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Wiley CMA Learning System 2020: Is This the Same Course as Wiley CMAexcel?

The Wiley CMA Learning System is under the Wiley CMAexcel umbrella. However, the Learning System isn’t a full and complete course. So, to help you choose the right CMA review system for you, I’ll provide details about this important distinction.


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cma learning system

Wiley CMA Learning System vs. Wiley CMAexcel

To prepare CMA candidates to pass the CMA exam, Wiley CMA offers 2 different study tools:

1. The Wiley CMAexcel Review Course: a fully-integrated course with video instruction, an interactive study planner, and an online tracking system. You’ll need to choose this course if you don’t already have a CMA review course to study with.

2. The CMA Learning System: a self-study package consisting of a textbook and a test bank. Since this option only includes 2 learning components, it isn’t a full course. Furthermore, this system has a lower price than the full course. Therefore, it’s better for supplementers (CMA candidates who already have a review course) or retakers.

These 2 offerings are distinctly different. So, to decide which one you want, you must learn more about the full Wiley CMAexcel Course and how it stacks up against the Wiley CMA Learning System.

Wiley CMA Learning System Contents

wiley CMA learning system 2015

Wiley CMA was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of the Learning System so I could read through the 2 books thoroughly and try out the Wiley test bank (test prep software).

1. Wiley CMA Books

The Wiley CMA Learning System includes 2 800-page textbooks for each part and access to the Wiley CMA Online Test Bank, which aligns with the textbooks.

With 1,600+ pages that are 10+ cm thick when stacked together, the books look formidable! But don’t let the size of the textbooks scare you. Wiley actually prints the pages on thicker paper and makes the font size larger. Conveniently, this formatting allows for better note-taking since you can write in the margins or use a gel pen without marking up the other pages.

Consequently, the textbook layout reminds me more of Becker CPA Review more than Wiley (CPAs and CPA candidates know what I’m talking about 🙂 ).

CMALS IMA Materials

Both textbooks include 100% of the ICMA Learning Outcome Statements (syllabus). So, the Wiley CMAexcel textbooks cover each and every topic that you might see on the CMA exam.

Additionally, the textbooks include:

  • Coverage of critical concepts
  • Explanations of calculations (examples)
  • A small sampling of CMA practice questions
  • 80+ retired essay questions
  • Study tips and study plans

The end of each subsection presents a few basic questions (knowledge checks) for you to answer, and the end of each major section features a set of sample exam questions (practice questions).

Furthermore, throughout the book, you will also find boxes highlighting important elements such as key formulas, study tips, and more.

2. Wiley CMA Test Bank

The online test bank contains an interactive self-study tool that includes practice multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and CMA essay questions. In total, the test bank has 3,800 MCQs and 10 essay questions for you to answer as part of your studies. Additionally, detailed analytics help you see where your weak areas are.

Because the Learning System isn’t a full course, you must navigate the course on your own. Likewise, the course won’t prompt you when you are struggling with a weak area. So, even though you will have access to practice questions, you’ll need to decide for yourself when to move on and what topic area to focus on next. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you go back through your weak areas before sitting for the actual exam.

If you purchase the 2-part set, you’ll have access to the test bank for 2 years. However, if you only purchase 1 part at a time, you’ll only receive 1 year of access for each part.

Using the Wiley CMAexcel Test Bank

Although the Wiley CMAexcel test bank is fairly basic, it contains plenty of helpful tools for CMA candidates. Within the test bank, you can choose to do the following:

  • Study in test mode: tells the system to withhold the answers until you’ve completed all the questions in your practice set
  • Study in practice mode: commands the system to provide the answer and explanations immediately after you answer each question
  • Flag questions: affords you the chance to come back to questions at a later time
  • Isolate topics: lets you answer questions about specific topics or even subtopics
  • Filter questions: enables you to avoid questions you’ve seen or haven’t seen before
  • Select question type: permits you to answer either MCQs or essay questions
  • Specify question number: allows you to dictate the number of questions within your practice set

Additionally, the test bank does a good job of emulating the Prometric exam environment that you’ll see on your exam day. And while the system isn’t a 1:1 replica of the CMA exam, we appreciate that the developers at Wiley CMA did so well with this detail.

