skip other seemingly off-the-track sections.

Time management and a good study plan (tips #3) are again very important when it comes to CMA exam preparation.

18. Understand How Multiple Choice Questions Work

Multiple-choice questions require a special way of preparation when compared to the essay question. In each multiple-choice question, the student is asked to identify the correct answer out of 4 possibilities.

Why MC questions are easy for some candidates:

  • It is comforting to know that one of the choices must be correct.
  • There are 100 questions: we don’t feel too bad if we miss a few of them.
  • We are purely tested on our knowledge on the topic, instead of creativity, or analytical and writing skills.

… and at the same time could be difficult for other candidates:

  • The answer keys could be confusing, as you may be required to pick the best answer out of a few possibly correct answers.
  • Easily get distracted by factually correct but irrelevant answers.
  • There are so many questions that your mind blanks out towards the end of the exam section.

Our goal is to identify our own weaknesses and directly address those during the exam preparation.

19. Keep Track of Incorrect Answers with a “System”

It is critical to have a systematic approach in identifying and keeping track of incorrect answers.

Whenever you answer a question incorrectly (or answer it correctly but for the wrong reason), write down the reason for your answer choice in a notebook.  Did you not know the concepts? Write down the concepts you did not know. Did you not read the fact pattern carefully? Did you misread the call of the question? Or misread the answer choices? Make a note of that in your own cheat sheet.

20. Analyze Your Weaker Areas

Constantly review this cheat sheet. Does it reveal any patterns, such as:

  • Wrong answers in certain topic?
  • Wrong answers in a certain type and format?
  • Wrong answers in a specific fact pattern?

The integrated review course has online tracking system to identify your weaker areas by various means.

21. Speed It Up

The CMA exam is known for its lengthy questions and complexity. Once you are familiar with the fact pattern and style of the questions, try moving faster, and maintain the accuracy.

22. Refine Your Skill in Educated Guessing

It is not surprising that candidates repeatedly get caught by questions they have never seen before.

With this in mind, it is very important that candidates practice the art of “educated guessing” through during their study.

In other words, get practices on a large variety of topics and don’t skip around the questions if you don’t mind. Also, don’t be afraid of the “test mode” (vs study mode) — I don’t like the extra stress but that’s precisely why we have to overcome it!

Try your best to get the best answer by whatever means — it could be by elimination, by relating a concept you learned from your other exam for example… this skill is going to be critical in the actual exam.

23. Don’t Run Away from the Mock Exam

The most important lesson to learn from the mock exams is time management.

If you are running out of time, skip and mark anything you don’t know or don’t feel comfortable with.  If time becomes an issue, the one complicated question was the one you don’t answer rather than 2 easy ones.

Multiple Choice Test Taking Tips


The best way to get prepared is to study all topics of the exam. Other than that, these tips can help you  avoid silly mistakes and make better educated guess on the exam day.

A. Cover All Questions and Answers


This exam is positively graded: Even blind guessing would give you 25% chance of success. Therefore, you should always aim to complete the entire section.

24. Manage Your Time

This is rule number 1. The multiple-choice in the CMA exam tends to be more lengthy and complex than other professional accounting exams. This makes time management critical. Generally speaking, you can allocate 3 hours (180 minutes) evenly to the 100 questions, which means 1.8 minutes per question.

25. Read All Choices before Picking the Answer

Many candidates pick the answer that “looks correct” and rush to the next question. But sometimes, there could be a better answer in B, C or D, or that you can choose “all of the above” when all answers are correct.

Always read the 4 possibilities before selecting the answer.

26. Don’t Leave Any Questions Unanswered

There is no penalty for wrong answers. If you run out of time, blind guessing is better than leaving them blank.

B. Avoid Being Distracted


In theory, the correct answer is hidden among the 4 answer choices. If you study well, you should be able to identify it. In reality, however, many diligent candidates fail despite spending hundreds of hours studying.

In most cases, they fall victim to the “distractors”. Here are tips on how to overcome them:

27. Anticipate the Correct Answer before Reading the Choices

Sometimes, the available answer choices look “reasonable” and they could do more harm than good by throwing you off and distracting you. In fact, the 3 incorrect answer choices are technically known as “distractors”.

You should always come up with the answer in your head before looking at the choices. If your answer matches with one of the responses, then you can be certain that the particular response is correct.

28. Select Answer that is Correct and On Topic

Some responses may be correct but are not directly related to the question. The best answer should be both correct and relevant.

