What is a CMA Course? Here’s Your Ultimate Guide to Your CMA Certification

what is CMA course

If you’re just delving into the fun and exciting world of finance and accounting, then you may be pretty new to the CMA certification.

More so, you may be wondering what a CMA course is, since I talk about it so frequently.

It is my firm belief that there are no stupid questions, so if you’ve been asking yourself “what is CMA course,” then this post is for you.

What is CMA Course?

What is CMA course? Simply put, a Certified Management Account (CMA) course is an online course used by candidates to help prepare for the required CMA exams.

In order to earn your CMA certification you must pass the CMA exams, fulfill 2 years of professional experience and sign up for an IMA membership.

The CMA exam is comprised of two parts which candidates can take during the allotted testing windows. There are four windows each year and it’s up to the CMA candidates discretion when they sit for the exam.

Unfortunately, the global pass rates for the exam are pretty low. In fact, the pass rate for Part One is only 35% and 50% for Part Two.

While some candidates may find these statistics discouraging, I do not.


Because with the right kind of review course I believe anyone can earn their CMA certification on the first try.

When it comes to choosing the right CMA review course, you have several options, however there are certain study materials and tools you should be looking for.

Here I am going to break down what to look for in a high quality CMA course so you get the most bang for your buck.

What to Look For in a CMA Course

Choosing a review course is largely dependent on your individual learning style, but there are core items that should be non-negotiable.

The following items are must-haves in a good review course.

Instructor Led One-on-One Coaching

Most online review courses are designed to be self study. This means candidates have to teach themselves the material outlined in the course.

For many candidates this can be incredibly stressful, especially when they don’t understand a concept.

Unlike self-study courses, instructor led programming walks you through topic by topic. When questions pop up you have the opportunity to dive even deeper into them.

On top of all this, instructor led coaching holds you more accountable than self study courses. Rather than having to dig deep for the motivation to study, an instructor can help you streamline your focus.

Support and Accountability Check Ins

When you commit yourself to earning your CMA certification it can be tough. The amount of studying and preparing required can take you away from your family and friends.

More often than not people struggle to find adequate moral support.

A great review course should include some level of support. This can be anything from regular accountability check ins, study groups or simply encouragement when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Progress Reports

How will you know if your studying is paying off if you don’t receive any progress reports?

The reality is, you won’t.

Regular progress reports outlining your strengths and weaknesses can really help you streamline your study efforts.

After all, why spend hours studying concepts you already understand rather than the ones you’re struggling with?

In addition to that, review courses are often created around a certain study plan. You are meant to complete core subjects at specific times.

Progress reports can serve as reminders that you are falling behind or maybe even ahead of the game (woohoo!).

Bite Sized Video Tutorials

What is CMA course biggest mistakes I see?  Perhaps the most common mistake is super long, overly complicated tutorials.

Great review courses, like CMA Exam Academy, offer bite sized video tutorials. Each tutorial is broken down in easy to consume sizes so you can tackle one topic at a time.

And don’t be confused with the term bite sized. Though short, each tutorial contains every important detail you will need to understand a concept so you don’t get caught off guard on exam day.

Multiple Choice Question and Essay Practice Questions

If you are unfamiliar with the format of the CMA exam then you may not be aware that it is mostly comprised of multiple choice questions. For each part of the exam you are allotted 2 hours time to complete 100 multiple choice questions and 1 hour to complete 2 essay questions.

Many people struggle with multiple choice questions so having access to thousands of practice test questions can be incredibly beneficial.

CMA Exam Academy offer over 2500 practice questions along with a number of practice essay questions.

The difference between an okay review course and a great one can be in the test bank technology. Adaptive technology, like that found in CMA Exam Academy, automatically chooses questions for you based on your level of understanding. That is to say that you will see less and less of questions for material that you have already shown an aptitude for.

The more practice questions you work through, the more tailored your future CMA test prep will become.

Mock Exams

The absolutely best way to prepare for the exam is to run through a mock exam. Mock exams mimic the structure and format that you will find on the day of your actual exam.

In addition to getting familiar to the exam format, you will be timed so you can start to feel comfortable with the time crunch.

Textbooks (Hard Copy or E-book)

Hands down every review course should come with a textbook containing all the material needed to pass the exam.

Whether you opt for hard copy or e-book is up to you.

There are interactive e-book options available which are the best of both worlds. Interactive textbooks allow you highlight and make notes on topics as you read. You can go back to these sections later and really dive into areas that need more review.

Formula Guide

In order to pass the exam you will need to know all the formulas used by accountants and financial positions.

If you don’t know every formula you can get tripped up and lose a lot of points on your exam.

Study Hacks or Exam Prep Guides

Some of us simply aren’t planners. We lack time management skills and the ability to stick to a study plan.

Review courses that offer a study plan and effective study hacks can come in handy.

Audio Lessons

Want to study on the go?

Washing dishes, folding laundry, commuting to work? The truth is, most candidates live busy lives and are trying to balance work, family and studying.

Audio lessons are a great way to study on the go.

When it comes to audio lessons you want to make sure that the material covered in audio files is as detailed any video tutorial.

Ultimately it is your personal learning style that will determine what is CMA course right for you.

In my experience, I have found that a program containing all of the suggested materials above will give you the best possible chance of passing on the first try.

When it comes down to it, you don’t want to waste your time furthering your career. You want the quickest, most efficient path and choosing the right CMA review course can help immensely.

Preparing for the CMA exam with Your Coach Nathan




More from Nathan

CMA Review Course – My Study Secrets
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  1. Pingback: CMA Exam Multiple Choice Questions Demystified - CMA Exam Academy

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