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 CMA exam prep course to see through the exam without sacrificing your day job.
Once you decide how long to study for the CMA exam, you can implement a plan to make the most of your study time.
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
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
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, becoming a CMA will be beneficial to your employer too.
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.
Online CMA classes let you go at your own pace, but you still have to make time each week for studying.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 as you pursue CMA accounting.
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
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
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
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
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.
Hi, I’m Nathan Liao (aka the CMA Coach)! For the last 10 years, over 82,000 accounting and finance pros came knocking at my door seeking guidance and help. If you’re also aiming to conquer the CMA exam on your very first try—without wasting away time or money—you’ve found your ultimate guide. Dive in deeper to discover more about me and the dedicated team that powers CMA Exam Academy. Click here and let’s embark on this journey together!