29. Eliminate “Partly True” Answers

Similarly, ask yourself whether the answer you are considering completely addresses the question. If the answer is only partly true or is true only under certain narrow conditions, then it’s probably not the right answer.

30. Be Careful with Absolute Statements

When you see words such as “always”, “every”, “never” and “none” in the response, they are likely to be incorrect. The CMA exam covers topics in real business situations, and there are very few absolutely right or wrong situations in real life.

31. Be Careful with Negatives

Watch for negatives, double negatives and two-part statements in the stem (thankfully, double negatives seem to be quite rare in this exam).

In general, I don’t think the CMA exam is trying to trick us, because they do bold the “not” in this case. Having said that, these words are key because they reverse the meaning of a sentence, and therefore, should be careful.

32. Avoid Weird or Funny Responses

Again, use your common sense. If the answer choice is funny or doesn’t make sense in a real-life situation, it is probably wrong.

C. Increase Your Odds of Guessing Right


In cases where you aren’t sure which answer is right, you can still greatly improve your odds by eliminating implausible answers.  For example, removing two of these improves your odds of guessing the correct answer from 25% to 50%.

33. Look for Grammatical Clues

If the “stem” (body of the question) ends with “an” instead of “a”, then the correct response most likely begins with a vowel.

34. Pick the Answer with the Most Information

If a response repeats the keywords used in the stem, or that it is longer with more descriptive words (as if the examiner is trying to be specific about the description), it is more likely to be the correct answer.

35. Use the True/False Technique

This is helpful when you are confronted with 2 similar answers: If any part of a potential answer is false then the entire answer is incorrect.

D. Follow Your Instinct


The CMA exam often tests on real business situations. If everything fails or time is running out, pick the answer

36. Don’t Over-Analyze

Don’t dismiss a response because it seems too obvious and simple. If you are well prepared for the exam, some questions may appear very straight forward.

Similarly, don’t waste time looking for tricks and traps. Usually they are not there.

37. Follow Your First Impression

Multiple choice is all about recognition of things you have learned. If you are well prepared and you have read the question and choice of answers carefully, your first impression is often the best.

38. Eliminate the Choice that Doesn’t “Feel” Right

If you get stuck, try imagining each choice as the correct answer. People often “feel” that one of the answers is wrong. This happens when you are familiar with a concept but don’t have a firm grasp at it, just like you may know a person but you can’t recall his name.

39. Ignore Superstitions

The CMA exam is fully computerized. The system pulls a set of questions from a pool and present them in random order. Therefore, don’t waste time looking for patterns in your answers. Don’t worry if you find you have checked four “C” answers in a row.

Essay Prep Tips


40. Understand the Essay Grading System

You can learn about the details here, but essays are graded using a standard scoring rubric to test your:

  • Knowledge of the exam content
  • Ability to apply concepts in real business situations
  • Ability to express clearly and logically in business writing

Therefore, what you write (the content) and how you present the content are both important.

41. Get Familiar with Formatting

In the actual exam, the writing is done on a simple word processor that is similar to Notepad. For essays that require a computational answer, you should create simple tables and show calculations within the word processor space provided (spreadsheet function is no longer available in the CMA exam).

To avoid wasting time fixing the formatting on exam day, you should find a software that allows practice in a simulated testing environment. Gleim and Wiley have such features in their online platform.

42. Practice Answering MC Questions in “Essay Style”

Readers often ask for efficient ways to study for the essay portion. My suggestion is to pick a few multiple-choice questions and answer them as if they are essay questions.

It is best to type out the answers on a computer; but if you don’t have the time, try to go through this exercise at least once every day. Once your brain is trained to answer questions in this format, you will no longer worry about essays in this exam.

43. Steer Clear of Cyber slang

This hasn’t been an issue a few years ago, but I have seen more and more readers writing to me using seriously broken English full of text message jargon, abbreviations, initialisms, and cyber slang. I can’t imagine how many points they lose if they write essays in this style!

Please start writing everything in proper grammar from now on, so that your brain is (re)accustomed to business writing.

44. Organize Thoughts and Writing with Intro, Main and Conclusion

Clarity is an important part of the grading system. When you address a question, always organize your thoughts in three parts: the introduction (reflecting what has been asked in the question), the main point (your opinion or ideas), and a conclusion.

45. Don’t Get Lost in Your Scratch Paper

You are given scratch paper for computational work and for organizing your thoughts of the essays. Try to write quickly but neatly. Label the paper with the question number will help a lot if you have the time to go back and check your work.

