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This page contains my analysis of the pros and cons of CMA review courses in 2018. I've also included my recommendation for the best CMA review course based on my readers' experience and comments from major accounting forums.
I don’t believe people who say their study materials are the absolute best because different courses suit candidates with unique backgrounds and learning styles. However, I am confident that you will find a course that meets your needs here. Use this information to find the CMA review course that works best for you.
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CMA Review Course
Wiley CMAexcel Platinum Course
Gleim Premium CMA Review
Hock CMA Review
Surgent CMA Review
CMA Exam Academy CMA Review Course
Most Essay Questions
Only Adaptive CMA Course
Pricing for 2 Parts
IMA Licensed / Strategic Partner
Video / Audio-Visual
Test Prep Software
# of Practice Questions
Professional Mentoring Via Online Forum
Access Time Limit
Until You Pass
Until You Pass
12 or 24 Months
You Pay or We Pay
Pricing for 1 Part
Recommendation & Analysis
* Conditions apply. Please check with the respective providers for details.
Wiley offers two versions of CMA review material. This version is the premium "integrated review course" with 21 hours of video instruction, an interactive online study planner, performance tracking, a final review, textbooks, and test prep software (known as the test bank).
I really like Professor Douglas Clinton, the lecturer in the video. He is both a knowledgeable and lively teacher. You can tell that he is an active and well-liked professor (and indeed he is).
Interactive study planner
The interactive online planner is very useful for planning your studies and keeping you on track.
The 14-day free trial gives you full access to the entire course.
The practice questions in the test bank are not as complex and comprehensive as I had hoped. I personally prefer tougher practice questions to fully prepare me for the exam.
This course is the most expensive option.
If you are a fan of Wiley CPAexcel or if you learn best by watching videos, Wiley CMA Review is definitely your best pick.
Gleim is one of the most popular CMA review courses available and is especially preferred by those who study on their own.
All-inclusive review system
The Gleim CMA Review System offers an integrated learning approach with video lectures, an audio-visual presentation, a test bank with various modes, audio reviews, textbooks, an essay test bank, and an online study tracking system. There is also a study planner that tracks your progress and a Personal Counselor to help you reach your exam goals.
High-quality test bank
This course includes the most comprehensive practice questions on the market with an exam mode that closely simulates the actual testing environment you will encounter at the Prometric center.
The free trial for one study unit and the money-back guarantee are very attractive.
Not the best for beginners
If you have no accounting background, it may be tough to follow. However, if you have a basic knowledge of accounting (e.g., taken one or two introductory classes), it should be fine.
The traditional version doesn't have video lectures or the Access Until You Pass guarantee.
The course can be difficult to navigate at times and is not as seamless as the Gleim CPA course.
If you have some accounting background and are the type of candidate who learns from answering lots of practice questions, I have no doubt that Gleim is the best for you.
People in the U.S. may not have heard about Hock's CMA review courses, but they are quite popular among international candidates.
The notes are great and explain the concepts well with classroom recordings (videos).
Your access to this course lasts until you pass the exam.
The practice questions are good, but the coverage is not as wide as that of Gleim CMA.
No study planner
This course does not include an interactive online study planner.
If you need more explanations of the concepts covered in the CMA exam but find Wiley too expensive, Hock could be a good alternative. If you need more practice questions, you can get Gleim or Surgent CMA as a supplement.
Surgent is an accounting test prep developer that prides itself on a unique offering: software that learns from your answers. To my knowledge, they are the only provider that offers adaptive technology in a CMA course.
The ASAP (adaptive learning) technology that analyzes your weakest areas based on your performance in each study session has a lot of potential.
There is a money-back guarantee as long as you are a "good student" (parameters include how much time you spend on the questions and the percentage of questions you answer correctly at the end).
Most readers comment that the book is not as comprehensive as those of other review courses.
There are fewer features (e.g., no video lectures, audio reviews, or flash cards), although this is somewhat reflected in the lower price.
Surgent is a good choice for those who know the exam content but need test prep software for exam preparation. It is also a great choice of supplement if you're looking for an additional set of practice questions.
