- How do I enroll in a CMAPrepCourse class?
- Do you have a course calendar or list of events?
- How may I contact CMAPrepCourse for more information?
- What is the CMA Exam like?
- What is the demographic makeup of CMAPrepCourse students?
- How are classes scheduled? Do you offer distance-learning options?
- How did CMAPrepCourse begin? What is your history?
- Describe your study materials. What are they like?
- Describe the classes. How are they held? Do you offer options for distance-learning?
- What if I have already purchased GLEIM materials?
- I’m currently in grad school. When is a good time to prepare for the certification?
- What is the minimum timeframe it takes to prepare for the CMA exam?
How do I enroll in a CMAPrepCourse class?
Do you have a course calendar or list of events?
How may I contact CMAPrepCourse for more information?
What is the CMA Exam like?
The CMA started out being a 5-part exam many, many years ago. Then they condensed it to a 4-part exam probably somewhere around the 1980’s I believe to a 2-part exam; part one, part two. The information contained in these parts is mutually exclusive, so we’re going to start part two, and it really doesn’t matter if you start with Part 1 or Part 2. There’s no benefit, there’s no advantage. You can take it in any order that you like.
Now they test different bodies of knowledge. They’re both identical as far as the format; they’re four hours long, contain three hours of multiple choice with one section dedicated to essays. There’s 100 questions on the exam. You’re going to have, as I said, three hours. So you’ll have to average approximately a minute and a half per question. Now multiple choice with four answers given for each question. You have to achieve a score high enough on the multiple choice. So essentially, you have to get 75% of those correct in order to advance to the essay portion. In most cases, that happens. I think I’ve heard of some folks that might have timed out or just were very, very ill-prepared that didn’t advance to the next level. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will pass because again, you can still do poorly on the essay component and not pass the exam.
The essay component is made of two essay questions. I have subparts that can range anywhere from three per question, all the way up to say six or eight. So you can have anywhere from six to a total of maybe 16 sub-questions that you have to answer within an hour period.
The bottom line though, it is a very rigorous, very robust exam. It is going to test our knowledge. You’re not going to have a whole lot of time to sit back and just kind of wonder about questions; you do have to know the information.
What is the demographic makeup of CMAPrepCourse students?
I would say probably more than 90% of our students are working professionals that have been in an industry probably for a minimum of five years, sometimes up to as much as twenty years. Obviously most of them have a bachelor’s, a lot of them have a master’s degree. I’ve even had some folks that had a PhD come join our class. The students’ demographics range broadly. They include everything from an individual that was a sales and marketing person, to even an academic teaching accounting.
About the course itself, let me start out with our mission, which is to serve IMA members whether it be our chapter or any chapter, by helping them become certified CMAs. That’s pretty much where we draw the line, which is pretty broad in encompassing. As opposed to other prep courses that are out there, whether they be CMA prep courses or CPA, we do not have a time line.
We encourage everyone to get through it as quickly as possible. It’s not something that you want to make a life’s ambition of, but at the same time, we’ve had students before. In fact, we’ve had a couple students in the current window come up with personal hardships and really had to suspend their studies so they can come back at a later time and resume without having to pay over again for the course, just because we want to help them become CMAs.
How are classes scheduled? Do you offer distance-learning options?
Why should you choose CMAPrepCourse?
One of the most important things you have to ask yourself as you embark on the certification is to make sure you have the course for you. We have been doing this for many years and are conceived as the longest running professor-led course for the CMA. Over time, we have experimented with various things such as scheduling classes on Saturday.
We meet on Saturday morning because, after weighing and experimenting with options to meet after work, most of our students are working professionals with families and just don’t have the time or the energy for a class at the end of the workday. Saturday morning was the least disruptive and least intrusive of time to go ahead and have a class.
Regarding our delivery method for distance-learning students: We have fully interactive streaming allowing students to attend class whenever they choose be it our regularly scheduled Saturday morning class meeting or the option of watching it on-demand at a later time.
Lastly, our classes are not scheduled back-to-back, such as meeting week after week in a consecutive fashion. Rather, we space class meetings over the non-testing window. The reason lies in the fact there is no reason to proceed in a hurried fashion in an attempt to complete the class prior to the testing window.
