With the numerous responsibilities and obligations that come with day-to-day life, finding time to study for the CMA exam can seem near impossible. Our list of time management tips will help you make the most of the time you have.
Most CMA candidates have other obligations – work, family, school – so making the most of your available study time is critical. No matter what your daily life looks like, here are some great time management tips to help you effectively prepare for the CMA Exam.
1) Prioritize What You Need To Know
Step one for effective time management is to list everything you need to know to pass Part 1 or Part 2 of the CMA Exam. The IMA’s curriculum is huge and candidates can waste hours studying less-important or less-tested concepts. Knowing how the exam is weighted and scored is critical. If you’re using Wiley CMAexcel for your exam review, our Exam Planner will help you map out exactly what you need to learn and when.
For specifics on the CMA Exam’s weighting, download our free CMA Exam Handbook.
2) Be Realistic About Your Time
Yes, our Exam Planner will automatically create a digital study plan for you – but, like any study schedule, it’s only as good as you are. You need to be realistic about the time you have available for your studying. If your plan calls for 10 hours of studying a week and you can only realistically do 8, you’re just shortchanging yourself and hurting your chances of passing. So be honest at the outset about the time you have and what you can commit.
3) Get Plenty Of Sleep!
Don’t skimp on your sleep. Cutting sleep time to create study time will only hurt you. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep each night to remain focused and alert.
4) Find An Environment That Works For You
Your surroundings matter – the more tranquil your study space, the more likely you are to stay focused. While a coffee shop may be your only option to outside of the home or office, try to go when it’s quieter and not as crowded. You want to avoid procrastination at all costs, so try to find (or create) a study environment that limits distractions and interruptions.
5) Set Simple, Realistic Study Goals
Baby steps. Due to the size of the CMA curriculum and the amount of time required to absorb the material, you need to set small, achievable goals. Trying to take on too much at one time or in one sitting will only overload your brain. Wiley CMAexcel’s Exam Planner and Bite-Sized Lessons are a big help in setting and reaching small study goals.
Believe it or not, exercise works the same way sleep does. It can focus your mind, helping you to clear your head in between intense study sessions. If you’re new to exercise, aim to fit in a 10-minute workout in here and there—something as simple as a fast walk can work.
7) Say “No” To Temptations
You will encounter with endless reasons to blow off your studies for the day—an office happy hour, dinner out, a sporting event—but you have to be smart to say “no” as often as possible during your exam review. Passing the CMA Exam must be your top priority. Obviously, this can be tricky with family but that’s why we’ve created tip number 8 …
8) Get Buy-in From Your Loved Ones
Ensure your friends and family know how important the CMA Exam is and that it has to be your top priority for the coming months. They are your support network, after all, and you should lean on them to help you stay on track and stay motivated. They need to keep you accountable and stay out of your way when you need them to.
9) Ditch Your Phone (Temporarily)
OK, this goes with a good study environment. Smartphones are great, but they’re horrible distractions for most people with their texts and pop-ups and dings. Unless your study materials are actually on your phone, turn the thing off or put it far, far out of the way during your study sessions. Airplane mode is also a great option!
10) Take Your Study Materials With You Everywhere
You may find yourself with an unexpected 10 minutes at the office or a longer-than-usual public transit commute. Use every available second that comes your way to run your question drills, read your study text, and review your notes. Going on a trip? Study on the plane or in the passenger seat.
The most critical part of good time management is understanding that your time is limited and precious, so it’s essential that you stay committed and focused on your goal of passing the CMA Exam.