When you’re preparing to take an important exam like the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), you’ll probably get advice from many different perspectives. Friends, colleagues, family, and maybe even strangers may want to share their thoughts about what you should do. What you need are practical suggestions that can help YOU do well on YOUR exam. 

Fortunately, previous issues of CMA Connection have covered extensive study tips to help you get ready for the exam. Here are five of our favorites for taking both the essay and multiple-choice portions of the exam, as well as links to the full articles:

Tips for the Essay Section

  1. Do not leave questions blank. If you’re short on time, at least write an outline of your main points.
  2. Read the entire question to understand all the requirements. A question may be asking you for more than one thing, for example, “Define abc and interpret its applicability to xyz.” Make sure you address all of the components.
  3. Pay close attention to verbs. Related to tip #2, note the verbs carefully. For example, if the question asks you to compare and contrast, don’t define or summarize.
  4. Graders want effective writing skills. Your focus should be on the use of standard English. Make sure your writing is organized and clear. 
  5. Graders are looking to give you points, not take them away. Believe it or not, graders are looking for ways for you to succeed. So, make it as easy as possible for them to give you points.

Check out the full article at CMA Exam Tips: Navigating the Essay Questions.

Tips for the Multiple-Choice Section 

  1. Pay close attention to the wording of each question. Look for words like “except,” “least,” “not,” and “most,” which can sometimes be overlooked. On the CMA exam, these words will actually be in bold font, so pay close attention to them.
  2. Answer a question in your mind before looking at the answer options. Make sure you carefully read the entire stem or question. Once you know what the question is, answer it in your mind, if you can. If you’re able to arrive at an answer before reviewing the options, you’ll feel more confident in your answer selection. 
  3. Take your best guess. An unanswered question will be treated the same way as an incorrect answer (meaning you’ll get no credit at all), so you have nothing to lose by taking a guess. More than likely, you’ll be able to narrow a question down to two possible answers and from there, you can take your best guess at what you think is the correct answer. 
  4. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. You only have an average of 1.5 minutes per question. What you’ll find is that some questions can be answered very quickly, so then you will be able to spend more time on lengthier and more challenging questions.
  5. Review, correct, and go back to the more difficult questions. If you have time left, review and check your work. And about answer changing: It’s a myth that you should not change your answer on an objective exam because the first answer is usually the right one. Only about 20% of the time will candidates change from a right answer to a wrong answer. 

Read the full article at CMA Exam Tips: Multiple-Choice Questions.

Watch future issues of CMA Connection for more study tips. And best of luck as you prepare for the CMA exam!