All of your hard work to prepare for the CMA exam will, at some point, lead to CMA exam day.
Through it all, you have to be on your game: focused, determined, persevering.
Hopefully, you’ve sought out the best CMA exam prep and stuck with it to the end of the road. You’ve taken a practice test and suddenly realized: you’re ready.
Once you book your CMA exam, the clock begins.
As the time ticks down to test day, it’s important that you don’t blow it in the final mile. This home stretch has a strategy of its own, and I want to walk you through what that is.
Let’s dive into what to do to prepare for CMA exam day.
Leading Up to the CMA Exam
In the very last days before your test, there are a few areas of priority. I recommend you focus on two test-related areas:
- Taking plenty of CMA practice tests
- Memorizing CMA exam formulas
Practice makes perfect, and this is something you really can do up until the 11th hour. Take time and continue to practice areas you’ve found challenging. CMA sample questions and practice exams are the ticket in those final couple of weeks and days.
Secondarily, don’t skimp on formula coverage. It’s going to be a make-it-or-break-it component for your test performance. Go over formulas — preferably with a good formula guide — again and again to memorize as much as possible.
Prometric Test Drive
Prometric is the organization that facilitates the CMA exam. They’ve recently started letting CMA exam candidates take an official practice test as an in-person experience in a Prometric exam center.
This is easily the best way to get a “test day” vibe before you actually take the CMA exam.
If you tend to have test anxiety, haven’t taken many long exams like this, or haven’t tested in an official center before, you should definitely consider the Prometric Test Drive.
Even better news, you may be able to do it for free. Find out how: Prometric Test Drive for the CMA Exam.
The Night Before the CMA Exam
Tomorrow’s the big day. You’ve got one more sleep until the CMA exam. What should you do with it?
First, let’s talk about what not to do.
That’s really the entire piece of advice. Don’t cram.
You already practiced. You already reviewed it. You already did the test drive. Now it’s time to put the books away.
DON’T: Eat or Drink Too Much
It’s not time for party mode… yet.
There are all kinds of expert-recommended nutrition tips to boost mental clarity and energy during a test. A good rule of thumb is just to not overdo it: don’t eat too much or drink alcohol the night before your CMA exam.
If you do, it could impact your sleep that night, not to mention your digestion the next day. Keep it light. Avoid alcohol, which can also affect sleep and your ability to perform well on the exam.
Now, here’s what you can do to be at the top of your game on exam day.
I’m a big fan of mindfulness in all aspects of life, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be in the right headspace on the day of the CMA exam.
This will not happen by accident. You have to set your intentions and begin to tune into your thought patterns.
It’s important to understand your optimal mental acuity windows, but also to get focused on demand. Remember, you’re about to head into four hours of testing. It’s essential that you don’t go in with an overtaxed brain.
This means that the simple tip for preparing for the CMA exam day mentally is: rest.
Don’t stress. Chill.
Take walks. Have conversations with friends. Catch a movie.
You’ve spent months going through your CMA exam study plan. Now let all of that sink in.
Trust me, your brain is still actively working (your subconscious never stops). Let your conscious mind turn the volume down a little, rest and repair, and get ready for this big intellectual challenge.
If you’re doing an in-person test, use the night before your test to get all of your stuff together. Lay out what you’ll wear. Pack your bag with everything you’re planning to take for your locker and into the test.
Curious what kinds of things people bring to the CMA exam? Check out this Q &A where I answered all of the questions people have on that topic.
The Day of the CMA Exam
If you’ve kept your world in order, you shouldn’t wake up on exam day with major panic. You studied. You rested. Now, the day begins.
Here are my general tips:
- Wake up early — Give yourself a longer-than-average time to go through your typical morning routine. You want plenty of time in case something unexpected happens.
- Dress comfortably — No one at the Prometric test center has anything to do with your CMA exam score, so don’t dress like you’re going to a job interview. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and focused.
- Wear layers – Testing centers can be too cold for comfort, which can impact test-taking. Wear a sweater or jacket, but make sure you can remove a layer if you’re too warm.
- Caffeinate as usual — If you normally drink caffeine, drink your normal amount. If you don’t normally drink caffeine, don’t start now.
- Fuel your brain — Eat a solid breakfast. You need brain food.
- Leave ahead of schedule — If you’re going to an in-person CMA test, leave with plenty of time to arrive. You’ll have tested the route, but may not have accounted for time of day traffic. Plus, unexpected things happen on the road every day. Leave early.
Beyond that, exercise all of the great focusing capabilities you developed while you were studying for the CMA exam. Take deep breaths. Don’t give into stress. And do your best!
Do you have additional questions about how to pass the CMA exam, or what to expect on test day?
In addition to this blog, I have tons of resources to help people like you succeed, including highly effective CMA study materials.
After all, I’ve been there. I remember my own test day. And I’ve helped tens of thousands of people just like you crush this with no worries.
If you have a specific question about what to do to prepare for the CMA exam, drop a comment below! I’m always happy to answer.