15 Tips on How to Study for the CMA Exam While Working Full Time

15 tips on how to study for the CMA exam while working full time

Are you a full-time professional looking to earn the designation but don’t know how to study for the CMA exam?

If yes, then the good news is that you don’t need to quit your job to make time for its preparation. All you need is effective time management skills, an organized routine, and a step-by-step review course to see through the exam prep without sacrificing your day job.

Here are my solid 15 tips on how to study for the CMA exam, come out on top, and without having a drastic impact on your full-time job.

1. Schedule your priorities

1. Schedule your priorities

You don’t want to do a lazy job or be an inefficient resource at work. The best way to avoid this is to sit down with your employer and plan the coming months in terms of what projects or tasks are on the horizon. Once you can anticipate your workload you will best know how to manage your study time.

2. Flexible work timing

2. Flexible work timing

If you’ve been a good employee, chances are that your boss will show some leniency in granting you flexible hours to help you better prepare for the CMA exam. After all, this new designation will be beneficial to your employer too.

3. Cut out the noise

3. Cut out the noise

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. This means that you will need to cut down on time spent on doing non-productive activities like watching TV, social networking, or going out to too many happy hours.

4. Health is wealth

4. Health is wealth

While you’re studying and working, it’s quite likely that it will affect your body, and exhaustion will creep in. It’s important that you eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get adequate amounts of rest in between to keep yourself healthy.

5. Resist temptation

5. Resist temptation

You will get invited to a lot of events, social obligations, and office parties, but you need to remind yourself that your CMA exam is your top priority. Everything else is secondary.

6. Motivation

6. Motivation

One of the best tips for how to study for the CMA exam is to stay motivated. Not everybody concentrates on their personal growth and development. The fact that you have taken that step should serve as a reminder that you need to make the most of the time available at hand.

7. Productivity hacks

7. Productivity hacks

If managing your time doesn’t come naturally to you, then make use of planners, organizers, time tables, charts and stick them on the walls of your room so that you know what you should be studying next.

Also, part of knowing how to study for the CMA is being able to visualize how much free time you have and how much you need to allot to studying. It will make balancing your 9-5 and studying so much easier.

“A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin

Keep an eye out for procrastination. Keeping in check and following a CMA study guide will help you succeed!

8. Call a friend

8. Call a friend

Not literally, but figuratively. Committing to a goal and asking your friend to be your accountability-buddy makes you work all the harder. Let yourself be accountable to that friend should you digress from your goal. Committing to a colleague at work for help in this matter will also be helpful.

Or consider joining a review course with accountability check-ins to keep you on track weekly until exam day.

9. Find your sweet spot

9. Find your sweet spot

There are different places and environments in which our productivity thrives. What is it that makes you work your best? Find that spot, listen to that music that fuels your mind, and helps you concentrate better. This will not only better your studying, but also your productivity in your full-time job.

10. Career centers

10. Career centers

If your current employer has a career center within its HR department reach out to them. Chances are that someone there will be able to help you plan your studies and manage your work goals effectively.

11. Find a study buddy

11. Find a study buddy

Is there anyone else in your organization who is also preparing for the CMA exam? If yes, then you can exchange notes, review each other’s progress, and act as sounding boards when you’re stuck or lacking motivation.

12. Plan ahead

12. Plan ahead

You will need to start thinking a couple of weeks ahead if you want to manage your time. Figure out your strong and weak areas and how much time needs to be devoted and slot your study pattern accordingly.

13. Have some fun

13. Have some fun

All work no play is no good for anyone. You are allowed to have a cheat day every once in a while where all you do is relax, go out and not think about work or CMA at all.

14. Give it all you got at work

14. Give it all you got at work

When you’re at work, you shouldn’t be studying. That would be a disservice to your employer and could potentially get you in trouble. You still need to excel at your work and doing so will give you even more of an impetus to repeat the same in your CMA exam. Success breeds success.

15. Take a week off before your exam

15. Take a week off before your exam

When the exam day nears, request a few days off from your employer. This will give you the chance to recharge your mental energy and make sure it’s focused towards the exam.

To sum up, all it takes to effectively manage your work and study at the same time is commitment. Once you do that, you will find a way to use 24 hours of each day to your advantage and reap the benefits of that in both the short and long term.

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Which one speaks to you? Pick and choose the ones that make the most sense to you and share them below with everyone. 

