I Pass The CMA Exam!

Study Plan for Busy Man: A Systematic Approach for CMA Exam Prep

Sherif is our first blogger from Egypt. He shares his experience as a retaker who finally passed his Part 1 last June. Sherif is now preparing for his Part 2 exam.

The first question I faced when starting the painful CMA journey was how I could possibly find time to study. I am busy with full-day working hours and other family commitment. But with smart move and focus in small details, you and I can survive and study 🙂

Let’s discuss in depth the study plan. I divide mine into 3 phases: preparation, review and exam mode.

The Preparation Period

I self studied without any help (Me & the Book only 🙂 ). I did not watch videos or attend sessions because i didn’t have time for all these commitments.

In the beginning you need to know that everything that is hard to reach requires several attempts. The book topics are not easy. You should not expect to understand all points in the first try.

At this stage, you need to study about 1.5 hour daily — not more than this.

You need to read each topic for the first time, get the know what’s in there only, nothing more in this step. Just like reading a newspaper.

After that, you start to solve the MCQ (multiple choice questions). If you get most of them wrong, it is ok. It’s in fact very normal. It’s most important to understand the wrong answers before getting them right next time.

After you finish each part in the book, read it again within 2 weeks.  This tactic is very useful for the information to stick in your mind.

The Review

By now, you already know about 50% of the book as the knowledge base. All you need is to increase the percentage to 80% by increasing the time for study (recommended 2.5 hours) with one more reading on the topics.

One very important thing you must do is this: when you face a part in the book that you don’t understand, don’t ever leave it even if you will spend the next 2 hours to get through this part.

The basic rule at this stage is 30% Book and 70% MCQ.

The Exam Mode

I suggest starting this mode 20 days before the exam. My studying hours was increased to 5 hours a day.

Read about the weaker areas from the book for one last time. All the remaining time should be dedicated to practice questions and LOS to cover all the points and be ready.

In the last week, work on the simulation exam every day and cover the wrong answers to reach 100% accuracy.

One Last Question: how did I find all these studying hours?

  • In the Preparation stage, I studied during my 1-hour break time at work (by not eating or chatting). I also used up some idle time, for example, I would turn on my mobile and reviewed while waiting at the restaurant.
  • At the Review stage, I woke up 1 hour earlier before going to work, plus the break time hour and during the time when my daughter was in the park playing 🙂
  • During the Exam mode, it was a lot of commitment with 5 hours. You might need to study at home plus all the break time.

Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” ~ Robert Collier

Study hours is in your small day details 🙂

Note from Stephanie

This is a very systematic approach explained in the finest detail! I really like how you slowly progress from reading/reviewing-heavy to practice-question-heavy. This plan is great for those who need to start from the beginning, whether they are non-accountants, or for those who are not English native speakers.

I will add this post to my FAQ page under study tips. Thank you for sharing!

About the Author Sherif Aryan

Hi, I'm Sherif from Egypt and Treasurer of IMA’s Western Province Chapter in KSA. With 10 years of Accounting and Finance experience, I passed part 1 & 2 CMA Exam and become Certified.

Leave a Comment:

Sherif Aryan says February 21, 2017

Thanks Stephanie i`m really happy that you like the post, because i`m feeling the same when someone is busy and having a dream but there no time for that dream but by little differences in you day we can reach our dreams.

    Stephanie Ng says February 21, 2017

    Yup, I am sure many candidates share your views and happy to know they are not alone. Your Part 2 is coming up – my very best wishes to you!

      Sherif Aryan says March 7, 2017

      Thanks dear 🙂

    Moinuddin Ali says February 4, 2018

    Assalamualikum sherif

    this Moin from KSA. i have also started preparing for part I of CMA.
    i just want to know that in CMA part I exam did they ask questions from part II. do i have to simultaneously start the preparation for part II.

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