Welcome to your first week! This is a very exciting journey and you’ve taken the most important step, showing up.

It’s easy to lose sight of the end-goal, but with a well structured weekly plan, it’ll be easier to focus on studying than on trying to figure out what to study. The PDF version of the entire 12-week course will be emailed to you in a week. To make sure you receive it, whitelist my email so it doesn’t end up in junk mail.

Because I don’t know which part you are studying for, I’m including instructions for both parts.

This course has been updated to reflect the latest CMA exam format and content effective January, 2015.

A quick tip before you begin: Try to study at least 3 hours a day, and in the weekends a little more if your schedule permits.

Let’s get started shall we?

Certified Management Accountant Part 1 – Section A: External Financial Reporting Decisions

In this week, your main focus will be on Financial Statements and Recognition, measurement, valuation, and disclosure.

1. Financial statements

  • Balance sheet
  • Income statement
  • Statement of changes in equity
  • Statement of cash flows

2. Recognition, measurement, valuation, and disclosure

  • Asset valuation
  • Valuation of liabilities
  • Equity transactions
  • Revenue recognition
  • Income measurement
  • Major differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS

Certified Management Accountant Part 2 – Section A: Financial Statement Analysis

In this week, your main focus should be on Basic Financial Statement Analysis and on Financial Performance Metrics – Financial Ratios. Focus on topic 1 for only one day, and allocate the rest of the week to topic 2. If after this week you were not able to finish studying all of the financial ratios, please take one day from next week to finish them up.

1. Basic Financial Statement Analysis

  • Common size financial statements
  • Common base year financial statements

2. Financial Ratios

  • Liquidity
  • Leverage
  • Activity
  • Profitability
  • Market


Try to focus only on studying these topics. If you finish studying before the end of the week, go over your notes and formulas to harness your knowledge.

This weekly study plan is a simplified version of the study plan in my CMA Coach Study Guide.

If you’d like a more in-depth guide that includes exam tips, exam formula guides and much more, please visit the Study Guide page and get your copy. This is a must-have guide if you plan to self-study.

Until next week.


50 Comments on “CMA Exam Study Plan – Week 1”

  1. Hi Nathan,

    I have subscribed to your website and received my study plan for week one. I am studying Gleim book ed16. I have noted that Part 1 – Section A: Planning, Budgeting & Forecasting is on the focus area of your email. In fact this is the focus areas for 15 edition of unit one where as the 16 ed talks about ethics and cost implications.
    Please can you advise on this so I can start in line with your schedule?

    1. Habib,

      The study plan that you receive via email from me is in line with the standards the IMA has published. In Gleim’s 16th edition, where do you see the Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting section?

  2. Dear Nathan,

    Thank you alot for your attention to put me in the right track to acheive this GOLDEN CMA,
    I realy determind to be one of the groub of the CMA,
    and this is my story:
    I am a Sudanese,I am 56 years old, living in Khartoum the Caoital of the Sudan,
    I started CMA at 2008 with the old system of CMA (Four Parties),
    with Hock material throuhg a local body in Sudan,
    at that time I am very glad and interested to pass this certificate,
    befor I take my first Exam we hear about changing of the old system of CMA to new one,
    we began to learn part three in old system and I am going on,
    I take first Excam on patrt three at June 2010, but unfortunatly I failed and I scored only 340,
    I am not lost my ambitios and I decide to repeat it agin,
    and I take the second Exam at Oct. 2010 so as to achiving in this part before closing the chances,
    but unfortunatly also I failed and I am scored also 340,
    don’t forget that I am an Accountancy background,

    This is my story Nathan,
    but I have internal cosederation I must to have this Golden cma,

    again thank you and I hope to applieing your plan, lastly may acheiving my object.

    Abdalla Elnour,

    1. Hi Abdalla,

      I admire your determination to achieve your CMA credential. I have a feeling that you will achieve it sooner than you think 🙂

      Don’t forget to practice mock questions until you are scoring at least 80% or higher.

      1. Hi NATHAN,
        If you please can you attach some of mock questions examples or share a link that provide it.

  3. Dear Mr. Nathan,

    I am 50 year old, I am now taking very much interested to study and complete the CMA course. I was woring in Dubai for 20 years as an Asst. Finance Manager in Logistics Business. I left Dubai and staying in India and deeply studying in CMA, then I will try to go back to abroad to continue my job.
    Therefore I would like to have your comment and advise to pass my exam.

