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CMA Exam: What to Bring on Your Test Day?

Your CMA Exam test day is fast approaching. What’s the best way to prepare for the Big Day? Here is my take on how you should (and should not) do in the last month, week and day of the exam.

For those with slower internet connection or prefer to read the text version of my suggestions, please find the transcript below.

What to Do 1 Month before Your CMA Exam Test Day

Ideally you should have covered all exam topics by now, and have done at least part of the practice questions.

The focus of this last month is to:

  • Secure your place in the Prometric Center
  • Double check the ID
  • Improve performance of your weakest areas
  • Put theory into practice by working intensely on test prep software

1. Schedule Your Exam

I like the idea of starting the studying first, see how the progress is, and schedule once you are comfortable taking the exam in the next testing window.

Having said that, you shouldn’t wait till the last minute because the testing sites cater different professional exams and they do get full. This is especially the case in the last testing window (i.e. September and October), and particularly the last few days in October.

I suggest scheduling at least 1 month in advance in normal months, and 6 weeks in advance in the Sep – Oct window.

2. Check your ID and Travel Arrangement

It is also a good idea to check whether your identification is valid and the name is spelled exactly the same as that in the CMA exam registration form.

If you need special arrangement on travel and accommodation, it is time to confirm your reservations.

3. Improve Performance in Weaker Areas

Many candidates spend the last month of studying by rereading the entire text book or going through all the exercises.

What a waste of precious time.

Don’t spend any time on topics that you are good at — this strategy won’t help you get extra points. Instead, work exclusively on your weaker areas, starting with the ones you struggle with the most.

Is there a topic you just don’t get it? Prepare to spend half a day and figure it out once and for all. Once you understand how the concept is applied, you can immediately improve from scoring absolutely nothing in this topic, to getting some decent points.

Similarly, rework the questions you did wrong previously. You might only have 20% chance of getting that tricky question right. Now the odds increase to 80% because you overcome the trick.

4. Put Theory into Practice

Understanding the concepts is important, but knowing how they can be applied in real business situations is critical to pass this exam.

It’s time to stop reading the text book even if you are not ready. Switch to the test mode and work on as many practice questions as you can, starting with those you did wrong previously.

It is also important to read the explanation of each answer and understand the underlying concepts the examiners are trying to test you. If you have the time, please read the explanation of all answers (including the 3 incorrect answers) so you know why the others are wrong. It will take more time to go through each question, but it’s worth every minute of your time.

1-2 Weeks Before the CMA Exam Test Day

Pick a date to test-drive your way to the testing center. Try to pick the same time of the day for a realistic expectation of the traffic condition. The purpose is to get yourself psychologically prepared and to remove one uncertainty related to the exam.

1 Day Before

The last thing to do is to cram all the way. It drains your energy and confidence, both of which are critical to your passing success.

You may want to pack your bag today. Check if the calculator is working and has enough battery power. If you drive, make sure there is enough gas in the car.

Then, do anything that is relaxing e.g. watch a bit of TV, a hot bath, a good jog, a hearty lunch with friends. After a pleasant day, sleep early and tell yourself that you ARE ready.

What to Bring on your CMA Exam Day

Triple check your ID.

Items to bring:

  • A jacket in case the air-conditioning at the exam site is too strong for you.
  • Bring along your flash cards or summary notes. You don’t really have time to study but it’s comforting to bring along something to read. Text book is too overwhelming for last-minute review.
  • You should have had the test-drive, but it’s prudent to bring a map, cellphone and/or any device with GPS.
  • The locker at prometric center is usually quite small, so better bring a small bag and leave bulky and unnecessary items at home.
  • A water bottle for a sip before the exam or during break.
  • Favorite snack to pamper yourself afterwards.

