It can be difficult to find the best CMA review course and set of management accounting study materials. Where do you even start?
Choosing wrong can hurt your chances of passing the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam on the first try, dramatically slowing down your professional progress. So when there are so many services out there claiming to be “the best”, how are you supposed to know which one to choose?
Here’s what you need to know:
To start, you need to understand that there is no objective “best” way to prepare for the CMA exam. Everyone learns in different ways and each course caters to different learning styles. What’s most important is finding a service that focuses on your specific style of learning.
Listed below are all of the best CMA prep courses. Each one emphasizes different learning styles, but I’ve organized them in a way that allows you to find the one that’s the best fit for you. Read on to see the benefits and drawbacks each course has to offer!
Top 5 Best Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Exam Prep Courses: 2021 Comparison Guide
#1 Becker CMA Review Course
Simple Progress Tracking:
Becker’s CMA review course has a simple but highly effective method of tracking your study progress. Each section of their course is divided into smaller sections with different colored badges. As you answer questions and watch lecture content for each section, it’s color will change to demonstrate your proficiency. Once all your badges turn green, you’re ready to pass the CMA exam!
CMA exam tutors are often pretty expensive with hourly rates well over $100. Fortunately, Becker CMA Review includes one-on-one tutoring with Success Coaches as part of their Advantage and Pro courses. This is by far the most affordable way to get some extra tutoring for this exam— it’s honestly worth signing up for this feature alone.
It’s not easy to put your trust in an online course, especially if it’s not from a university. Fortunately, this course has a special guarantee to help you feel safe entrusting them with your education. As part of the Becker Promise, you’ll be entitled to a free extension if you need more time to study with their Advantage course.
Physical Study Materials
It might feel outdated, but some students prefer to learn with physical study books and flashcards. Unfortunately, Becker CMA Review is digital only— no paper flashcards or textbooks are available. Additionally, they limit your ability to print out some of their content for copyright reasons, so you’ll need to stick to your computer, tablet, or smartphone when studying.
Becker is a company that’s been around for a long time and has helped a ton of students start their careers in accounting. You can get a lot of help from their CMA review course— although you might not like it if you’re looking for real textbooks or flashcards.
#2 Surgent CMA Review Course
Unlimited Practice Tests
The Surgent CMA Study Materials include a wide test bank of practice questions that can be organized into an unlimited number of practice exams. These questions have been taken directly from previous exams, so you know you’re always working with accurate representations of the real thing. On top of that, you’ll never need to worry about outdated test prep materials; these questions are constantly updated free of charge.
Surgent’s study program includes patented adaptive learning technology. Referred to as A.S.A.P., this software attempts to find gaps in all CMA candidates’ knowledge and helps to fill them in. It does this by creating custom study plans based off of your performance, as well as optimizing your overall course to speed up your learning. Using this system ensures that you’re always studying relevant subject matter and never wasting time on areas you already know.
In addition to customized study plans, Surgent’s technology also provides you with an overall measurement of your exam readiness. ReadySCORE works with the A.S.A.P. system to tell you how well you’ll perform on the CMA exam at any point in your CMA exam prep journey. Consequently, you’ll always know exactly how close you are to your exam goals, and you’ll know immediately when you can pass. This way, you’ll be confident when exam day arrives!
No Live Content
One of the only downsides to this service is that there is no live content option. That means that anyone who learns well in a classroom setting will be disappointed with what’s on offer here. Still, it’s important to note that other students will be perfectly fine without this inclusion and this is hardly a deal breaker for Surgent.
Surgent CMA review is an extremely effective service for students who work best via self study. It may not have live content, but you shouldn’t need that when working with Surgent’s patented smart technology!
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#3 Wiley CMAexcel Review
Short and Sweet
Although Wiley CMAexcel is crammed with practice questions and flashcards, most of their study materials are designed to be finished in short sessions. This makes it easy to stay consistent with your study schedule— If you only have 2 hours, you can study 2 or 3 sections with short breaks in between.
On the Go
Another benefit to Wiley’s short-burst education style is that you can take your exam prep on the go with a smartphone or tablet. Companion apps for Android and Apple devices let you synchronize your progress across all your devices, and you can even access content offline or in Airplane Mode.s
Once you’re a few weeks away from your exam date, Wiley has a fast-paced refresher course included for all Platinum students. This is an accelerated review of all the most important exam topics— which can save your butt on exam day!