What’s more, the Wiley CMA test bank includes answer explanations for each of the questions I reviewed. However, I did notice that some of the answer choice explanations were pretty basic and not as helpful as I’d have liked. Therefore, I still think that Gleim CMA Review is the gold standard for test banks and answer explanations.

Reasons to Consider the Wiley CMA Learning System

1. The Books Are Well-Written and Organized

To my surprise, I actually enjoyed reading the book. CMA exam study materials are generally dull, but this review book is written in an almost narrative style. And, from time to time, the author includes their personal thoughts and provides real-world examples. Furthermore, the topics are often practical and feature discussions about what management accountants and strategic planning professionals do.

The explanation for this particular writing style is the fact that the IMA prepared the original material and not a commercial review provider. And the IMA was trying to train CMAs as well as prepare them to pass the CMA exam. In contrast, review providers usually structure their courses in such a way to help candidates pass as quickly as possible. Both approaches have their merits. In this case, getting through the books may take a bit longer but should be less tedious.

2. The Books Are Great for Linguistic Learners

Courses that include audio and video lectures are great, but I am linguistic learner, so I love to study with a real book. Using a book helps me pace my studies, and I can scribble down notes in the margins if necessary.

However, you should know that most review courses include real books. So, if actively reading and writing notes as you study best suits your learning style, then I encourage you to pay to have the textbooks shipped to you. Reading from a digital device just isn’t the same.

3. The Product Is Integrated

The 2 Wiley CMA books come with the online test prep software (known as the Wiley CMA test bank) that you can access via the internet. And the books work in tandem with the online test bank. So, studying with these 2 tools is a pretty seamless process.

4. 10-Day Money-Back Guarantee

You can get a refund of the CMA Learning System (less shipping costs) within 10 business days of purchase. Since you can’t get a refund outside of this 10-day window, you should ship your materials back as quickly as possible.

Things Wiley CMA Isn’t So Proud Of

1. This “Official” IMA CMA Study Material Does Not Give You an Edge on the Exam

The fact that the IMA’s official endorsement of Wiley doesn’t give Wiley insider information to use in its course is not really a weakness. But candidates do need to understand this fact because many of them base their decision to use the Wiley CMA Review Course solely on the incorrect assumption that Wiley does get secret exam insight from the IMA.

You’ll see a lot of marketing from Wiley CMAexcel that references them as the official CMA review course of the IMA (and other similar messages). But Wiley’s status as such simply comes from a licensing agreement with the IMA. As a result of this partnership, Wiley can stipulate that they are the only course the IMA has licensed. However, Wiley CMAexcel continues to receive just as much information about the CMA exam as Gleim and other CMA review providers. When the IMA releases a new CMA exam syllabus or makes a change to the current syllabus, they give all of the review providers the same news.

Finally, neither Wiley CMAexcel nor any other CMA review provider has access to the live questions that appear on the actual CMA exam.

2. The Wiley CMA Materials Are Relatively Expensive

The prices of both the Wiley CMA Learning System and the Wiley CMA Test Bank are pretty high. In contrast, you could save several hundred dollars by purchasing the Gleim CMA Mega Test Bank instead. Gleim’s test bank is the closest thing to the Wiley test bank available, and it may even be better.

3. Better Practice Questions Are Available Elsewhere

The questions in the Wiley CMAexcel test bank seemed a bit too basic for me. I know that on the actual CMA exam, candidates receive difficult application-based questions. So, I was a bit disappointed that the Wiley test bank didn’t serve a lot of complex questions for me to answer.

Now, going through the practice questions easily without giving them too much thought and still getting a relatively good score feels great. But, knowing that the actual exam questions are wordy and complex leaves me with reservations. Therefore, because I need to pass my exams on the first try to save money and not get frustrated, I want my test bank to show me the most difficult questions too. And sadly, the Wiley test bank doesn’t do that.

4. Some (Minor) Errors Remain Unfixed

I have been getting some feedback lately on how Wiley CMAexcel fails to correct errors their customers have identified. Customers reported some of these errors in Wiley’s forums as long as 2 years ago. Failing to address these errors doesn’t reflect well on Wiley’s customer service, but thankfully, most of the errors are minor.

