Best CMA Exam Prep Courses

Gleim offers the most CMA exam prep course offerings

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If you’re thinking of becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), a CMA exam prep course can help you pass the exam on your first try. You can expect to spend at least 300 hours studying, so many CMA exam prep courses ensure you’re making the best use of your time by providing you with targeted study guides and materials.

The best CMA exam prep courses offer money-back guarantees if you don’t pass or unlimited course access until you pass. Plus, content is continually updated to ensure it matches what’s included on the exam. Finally, although the best CMA prep courses are self-paced and completed online, they often include some level of instructor support.

Best CMA Exam Prep Courses of 2021

Best Overall : Gleim


Gleim

 Gleim 

  • Price: $499 to $1,599
  • Duration: Not disclosed
  • Guarantee: Pass or money back
Why We Chose It

Gleim offers CMA prep courses to meet the budgets and needs of most learners. Plus, its top plan includes a 100% money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the exam on your first try.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Money-back guarantee with top plan

  • Unlimited course access with top plan

  • Expert accounting advice

Cons
  • Limited 18-month access with cheapest plans

  • No live training

  • Personal support only included with top plan

Overview

With Gleim, you can choose from three different online CMA exam prep course options and even purchase study materials for only part of the exam. The cost of Gleim’s online CMA exam prep courses ranges from $499 if you only want to access a test bank for one part of the exam to $1,599 if you want a robust library of digital (e.g., videos, study guides, test banks) and physical resources (e.g., textbook) covering both parts. 

Although all of Gleim’s options are self-paced, you’ll get live support from an exam mentor with its top plan as well as online advice from an accounting expert. These resources are not offered by many other CMA exam prep courses.

Gleim’s most expensive plan includes unlimited access to course materials while you’re actively studying for the exam. You can also request a full refund if you failed to pass the CMA exam within 18 months of purchase. Gleim guarantees your materials will be current for any part you haven’t passed within 18 months with its other plans.

As with all the CMA exam prep courses we reviewed, Gleim doesn’t have any prerequisites. However, make sure you meet the Institute of Management Accountants’ experience and degree requirements before enrolling to give yourself the best chance for success.

Best Value : Hock International


Hock International

 Hock International

  • Price: $274 to $1,449
  • Duration: Not disclosed
  • Guarantee: Pass or second exam is free
Why We Chose It

Hock offers various CMA exam prep course options, with its most affordable plan carrying a fee of $274 for each part of the CMA exam. This low-cost plan is the most affordable of all the CMA exam prep courses we reviewed.  

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited access to online materials

  • Constant updates to online materials

  • Free second exam fee with top plan

Cons
  • Updated hard copy materials aren’t free

  • Instructor support only provided with top plan

  • No live study resources

Overview

Hock International offers CMA exam prep course options at prices good for most budgets. The least expensive plan costs $274 and includes multiple-choice questions (MCQs), essays, and mock exams for one part of the CMA exam. This plan provides the best value out of all the CMA exam prep courses we reviewed. 

The most expensive plan offered by Hock International covers both parts of the CMA exam and costs $1,449. This plan includes access to a full suite of digital resources (e.g., videos, study guides, mock exams), a physical textbook, and individual support from an instructor. Plus, it comes with a unique “you pass or we pay guarantee”; Hock will pay for a second exam attempt if you don’t pass on your first try. 

All of Hock’s plans include unlimited access to its online materials until you pass. Its online materials are also kept current, so you can rest assured they’ll cover what’s included on the exam. Many other providers only offer online access for 18 to 24 months. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay an additional fee if you want updated hard copy materials.

Best for CMA Coaching : CMA Exam Academy


CMA Exam Academy

CMA Exam Academy

  • Price: $797 to $1,794
  • Duration: 16 to 32 weeks
  • Guarantee: Pass or money back
Why We Chose It

With the CMA Exam Academy, virtual one-on-one CMA coaching is provided with all of the plans, helping it stand out from the competition.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Includes one-on-one CMA coaching

  • In-person practice test

  • 100% money-back guarantee

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Access is only for one to two years

  • No live instructor support

Overview

The CMA Exam Academy offers a unique CMA exam prep course with unlimited one-on-one CMA coaching, making it stand out from the competition. With this program, you can send your instructor an email and receive a detailed response within 24 hours. Plus, you’ll get access to a private study group so you can connect with other CMA exam prep learners. 