Bonus: Tips in Managing Test Anxiety


These tips are all about managing y0ur psychology the night before and get mentally prepared on exam day.

46. Drop the Emotional Baggage

Tell yourself that it’s not the end of the world if you fail. Don’t overload your anxiety with the “what if” scenarios, such as how the failure could impact the promotion, the salary raise, and job search.

Focus on things in your control, i.e., what you can do at the present, instead of things out of your control, i.e., possibilities in the future.

47. Narrow Down Your Goals on the Exam Day

What you are trying to achieve on the exam day is simply to:

  • Complete the section on time
  • Select the best answer based on what you’ve learned
  • Use the exam-taking techniques in case you need to guess the answer

Things become a lot more manageable with 3 simple and clear goals.

48. Sleep Tight the Night Before

This is cliche but very important. Your brain can’t function without sufficient rest. The last thing you want to do is to cram straight for 12 hours and fry your brain cells the night before.

49. Avoid Forums a Few Days before Exam

I understand that many self-study candidates go to exam forums to vent and to look for encouragement. This is all good, but I would stop doing that a few days before the exam.

This is to avoid interacting with fellow students with “negative energy” (could be those who haven’t well prepared, got too frustrated or are about to give up). You can’t afford to have these people distracting your mental preparation.

50. Say “I am Ready” 3 Times Before Entering the Exam Room

Confidence is a critical element to your success. It helps to bring down your anxiety which in turn improve your cognitive skills and your common sense.

See How My Bloggers Implement These Strategies

Gavin Gleim CMA customer Gavin (California)

 Vinoth Hock CMA customer Vinoth (India)

Yen Wiley CMA Review customer Yen (Vietnam)

 Waqar Gleim CMA customer  Waqar (Pakistan)

Thank You!

These 50 tips could be overwhelming, but each pushes you closer to your passing success. Bookmark this page so you can take a look from time to time. All the best to your CMA exam!

Did you find these tips helpful?

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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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Leave a Comment:

Arivu Pro says June 22, 2018

Very good tips on preparation guide

    Stephanie Ng says June 22, 2018

    Glad you find this helpful Arivu! Stephanie

NorthStar Academy says June 20, 2018

Quite an useful set of tips on preparing for the CMA Examination…

    Stephanie Ng says June 22, 2018

    Thanks NorthStar! Best of luck to your exam!

Mustafa Kutubuddin says July 12, 2017

Hello there ,
I am preparing for my CMA exam part 1 to be attempted next year in January. Although the study content looks manageable I am not able to score highly enough whenever I try the practice mcq questions test.I generally score around 60%.Can you suggest me how i can improve my scoring ?

Thanks and regards

    Mustafa Kutubuddin says July 12, 2017

    I am right now planning to give 1 week to study each unit and test myself, I am also working as an accountant so this is how I have planned my study schedule.can you give me your suggestions regarding the my study schedule and how I can plan it better?

    Thanks and regards

    Stephanie Ng says July 18, 2017

    Hello, besides the tips above, you can try focusing your weaker areas first. Forget about the ones you’ve done correctly (for now at least) because practicing on them won’t get you extra points.

      Mustafa kutubuddin says July 18, 2017

      Hey there

      The reason I am not able to score so much is because of the speed.Normally theoretical question are easily solved by me and don’t require much time however when it comes to practical questions I need a little time to understand and answer but the time limit doesn’t really allow me to do that.Can you suggest me some tips for solving specifically “practical MCQ questions”
      Thanks and regards

        Stephanie Ng says July 23, 2017

        Hi Mustafa,
        You can try to speed up in your practice. There should be quite a few of the practical MC questions you mention in Gleim, for example. Aim to work on those within a time frame. Push yourself to think faster when applying the concepts. Practice makes perfect. Good luck! Stephanie

HOUARI says March 6, 2017


I’m studying with GLEIM 2015.Is it valuable & helpful to pass the exam in the future?.


Ezzedin Mohammed Adam says January 22, 2017

I’m interested in studying CMA, I need your helpful tips.

anurag says November 14, 2016

Hi Stephanie,

I had purchased the Gliem review system in Oct -2015,Now Gliem has Updated their Latest version as Traditional and Premium Review system, I have access for Tradition Review system Now, So could you tell if it is sufficient clearing the exams And the Difference on Gliem Tradition and Premium Review system?

