Tips and tricks for passing the CMA Exam
If you’re preparing to take the CMA Exam, you know that the exam’s complex content can be difficult to master, and you’re likely looking for all of the help that you can get.
Luckily, Becker is here to help! Becker instructor Michael Brown, CMA, CGMA, CPA, recently hosted a webinar outlining his best tips and tricks for succeeding on the CMA Exam to help students pass with ease. We’ve compiled Mike’s advice to help CMA candidates study to the best of their abilities. Read on to hear the top tips for CMA Exam studying!
1. Master the multiple choice
Multiple choice questions (MCQs) comprise a significant portion of both parts 1 and 2 of the CMA Exam. In fact, each part contains 100 multiple choice questions, 50% of which you must pass to continue on to the essay questions. Here are some tips to help you through this crucial part of the exam:
Practice, practice, practice! Make sure you’ve run through a significant portion of the multiple choice questions from your review provider of choice to ensure that you’ve covered all necessary topics. Practicing multiple choice questions regularly will also help you get used to the format of the questions and become comfortable ruling out incorrect answer choices, saving you time in the long run.
Determine the “call” of the question. Make sure you understand what the question is really asking, and if all information presented is relevant to solving it.
Read all four choices before choosing one as your answer. Even if you see one answer choice that stands out to you as correct, make sure to read all choices before selecting one. Other choices may make sense, but make sure to choose the best one.
Control the amount of time you spend on each question. Don’t dwell on one question if you can’t figure it out - move on and make sure to revisit it later to make sure you have a chance at responding to each question.
Answer every multiple-choice question. Even if you have to guess, make sure you choose an answer for each question, as the CMA Exam doesn’t penalize you for incorrect answers.
2. Become an expert at essays
The essays on the CMA Exam are an important component to passing. Accounting for 25% of your score, and usually consisting of 5-6 parts, you’ll want to do well on this section to boost your overall score. Here’s some top-tier advice for the essay section of the exam:
Be familiar with the format and functionality. Make sure you practice writing at least a few essays when studying to familiarize yourself with the type and structure of questions the essays will ask for, so that you aren’t surprised on exam day. Whether it’s defining a term, performing a calculation or applying a concept, knowing what will be expected from the essay questions can help a great deal on exam day.
Review each task’s instructions. Read the background information provided thoroughly to make sure you understand the scope of the question. Make sure your responses directly address what is asked in each step of the question, and that they are clear and to-the-point. Show your work where indicated.
Be sure you have answered all requirements for each task. Double check to make sure you’ve answered every part of each question, and that your answers make practical sense.
Control the amount of time you spend on each task. Again, move through the essay parts at a reasonable pace, to ensure you get to each part, without rushing through. Make sure to double-check your work and calculations if there’s time.
3. Develop positive studying conditions
The way you approach studying can be just as important as the information that you’re studying. Mike recommends a few different techniques to implement during studying so you can study as effectively as possible:
Set aside one to two weeks to review before your scheduled exam date. Rather than cramming in new material in the last few weeks of studying, use the time ahead of your exam to review what you’ve already learned. This method will help solidify information you’ve already taken in and make it easier to recall during the test.
Take a simulated exam in strict exam-like conditions. The best way to set up for success on the exam is to emulate the environment of the actual test. Set a timer for exam sections, study in a quiet space, and turn off all distractions to replicate an exam-like setting.
Do not work until you drop! Make sure to leave time for breaks during study sessions so you can decompress and reduce your stress levels. Studying while exhausted is bound to be unproductive and can have negative mental and physical effects. Always prioritize your health, and if you’re feeling burnt out, give yourself some time off from studying so you can be refreshed when you return.
Tips for exam day
Although advance preparation is key, ensuring that your exam day goes as smoothly as possible is critical to passing the exam. A key part of this is preparing for exam day ahead of time so you’re ready to go the morning of your test. Ensure that all your materials needed to enter the CMA Exam testing room are put together ahead of time, and that you know your way to the Prometric testing center. Make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your Prometric appointment to reduce stress and allot for any traffic or unforeseen incidents. Of course, make sure to dress comfortably, get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before testing so that you’re 100% focused on the exam at hand.
Studying for the CMA Exam can be stressful, but with these tips in your back pocket, you’ll be on your way to conquering the exam in no time.
Head to Becker’s webcast library to watch the full on-demand recording of the webinar.
Ready to start studying for the CMA Exam? Explore Becker’s CMA Exam Review offerings to kickstart your CMA journey.