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Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) means becoming a part of the IMA’s elite group of professionals, who are highly respected and highly sought after. However, passing the CMA Exam can seem daunting, especially if you’re balancing other obligations in your life, and you may be wondering if you can even fit studying into your busy schedule.

The short answer is: absolutely. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate exam prep into your daily routine, and even reduce your CMA study time. Let’s talk about 7 ways you can create efficiency in your studying and pass the exam as quickly as possible.

How to Spend Less Time Studying for the CMA Exam

1. Create a Plan

My dad used to always say, “Proper planning prevents poor performance.” Before you jump into studying for the CMA Exam, it’s a good idea to decide when you’re going to study and what you’re going to study. You should also have an idea of your exam date, allowing you to break down your study time into increments that lead up to exam day. Keep in mind the CMA Exam has two parts, so you’ll need to create a plan for each exam part.

There are a few ways to make a plan. You can take a pen to paper and create a calendar with specific study times and dates leading up to the exam. Excel savvy candidates can create a spreadsheet detailing their study plan. But if you’re really looking to save some time, you should find study materials that create a study schedule for you. Surgent’s CMA Review course allows you to plug in when you can study during the week, how long you can study, and the date of your scheduled exam at a Prometric testing center. Your study schedule is then automatically populated and updates as you progress through the course.

2. Find A Review Course that Fits Your Study Style

Some candidates learn best through self-study, some enjoy audio lectures, and others feel digging into multiple-choice questions and answers gives them the most comprehensive understanding of the material. Everyone has a unique learning and study style, so you want to find a review course that can cater to your needs. This may mean getting physical copies of materials, having video lectures, or having a large test bank of practice questions to work through.

3. Study in a Productive Environment

Just like everyone has a unique learning style, candidates often have different perspectives on what constitutes a productive study environment. Do you like total silence? Do you enjoy listening to music? Do you want to have access to snacks? Or do you prefer to be in an area where there are very few distractions? These are all questions to ask yourself as you plan out where you’re going to do the majority of your studying. It’s very hard to out-perform your environment, so find a study area that really resonates with you, or mix up your study areas to keep you feeling fresh.

Examples of study environments may include a library, a coffee shop, a designated room or area in your house, or a co-working environment.

4. Strategically Study Your Weaker Areas

As you dig into studying, keep in mind that not every topic will come easily and not every topic will be difficult. There may be some topics in your CMA program that you know really well; maybe you really enjoyed management accounting in college but weren’t as proficient in financial reporting. Instead of spending an equal amount of time on both areas, you might want to develop a plan where you spend more time on financial reporting so you’re more solid on the topic on exam day.

There are also topics on the CMA Exam that aren’t as heavily weighted or as heavily tested. You’ll want to know what these are so you don’t spend too much time on these areas and not enough time on more important topics.

If you’re really looking for efficiency, look for a CMA Review course that strategizes for you. Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology™ is known for helping CMA candidates develop a strong base in every topic with an algorithm that helps them focus on their weaker areas. Surgent’s software also takes into account topic weighting on the exam to help you get the most out of your study time.

5. Go Mobile

No matter what we do, we can’t avoid inevitable wait times. Maybe it’s the line at the DMV, the waiting room at the dentist’s office, or just some free time while you’re out and about. Having access to mobile study materials will make these downtimes more productive; you’d be surprised how much you can get done in these otherwise open time slots. Just whip out your mobile-friendly review materials and start reading, reviewing essay questions, or answering multiple-choice questions.

6. Find Study Materials that Tell You When You’re Ready to Pass

One of the biggest wastes of study time is waiting to feel like you’re ready to pass the exam. Unfortunately, waiting on a feeling often means you study more or less than you really need to. If you study more, you obviously waste time by studying more than you needed to. If you study less and don’t pass the first time, you’ll have to spend even more time re-studying for and re-taking the exam.

To relieve you of this problem, you should find a CMA Exam prep course that tells you when you’re ready to sit and pass the exam based on how you’re actually progressing through the course. Surgent’s ReadySCORE™ is an exam readiness indicator that lets you know when you’re ready to pass the exam based on how you’ve done in each area of the course. There’s no guesswork or doing what everyone else said to do. Your ReadySCORE is unique to you and lets you know when you’re ready to take on the CMA Exam.

7. Stay Mentally and Physically Healthy

You probably already know this, but studying is draining, especially if it’s coupled with your other activities and obligations (like a full-time job, family, etc). One of the best ways to combat study burnout and stay efficient is by staying mentally and physically healthy.

Staying mentally healthy may include taking study breaks every day, going for a walk, meditating, or spending regularly scheduled time with friends and family. Your physical health can be kept in check by participating in team sports, going for walks or runs, lifting weights, hiking, swimming, or doing any other physical activity. The good news is, your mental and physical health often go hand-in-hand, so improving one will likely improve the other.

Keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy means you can show up to each study session refreshed and prepared to put your best effort in.

By implementing these study tips, you can efficiently prepare for the CMA Exam, no matter the obligations you have in your life. After passing the exam and meeting the other CMA requirements, you’ll be able to get your CMA certification, join the IMA’s elite group of professionals, and launch yourself into a rewarding and fulfilling career.

Gaining your CMA certification will help take your career to the next level. Start studying for free today with Surgent’s CMA Review Course!