The good news is that Wiley offers you guaranteed access to your CMA course until you pass the exam. The bad news is they don’t have any kind of refund policy— all enrollments are final.
I recommend checking out Wiley CMAexcel’s free trial and then making a decision after. This is a great resource if you like to study on the go in short bursts, but make sure you’re willing to commit once you sign up!
#4 Gleim CMA Review
Accounting Team Support
Perhaps the biggest draw of Gleim CMA Review is their excellent support team. Any time you have difficulty with a question, you can easily contact Gleim’s accounting team for assistance. Help is always one click away when you’re working on difficult materials; you should never be stuck for too long thanks to this.
Unlike other companies, Gleim actually includes interactable essay questions with your course. That means that rather than only be prepared for multiple choice segments, you’ll also be ready for the essay portion on the exam. This is a massive selling point for the company as very few services prepare you in this way.
Gleim’s CMA course comes with a fully customizable study planner. This allows you to schedule all of your studies to fit your lifestyle and free time. It does this by working with your online review course in order to keep content flexible so it can be accessed at any time. Using this allows you a greater degree of control over what you’re learning— more so than other study materials offer!
While Gleim does have a pass guarantee, it is unfortunately locked behind the highest tier of courses. This can get pretty expensive because of that, although Gleim is actually on the cheaper side of CMA courses. As a result, it shouldn’t be too hard on your wallet, but it’s important to take note of this anyway.
Gleim is an effective course for people who want a great deal of control over their work habits. This is because of the many tools that allow you to transform your study schedule at any time. However, the inability to receive a full refund unless you enroll in their most expensive option is cause for concern.
#5 CMA Exam Academy Review
One on One Coaching
CMA Exam Academy’s biggest feature is their usage of one-on-one coaching while studying. Each week you’ll work with a CMA coach via phone calls, email, or course features. This ensures that you’re being guided towards a good grade at all times. With these highly qualified instructors on your side, you’ll easily pass the CMA exam.
HD Video Lectures
In addition to the coaching aspects of the course, you’ll also have access to a list of HD video lectures. These will supplement the learning from your coaching time and further diversify your methods of studying. As a result, you’ll find yourself using these to break up lessons into more varied formats in order to keep yourself interested in the material.
CMA Exam Academy’s review materials also include a set of printed textbooks. Each of these books have been written by highly qualified CMAs and CPAs. While it may seem like an old-fashioned edition to an otherwise cutting-edge course, the truth is that these study resources are worth recognition due to their high quality content and presentation.
Whether or not this is really a negative is up to the individual student, but it’s worth mentioning regardless. CMA Exam Academy has a strict weekly schedule for its coaching, with limited access for personal counselors. This is great for anyone who’s looking for some discipline and accountability in their CMA exam review course, but busier students may find this hard to handle. Consequently, you’ll need to decide for yourself if this is something you like before you buy it.
CMA Exam Academy offers a strong personal studying style due to their emphasis on individual tutoring. This can be extremely helpful for students who want a guiding hand as they work through difficult material, but some aspects can be frustrating to others.
#6 Hock International CMA Review
Hock CMA’s biggest claim to fame are their live online classes. These are one hour long sessions hosted once a week for sixteen weeks. These cover the various topics you’ll see on the exam as well as additional personal tips. Each class is archived after completion if you missed it or want to re-watch it. Furthermore, each week has live office hours where you can ask questions about what you’ve learned
The core element of Hock’s exam prep is their effective CMA textbook. It comes in both PDF and hardcopy formats and was designed to be easy to understand. That means that even people who have been out of school for a while can easily follow and understand what’s being taught in these pages!
The Hock CMA app for Android and iOS contains the multiple choice questions offered by the Hock browser based software. Additionally, these questions can be downloaded and used offline on any of your mobile devices, ensuring you’re never cut off from your study materials.
Unfortunately, these bonuses do come with a downside. This is one of the pricier options on the list— it doesn’t even offer an above-average quantity or quality to justify it, like with Wiley CMAexcel. However Hock’s courses are frequently on sale and offer a specialized format that few other courses can match.
Out of all the CMA study materials on offer, this one most closely mimics the classroom experience. As such it is perfect for someone who wants to study in that kind of format. However, anyone looking for a more modern experience would be better off trying Surgent or another course with adaptive learning tech.