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27 Comments on “15 Tips on How to Study for the CMA Exam While Working Full Time”

    1. I’m glad to hear that, Hima. If you need more help or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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  3. Hi Nathan,
    this is Syed I have just started studying for CMA but I found it very difficult still I am working in Accounts Dept, Nathan you said that you are studying for 3 Hours Daily at Star Bucks but my question is how we can practice problems at coffee shop or out side the house because I found that there is less theory and more problems. Are you doing the problems at coffee shop or just reading them?
    Your Answer will be very much helpful to me.
    Thanks in advance
    Syed

    1. Hi Syed,

      Thanks for reaching out. I used my iPad or laptop to take practice exams at coffee shops. I just had to make sure I chose a coffee shop with fast Wi-Fi. I also read too. I liked to have noise in the background. It helped me stay alert for some reason. Studying at home made me sleepy or just lazy. Being out helped. But I know it may not be the case for many. This is just something that worked for me. Thanks, Nathan

    1. Hi Nathan,

      I work full time and am a mother of two young kids who need my full care and… well, I have issue with time management..

      Do you think I have chance to pass CMA exams? What i need to do to achieve my goal within a year?

      1. Hi Vittoria, It sounds like a guided course may be a good fit for you. Self-study courses won’t provide you with the structure you’ll need to complete the course and take your exam. The biggest issue with most self-study courses is not the course itself, but fighting procrastination. This is why I recommend a guided course like this one for people who have issues with time management.

        A guided course will work if you are able to devote at least 15 hours a week to your study program. That’s about 2 hours per day. Do you think that would be feasible for you? Nathan

  4. Hi Nathan,

    I am planing to start CMA this year and I am mother of 11 year old and full time accounting job and starting studies after very long gap , can you please let me know which material I should buy for study the exams or which one would fit better for me and how I can manage the time , I would appreciate your reply.

    Thanks !
    Nav

    1. Hi Nav, I appreciate you for reaching out. Juggling the exam with a full time job and kids is no joke. If you are disciplined, don’t procrastinate and like to figure things out on your own, then any of the self-study courses will work just fine. But if you’re looking for a structured program with highly personalized coaching support, check out this course here. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out again. Thanks, Nathan

  5. Thank you Nathan for your reply . I don’t think I am self study person I need some one to guide me . I will check out the link you have sent me .

    Thanks!
    Nav

  6. Hi Nathan

    With all these questions I have one more quick question what if I will not be able to do 16 weeks consecutively for health or some other reasons would you be able to redesign or what else you would do ?

    Thanks!
    Nav

    1. The program is flexible to fit your needs. Although we encourage our students to complete one module per week, if that’s not possible we adjust the program to fit the needs of our students. Thanks, Nathan

  7. Dear sir
    I have completed foundation and intermediate level at first go in 2012, and wasted 4 years after that for govt job preparation,I am working as a manager in privileged private bank since last 3 years,with the pressure of sales and branch it is really difficult and I want to complete this final level now with job,how can I start preparing now and will it be beneficial for for my future growth,what all options of job do I have after this. Please guide……

    1. Hi Mayank,

      Are you preparing for the Indian CMA? I’m asking because there is no foundation and intermediate level in the US CMA exam – this is the exam that I offer coaching support for.

      But if you’d like to pursue the US CMA, which is a global certification and also recognized in India, I’d be happy to help you in your journey.

      Click here to learn more about the US CMA certification.

      Thank you,
      Nathan

  8. Hi Nathan Sir,

    This is Rahul. your article is very motivating and really helps to add fuels to the thought of ones who are willing to do CMA like me.
    I want to know from you that i am an accountant and live a bachelor life. I barely get time for study. But i want to do my preparation for my CMA. Please guide me on the same.

    1. Hi Rahul,

      That’s great to hear! I’m glad you found this article motivating 🙂

      You can reduce your study time by opting for a coaching course instead of self-studying. With a coaching course like the one we offer at the CMA Exam Academy, you’ll be guided on what and for how long to study to get the best results so that you don’t waste time figuring out on your own how to navigate the CMA material. And if you feel you don’t fully understand a topic or a concept, you’ll be able to drop questions for my team and me, and we’ll get back to you with detailed explanations in less than 24 hours.

      This course was designed to help busy professionals like yourself prepare more efficiently for their exams and pass them on their first attempt.

      If you have any other questions or concerns, just hit reply and I’ll gladly clear them up for you 🙂

      Thanks,
      Nathan

  9. Hi Sir,

    I’m Pavithra from Bangalore. I completed B.com in 2015 and now im working in MNC from past 4 years. I’m interested in doing CMA, but I don’t know how and where to start since I’m a full time employee. Is it possible to self study or should I opt for classroom training.
    Could you please guide me with the details.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Pavithra,

      As a full-time employee, it may be challenging to attend live classroom lectures, so I would suggest opting for an online program instead.

      If you’d like to be guided on every step of your journey until you pass your CMA exam, then my CMA coaching course would fit your needs best. It combines the best of both worlds: the flexibility to study at your own time, and also the accountability, step-by-step study plan, and coaching support offered within an instructor-led course.

      If you have any other questions or doubts, just hit reply and I’ll gladly help you clear them up,

      Thanks,
      Nathan

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