I Pass The CMA Exam!

CMA Exam Prep Ultimate Guide [50 Super Actionable Tips]

I took some time today to write down the CMA exam prep tips I’ve collected over the years. I would like to thank CMA review course providers, industry experts, and my readers for sharing your tips

How long does it take to prepare for the CMA exam? According to the Institute of Management Accountants, average successful candidates spend 150-170 studying per part. That is, most candidates spend at least 300+ hours for the 2-part CMA exam. However, with an efficient study plan, you can join the elite group of Certified Management Accountants.

I hope these tips help you prepare for the CMA exam in the shortest amount of time.

cma exam prep: efficient preparation

1.How to Prepare for CMA Exams: Understand the Beast

First of all, don’t panic. After all, preparing for the CMA exam is doable. However, you should know exactly how to prepare for the CMA exam and start with a good CMA exam prep study strategy. And then, you can reach your goal of becoming a Certified Management Accountant.

passing score on the CMA exam is 360 out of 500.But really, you just need to pass. For instance, you don’t get any sort of special certification for getting a super high score.

So, this means that you do NOT need to maximize your score. Many readers fall into the trap of spending too much time “perfecting” one study unit before moving on, thus seriously running out of time to review the rest of the materials.

Optimize your score

You should “optimize” instead of maximizing your CMA test preparation. Remember the 80/20 rule: set a comfortably high standard to correctly answer 80-85% of your practice test questions. Then on exam day, you’re likely to correctly answer about 80% of the questions and pass the exam.

Similarly, while you should cover all study materials, it’s okay to be confident in most but not all of the exam content. So again, you should master about 80-85% of the review material, but it’s okay if you don’t completely know the other 15-20% backward and forwards. This will save you a lot of time. And frankly, I think it takes away a lot of the stress of studying, too

2. Pick the Right Tools for CMA Exam Prep

It is important to pick review material that fits your own background and learning style. Although a lot of bloggers out there give their opinions about different products, you should find test prep that is good for you, regardless of whether others say it’s good. I encourage you to:

  • Read the pros and cons of major providers.
  • Sign up for free trials from the ones you like.
  • Play around with them for a few days.
  • Pick the best CMA exam preparation material for your learning style and begin studying.

Unless you are very tight on budget, always get the latest versions of CMA exam prep materials so you don’t need to worry about missing a few points due to outdated materials.

3. Persist with a Workable CMA Exam Study Guide

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

Basically, your goal is to list the content you still need to master, figure out when you plan to sit for the CMA exam, and create a schedule to review everything in time. A good plan makes sure you don’t fall behind and are able to cover all study materials given the time you have. This will help you figure out from the beginning that you need to spend X number of hours to prepare for the CMA exam per week. Gleim CMA and Hock CMA have excellent interactive online tools to map out a plan.

4. Space Out Your CMA Exam Prep Time

The best CMA study strategy in time management is to spread out your studying. Research has indicated that spacing out your studying time (e.g. reviewing 10 hours per week over 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). Our brains tend to remember content better when we engage with it for shorter bursts over longer periods of time.

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

5. Immerse Yourself in a “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 workstation. This could be your office, an undisturbed room at home, or the library.
  • Practice with a CMA review test or mock exam that mirrors the layout and pacing of the “real” exam.

cma exam prep effective studying

When you’re preparing for the CMA exam, being “effective” is different from being “efficient.” After all, an effective student can learn more and perform better given the same amount of studying time. Here are some CMA study tips in time management to consider.

6. Clean Your Desk

Studying in an uncluttered space with minimal distractions forces you to concentrate on your studies. Plus, if you even remove your phone from your desk, you’re less likely to pick it up and get distracted.

7. Restrict Yourself 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 day in the morning and evening). And be strict about it—it’s too easy to get caught up in social media and waste precious study time. You will be amazed at how much concentration you can regain with this strategy.

8. Prioritize Based on Your Long-Term Goals

If you insist on watching that TV show or uploading your cat photos to Facebook, think about what these will mean to you 10 years down the road. Will they get you the promotion, the dream job, and the better life for you and your family that you’ve been wanting for so long? Prioritize your time based on your long-term goals instead of short-term enjoyment. This prioritization will make preparation for the CMA exam feel more valuable to you.

