Sherif is our first blogger from Egypt who is passing CMA exams after experiencing a failure. He will share his experience as a retaker who finally passed his Part 1 last June. Sherif is now preparing for his Part 2 exam.
This is my first post after last week’s introduction. I hope you like it 🙂
I failed the CMA exam three times before in the old system (when the CMA exam had four parts instead of three). Each time I didn’t pass the exam, I was frustrated. But after the third time, I decided to stop studying for a while to reorganize my mindset for the certificate and to reflect on what I missed to achieve success.
I’ll tell you what I learned from these wrong actions and how I passed on my first try in the current 2-part CMA exam format:
You must decide to have the will and the ability to study to keep this commitment to become a CMA.
You must arrange a study plan into three phases: Preparation, Review, and Exam Mode. (And actually, the I Pass team has an entire post devoted to your CMA study plan.)
You need to schedule your study days and plan how many hours you’ll be able to study weekly. I recommend 14 hours per week. (But you should figure out your own estimates, too. Check out this post about how many hours to study for the CMA exam.)
If you choose Gleim and the learning style becomes familiar to you, don’t listen to others who may suggest otherwise. It’s difficult to study from Gleim, then choose HOCK, Surgent, or Becker. Just focus on one source. Or, if you need to switch things up occasionally, then use a test bank of questions from another company. (For example, you could study with Becker and supplement with Gleim’s test bank.)
Don’t ever and ever and again ever focus on studying the book more than practicing the MCQs (multiple-choice questions). Take the book only as the reference and your base for studying the material.
I suggest spending 30% of your time on reading the book and 70% practicing the MCQs because the practice will make the information stick in your mind. This works better than only reading from the book.
One of the most important factors for passing the exam is that you must train yourself to answer from the LOS (Learning Outcome Statements). This is to make sure your weak points can be identified. Then, read those areas and practice more to strengthen your weak points.
My way of studying is to convert every MCQ to an essay question. If you do this trick, you’ll save time in practicing the essay. That’s what I did, and it worked in my exam 🙂
You need to give yourself time to enjoy what makes you happy. For me, it’s playing with my little girl. It is like charging my battery to study more.
If you focus on following these actions, your chance of passing the CMA exam will increase. With a little more effort and practice, you’ll pass. I implemented these actions, and it worked with me in Part 1. I’m repeating these strategies in my Part 2 preparation.
Note: My next post will cover details on the study plan phases (Preparation – Review – Exam Mode).
Thank you for the very detailed sharing, Sherif! I appreciate that you point out #4 on using only one set of review materials. I get emails from frustrated readers who want to switch courses after failing an exam. While it could be a factor in the failure, in most cases, it is something else. That is, people usually fail because they don’t study enough or study in the wrong way. So I try very hard to convince people to stick with their materials and make the best use of them unless they are certain they don’t like the teaching style.
#7 on turning MCQs into essays is excellent! In the CPA exam site, I suggest readers do just that — by answering the multiple choice questions in an “expanded manner” as required by the task-based simulations. Of course, this strategy should work for the CMA exam as well!
Looks like your next post will expand your discussion on #2. Looking forward to it!
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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.