My experience and your smartwork will pave the way for your CMA-USA success. ~ Akhil's
I suggest you to start every journey in your life keeping 3 C's (i.e. Creativity, Confidence and Corporate Sense) in your pocket. These help you to fight with the hurdles in your way and move ahead. We will get to know in later part how best resources with us can be utilized.
So, here we go, CMA-USA i.e. Certified Management Accountant from The Institute of Management Accountants, USA is globally recognized course in the field of management accountancy. In CMA-US we have two parts, Part-1 is Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance and Control; And Part-2 is Financial Decision Making.
Which Part to go first?
Part-2 is more numerical, but Part-1 is more thoughtful and sometimes theoretical. So it is preferable to go for Part-2 before Part-1, because it will be easy to handle Part-2 pressure and then Part-1 can be cracked with confidence which is built through Part-2 success. If you have got failure in Part-2 doesn't mean it's big deal to crack Part-1 for you. And you can also go for both parts in the same window being an average student using following smart tips.
Which study material to choose?
You must go through "Exam Support Package" provided by IMA on registration in My Enrollment section of your profile.
The study material preferable for studying concepts is Hock, its one reading will make it easy for you. Gleim can also be used for Part-1, it is concise and conclusive.
Hock software or Gleim Software are much required ingredients for practicing questions before you write any part. Also solve 3 hours mock exam once or twice before actual exam. It will help you built your confidence and you'll learn how to attempt a question creatively.
Time Management during preparation:
You may be an employee, a family person, a business person or with all of these responsibilities together. How can you best manage your studies with other responsibilities, for that you need to know how long it will take to prepare for a part.
As you'll be taking up classes, you need to prepare notes during the classes to save your time and give half hour just after the class to revise the same.
And on weekends, you can practice questions of the topic through software.
Regular practice will make it easiest to crack. But due to some other assignments if the practice breaks, you need not worry about the same, but need to gather confidence and continue practicing. It takes 6 months on an average to finish both parts preparation simultaneously, even for an engineer background student.
Parameter of success of your preparation will be 3 hours mock test results of your preferred software.
Sequence of topics to be prepared:
Topics which look easy for you, prefer those to complete first to feel comfortable, this is called utilisation of strength to overcome preparation stress. And if you're confused which topic is easy for you, go in the given sequence i.e. A, B, C, D, E, F.
Concepts and Practice:
While preparing for CMA-US only two things are must.
(1) Learning Concepts and
(2) Practicing questions on those concepts.
And both should be done simultaneously. As soon as you finish a topic, practice questions for the same.
MCQs and Essay preparation:
When you'll practice through software, your MCQs will be prepared and when you'll learn concepts, your essay part is prepared which can be checked through Essays given in Exam Support Package.
Practice and discuss on whatsapp/telegram/gmail study groups:
Social media is always helpful if used proactively, use whatsapp etc groups to solve live problems discussing with other aspirants.
It is most important to manage stress, because despite of your smartwork you may face a defeat in mock test or even in actual exam but it's not ended until you actually think it's ended. So at all stages you need to have patience, confidence and faith in yourself. It is must at least during four and half hours in exam hall.
Time Management during exam:
Nobody cares how much time or cost you have spent for preparation though preparation is your base without which it's not possible, but your success will be declared through the exam hall performance.
So, use "one minute strategy" during MCQs.
You have 180 minutes against 100 odd MCQs, For each MCQ give one minute on an average, which will give you spare time of 80 minutes to be utilized for few lengthy MCQs taking 3-5 minutes.
In the first hour try to complete as much MCQs(prefer easy ones which can be finished within seconds) you can, it will give you mental strength to move further. You should finish average 40 questions in first hour, but if you've stuck somewhere and realized later, still don't loose your patience and keep finishing the other MCQs, because at any point of time you have enough space to crack it.
On movement to 4th hour, stay normal because exam is yet not finished. Keep half hour for each of two essays. You will be having 5-7 sub parts in each essay, so give 5-6 minutes to each subpart and write "To the point" answers, because more points you will write, more points you will get. Writing Paragraphs rather than points will give you lesser points.
Question Reading and way of attempting:
Careful reading of questions is must to perform in exam hall. The smart way to read a question is, to know what is being asked(last line of question to be read first), then noticing what relevant stuff is given(the relevant resources on the basis of which the answer/output will come) and working out with the solution.
To attempt MCQs, elimination method is highly used, identify options which are not correct and eliminate/score out those options, and finding out answers from remaining options. And if you know the direct answer, just tick with due care and move on next question.
There is an option of Marking on doubtful questions to be reviewed later, you can mark on any such doubtful question, also you need not worry about unmarking the same, as it won't affect your results. For example if you have devoted time to solve a question and recognizing one option correct with one more doubtful, firstly answer then mark also. This way, if later on you forgot to review, your question won't be left unanswered.
Kindly don't keep single question unanswered whether MCQs or essays.
I wish you all good luck for your smart success and bright future ahead.
Author: CA. Akhil Maheshwari, an Indian Chartered Accountant, an American Certified Management Accountant, MBA in Finance, a helping hand through CAR-The Professional Study Empire, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/ca.akhilmaheshwari.