Wiley CMAexcel vs. Gleim CMA Review

I’ve written in great detail about the differences between these 2 courses. So, you can see who wins the battle in my head-to-head Wiley CMA vs. Gleim CMA showdown.

My Conclusion About the Wiley CMA Learning System

Every review course has its strengths and weaknesses, and the Wiley CMA Learning System is no exception. Because the CMA Learning System is not a full course, I only recommend using it if you have already another course like Gleim CMA Review. I suggest buying a full review course first because then you’ll have access to far more practice questions and additional benefits like instructional videos, access until you pass, and more.

However, if you are looking for additional CMA practice questions, then the Wiley CMA Learning System is a great resource. And, the Learning System may also be good enough as a complete offering if you have just graduated, have an excellent background in accounting and finance, and/or don’t mind putting in a lot of work into manually reviewing all the materials. Since this option doesn’t supply you with additional assistance in case you get stuck on a particular subject, you must decide if you have enough previous knowledge of the subject matter to go it on your own.

So, if you need a complete course, you’ll find a great one in Gleim CMA Review. In fact, Gleim CMA Review is the #1 most widely used CMA course, and our readers highly recommend it.

Finally, you can check out the Wiley CMAexcel Course. This course includes many of the same elements as Gleim and has a more complete inventory of learning components than the Wiley CMA Learning System.

Wiley CMA Learning System Discounts

Wiley CMA frequently discounts its products, but while the Wiley CMA Learning System does have applicable discounts sometimes, it’s not as common.

Take Me to the Wiley CMA Learning System Now!
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Wiley CMA Review Textbook and Testbank
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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:

Dafne says January 17, 2019

…all the errors are still there, I believe that Customer Support actually does not exist at all – as the errors are pretty basic and could be fixed easily. I have sent many emails so far on the same issue, nothing changes. My test exam for Part 2 is actually the exam for Part 1….so..many issues to be solved.

NAVITHA VARDIREDDY says March 17, 2018

Now am using Wiley excel learning system. I ask you that will i require to practice Gliem bits compulsory.

Owen says June 1, 2017

Hi Stephanie

I really lik d your review. I’m thinking of purchasing the Wiley learning system (monies the intensive online course), but noticed that your $500 discount code was only effective until May 17th (2 weeks ago). Do you have an updated discount code?


    Stephanie Ng says June 19, 2017

    Ah sorry Owen I have been busy and forgot to change the code. Typically, if you visit wileycma.com, they show the current discount on the front page. For now it’s CMAGUIDE (20% off) valid until 29 June, 2017.

Umer says April 30, 2017

I am planing to buy intensive course and test bank. Searching for promo codes and discounts and no luck yet. Any help?

Thu Thanh says October 25, 2016

I see!. Thanks for your advice, Stephanie!
Can I purchase an online test prep software severally if I have had text books already? If it is posible, how much will I need to pay?

    Stephanie Ng says October 29, 2016

    Hi Thu, I don’t think you can get Wiley test bank separately, but you may want to check out other providers. I have to say that most are available as packages — the value is mostly on the practice questions anyway.

Thu Thanh says October 17, 2016

Hi Stephen!
I have read your review about CMA and it is really wonderful.
I will take part in CMA course next November and I want to ask some questions related to needed documents.
1, About text book : I am recommended to use Wiley CMAexcel Learning System Exam Review. Can I use the verson 2016 materials for 2017 exam? You said that there is not significant change, so what is often differences between years? I am going to purchase text book here 🙂
2, About test bank online: My center recommend to buy online account of Wiley too. Is it ok? If I do not use this way, is there any difference ways to practice? How about your recommendation?
3, Besides 2 documents above, is there any other needed documents?
I am looking forward to your response!

    Stephanie Ng says October 19, 2016

    Hi Thu, thanks for your note. If you are taking a course through a center, it is better to follow their advice (I suppose they will have lectures helping you along the way?)

    This page evaluates CMAexcel, which is the full version of Wiley CMA with the videos, online study planner etc.

    For the text book and the test bank you mentioned, you can check out the pros and cons here:

    It isn’t as good as CMAexcel (not a fully integrated), which makes sense because of the lower price. People do pass with this alone, and you can see how Yen did this exactly here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/vietnam-blogger-cma-exam-journey/

    For other providers, you can check them out here:

    … but again, if you are taking classes through the center, it is most efficient to match whatever they recommend. If you don’t agree, it’s better to ditch the center and do it on your own instead of doing both at the same time.