If you purchase a combo course from CMA Exam Academy with study materials for both parts of the exam, the cost is $1,794. Alternatively, you can buy a plan with one part of the exam for $797. Both plans include access to individual CMA coaching, physical textbooks, a personalized online test bank, and a full suite of digital study materials (e.g., formula guides, videos, study guides). You can also take an in-person practice test at a Prometric testing facility.

Each part of the CMA Exam Academy course takes 16 weeks to complete. You can expect to spend about 10 to 12 hours a week on coursework. 

CMA Exam Academy’s combo plan includes unlimited access to the course materials for two years. If you only purchase one part of the exam, you can access the course materials for one year. In addition, both plans include test bank access for two years.

The course developed by the CMA Exam Academy is designed to help you pass the exam on your first try. If you’re not able to pass the exam on your first attempt, the CMA Exam Academy guarantees it will give you a 100% refund on the cost of the course, an exceptional guarantee.

Best for Efficiency : Surgent


Surgent

Surgent

  • Price: $699 to $1,699
  • Duration: Less than 70 study hours
  • Guarantee: Pass or money back
Why We Chose It

The CMA exam prep course offered by Surgent includes adaptive technology to help you study more efficiently by filling knowledge gaps. On average, Surgent students spend less than 70 hours studying.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Pass or money-back guarantee

  • Individual virtual coaching with top plan

  • Adaptive technology for efficient study

Cons
  • No single-part exam prep options

  • Unlimited access only offered with top plan

  • No CMA coaching with low-cost plans

Overview

What makes Surgent stand out is that its online system includes an initial diagnostic report built using its adaptive technology. This report can help you determine the score you would get if you took the CMA exam that day, how many hours you’ll need to study to pass the exam, and the time you’ll save by using an adaptive plan versus a linear study plan. 

Surgent offers three CMA exam prep course options, all covering both parts of the CMA exam. The lowest cost plan starts at $699 and includes a full suite of digital resources (e.g., practice exams, study guides, PDF textbooks), with access for 18-months. The most expensive plan costs $1,699 and includes everything included in the lower-cost plans plus videos, flashcards, unlimited course access until you pass, and two virtual coaching sessions.

A course dashboard will provide continual updates on your progress and let you know when you’re ready to pass the exam. All course options include adaptive technology. However, if you prefer to study using a standard linear course structure versus an adaptive plan, you’re also given this option.

All of Surgent’s plans include a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the CMA exam on the first try. Plus, the study materials are constantly refreshed to ensure you’re studying what’s included in the exam.

Best for Self-Paced Learning : Wiley Efficient Learning


Wiley Efficient Learning

Wiley Efficient Learning

  • Price: $900 to $1,800
  • Duration: Not disclosed
  • Guarantee: None
Why We Chose It

With Wiley Efficient Learning, you can take as much time as you need to study for and pass the CMA exam, a valuable resource for the self-paced learner usually only included with the most expensive exam prep courses.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited course access

  • Constantly updated materials

  • CMA exam score predictor included

Cons
  • No money-back guarantee

  • No live CMA mentoring

  • Instructor response time is up to 48 hours

Overview

Wiley Efficient Learning offers three online CMA exam prep course options covering both parts of the CMA exam. All plans include unlimited access to the course until you pass the CMA exam and a score predictor to help you determine when you’re ready to take the exam, good features for self-paced learners. 

The lowest cost plan offered by Wiley Efficient Learning costs $900 and includes many digital resources (e.g., video lessons, flashcards, MCQs). Its most expensive plan costs $1,800 and comes with the same digital resources. You also get instructor support (48-hour response time), an online test bank, printable flashcards, and more.

