Written By Guest Blogger Jason S.
The key to successfully passing one of these certification exams is to have a set game plan from the beginning. A key to prospering in the accounting world or in business is to have proper planning. So before I hit the ground running on the CMA exam I had to have some sort of plan. Since I have already passed the CPA and CFE exam, I have some prior experience to base my plan of attack. However, my study habits for those exams were very scattered and I used various techniques to pass the CPA and CFE exams. Based on my knowledge and what is required on the CMA exam, I believe this exam will be much more like the CPA exam and not the CFE exam. A couple reasons behind my reasoning is because the CFE exam was all multiple-choice and true/false questions. There were no essays or simulations and you did not have to take the CFE exam at a testing center. You could take each part of the CFE exam sitting on your couch, in your office, or even at a Panera Bread, and I did all of those. I did take the computerized version of the CPA exam .
I took each of the 4 CPA parts separately and luckily (you will see) passed all four parts (FAR, AUD, BEC, and REG). As stated above, my study habits were quite scattered for each part. For AUD, I used only the audio disks. For BEC, I read the book plus did lots of test prep questions. For REG, I used only the test prep questions. I did not study for FAR but somehow still passed (however, I do not recommend the “no study” approach). The method of studying that I felt the most confident with was my approach for BEC, and this is the method I will use for the CMA exam. As you will see below, my current study approach is not identical to, but similar to, my approach to BEC.
So, based on my CPA experience, I am going to take the approach of reading the textbook, highlighting main points in each study unit, and then going to the test prep software. I also am keeping a running list of equations that I need to focus on for the CMA exam. Once I’m into the test prep software, I will create a couple test sessions just to see how I am doing. After the test sessions, I will then create a very large study session in which I will complete all questions for each study unit. I’m pretty sure you might be thinking to yourself this could be too much, but in my opinion, I would rather study too much than not enough.
My study techniques are not for everyone, but I would encourage you to think about what works best for you. I have been in the world of academia for quite some time (even if I’m only 32), and there are too many students that don’t recognize or even want to try and recognize the study techniques that work for them. Everyone studies differently and at varying speeds. The key is to know what works best for you and have an open mind to trying new things every once in a while.
In my next blog, I will talk about choosing your study spots and why it’s important if you want to be successful!