    Stephanie Ng says November 16, 2016

    Hi Anurag, the difference is mainly the videos, access to the accounting expert and the pass guarantee. If you don’t mind those, it’s not an issue 🙂 Stephanie

Rick says October 8, 2016

Hi Stephanie,
I am noticing when I am doing the MCQs under exam conditions, I am thinking while working out the solution because as you know on the real exam we will not recognize the questions as they will be different then the practise questions. This creates a situation where we need to think and thus run out of time per question.
How do you suggest we counter this on the real exam?

    Stephanie Ng says October 9, 2016

    You just have to work on as many practice questions as you can, and get trained to think faster 😉 Stephanie

Hifas says May 18, 2016

I wish to take CMA… I am a b-com graduate from India….
I know, there is a discount in fee if take a PG course… I want to know which PG is beneficial for me… Is it M-com or MBA in Finance or any other?

Thanks in advance…

    Stephanie Ng says May 21, 2016

    Hi Hifas, assuming PG means post graduate course, are you sure the discount you get can actually offset the cost of the PG course? If you do want to take that course it’s totally fine but I wouldn’t go for a master’s simply because I can get a discount from a qualification. Regards, Stephanie

    In terms of MCOM vs MBA, you should pick one based on your interest in accounting vs finance. Regards, Stephanie

raaj says January 6, 2016

But i couldnt find CFAs get any exmaption from FRM.. I check it from there.offical site. I just search it out from google. After pass 2 paper of cma. You can get 1paper FRM examption. Just plz help me out. I want to todo cma & frm.both

    Stephanie Ng says January 12, 2016

    Hi Raaj, I would love to help, but what are you looking for exactly? Regards, Stephanie

raaj says January 5, 2016

after completion of cma. is there any examption for FRM???

    Stephanie Ng says January 5, 2016

    Hi Raaj, not sure to be honest. I doubt it though because they cover different niches. From what I know CFAs get some exemption from FRM. Regards, Stephanie

Fazilkkamarudheen says January 2, 2016


Rob says December 30, 2015

Hi Stephanie,
I am finding that the issue I am having with the preparation is that when I do the theoretical questions, I get those wrong more then the number ones. (MCQs)
How did you resolve this? because some of the theoretical questions are super technical that only a senior senior manager would know.

    Stephanie Ng says January 3, 2016

    Hi Rob, yes, they can be tricky. I remember seeing quite a lot of those in internal control section. You just have to be super clear on the concepts. Read the questions slowly and try to imagine what the examiner is trying to test you. See if it helps. Stephanie

Shakir Hatim says December 29, 2015


how long do you recommend it takes to study part one ? is 2 units per week a good plan? how about 1 unit per week ?

    Stephanie Ng says December 30, 2015

    Hi Shakir, it really depends how many weeks you have before the exam. IMA generally recommends 150 hours, so you can divide your studying time accordingly. I also have a downloadable study planner (for Gleim and Wiley) and it shows how much time you need per study unit.

Khaled gohary says November 26, 2015

Thank you sooooo much

Rob says November 18, 2015

Hi Stephanie,
I wanted to tell you my experiences so far. When I do a MCQ series of questions for a unit, the first time I get a pretty bad mark. When I do them again, my mark obviously goes up.
What do you recommend I do to fix the issue with first time marks? Do you just think I should do the questions numerous times? is that the main fix to the issue?

    Stephanie Ng says November 23, 2015

    Hi Rob, no need to fix that, it’s pretty normal, since we aren’t familiar with how the questions are phrased (that’s why I always tell people to focus on the practice questions). As long as you do better the second time, it’s good 🙂

TAMER says October 24, 2015

Hi Rob,

I have a question regarding the 50% I need to get in the MCQs phase. Is it 50% of the whole exam score or 50% of the MCQs only.

50 questions correct from the 100 MCQs is actually 37.5% of the whole exam score as long as the MCQs present 75% of the whole exam score, right?

From my point of view, I need to get 50% of the whole exam score in the MCQs phase to be able to move to the essay phase, which means that if I do well in the essay I can pass the exam.

But if I get 37.5% in the MCQs which is 50% of the 75% MCQs scale and then I get the full mark (25%) in the essay I will not pass, simply because I got only 62.5 % overall the exam scale, right?

I had the 1st part exam 2 weeks ago, and I was able to access the essay phase. Does it mean that I have a chance if I did well in the essay?

Your feedback will be highly appreciated

    Rob says October 25, 2015

    Hi Tamer,
    I think you need 50% before you start the essay part, but clarify with stephanie.