CMA Exam Academy is a relatively new and exceptional product from Nathan Liao, a controller-turned-entrepreneur and founder of CMAcoach.com. The package includes video lectures, proprietary books, a test bank, and his one-on-one coaching conducted via phone or email.
The coaching and support are highly personalized with weekly live coaching calls with Nathan. As far as I know, such customized coaching is a unique offering.
Lots of lectures
There are 100+ hours of video and audio lectures.
The guarantee is great: Pass the first time or receive a 100% refund.
Nathan has lowered the price by $200 for each part, so his course is considerably less than Wiley's now, However, it is still pricier than Gleim and Hock.
The course and team are not as established as others.
CMA Exam Academy is a great option if you are looking for a live coach offering personal support and progress tracking.
Given that the CMA exam is a computerized test, the factor that will make or break a review program is the multiple-choice questions. I believe most candidates would agree that Gleim CMA has the best test prep software, free trial, Personal Counselor support, and access to accounting experts, and all of these come with the Gleim guarantee. What do you think? Drop a note here so we can discuss.
A CMA review course is a collection of self-study resources designed to prepare candidates for the CMA exam by concentrating on the exam content. Most of the components in a CMA review course can be accessed online. CMA course material often comprises:
CMA review courses for each exam part can be purchased separately or as a complete set.
So, why should you use a CMA review course? Let me explain the benefits.
A CMA review course covers and presents the exam content in a convenient and efficient way.
The two parts of the CMA exam assess candidates for their familiarity with a body of knowledge related to the areas of management accounting and financial management.
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) explains the CMA exam content in the Content Specification Outlines (CSOs) and the Learning Outcome Statements (LOSs). While the CSOs offer a high-level overview of the exam content, the LOSs go into more detail about the skills and abilities the exam expects candidates to have.
As a CMA candidate, you can review this information for yourself, but discovering and learning the specifics of the material and developing the skills you need on your own will take a great deal of time and effort. You will have to conduct a lot of in-depth research, which would greatly increase the duration of your studies. This process may also jeopardize your ability to pass both parts within the three-year deadline. Thankfully, a CMA review course will have gathered and distilled all of this information for you. A quality review course features expertly-authored textbooks and lectures that address every area of the exam content. With these resources, you can focus on mastering the material rather than compiling it for yourself.
A CMA review course ensures that you reach the levels of knowledge and skill that you need to pass in time for exam day.
To measure your study progress, CMA review courses include tools such as performance tracking software and study planners. These tools ensure that you efficiently review all of the exam material. Your CMA review course also monitors your content comprehension because the exam expects you to reach the following cognitive levels:
The CMA exam uses multiple-choice questions and essay scenarios to assess your cognitive levels. Therefore, CMA review test banks let you answer practice questions so you can apply what you’ve learned. An exam-emulating test bank also allows you get comfortable with the exam format and functionality in advance. With this familiarity, you can build your confidence and minimize any surprises you may encounter.
A CMA review course supplies a support system for additional information, advice, and encouragement.
Most CMA review courses include some form of customer service. For example, your course may permit access to friendly exam mentors who answer your questions, help you create your study plan, coach you through their course, encourage you through your study struggles, and hold you accountable for your review process. You may also be able to rely on a technical team to assist you with computer or course issues. You can usually communicate with these experts via phone, email, or a system within your course. When you purchase one of the review courses discussed on this page, you’ll be able to enjoy access to CMA experts who won’t let you go through the exam alone.
When you’re ready to pick the best CMA exam prep for you, evaluate your options based on the following traits:
This list is long and not in order of importance. Therefore, you can arrange these qualities according to your personal priorities and weigh each review course against your standards and preferences. As I said, different courses will suit different candidates. However, I believe you can find the best CMA study material for you that meets your needs and helps you pass.
If you're still on the fence after reading my reviews, I highly recommend you take advantage of a free trial from one of my two favorite courses.
Gleim CMA Review
|CMA Review Trial (Free!)||Demo Gleim||Demo Wiley|
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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