Don’t forget to bring your confidence on the exam day 🙂

Live from the Exam Room…

See how my bloggers reported on their experience on the exam day:

CMA exam what to bring Amani Gleim customer Waqar Gleim CMA customer Vinoth Hock CMA customer
Gavin  Amani  Waqar Vinoth

Best of luck! Feel free to tell me your testing date below, and I will send you a good-luck wish on Facebook on your CMA exam test day.

For Your Further Reading

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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  • Hanish Manoj says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am really impressed with your contribution in assisting cma aspirants. In fact I developed an interest in pursuing cma after going through your site.
    I have taken Gleim online review and would be appearing part 2 first in Oct 2014. I have been following Gleim instructions and have been scoring above 70% in all multiple choice questions in the units studied so far. My performance in the essay questions is also not bad so far. But still I have a sense of fear about passing the actual exam. I am aged 40 and a postgraduate in science and working in a bank for the last 14 years with financial certifications like FRM & PRM and also a CFA level 2 candidate. Though I do not have any formal academic background in accounting, my profession and my other certifications related to finance have given me a reasonable level of understanding in the concepts. In your experience, do you think that a consistent score of 70% in Gleim multiple choice questions (for each unit) is enough to pass CMA? Or Is there anything more to be done? Thanks.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Hanish,
      Thanks for your note. Getting 70% is definitely a good start! But I understand the discomfort that you will always get as a candidate, especially if we are no longer fresh graduate.

      I would focus on spending time on questions you did wrong previously, then rework on them and see if you can get them correct right away. There is not much point of redoing questions you are good at, but if you are able to get the wrong ones correct too you’ll score a lot more points. Hope it helps!

      For essays, it is not an issue for almost all readers who gave me feedback. They are typically straightforward in the exam. So let’s focus on the multiple choice questions. Keep up with the hard work! Stephanie

  • Hanish Manoj says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Tomorrow is my Part 2 Exam. First of all I thank you for your site which has definitely provided me the required guidance. I literally toiled hard for the past two months studying 2-3 hours on a daily basis after work apart from staying away from family for most of these time. Still fingers crossed whether all these sacrifices would yield the desired results. Albeit satisfactory preparation and Gleim practice set scores ranging 80%-85% some amount of uncertainities on the difficulty levels keep lingering in my mind. Once again thanks so much. The preparation has definitely raised my level of knowledge.

  • Hanish Manoj says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I took my CMA part 2 exam yesterday. The difficulty level was lesser than I had anticipated thanks to your website and my 20 hours per week – 2 months preparation using Gleim. I am confident that I did pretty well in the MCQs. The essay section was general in nature and had a total of 9 questions covering 2 scenarios. However I was able to attempt only 8 questions for want of time which is haunting me now. In a liklihood scenario of a score of 80% plus in MCQs and a satisfactory performance of 8 questions in essay section and 1 question not attempted, do you think the results would go against me? Please provide a frank feedback and once again thank you very much.

  • kiran says:

    Do you have to save your each answer or just last answers saved is enough

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hmm to be quite honest I can’t remember this level of detail. I have a feeling that the system auto saves (but you can flag the question, go back and change answer within your own section). In any case, if there is a save button on the page, press it; it not, don’t worry about it. Really not an issue.

  • Laxmikant says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I planning to appear the CMA Part 1 in June 15 window (18 June 2015), I have not started the study yet due to my hectic job schedule, I have almost have less than 2 months to study, is this good time for preparation? Can you please advise the study tips.


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Laxmikant,
      Thanks for your note. It depends how many hours you can dedicate to your study these two months. For example, if you are able to do it very intensely, e.g. the entire Sat and Sun for the next two months, should be ok. Best of luck! Stephanie

  • Leslie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I took the CMA part 1 twice and did not pass. I am scheduling my next exam in October. I used the Gleim online study course. I made flash cards and listen to the audio lecture.

    I am not sure what else I can do to help my study. Any advice?


  • Neethrika says:

    My exam in.on 16th June 2016 for CMA Part 1

  • Divya says:

    My exam is on 18th Feb 2019 for CMA part 2

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