CMA exam study tips productive hours

9. Minimize Sleeping In

Getting an 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 slept in a lot when I was younger. To break me of the habit, I started putting my alarm clock on the opposite side of my room, and I have my favorite snack ready to grab as an extra incentive. Plus, I started to note the things that I really like about getting up early, and that makes it easier to skip the snooze button. My house is quiet, no one else is awake yet to distract me from my work, and I get the coffee pot all to myself.

Once your routine is established, it is much easier to be disciplined.

10. CMA Study Time Management Tips: Make the Most of Idle Time

Some of you may have lots of time between activities. Maybe you have to wait to pick up your kids from school or you have a long commute home. Sometimes I have extra time between meetings, at least enough time to grab a coffee and check my emails.

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 CMA exam prep tools may not work for everyone, but do explore them and see if one fits your learning style. Many of my readers have found success with a CMA exam preparation audio video course they can access anytime, anywhere.

Flashcards work!

If everything else fails, old-fashioned 3″x5″ handwritten flashcards always work for me. I’ll even look at them in line at the grocery store. Or, print out review materials for a few days and put them in your bag or lunch tote. When you start adding short study periods to your day, it can add up to several extra hours of studying in a week.

11. Delegate, Outsource, and Seek Help

Don’t be shy to ask for help from your partner, parents, aunts and uncles, neighborhood friends, and possibly even your 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 flashcards when watching my little son play with his toys. Be creative to find extra time for your studies.

CMA MCQ studying tips

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) represent 75% of the CMA exam. Therefore, the characteristics of the MCQs determine the style of the test. For example, multi-choice questions are generally used to test a wide variety of topics but they usually don’t go deep. That is, it’s difficult to ask you to analyze a scenario in an MCQ. Because of this, you can expect the CMA exam to test a wide breadth of content.

Here are some suggestions for how to prepare for CMA exam accounting MCQs.

A. Implement Retention Strategy


13. Engage Your Brain When Studying

Your brain needs to be engaged when studying. Reading a textbook over and over is too passive, and this affects retention.

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

  • Highlight the important parts of the book (not just reading paragraphs highlighted by someone else)
  • Jog down notes in the margin
  • Summarize the important concepts after watching a video, listening to an audio lecture, or reading a textbook
  • Make flashcards as you go through the materials—you learn faster when you make your own versus buying them

Keep your brain busy

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 exam.

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 between them and other terms.

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

Some CMA review courses focus a lot on mnemonics. While these are useful, don’t blindly memorize them without understanding the concepts behind them. 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 controls. Just keep an open mind and find opportunities to practice your skills.

B. Improve Accuracy in Practice Questions


Keep in mind that there is always a correct answer hidden among the 4 choices in multiple-choice questions. 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 given their limited available time to study, they will make an educated guess about what will be on it based on hot topics in the field. Or they will ask colleagues about what appeared on the CMA exam several years ago.

This approach is risky. Some topics like cost accounting will certainly be covered, but it doesn’t mean you can skip other seemingly off-the-track study sections. The CMA exam content changes from time to time, so do you really want to listen to someone’s advice who took it a while back? And don’t assume that just because a topic is hot in the field that it will be covered on the exam.

Only use trusted CMA exam prep

Instead, stick to a CMA study guide from a trusted source (click here for a helpful start.) Or, go straight to the Institute of Management Accountants for an outline of the CMA exam content. When you go to the IMA’s website, you’ll find other useful IMA CMA exam preparation materials for free.

Like I said before, time management and a good study plan (tips #3) are again very important when it comes to CMA exam preparation. Don’t waste your time trying to guess what will be on the exam.

18. Understand How Multiple Choice Questions Work

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

Why MCQs are easy for some candidates:

  • It is comforting to know that one of the choices must be correct.
  • There are 100 questions, so 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 MCQs can 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.
  • It’s easy to 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.

Studying for the MCQs

So to study for CMA MCQs, it’s important to identify our own weaknesses and directly address those during your exam prep. So for example, if you miss questions because you pick irrelevant answers, you might not be reading the wording of the questions closely enough. Or if your brain starts to fog over toward the end of the exam, take timed practice exams until you can maintain a high level of concentration through the whole thing.

