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Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA Exam Prep: Which should you pick?

In this article, we’ll compare two strong CMA review courses: Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA. After all, if you want to propel your career with a Certified Management Accountant certificate, you first need to pass the CMA Exam. And the right CMA course that fits your learning style will help you pass easier and faster.

So in this article, we’ll go over Gleim’s CMA courses compared to the Surgent CMA reviews. We’ll also help you answer questions like, “What’s the best CMA review” and “Should I buy Surgent CMA if I already have Gleim CMA?” And near the end, you’ll find links to a Surgent CMA coupon and a Gleim CMA discount, too.

Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA Comparison Chart

CMA Exam ReviewAttribute Gleim CMA Review Premium Course Surgent CMA Review Ultimate Pass
Access Until You Pass Included Included
Video Lectures Over 45 lecture hours included 60+ video lectures
CMA Test Bank Over 4,500 questions included Over 3,945 questions included
CMA Essay Practice 130+ unique scenarios Over 65 essay problems included
Mobile App Not Available Not Available
Expert Guidance on Accounting Subject Matter Included Included
Adaptive Software Yes – SmartAdapt Yes – A.S.A.P. Technology
Detailed Final Review Gleim’s Exam Rehearsal mode + personalized Final Review Unlimited practice tests are available; ReadySCORE lets you know when you’re exam-ready
Books Digital and physical books included Digital and physical books included
Flashcards Yes Yes

Who Comes Out on Top? Gleim CMA or Surgent CMA?

Although they are both strong courses, Gleim CMA comes out on top in this challenge. After all, Gleim is an industry leader and has a long reputation for helping CMA candidates pass their exams. Plus, the large test bank has some of the most detailed answer explanations available, and the videos are really engaging. But Surgent is still a good brand, and the ReadySCORE feature can let you know when you’re exam-ready. However, unlike other major brands like Becker, Surgent is newer to the CMA test-prep market. Plus, it lacks the in-class teaching offered by Hock CMA Review and Becker’s LiveOnline classes.

History of Gleim and Surgent CMA Review Courses

Gleim has been creating CMA review since 1981. And since then, it’s become one of the biggest names among CMA course review companies. In fact, more CMAs have studied with Gleim than any other review provider. Also, more than 250 universities in the U.S. use Gleim CMA to teach their students about management accounting. And Gleim doesn’t want just to help you pass the CMA exam; Gleim also wants to help you more deeply understand the accounting concepts that you’ll need over and over throughout your career.

In comparison, CMA exam review is a newer offering from Surgent. Although the company started in 1985, it’s taken time for them to fully develop their entire line of exam prep, which now includes the CMA, CPA, CIA, CISA, and EA certifications. However, Surgent is known for constantly improving its courses. Not only does the company make sure that the content stays aligned with the IMA learning outcomes whenever they change, but it also updates the software itself as needed. For example, a few years ago, Surgent CMA added its AI software, A.S.A.P. Technology, to its CMA prep reviews. Read on to learn more about this award-winning platform.

Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA Interface

Although Gleim and the Surgent CMA review course both use adaptive technology, they are a bit different.

Gleim and SmartAdapt

Gleim’s online courses use SmartAdapt. Basically, as you answer practice questions, SmartAdapt will analyze your performance. And then, depending on your content weaknesses, Gleim CMA will guide you toward CMA exam review resources that you need to improve your score on quizzes and practice tests. As you answer more questions correctly, SmartAdapt will track your improvements.

Surgent and A.S.A.P. Technology

Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology, on the other hand, has been proven to help CMA candidates reduce the number of hours they study. In fact, according to the company’s website, the average user only needs 61 hours of study time to pass each section of the 2-part exam. Basically, Surgent uses a non-linear approach. That is, most other prep courses take a “study everything” attitude. So your CMA prep materials feed you learning tools (like reading passages or videos) that go over every single item that might appear on the CMA exam.

However, that approach doesn’t consider the knowledge you’ve probably already gained through school and practical experience. Therefore, because of your unique background, there’s a good chance that you don’t need to study every little thing because you’re already knowledgeable.

So, with Surgent, you’ll start by taking a series of quizzes that go over the exam content. The software analyzes your performance and figures out what you don’t need to study because you’re already mastered that material. With this info, you’ll receive a CMA study plan from Surgent. Then, the course will only feed you the content that you still need to master. For example, you’ll only see Surgent MCQs based on your weak content areas, and that can save you a lot of time.

Surgent ReadySCORE

Surgent also gives you a ReadySCORE that approximates the score that you are likely to get on the actual exam if you took it that day. As you work through the Surgent course and learn more concepts, you’ll see your ReadySCORE go up. In fact, the ReadySCORE is so accurate at predicting your CMA exam score that the software received an American Business Award in 2019.

Gleim vs. Surgent CMA Review Materials

Most CMA candidates study with a review course to gain access to learning tools like videos, practice tests, and explanations to multiple-choice questions. After all, the IMA study materials offered by the Institute of Management Accounting are pretty limited. Still, candidates shouldn’t depend on the IMA CMA exam prep to pass their exams.

Multiple-choice questions

A test bank—or a collection of multiple-choice questions—is a critical feature of any good CMA review course. With Gleim’s top course, users get a substantial 4,500+ questions between Gleim CMA Part 1 and Gleim CMA Part 2. Plus, all answers come with explanations for both the right and the wrong answers, which can help you reinforce content quicker. And near the end of your studies, you can take one of the Gleim Mock Exams, which provide an authentic test-day experience. The exams replicate everything about the real CMA exam, from interface’s look to question pacing. What’s more, the Gleim software analyses the outcomes of your mock exams and then gives you a personalized final review, which is a last-minute push to review the content you’re still struggling with.