    Hope it helps! Stephanie

Harji Kaur says September 15, 2016

hello stephaine..
I’m preparing for cma exam, and I want to give 1 exam in jan-feb n the other 1 in may-june. can u pls suggest me which part exam should I give in jan-feb window?Plz help me for this.

Yolanda Leamon says August 24, 2016

Do you know if the Wiley CMA Review is on IBooks?

    Stephanie Ng says August 24, 2016

    Hi Yolanda, I believe there is a e-book version. You can save shipping cost.

Izhar says February 1, 2016

Hi Stephanie,

i went to a session yesterday promoting wiley, they claimed that wiley is authorized by IMA (my question is gleim not recognized) .

further the instructor claimed that wiley is more focused on CMA related question (2000+) as opposed to gleim drawing upon all the other expertise it has ( CPA, CIA, CFA) to make the database(5,000+ questions), and ultimately the candidate ends up doing question not relating to CMA, is this true?

given a majority of aspiring for the CMA credential are full time students or have full time jobs which course in your opinion will give more focused CMA practice questions?

any help will be highly appreciated.


    Stephanie Ng says February 2, 2016

    Hi Izhar, Wiley is indeed the one “authorized” by IMA because they took over the review materials originally published by the IMA. But as mentioned above, they don’t really have an edge because the entity that develops the exam questions are completely separate. Gleim is the “strategic partner” of IMA. Not sure what it means officially but to me it simply means that while Gleim doesn’t have the same historical relationship with IMA as Wiley, it is a big enough and good enough so IMA wants to recognize that.

    On your second question, there is some truth to it but I won’t necessary agree with their conclusion. Gleim does incorporate questions from other exams in their test bank, and that’s one of the reasons why they have a bigger number of questions. This is true. But it is done purposely so to train students think on their feet when they encounter a question they have never seen before. Bear in mind that CPA, CIA, CMA (Gleim doesn’t cover CFA) are all based on one set of accounting principles. The difference is the focus in different niches. So to me there is nothing wrong to “borrow” a few other questions as long as most questions cover the core exam you are taking.

    I understand your point of having a smaller and more focused set of questions. I encourage readers to spend less time on reading but more time on practice questions, so to me this isn’t a big issue. But if you really don’t have much studying time, this is a good reason to choose Wiley. Both Wiley and Gleim are on my recommended list.

    Hope it helps! Stephanie

      Izhar says February 3, 2016

      Thanks, for your reply. great help as always.

      Best regards,

        Stephanie Ng says February 7, 2016


Hari says December 22, 2015

Hi Stephanie

I am confused and need some guidance. I just read your reviews on Wiley and Gleim, and also read all the comments as well. Please guide me on which of these two courses is best for my situation;

Practice Questions: unanimously Gleim is the best.

Audio/video lectures: I don’t like audio and video lectures and therefore wont be going for any of these so this factor is irrelevant for me.

Books: I personally like to read books which explain the topic in detail with examples rather than concise books with a lot of information in less space. I get bored with such books.

Background: I don’t have a strong accounting background.

So my question is: in my situation, where I wont be using any audio/video material what would you suggest? Is it best to go for a COMBINATION of Wiley books (as they are more detailed) and Gleim practice questions (as they are more challenging). Please disregard the cost/money factor.

From others comments it seems that Gleim is the safe harbor and Wiley may be like taking a risk. Is that true?


    Stephanie Ng says December 29, 2015

    Hi Hari, it is a bit overwhelming to use both materials in my opinion. Their study units do not align. I generally lean towards Gleim in your situation but now that both of them have free trials, I encourage that you sign up for both and see. If you need supplements on accounting concepts, Gleim does have the ebook that explains things in detail (in fact, most people find it too detailed which make this their negative in those students’ opinion). What Gleim lacks in my opinion is more examples. If this is the only thing that you need, you can get plenty of those in any management accounting books.

    Ideally, if you have the time, it’s nice to have the Wiley book as the supplement. But you need to identify your core study materials and use the other as a supplement. For practice questions, it can be more flexible. Hope it helps! Regards, Stephanie

Terence says December 11, 2015


I have the Wiley 2015 review materials. Can I use this in preparation for the 2016 exams.

