As a full-time accountant, studying for the CMA Exam needs to be as efficient as possible. Traditionally, exam candidates cram quick study sessions into their daily routine, hoping to learn as much material as possible. But what they don’t understand is how this method could be working against them. 

Instead of cramming material, try these lesser-known options to maximize your existing knowledge and save time: 

  • Learn the test-taking strategies that can give you an edge on the material you already know, reducing the need to study new material. 
  • Practice study skills that boost the power of your study sessions, allowing you to study more efficiently. 
  • Learn methods that fix your mindset, prevent rushing and encourage productivity. 

The following tips will help you employ these techniques, empowering you to study and test smarter. 

Tips to prepare for the CMA Exam

Have you considered that taking a test is about much more than your knowledge levels? In fact, creating good habits while studying and understanding how to take tests can increase your score more than you would think. 

Practicing these study skills can help you boost preparedness and set you up to pass the CMA Exam on your first try. 

  • Aim for 80% on practice questions. Instead of planning to push through 30 practice questions in a study session, try breaking questions into groups of 10. Don’t stop studying until you answer every group of 10 questions 80% correctly. This method will help you practice answering questions thoroughly and accurately, rather than rushing. Remember, rushing through your studies will set you up to rush on the exam.   
  • Memorize simple formulas. Memorizing formulas in your studies is an easy way to save you time on exam day. If you memorize formulas ahead of time, you can write them down on scratch paper as soon as the exam begins. That way, you can easily reference the formulas without getting tripped up from the pressure of a question. We have found that flash cards are a useful way to memorize formulas.  
  • Practice going with your first instinct. Many of the exam questions are designed to be tricky. Remember to go with your first instinct. The only instances where you should change an answer are if you decide with absolute certainty, you made a mistake, or a later question provides a major clue.   
  • Get in the habit of reading every answer. In some cases, an exam question will be a simple computation with straightforward choices. But oftentimes, the questions are tricky and answers are strikingly similar. Naturally, your instinct will be to save time and stop reading when you find a good answer. However, in the event there are several “good” answers, rushing can prevent you from choosing the “best” answer.   
  • Practice your tempo. Studying is like training for a marathon. You’ll need to practice answering questions at a steady pace in your studies to ensure you do not run out of time on the exam. As a general rule, aim for one minute per multiple-choice question (MCQ) on average. Some will take longer, but the better you get at keeping the easier MCQs around a minute, the more cushion you will give yourself on exam day. 
  • Don’t be scared to take time off. Prevent burnout by incorporating two weekly rest days into your study routine. If you find yourself in a streak of poor performance, give yourself a full three days of downtime to reset. Remember that taking time off is better than creating a habit of poor performance. Powering through mindless study sessions will not help you in the long run. 

What to look for in a CMA test prep provider

Practicing good study habits is as important as finding the best-fit exam prep provider. When shopping courses, consider these factors to evaluate your options: 

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  • Look for automatic updates, ensuring your provider stays current with exam changes. 
  • Consider the cost and how much time a provider will save you. After all, your time is valuable and might be worth spending a little extra money. 
  • Look for features that match your learning preferences. Do you prefer listening to material, watching videos, studying flash cards or studying on a mobile app? 
  • Evaluate exam tutoring options. What types of questions can the coaches help you answer? 
  • Consider pass rates, guarantees and access limitations. Does the exam prep provider issue refunds for failing? Do you get unlimited access, or could the course expire if it takes you longer to pass than planned? 

How Surgent can help you pass the CMA Exam

Surgent is the most efficient CMA test prep provider, offering unique features that save you time. Combined with a tutor that can help you build study and test-taking skills, our personalized software delivers unmatched value. Key features of Surgent CMA Review include: 

  • A.S.A.P.® Technology finds your fastest path to a passing score, optimizing your study sessions each time you log in. 
  • 1-on-1 coaching is included in Ultimate Pass, where your coach will help build your study and test-taking skills. 
  • Automatic course updates ensure you’re studying the most current material. 
  • The Surgent Study Companion App syncs with your course progress, helping you study on the go. 

Sign up for a free trial or check out our free webinars for CMA exam candidates if you’re interested in learning more about how Surgent CMA Review can help you succeed.