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

It is critical to have a systematic approach to identify and keep 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 intent of the question? Or misread the answer choices? Make a note of that on your own cheat sheet.

20. Analyze Your Weak Areas with CMA Exam Prep

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

  • Wrong answers in certain topics?
  • Wrong answers in a certain question type and format?
  • Or maybe, wrong answers in a specific fact pattern?

You can analyze your weak areas by making these notes on your own. But some CMA review courses now have e-learning platforms or online tracking systems that identify your weaker content areas. This kind of learning tool can help you study faster by recommending study materials that will teach you what you don’t know. And you won’t be stuck re-learning content you already know. Click here for my reviews of CMA courses that have these analytical features.

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 multiple-choice questions, try to move faster and still maintain your accuracy.

22. Refine Your Skills in Educated Guessing

Candidates repeatedly get caught by questions they have never seen before.

With this in mind, it is very important that you practice the art of “educated guessing” when you study.

In other words, try to find the best answer by whatever means — it could be by eliminating obviously wrong answers or by relating the question to a concept you learned from work experience. This skill is going to be critical in the actual exam.

Don’t skip the hard questions

Plus, you should practice a large variety of topics. And when you’re practicing MCQs, don’t skip the questions you don’t like. It’s human nature to skim past the questions that we think are hard or irrelevant. But you won’t be able to skip them on test day, so don’t skip them when you’re practicing.

Also, don’t be afraid of the “test mode” (vs study mode) that comes in the mock exams of a lot of review courses. I don’t like the extra stress but that’s precisely why we have to overcome it!

23. Don’t Run Away from the Mock Exam

The most important lesson to learn from a mock exam 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.

CMA exam MCQ test taking tips

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

A. Cover All Questions and Answers


This exam is positively graded: Even making a blind guess about the correct answer will give you a 25% chance of success. You don’t get docked for incorrect answers; you only get credit for the correct ones. Therefore, you should always aim to complete the entire section.

24. Manage Your Time

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

But remember that these questions are more complicated than other MCQs you’ve seen on standardized tests. You’ll need to practice to spend only 1.8 minutes on many of the CMA MCQs.

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 than the first one you read. And don’t let “all of the above” trick you. Just because “all of the above” is used as an answer, don’t assume it’s the best choice.

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


The correct answer is hidden among the 4 answer choices. So in theory, 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 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. Therefore, 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 you. Having said that, it’s important to note these words because they reverse the meaning of a sentence.

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 answers 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 if 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, follow your instinct and pick an 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 straightforward.

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

37. Follow Your First Impression

Multiple-choice questions are all about recognizing things you have learned. If you are well prepared and you have carefully read the question answers, 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 on 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 presents them in random order. Therefore, don’t waste time looking for patterns in your answers. Don’t worry if you have checked four “C” answers in a row.

cma 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 clearly and logically express yourself 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. (The spreadsheet function is no longer available in the CMA exam.)

To avoid wasting time fixing formatting on exam day, you should find software that allows you to practice in a simulated testing environment. Gleim CMA Review and Becker CMA have such features in their online platform. Other review providers like NINJA CMA Review also include practice exams, too, so don’t skip taking them before your big exam day.

42. Practice Answering Multiple-Choice Questions in “Essay Style”

Readers often ask, “How do I prepare for CMA exam writing questions” in an efficient way. 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. And if you 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 wasn’t an issue a few years ago, but I find more and more readers write 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 using proper grammar from now on so that your brain becomes (re)accustomed to business writing.

44. Organize Thoughts with Intro, Main Body, 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 on the essays. Try to write quickly but neatly. Labeling the paper with the question number will help a lot if you have the time to go back and check your work.

cma exam test anxiety

These tips are all about managing your psychology the night before and getting 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 your promotion, salary raise, and job search.

Focus on things in your control and what you can do at the present. In contrast, don’t focus on things out of your control, like possibilities in the future.

47. Narrow Down Your Goals on the Exam Day

On exam day, you are simply trying to:

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

The exam becomes a lot more manageable with these 3 simple and clear goals.

48. Sleep Tight the Night Before

This is a cliché but very important CMA exam prep tip. 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 the Exam

I understand that many self-study candidates go to exam forums to vent and 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,” including those who aren’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 improves 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 CMA exam prep 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. I’m wishing you all the best on your CMA exam!

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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