    Stephanie Ng says October 27, 2015

    Hi Tamer, yes agree with Rob. It is 50% of the multiple choice question — basically they want us to get half of the first section right, then we can move on. I have a more detailed explanation here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-scoring/

    For a really technical explanation, you can find a link to an IMA PDF in the scoring page above.

    Anyway, since you are done and that you are able to work on the essay section, that’s great news. Don’t worry about it. Do something relaxing to get recharge for your next part of the exam! Regards, Stephanie

Rob says October 7, 2015

Hi Stephanie,
I think I registered for an exam part too pre-maturely and I will not be able to write it this month when I signed up for it. I called IMA and they said I need to re-pay the fee for the next window. Is there anything else I need to do? for example – De-Register for the exam with IMA? or just let the date pass?

    Stephanie Ng says October 7, 2015

    Hi Rob unfortunately you can’t change a date across testing windows (only within testing windows)… why don’t you give it a try anyway? Just take it as an exercise, since you have paid for it. Regards, Stephanie

      Rob says October 8, 2015

      Hi Stephanie,
      I agree with you on that one and I will do it. Also, they said you can take the exam in the Jan. testing window but you will need to repay the fee whether you take it now or not.

        Stephanie Ng says October 8, 2015

        Yes Rob. If possible, it’s better to take the exam in the first month within the testing window, because if you need to postone a few weeks, you can still do that without penalty.

jinesh says October 7, 2015


If i choose wiley cmaexcel learning system with printed text and online practice test can i pass the exam in first attempt by studying with this only?whether the exam interface provided in this course similiar to actual exam enviornment?is this course enough for my essay preparation as well?

i have read what you have written in the review that the practice questions in this course is not tough.but will it be in the standards for passing the exam?
i just want to pass the exam.

likewise the flashcards provided by wiley will help me anyway?

please reply

    Stephanie Ng says October 7, 2015

    Hi Jinesh, the ones listed on my site are all good (otherwise I won’t bother to mention them). So you can assume all materials are helpful and many people pass using their materials. As to which one to choose, it all boils down to which learning style you prefer. Regards, Stephanie

jinesh says October 1, 2015

hi Stephanie,

can you please tell me the scope of this course in Singapore?

is this course has validity in Singapore?can we get a job in Singapore after passing this course?what are the job prospects?

i am from India? i am doing my m com right now?i have plan to work in Singapore in accounting domain? will this course anyway help me?

please reply

    Stephanie says October 7, 2015

    Hi Jinesh,

    Probably not that popular in Singapore in my opinion… but it helps if you work in big multinational companies with manufacturing base. Regards, Stephanie

      jinesh says October 7, 2015

      ok.thanks for your reply.what is the scope in india?which place has more employment prospects for this course apart from USA?

      I know you will recommend self study.so my question is Gleim itself is sufficient or not?

      the IMA is endorsed with wiley .so whether studying Gleim will be sufficient?

      if i opt for self study of gleim what exactly will be that?
      is it online live classes or they will send text books to our address?can you please explain what exactly will happen?

      likewise what i understood is that if i opt for self study the fees to the IMA have to be paid by myself .if so where i have to pay the money.can you explain the procedures with regard to that as well?


        Stephanie Ng says October 7, 2015

        Hi Jinesh, Gleim is fine. If you read my bloggers’ post, most of them use Gleim and they passed. https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-blogger/

        You just sign in and the course is delivered online. If you are not comfortable with online study, just stick with the live classes offered in your country then. Not a problem at all. In terms of the procedure, there isn’t much procedure except that you pay the fees to IMA and then buy the self-study course online separately from the providers. Regards, Stephanie

Rob says September 27, 2015

Hi Stephanie,
I went on the IMA site and browsed their study group section.
There is a #cmapopquiz on there.
What is that all about?
did you use it?
is it needed or does gleim provide sufficient work?

    Stephanie Ng says September 29, 2015

    Hi Rob, I think that’s what they are called: pop quiz. I didn’t use it, but I believe it means some random questions and answers. As long as you get this as a supplement (and not your primary study materials), it is fine. Regards, Stephanie

      Rob says September 29, 2015

      did you mean “as long as you get those #popquizes as supplements?” gliem itself is sufficient as a primary study source.

        Stephanie says October 7, 2015

        Hmm, yeah, maybe I should reword that but generally if Gleim seems to work out fine, no need for further supplements. Regards, Stephanie

Rob says September 19, 2015

Hi Stephanie,
I had 2 questions.
Regarding the calculator that we can use, I currently use a sharp el-520w. It is a scientific calculator. Is this not allowed? are financial calculators allowed like the texas instruments ones?