I am always asked: “Can I go ahead and prepare for two parts in the one non-testing window?” My response for 99.9% of individuals is a resounding “no.” The amount of a material is substantial and given the amount of time that most working professionals have, it is not possible or feasible to achieve that. We could teach that material over the allotted time, but I think we would do an injustice to students.
We have taken hundreds of surveys from our students who have finished through our course and our experience working closely with them has culminated in the development of the course that we have currently.
We hope you choose CMAPrepCourse as your away to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) in the future. Thank you.
How did CMAPrepCourse begin? What is your history?
We started seven years ago by request by our local DFW chapter to construct a prep course that would help our members locally. We started with relatively modest enrollment that was anywhere from five to eight students, and literally at that time it was four parts and we had to meet every weekend in order to get all the material in there and finish over a course of the year.
Since then, we have evolved. We’ve gotten students that are probably as far as Washington State, on the northeast coast I don’t know how far we went. I think we went to the Carolinas. In the Midwest, I know we’ve gone as far as Ohio. We’ve even had some folks contact us from overseas. We essentially had to extend the way that we reach our students, so it’s not limited to just live class anymore at the University of Dallas.
About the instructors though, obviously I’m the leading instructor. My background is, I have a CMA, CFM, MBM, MSA, and I teach full time as a faculty in accounting, economics and business. There are other instructors, all of which have the CMA certification and all of them actually have at least one advanced degree, if not more than one advanced degree. Some of them hole other certifications, whether it be the CPA or CFE, and teach on a rotating basis. What we would have today for example, we have a four hour session, which is broken into two 2-hour increments per instructor. We do that just to kind of break up the lecture format. Everybody has a lecture format. Mine is based on my style, and some students may like it and other students may prefer somebody else. To kind of break it up a little bit, we go ahead and rotate, and it also allows us to have a greater amount of energy over a shorter period of time. That’s the way we have structured the lecture part. Also let me mention that all of the instructors have industry experience, and they talk about real-life examples and such. It’s not purely academic.
Describe your study materials. What are they like?
We use Gleim’s study material, and it’s a two-book format.
We’ve been using it since the beginning of our class, and we’ve had options to use other material. Essentially, it is the material I used to prepare for the exam. I found it very readable, I found it very complete, up to date, and the new editions are coming along periodically.
Not only have the reading material at your access, which is included in the course, you also have text banks of quizzes and essay questions that you can use and that we encourage you to practice with to make sure you get your fluency up and test your knowledge base.
Describe the classes. How are they held? Do you offer options for distance-learning?
First and foremost, these classes are live.
I only know of one other course in the United States essentially, that offers a live course. By that, I mean it’s live and that somebody is actually lecturing. Unfortunately, that course is not live in the sense that if you actually see a person, you just see essentially a narrated powerpoint. I think that’s the big distinction. So this is the closest thing.
If you’re here in Dallas, we encourage and welcome you to come to class. Literally sit in class and network with other folks. If you’re not here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and it’s too far to commute, then essentially you can sit in on the class live virtually and interact with the class and the faculty as well. So that’s a fully interactive live stream class. You can use either a headset or a telephone if you wanted to call in. So you have these different modes and you can communicate.
You have unlimited, on demand past lectures. So in the event that you can’t make a lecture; if you’re remote, you can watch it during that time frame. It normally is on Saturday mornings from 8-noon CST, then you can essentially just watch it on demand at a later time.
What if I have already purchased GLEIM materials?
This question that always comes up: “I already bought my GLEIM material.”
If somebody out there doesn’t have their GLEIM material and wonder how that would happen, anywhere from a quarter to a third of the students have come to us because they have tried self-study. Some students successfully earn their CMA that way, quite a few other students though do not just because they prefer the structure of the class, and they also want to have the support of the structures to go along with it. So in that instance what we do is, we essentially net out our costs of the Gleim material, which it’s very possible that ours is less than yours, but you don’t have to pay for that over again.
Right now, we’re in the 16th edition, so as long as you have the 16th edition or can convince Gleim to go ahead and update you to the 16th edition, then you don’t have to buy that again, and you can just join our class.