    1. Hi Babu,

      I admire your determination to continue improving your knowledge and skills in the accounting field.

      In order to effectively prepare and pass the CMA exam, I highly recommend that you purchase a review course or if you prefer take a live class. I’ve found however that live classes tend to move through the material too fast, but it all comes down to your learning style and preference. If you want a live class, reach out to your local IMA chapter or google it. If you prefer to learn on your own, check out my comparison of the various CMA review courses.

      With your extensive experience, I would recommend Gleim CMA.

      Best of luck!

  4. Dear, Mr. nathan
    i have a Gilim books and i take part 2 first. Though, i am studying for the last 2 and half months,but i could’nt satisfied with the book ,becoz each topic provides only one practical question,that could’nt satisfy me.Can you please,tell me about any book that contains same various practical problems,so that, i will get more practical knowledge or any other solution you have please tell me.


  5. Hi Nathan,
    Thank you so much for your much needed help and advice to aspiring CMA candidates such as myself. I have a Bachelors Degree in Commerce from Mumbai, India which i took 14 years ago. I work in the administrative field in the Credit and Risk Management Division of an international bank. I am planning to appear for the Part 2 CMA exam at the September – October testing window as i understand you can give your exams in any order. Could you confirm with me if my understanding is correct?

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Sandra,

      You are correct. The order is irrelevant. I personally took Part 2 before taking Part 1 🙂

      Best of luck on the exam and please let me know how you did. I’m sure you’ll pass though.


        1. Sorry nathan i didnt mean to send two thank you emails. the first one reported an error hence send it around the second time. Apologies for cluttering the post…. 🙂

  6. Dear Nathan Sir,

    Thanks a lot…I really didn’t receive this mail in the first place. But from your homepage, I was able to access CMA Exam Study Plan Week 1. Thanks again. I am currently studying Part 2.


  7. Hi Nathan, Im CA inter qualified & planning to take CMA any 1 group in jan 15, I have time of 2 months for study, will it be sufficient to clear it in 1st attempt & can u compare this course with Indian CA course ( Which took 4 years of my life & showed me hell & heaven both ) . Waiting for ur valuable advice.

    1. Madhu,

      I think candidates should devote at least 12 weeks to prepare for the exam. That’s a good amount of time to successfully prepare for it.

      Check out CMA Exam Academy for an instructor-led course option.

  8. Dear Nathan,

    I need from you to start with me with the new 2015 material which I think is different from this explanation. I think that the financial statement is moved to part 1.

    Please answer me back.

  9. Dear nathan

    big thank for your great efforts to help us

    this week i started attending a preparation course for CMA , the materiel that we will study is from PRC ,how can i gather between the course schedule and your plane, “by the way we started from the part 1 ” and what is the right time to start the online test ” you know we pay for a limited period so shall i started with the online exam from the beginning or in the middle or after we finish the first part

    thank you again sir

  10. Dear Nathan,

    I have a bachelor degree in econometrics and been working in finance department for about 8 years. I don’t have much knowladge about accounting. In order to have a bettter job and of course salary, i need to take cma certification. But the big question for me is, if it is possible to be successfull at the exam with just studying an hour a day? (I am married and have a 1-year-old baby. So i have a lot to do at home after work. ) I thought to take the exam in May-June period. I am not sure if i can handle it or not.

    Looking forward for your objective comment.

    Thanks for your support to CMA candidates,

    Best regards,


    1. Hi Didem,

      Studying for 1 hour per day may not be enough unless you study for 5 to 6 months per exam. The issue with this is that it may be harder to remember everything that you study, but it’s not impossible. If you are determined and stay focused, it may work for you 🙂

      Best of luck,


  11. Dear Nathan,
    I want to say super thx for ur efforts & ur great job to all CMA candidates over here, I have a quastion about the 15th edition of Gleim part 2″… it has Ethics & fraud in its first unit .. Followd by Ratio analysis in unit 2 .. so wht is the plan! start with ethics?!!? & wht a about the topics concerning financial.statements & common size???!!!!!
    It is not included in this new edition!!!!!! Plz advice dear….
    Suprr thanks

    1. dear I just wanted to ask another question about the CMA study guide … is it a book that I will receive by hand or is it a PDF I will receive by E-mail ???!!!!

