Free CMA Exam Study Tips

There are many ways to study, and the plan you create will depend on your lifestyle (when and how you can schedule study time), your learning style, your content familiarity, and how practiced you are at writing a formal exam. Only you can assess these factors to create a workable plan. However, here are some tips that other CMA exam candidates have found helpful.

  • Schedule regular study times and stay on schedule.
  • Avoid cramming by breaking your study times into small segments. For example, you may want to work intensively for 45 minutes with no interruptions, followed by a 15-minute break during which time you do something different – leave the room, have a conversation, or exercise.
  • When reading, highlight key ideas, especially unfamiliar ones. Reread later to ensure comprehension.
  • Pay particular attention to the terms and equations highlighted in your textbook, and be sure to learn the acronyms in the CMA body of knowledge.
  • Create personal mnemonics to help you memorize key information. For example, CCIS to remember the four ethical standards: Competence, Confidentiality, Integrity, and Credibility.
  • Create study aids such as flash cards.
  • Use index cards, writing a question on one side and the answer on the other. This helps reinforce learning by writing information as well as reading it. Examples: What is _____? List the five parts of _____.
  • In particular, make flash cards of topics and issues that are unfamiliar to you, key terms and formulas, and anything you highlighted while reading.
  • Keep some cards with you at all times to review when you have time, such as in an elevator or while waiting for an appointment.
  • Use a flash card partner. They don’t need to understand accounting, only the patience to sit with you and read you questions.
  • As test time approaches, eliminate the questions you can easily answer from your stack so you can concentrate on the more challenging topics and terms.
  • If particular topics are difficult, tap into other resources. The Internet, library, accountant colleagues, or professors can all augment your understanding.
  • Use your study plan — treat it as a living document and update it as you learn more about what you need to do to prepare for the exam.
  • Use the knowledge checks in the book to assess how well you understand the content you just completed.
  • Use the Online Test Bank to test your ability to answer multiple-choice practice questions on each section’s content. After completing the first 40 questions presented, review areas in the book where you were weakest. Then try the section test again.
  • Make an attempt to answer all the questions. There is no penalty for an incorrect answer — if you don’t try, even when you are uncertain, you eliminate the potential of getting a correct answer.
  • Create your own “simulated” multiple-choice trial exam using the full Online Practice Test.
  • Learn to write an effective essay answer:
    • Use the Essay Exam Support Materials section of your textbook. This content shows a sample grading guide and includes a sample of good, better, and best answers in addition to some helpful essay writing tips.
    • Learn how points are awarded for essay answers, ensuring that you get the most points possible for each answer, even when you are challenged by a question.
    • Practice essay responses using the questions in your textbook and in the Resources section of the Online Test Bank.
  • Access the Online Test Bank and Essay Questions in the Resources section until you are comfortable with the content.

Ensure you are both well rested and physically prepared for the exam day as each exam is four hours in length with no breaks. Learning how to answer a multiple-choice and essay exam and being mentally and physically prepared, can improve your grade significantly. Know the content and be prepared to deal with challenges with a focused, confident, and flexible attitude.