I’m currently in grad school. When is a good time to prepare for the certification?
The question is: “I’m currently in grad school. When is a good time to prepare for the certification?”
I think right because you’re in the mode of studying, you probably have studied or are studying some of the topics. There’s actually a complimentary aspect of it. To some degree, it might actually help you in school relate to real-world examples.
You’re already in the mode, you’re already dedicating some time to study, so I think it makes it easier to doing it concurrently. Plus also from a timing standpoint, if you’re getting a master’s and you want to capitalize on your master’s, at some point you want to either promote within the company, or most people, in order to get the full benefit of having a master, is essentially they’re going to find another job with another company. You don’t want to necessarily go to that company and not have the certification. So if you were to get a job and then get your certification later on, you’re not going to release the full value of it. It would be better to have the master’s and certification in hand. And again, there’s so many MBA programs out there, and I don’t necessarily want to minimize the value of an MBA. Like I said, I have two masters. But the day when the MBA were the “few and proud,” now we have the “proud and the many” essentially, so you have to distinguish yourself.
I know it sounds crazy when you probably have gone through two years of a rigorous program, but you still have to distinguish yourself from other MBA or MS type students. So keep that in mind. The certification I think is a good way to validate what you already know.
What is the minimum timeframe it takes to prepare for the CMA exam?
Someone was asking the question about the minimum number of hours it takes to prepare for the exam from an individual standpoint.
You have the classes, which are four hours. The perfect way to go about this is, and this is no different than preparing for any class, is to read the material. So ideally, you would read the material; they’re called study units, chapters, whatever — it’s the same thing. They’re not very long, maybe 20 pages. It’s in an outline format, and that’s to trick you. It’s not like the book would essentially help everyone completely; it’s going to be an outline format. Some things, you’re going to go “Aha! I remember that” other things, you’re going to go “No, not so much”.
What you would do then after essentially is take quizzes; two quizzes. They’re 20 questions each, and what it does is, it allows you to practice your fluency of getting up to that speed of answering questions in a minute and a half or less. By doing so, you can identify where your mistakes lie because you can get the answers and you’ll say “Yea, I have no clue what that is” or “Gee, I just misread that”. There’s two differences. That’s a different situation all together. If you’re not reading a question correctly, that’s one thing; we need to work on that. We can also teach you how to essentially identify the call of the question as we call it. There’s so many tricks and tips that we can share with you, which are going to save you some time.
But then on the flip side, if you don’t know the accounting, we want you to make a note of that. Ideally, we want you to email that to us and say “Listen, I still don’t understand this concept here” and we want to make sure that we include that with examples in our lecture. It’s not like we’re going to call you out and say “Betty didn’t understand this”. Essentially it’s for the benefit of the entire class.
How much time outside of that? That varies with every student. Like I said, there was this individual here that was a sales and marketing type person. He didn’t really have any formal accounting or finance background. He was very diligent. I would say that he probably put in a good four hours in addition to per week, and that’s just a guestimate on my part. He passed on the first go-around though. I know some folks that were CPAs and I think the fact that they thought that they were CPAs, they were overconfident, and therefore did not prepare themselves. Just because you’re a CPA, which tests a whole different body of knowledge, doesn’t necessarily make you automatically pass the CMA exam. The failure rate is a little bit different than the CPA, but not much. It’s about 52% versus 48%.
It could take as little in some chapters, as little as an hour just to kind of read over the material and do the quizzes and be done with it. You can get some other topics; we have a lot of number crunching in part two, a lot of analysis. How much analysis have you done? If you’re a financial planning analysis type person and you really understand the ratios well, then it will come a little bit easier to you. If you have not had a whole lot of experience at it, then it’ll take a little bit longer.
I feel confident though, that we’re able to teach anybody regardless of what their background or their current job is at this point in time. We leave a lot of buffers in between, so during the weeks that we’re essentially (I don’t want to use the word ‘off’), but that we don’t have a formal lecture, it gets students to either catch up with their personal life, work or their studies. So we kind of stretch it out just to make it as comfortable as possible.