CMA Exam Self-Study vs Instructor-led Classes: Which Is Right For You?

CMA Exam Self Study vs Instructor-led Classes_ Which Is Right For You?

Deciding to become a CMA is a big decision. Before you can even write the exam you must consider the pre-requisites and whether or not this designation is for you. Once you’ve made the decision there is an incredible amount of studying and dedication that goes into preparing for the CMA exam.

The reality is, not everyone learns and digests information the same way. Some people learn from a more hands on approach, while others can self-teach with ease. It stands to reason then, that choosing a method of study for your CMA exam is an individual decision that may very well impact your success.

Luckily there are several ways you can prepare for the exam, and the two most common are self study or in a live class room. Regardless of your individual learning needs, there are unique advantages to each method.  Let’s break it down further:

Self Study for the CMA Exam

One of the most popular study options for the CMA is self-study. There are several programs a candidate can choose from that were created by leaders in the field including, Wiley, Gleim, and Hock to name a few.

There are different study tools depending on which self-study course you choose. For example the Gleim CMA review course comes with thousands of practice exam questions, 13 hours of audio review, mock tests and even a personal counselor.

Another review course would be Hock and it offers everything from flash cards and 60 hours of audio review to 60 hours of video training, practice questions, mock exams, in depth explanations, teacher support and more.

Depending on your budget and what sort of study materials you are looking for will greatly influence which self study review course you choose. If you are a highly motivated and an organized individual who learns best on your own then choosing one of these courses is your best bet.

Remember that the exam pass rate for those who self-study is less than 35%. So I’ll stress the point that you’ll have to be super motivated and organized in order to study and pass the exam by self-study alone. 

Live Class CMA Exam Review

While self study is great for some, others prefer to be led by a teacher and held accountable for their studying. In this case, a live class or an online instructor-led option is best.

Classroom based review programs make you accountable by setting a specific study schedule for you. This is particularly beneficial for those who lack the discipline to follow a self-study program.

Another benefit of an instructor-led review is that you have access to an expert who can help you overcome topics that may be tripping you up.

There are fewer options when it comes to instructor-led review, which is something you might want to take into consideration.

Having undergone the CMA exam study process myself, I understand the benefits of both live class and self-study, which is why I created the CMA Exam Academy. This program combines the best of both worlds; teacher instruction, thousands of practice questions, flashcards, audio, video, exam formula guides and explanations, study hacks, weekly accountability coaching and more.

The candidate pass rate in the Academy is 92%! 

Click Here to learn more about the CMA Exam Academy.

Which is Right for You?

There are so many study options out there to help you prepare for the CMA exam, so all you have to do is decide what you need out of a good program. If you prefer accountability and access to a teacher then an instructor-led review is probably best for you.

If you want to work on your own and teach yourself the material then self-study is going to work for you. Just be aware of your budgetary restrictions when choosing and also what the probability is of passing on your first attempt. 

There is no right or wrong way to prepare for the CMA exam so be sure to choose an option that works for you. If you have any questions about specific programs feel free to drop a comment and I’ll reply back to you. 

Best of luck!


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