Also, if we are working, can we instead of taking a part in a 3 month gap, is it OK to do it in the next test window (6 month gap)? this is because I can’t study as fast as if I am not working.

    Stephanie Ng says September 23, 2015

    Hi Rob, that particular model is not on the official list, so it is better to check with IMA directly.
    Sure you can have 6 months in between. You can take the two exams any time you like within a 3 year period. Cheers, Stephanie

      Rob says September 23, 2015

      Hi Stephanie,
      I believe that the BA2 texas instruments calculator is allowed.
      it is the financial calculator.
      have you used this one before?

Rob says August 29, 2015

Hi Stephanie or anyone else,
For the part 2 exam, how did you guys end up managing the formula load? I am midway through the book and I have seen around a million formulas. (I have never done a test with so many formulas in my life).

    Stephanie Ng says August 29, 2015

    Haha… I would write it in flashcard and carry it along to flip through it. Also, work on tons of practice questions 😉 Stephanie

      Rob says September 1, 2015

      Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for the feedback. I have done finance courses before in University but we never had to memorize formulas. They always gave us formula sheets but we had to know how to use them. Here they are asking us to memorize them lol.

      Also, when you passed the exams, did you feel like you passed when you finished? Is this one of those exams where you know whether or not you passed in your gut? or is it one of those exams where you put in a good effort and feel like you passed but you never really know?
      how would you judge this exam in that sense?
      I personally prefer knowing in my gut if I passed or not.

        Stephanie Ng says September 1, 2015

        Hi Rob,
        I am afraid you do need to memorize them this time!

        On your other questions, I guess most people know they pass/not pass walking out of the test center. To get a bigger sample, let’s look at our bloggers. For those who believed they performed well enough in the exam, all but one passed.

        But I did get emails from time to time from readers thinking for sure they did so well and then failed. Most didn’t seem to work on enough practice questions and so they overestimated their ability in answering those questions. It is therefore important to complete as many questions as you can.

          Rob says September 3, 2015

          Hi Stephanie,
          I agree with you that practise is important. Do you think practising and then debriefing for each question is more beneficial or just do a whole lot and then look back at the end?

          Stephanie Ng says September 4, 2015

          Debriefing after each question takes longer, but certainly a great way to study! Stephanie

Rob says August 16, 2015

I am not sure where to post this but I had a technical question.
for anyone using the Gleim book currently, Question 16 in the SU 3 for Part 2 exam, has an answer of 3,450 but I don’t follow the logic on how they achieved that.
Also for question 18 in the same SU 3. Can’t seem to follow the logic there as well.
If anyone can explain this, it would be appreciated.

    Stephanie Ng says August 16, 2015

    Hi Rob, it might be easier if you contact your Gleim personal counselor on this. If you don’t hear from him/her (which is very rare), you can come back and I can help you contact the Gleim team. Thanks, Stephanie

Harikrishnan k j says July 13, 2015

hi sir,
Am from india and am a CMA aspirant. And you tips are verymuch valuble for me. Sir can u suggest me the chepest mok exam service providers. Beacsue am facing some financial problems.

    Stephanie Ng says July 14, 2015

    Hi Harikrishnan, if you can borrow the materials from a library or from a friend, that would certainly be the best. If you can’t get hold of these, Gleim should be the most affordable option. You can check them out here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/

    Regards, Stephanie

Ahmed says May 6, 2015

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for your wonderful post.
It’s so useful, keep the wonderful work.

Thanks again.

    Stephanie Ng says May 6, 2015

    Dear Ahmed thanks for your kind words. That’s great to know and I really appreciate it! Stephanie

CMA student says May 5, 2015

This was a great compilation and a must read for all CMA students world wide. It would be great if you could edit the portion of this article and embed a link to your study planner. Guess you missed it! Thanks a ton Stephanie 🙂

    Stephanie Ng says May 5, 2015

    Thanks! So glad you find it useful.
    Yes, I didn’t add the link (yet) as I just found a bug in my Gleim study planner spreadsheet. Will do! Regards, Stephanie

Amani says May 2, 2015

Great post, you covered the CMA exam from A to Z, i’ll be sharing this 🙂

    Stephanie Ng says May 2, 2015

    Oh, you found it before I told everyone 🙂
    That would be great Amani! Stephanie

      Amani says May 4, 2015

      lol, i was just go through the website and i found it 😀

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