Although Surgent’s top course comes with fewer questions at 3,945+, you might not need as many Surgent MCQs to get you ready for the CMA exam. That is, the A.S.A.P. Technology helps you reduce your overall study time, so you might not need to answer so many practice questions. Plus, all of the Surgent MCQs have answer explanations and links to reference texts and short videos for deeper learning. Surgent also gives you unlimited practice exams.

Video lectures

Surgent’s top two courses—CMA Review Ultimate Pass and CMA Review Premier Pass—come with over 60 bite-sized video lectures. Each is only 10-20 minutes long, so you won’t get bored watching super long lectures as you work through Surgent CMA Part 1 and Surgent CMA Part 2.

However, with Gleim’s Premium CMA Review System, you’ll get more hours of videos. In fact, you’ll receive over 45 hours of the Gleim Instruct Series, which takes in-depth looks at tough topics that are likely to appear on the CMA exam. For example, the instructors walk through examples and show you how to answer MCQs and essays.

Access length

Access length is another essential feature to consider in a CMA review course. Some come with limited access—18 months is relatively standard. Although that might seem long enough, many candidates struggle to pass both parts of the exam during that time. Besides, personal and professional events can derail your studies and get you off-track. So it’s best to pick a course with unlimited access that does not expire until you’ve passed your exam.

If you go with Gleim’s Premium course, then you’ll get access until you pass the CMA exam. However, if you pick the Traditional course or just purchase the Mega Test Bank separately, your subscription will expire after 18 months.

And likewise, with Surgent’s Review Ultimate Pass, you’ll also have unlimited access. But if you choose a less expensive package, you’ll only have access for 18 months.

Help from experts

Even with the best CMA review course, it’s likely that you’ll have questions from time to time. Therefore, Gleim gives you access to a Personal Counselor. Basically, this expert is an exam mentor who can help you set up a study plan and answer questions about the CMA exam. However, if you have questions while working through your course and you have the Premium CMA review package, you can access experts right from your course. You simply need to post your question to the in-course forum, and a content expert will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Surgent, however, takes personalized support one step further. The Ultimate Pass course comes with two one-on-one mentoring sessions with an expert. You can ask content questions and get help with those tricky questions that are hard to solve.

Flashcards and other materials

Gleim is continuously improving its courses based on user feedback. And since so many CMA candidates like to study with flashcards, Gleim’s Premium Review System now comes with digital flashcards. You can use them to reinforce the concepts and definitions you learned in the course.

Surgent also gives you flashcards for the Ultimate Pass package.

Mobile app

More and more candidates are using their smartphones or tablets to study for the CMA exam. However, Gleim does not have a mobile app. Surgent doesn’t have an app, either, but all of the materials are mobile-compatible; you just need to sign in to your online course from your device.

Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA Pass Rates

Although we don’t know the exact pass rate for Gleim CMA users, 99% of users were satisfied with their Gleim materials, according to the company’s website. Still, more CMA Award Medal winners passed their exams using Gleim than any other CMA reviews.

And likewise, Surgent CMA doesn’t make the pass rates of its users public.

Learning Styles of Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA

Since the Gleim Instruct Series is so good, and since the company has audio lectures, too, Gleim is perfect for visual and auditory learners. It’s also great for candidates who don’t anticipate needing any tutoring support or have the desire to attend live classes.

Similarly, Surgent CMA is also ideal for self-study, but with the Ultimate Pass course, it’s nice to have the availability of virtual one-on-one sessions with an expert if you have questions. More specifically, it’s an excellent prep course for anyone who is super busy and won’t have the time to review every single topic that could appear on the CMA exam. So if you know you’re going to be short on study time, take a look at the Surgent CMA free trial.

Gleim CMA Discounts and Surgent CMA Discounts

We have lots of exclusive discounts for IPass readers! You’ll find our Gleim CMA coupon and Surgent CMA discount code when visiting the links. You can also utilize these discounts too!

Gleim CMA Coupon for the Post Pages — Premium
Gleim CMA Discount -- 20% Off

Save $320 on the Gleim CMA Premium Package.

Gleim CMA Discount Premium

Get the Surgent CMA Discount

What’s the Best CMA Review Course? Gleim CMA or Surgent CMA Review?

Course Features Gleim Premium CMA Review System Surgent CMA Review Ultimate Pass
Access until you pass 1 1
Affordability 1 1
Course Quality 1 1
Flashcards and other materials 1 1
Help from experts 1 1
Mobile app 0 0
Video lectures 1 .5
Total 6/7 5.5/7

As you can see from this chart, we awarded Gleim’s Premium CMA Review System a 6/7, only missing 1 point because it doesn’t have a mobile app. And since Surgent’s total number of video lectures (60+ videos that are 10-20 minutes long) is lower than Gleim’s total video hours (45+), we score Surgent’s CMA Review Ultimate Pass at 5.5/7.

Our Conclusions: Gleim CMA vs. Surgent CMA Reviews

Since Gleim and Surgent are both IMA Strategic Partners and have similar price points, who should you pick?

Well, based on our analysis, Gleim CMA edges out over Surgent. Although we appreciate Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology and the accuracy of the ReadySCORE, Gleim has a bigger test bank, more video hours, and all-around high-quality materials.

Your CMA Review Course Next Steps

Still can’t decide on a review course? Check out these articles for more advice:


About the Author Susan L.

Susan is an esteemed member of the I Pass the CMA Exam team. Even better, she's (almost) as excited about the CMA exam as you!

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