    Stephanie Ng says December 13, 2015

    Hi Terence, I think the difference is minor, but I need to double check with the review providers. Regards, Stephanie

      Terence Emrit says September 4, 2016

      Hi Stephanie, can you confirm if the 2015 Wiley CMA materials can be used in preparation for the 2016/2017 rxams.

      Thanks, Terence

        Stephanie Ng says September 4, 2016

        Hi Terence, I can only say that there isn’t significant changes in the 2016 exam. It is best to get the latest version. Regards, Stephanie

ROHAN says March 17, 2015


though im a BCOM graduate & done my Master in Finance? my accounting concepts are not that strong…

so can u please advise if i should go for wiley or gliem ?.. money is not a problem..

please recommend the book that is only helpful to clear my CMA exam… thanks


    Stephanie Ng says March 17, 2015

    Hi Rohan,
    I like both. Gleim is more “hard core” with more complex practice questions and “denser” review materials (although they are amended and are now a lot easier to read this past couple of years).

    For Wiley, I really like the video lectures which is available in the premium Wiley CMAexcel course instead of the Wiley CMA Learning System. For the book itself, I feel like I learn more from the Learning System as a management accountant, vs just getting some notes to pass the exam.

    But to give you some objective data, as far as I know, a lot more readers use Gleim. Cost could be an important factor, but I think there must be readers like you who aren’t tight in budget.

    So I encourage you to think over your preferred learning style. If you really can’t decide, Gleim is a “safe” choice. Hope it helps!

Saj says February 16, 2015

Dear Stephanie,
I am using Part 1 Wiley CMAexcel for my preparation.
For Section A (External Financial Reporting Decisions), I found there are more topics covered than what is required in LOS (eg Pension). My doubt is should I be learning all or follow the LOS.

    Stephanie Ng says February 17, 2015

    Hi Saj, are you using Wiley’s CMA learning system (the book) or Wiley CMAexcel (the full course)?

    In any case, Wiley is the official licensee of IMA review materials so technically their book/course should be the one closest to the official syllabus… but it’s hard for me to tell. In previous versions IMA tend to include more information because they think it is good reference for you as a management accountant. If it isn’t too much trouble, I’ll study that also.

ALI says December 5, 2014


    Stephanie Ng says December 7, 2014

    Hi Ali, based on Dec 2014 information, Gleim has 2900+ practice questions vs Wiley’s at 1,850+. Having said that, Wiley has its own strengths in other areas. You can compare using the summary table on this page: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/

harry says November 30, 2014

hi Stephanie, thank for writing up this review.

    Stephanie Ng says December 1, 2014

    You are most welcome Harry – hope you find it helpful! Stephanie

Bhuvana says October 26, 2014

Your comments are great supportive start of the all those who wish do their CMA.

I planning to start preparing for CMA exam for 2015, but not sure if i need the support of any study center, because the cost they charge is comparatively more. So could you guide me how to start, how long does it take to prepare for exams, when should i register , how to proceed .


    Stephanie Ng says October 27, 2014

    Hi Bhuvana,
    Thanks for your kind words! I believe you can get all the questions answered in this FAQ page. Please take a look and if you have any questions, drop me a note in the comment section anytime.


MaRk says October 23, 2014


While preparing for the 2015 windows, does it make sense to go for the 2014 review or wait for the 2015 editions ?

Is there too much of a change between these ?

Thanks in advance !

    Stephanie Ng says October 25, 2014

    Hi Mark, no, difference is about 10% and they are quite “distinct”, as in there is a separate new section and a removal of another in Part 1. Please take a look at the video on this page and you’ll see exactly which section is added / removed / changed: https://ipassthecmaeexam.com/new-cma-exam-changes/


Mike says May 17, 2013

Thank you for this objective review. Have you had any experience with Hock International CMA materials? It’s what I’m using and I feel fairly good about them (the questions range from basic knowledge to very challenging), but of course I won’t really know until I take Part 1 next week.

    Ren Dizon says May 17, 2013

    Hi Mike,
    Yes I have an evaluation here:
    but I would like to revisit the latest product and update my writeup if necessary.

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