    2. Mahaba,

      You are welcome. I’m here to help 🙂

      Gleim’s edition has a different order in term of how the sections are presented but it still covers all topics tested on the exam.

  12. Hi Nathan,
    I am doing the CMA canada right now since I am living there at the moment. I am in my last year of the SLP program with CMA canada.
    I wanted to do the CMA USA. I have already ordered the the Gleim books a while ago, but they will be expired this april 2015. I would like to write part 2 exam the last week of february. From what I heard, I understand part 2 is a bit easier. I tried to write part 1 already but I failed in 2013.
    from now until february the 27th, I can study 7.5 hours a day which will be a grand total of 275 hours. Would it be enough to pass that exam?

    Also, I have a 3 years bachelor degree from canada, It has been approved by IMA already.
    I want to move to the states in 3 years. Do you think I can find a job in the US if have both CMA USA and CMA canada eventhough I do not have a 4 years degree.
    I have been noticed that the CPA is better respected than the CMA in USA.
    Lastly, what it be beneficial for me to buy the CMA Study Guide?
    And what exactly does it cover?
    Can you clarify those topics fro me?

    Thank youy

    1. Gilberto,

      You mentioned that you currently don’t hold a bachelor’s degree. Is that correct? In order to become a CMA or a CPA for that matter, you need a bachelor’s degree.

  13. Hi nathan,
    As planing to take part2 exam first
    .i hv purchased gleim material..but its old edition ..now itz changed..please could you tell me wt all should i focces from old material to pass..i have done part1 exam..but i failed…please du help.me to pass..

    1. Raisa,

      You’ll need the most recent material to adequately prepare for the exam in 2015. I don’t recommend using outdated textbooks.

  14. hi Nathan

    i am a kenyan.
    am so happy reading your guide. i just want to earn CMA. i have set my mind.
    if i purchase the wiley CMAexcel, is it enough for me to get the knowledge and pass the exam. it is going to be my first attempt.


    1. Kennedy,

      I believe it will be enough. You have to study diligently each day though. It’s all about the effort that you’ll put into it.

      I use Wiley in my CMA coaching program, CMA Exam Academy. If you’d like check it out as an alternative.

  15. Hi nathan,
    I am 30 years old, from india. I am from engineering background having master degree in electronics engineering and professional experience of 5.5 years as assistant professor(electrical and electronics department) in engineering colleges in india. I am very much interested and passionate to do CMA and to start a fresh career in accounting. I planned to do CMA full time. How about the job opportunity for me who is having complicated educational background and Which CMA review material i can prefer to start, bcoz i dont have any foundation in accounting concepts.

    1. Hi Mubeen,

      It’s great to meet you! The CMA will definitely assist in getting you a job in accounting and start your journey in this awesome industry 🙂

      Because you have no foundation in accounting, I would suggest to either take a live class at a college near you or if you would like to work directly with me, you can enroll in my online coaching program CMA Exam Academy. Either way, I’m here to help.

  16. I had the accountancy degree and I am really interested in Cost accounting, so I love to pursue CMA. Please tell me what should I start now?
    I read all the comments and see that you recommend Gleim CMA for people who want to study theirself, so i will use this materials too. However, Which one should I choose between the GLEIM Premium or the GLEIM Traditional?
    The second question is that I am from Vietnam, and I find easier to study by hard copy, but there is no shipping worldwide with the Gleim Materials OR am I wrong?
    The third question which I want to ask is about how can I take an CMA exam from Vietnam?
    Thank you in advance and I am looking forward hearing from you.

    1. Hi Anna,

      To answer your questions.
      1. The choice between Gleim Premium and Traditional rests in you. If you feel you need the additional features such as Gleim Instruct Video Lectures, Access Until You Pass and Access to Accounting Experts, choose Gleim Premium. However, you may also consider the additional costs attached to these exclusive features.
      2. Yes, I do believe they can ship textbooks internationally. Please contact Gleim’s customer service.
      3. You may find the list of CMA testing centers using this link.

      Thanks and Regards,

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