How to Study for the CMA Exam – My CMA Study Tips & Secrets

CMA Review Course - CMA Exam Academy

Like a lot of other CMA candidates, I was worried about what CMA review course would help me pass the exam.

Deciding between various review courses is not easy. There are so many options that it makes sense to worry about choosing the wrong one.

After all, you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on course material, devote months to studying, and then not pass the exam. This is too big of a risk for you to take!

Therefore, I have decided to share with you what I did, which CMA test prep materials I used, and how much it cost me to pass both CMA exams on my first try. This information will be valuable to you because it comes from tried and tested experience, showing you how to study for the CMA exam.

So, here are my best CMA exam tips.

Which CMA Review Course Should You Take First?

It may sound counterintuitive, but the first exam I took was Part 2. I had been told it was the easiest part, which turned out to be true. However, if you have experience in manufacturing, Part 1 may be less difficult for you than it was for me.

In order for you to make the right decision, let’s compare the most vital information about both parts.

CMA Part 2 Study Plan – Prep, Price, and Resources

Exam Prep

I dedicated my time to CMA preparation for 3 months in total. This is an overview of what I did.

Every day after work I went to Starbucks with my iPad and IMA book and studied for approximately 3-4 hours. Every hour I took a 10-minute break to stretch my legs.

During the weekends, I went to Starbucks and studied for 10 hours in total: 3 in the morning, 4 in the afternoon, and 3 in the evening. Again, I took a 10-minute break every hour.

After I had studied a certain section, I would take the corresponding online practice test. If my score was below 80%, I went back to study my weakest topics. I repeated that process until my score was 80% or more. Only then would I continue with the next section.

In total, I studied about 30 hours per week! I had to do this to figure out what was the best way to study in order to pass the exam.

Price & CMA Review Course

In order to fulfill the IMA’s prerequisites, I paid $140 for the IMA Membership, $200 for the CMA Two-Part Program Entrance Fee, and $350 for the CMA Part 2 Exam Registration. The total cost was $690.

I paid $195 for the LMS – CMA Online Intensive Review course and $500 for the IMA book. The total for materials was $695.

The total cost to prepare and take the CMA Part 2 Exam was $1,385.

CMA Part 1 Study Plan – Prep, Price, and Resources

Exam Preparations

My preparations for Part 1 were almost identical to those for Part 2: I prepared for 3 months with the same method. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Again, in total, I studied about 30 hours per week! The reason I put in so many hours was because I was self-studying which meant I had to figure out the best method possible. In my coaching course, my students are required to spend 15 to 20 hours per week only. That’s half the time I spent studying! “Why?” – you may wonder. Because I took what I learned and systematized it to make it easier for others to do what I did with great success.

Price & CMA Review Course

I didn’t take both exams in one year, so I paid an additional $140 for the IMA membership. This is a yearly fee, by the way, which still has to be paid once you are a CMA. This time I didn’t have to pay the CMA Two-Part Program Entrance fee because I took both exams within 3 years. I did pay $350 for the CMA Part 1 Exam Registration. The total came down to $490, which was lower than what I had paid for Part 2.

For Part 1, I used Hock’s material. I got their material for both parts of the exam in order to compare them to the IMA’s. If I hadn’t, I would have spent a bit less. The total cost (including class recordings) was $475. I also bought the LMS-CMA Online Intensive Review product again, for which I paid $195. The total amount for study materials came down to $670.

The grand total cost for the CMA Part 1 Exam was $1,160.

In other words, it is not only time-consuming to prepare for the CMA exam, but also costly. Therefore, it is important to pick the right CMA review course.

My Bulletproof Recommendation

So what is the best preparation material if you plan to self-study? I think the bigger question is, should you self-study or go with an exam coaching program like CMA Exam Academy?

Another question to ask is if you have about 25 to 30 hours per week to figure how to self-study, or if you would prefer a coach that can help you get results in less time?

Self-study works for a few but not for the majority. There’s a 65% failing rate and until now, the most common way to study was through self-study. A CMA final study plan that’s structured, cohesive, and set out for you in advance, might work better for a lot of people.

You need to determine which study method best suits you and will help you pass the exam. Most of us have been conditioned to study with an instructor aka coach. That’s how we learned since kindergarten all the way through college.

There’s no right or wrong method. Just think of how you’ve learned best in the past and look for a prep course that will fit that mode of learning.

If you prefer to self-study, check out all the CMA review course tools available to you.

Or if you prefer instructor-led courses, check out my Complete CMA Coaching Course.

Here’s to your exam success!




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4 Comments on “How to Study for the CMA Exam – My CMA Study Tips & Secrets”

  1. Pingback: What is CMA Course - Your Complete Guide | CMA Exam Academy

  2. hI, brother how are ,wishing you the best good tips you highlighted. My name is Tigani accountant I have Experience more than 8 years i’m plan to sit for CMA Exma .
    what you mention was good but I have duty i can not seat for 10 hours what the best advise – my plan next January 2019

    1. Hi Tigani,

      I appreciate your comment. If you don’t have the time to study for long periods of time, try to break it up by studying an hour or two each day. Over time it’ll add up and you’ll see results. It’s October and you have enough time to study and appear for the exam in January as long as you remain disciplined and follow a proven study plan like the kind we offer here at CMA Exam Academy.


  3. Pingback: The Best CMA Study Materials - Study Strategies and Exam Hacks - CMA Exam Academy

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