There is one question that I get asked the most by CMA candidates. I can totally relate to it because that’s the same question that I had before my prep studies.
The question is, “Whose material will help me pass the exam!?” For a complete review of each CMA course, click here.
With so many options to choose from, I understand your concern and worry over picking the wrong one. There’s also the concern of buying expensive material, spending months studying and fail because the material was not good enough to prepare you to pass the exams. Add the cost of paying for the exams on top of this and it just becomes too expensive.
I will share with you exactly what I did and the materials that I used (including the costs) to pass both CMA exams on my first try. I believe that this information will be useful to you because it’s derived from experience, and that experience yielded excellent results. Are you ready? Here we go:
Which CMA Part Should I Take First?
I took the Part 2 exam first. I made this decision because I was told it was the easiest part. After taking Part 1, I agree with that statement. If you have experience in manufacturing, then perhaps Part 1 will be easier for you than it was for me. I will share with you the pertinent information in the order in which I took the exams.
CMA Part 2 Exam Preparation, Cost & Materials
CMA Part 2 Exam Preparation
I prepared for a total of 3 months, and this is what I did:
a) Each day after work, I went to Starbucks, bought a latte, took out my iPad and my IMA book (now sold by Wiley CMAexcel) from my messenger bag and studied for 3 to 4 hours max. I took a 10-minute break in between hours and walked around to stretch my legs.
b) During the weekends, I studied at a Starbucks 3 hours in the morning, 4 hours in the afternoon, and 3 hours at night. Again, took a 10 minute break in between hours.
c) After finishing a section, I took the online practice test for that section. (The online tests are now administered by Wiley CMAexcel. If I didn’t score at least 80%, I would go back and study the topics that I didn’t do so well in. This process was repeated until I scored 80% or higher. Only then I moved on to the next section.
CMA Part 2 Cost & Materials:
Now as far as the cost and the materials that I used for Part 2:
a) I had to register and pay $140 for the IMA Membership, $200 for the CMA Two-Part Program Entrance Fee, and $350 for the CMA Part 2 Exam Registration. The total is $690 to fulfill IMA’s pre-requisites to take the exam.
b) Now for the material, here’s the breakdown: $195 for the LMS – CMA Online Intensive Review course, and $500 for the IMA book. The total is $695 for materials.
c) The grand total cost for preparing and taking the CMA Part 2 exam was $1,385.
CMA Part 1 Exam Preparation, Cost & Materials
CMA Part 1 Exam Preparations
Preparing for this exam also took me a total of 3 months and used the same method as in Part 2. “If it ain’t broken, why fix it?”.
CMA Part 1 Cost & Materials
a) Because I didn’t take both exams within the same year, I had to pay $140 again for the IMA membership. By the way, this fee has to be paid every year even after you have become a CMA.
This time around I skipped the CMA Two-Part Program Entrance fee because I took the second exam within three years of taking the first one. And paid $350 for the CMA Part 1 Exam Registration. The total is $490. It’s lower than what I paid for Part 2.
b) For Part 1, I used Hock CMA Review. I bought their books for both parts because I wanted to compare their books to IMA’s. If I hadn’t bought both parts, I would’ve saved some money. Total cost for their materials, which included class recordings, was $475. For this part, I bought the LMS-CMA Online Intensive Review product again (this is now sold by Wiley CMAexcel), and paid $195 for it. The total for materials was $670.
c) The grand total cost for preparing and taking the CMA Part 1 exam was $1,160
As you can see, preparing for the CMA exam is not only time-demanding, but also costly. These are good reasons why you should pick the right CMA review test prep system to ensure exam success. If you are not sure which review system is best suited for you, feel free to email me at nathan at cmacoach dot com and I will help you pick one. I’ve done it for many, and I’d be happy to help you as well.
Unlike you, I didn’t have anyone to go to with questions or ask for help. When I became a CMA, I decided to guide you and others like you to pass both exams on your first try, and join the elite group of CMAs.
Now we come back to the first question of whose material is better for your exam preparation. Each review course has its pros and cons. It’s a matter of understanding which one will suit you best and match your learning style.
But between the two that I used, I would recommend LMS – Intensive Review, but unfortunately is no longer available in the market.
(UPDATE: At the request of thousands of CMA candidates, I’ve recently launched CMA Exam Academy where I personally teach the CMA subject matter through high-quality video lectures. If you are looking for an instructor-led CMA prep course, check it out.)
Did explaining the process (the secrets) that I used to pass both exams on my first try help you? Did I miss anything? If I did, use the comments section below to leave your questions and I will respond to you as soon as possible.
Until next time,
Nathan Liao, CMA