The following insights are brought to you by Surgent, a leader in continuing education and exam prep for accounting, tax, and other professions.

Many of you have likely heard the study tips “trust your gut” or “your first answer is usually right.” What if I told you that advice is objectively wrong? On average, students who change their answers are more likely to change it from wrong to correct – in other words, trust your brain over your gut. At Surgent Accounting and Financial Education, we have test day strategies and tips like this one to ensure you pass your CMA exam.  

On exam day, knowing your material is only part of the battle. You also must have the test-taking skills to apply what you know. In addition to changing your answers as needed, here are other exam day tips to ease your test anxiety and increase your scores:  

  • Read the last sentence first. Would you read an entire novel if the assignment were only to write down the last line of the book? Of course not. So don’t read the entire question without knowing what to look for first. The last sentence in most multiple-choice questions is the call to action or item that needs to be answered. Read this first so you know what to look for in the actual question. Often you will be able to answer the question without reading the entire fact set.  
  • Skip (and come back to) long problems or answers you don’t know. The most precious resource on exam day is time. On average, you should spend 60-90 seconds per multiple-choice question. Some questions will take you that long (or longer) just to read the scenario and facts. When you see questions that look like essays, flag them, skip them, and come back to them if you have time at the end. The same applies for questions you read but don’t know the answer to on your first pass. These are the best cases for guessing if your time is expiring. Answer the shorter and easier questions first. Come back to longer and more difficult questions. 
  • If you don’t know at all, guess. Incorrect and unanswered problems both count as “wrong” answers, so why give away free points? Most multiple-choice questions can be narrowed to two possible correct answers. It’s a coin flip for you to get full credit. But even if you cannot narrow it, always make a selection. Otherwise, you are giving up possible free points. Those guessed questions can be the difference between passing or retaking your exam.  

You’ve studied. You’ve practiced. You’re ready. All you need is this exam-day strategy to go with your knowledge. Follow these tips to pass your exam, get certified, and put those three letters behind your name.  

Looking for more CMA study tips? Visit Surgent’s blog and webinars for more ways to help you pass the CMA exam with flying colors!