One of the main drawbacks to the CMA exam prep courses offered by Wiley Efficient Learning is they don’t include a money-back guarantee. Even so, you’ll be able to access the course materials until you pass the exam. Plus, the course materials are constantly updated, meaning you can rest assured in knowing you’re studying up-to-date content. Finally, if you want to try out the program, you can get a 14-day free trial without giving your credit card information.

Best for a Test Bank : Becker


Becker CPA Prep Course

 Becker CPA Prep Course

  • Price: $1,499 to $2,099
  • Duration: Not disclosed
  • Guarantee: Money back within 10 days
Why We Chose It

Both CMA exam prep courses offered by Becker include unlimited personalized practice tests and simulated exams that mimic the CMA experience, testing features not always offered by the competition.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited personalized practice tests

  • Simulated CMA exams

  • Live virtual sessions with top plan

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Money-back guarantee for only 10 days

  • Unlimited access only with top plan

Overview

The CMA exam prep courses offered by Becker stand out from the competition because of the testing options you’ll receive, no matter which plan you choose. Becker offers two CMA exam prep course options covering both parts of the exam with costs ranging from $1,499 to $2,099. Both plans include unlimited personalized practice tests, simulated CMA exams with new-to-you questions, and review sessions to test your knowledge and predict your exam score.

In addition to robust testing resources, Becker’s plans include digital textbooks, video lectures, flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and more. Plus, with the most expensive plan, you’ll receive five virtual one-hour individual tutoring sessions with a mentor and the ability to attend live virtual class sessions. Many other providers don’t offer these resources.

Becker constantly updates its course content, so you can rest assured knowing the content is current. While you’ll get unlimited access to the course materials with Becker’s most expensive plan, access is limited to 24 months with its lowest-cost plan. Unfortunately, Becker only offers a 10-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t think you can pass the CMA exam within 24 months, choose Becker’s more expensive plan or opt for another provider.

Final Verdict

Gleim offers the overall best CMA prep course since its plans can meet most people’s learning needs and budgets. With Gleim, you can access the test bank for only one part of the exam if that’s all you need. Alternatively, if you need more support, you can get unlimited access until you pass the exam to a full suite of digital and physical resources for both parts of the exam. Plus, its costs of $499 to $1,599 are competitive. 

Compare the Best CMA Exam Prep Courses

Company Price  Platform  Guarantee  Duration  Length of Course Access 
Gleim
Best Overall
$499–$1,599 Online Pass or money-back guarantee with top plan Not disclosed 18 months to unlimited
Hock International
Best Value 
$274–$1,449  Online  Pass or free second exam with top plan  Not disclosed  Unlimited 
CMA Exam Academy
Best for CMA Coaching 
$797–$1,794  Online plus in-person practice test Pass or money-back guarantee  16–32 weeks (10–12 hours per week) 1–2 years 
Surgent
Best for Efficiency 
$699–$1,699  Online  Pass or money-back guarantee  Less than 70 study hours, on average  18 months to unlimited 
Wiley Efficient Learning
Best for Self-Paced Learning 
$900–$1,800  Online  14-day free trial  Not disclosed  Unlimited
Becker
Best for a Test Bank 
$1,499–$2,099  Online  10-day money-back guarantee  Not disclosed 24 months to unlimited 

How to Choose the Best CMA Exam Prep Course

If you’ve decided to become a Certified Management Accountant, the best CMA exam prep courses can prepare you to pass the exam on the first try. Here’s what to look for when choosing a CMA exam prep course.

  • Price: You can expect to pay a fee ranging from $274 to $2,099. The least expensive courses cover one part of the exam and often only include a test bank. The most expensive plans include comprehensive materials covering both parts of the exam.
  • Length of Course Access: With the least expensive CMA exam prep courses, you’ll usually only be able to access the course materials for up to 24 months. You can access the most expensive plans for as long as it takes you to pass the CMA exam.
  • Guarantees: Money-back guarantees if you don’t pass the CMA exam are usually only provided with the most expensive courses. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the CMA Exam? 

The CMA exam is required if you want to become a Certified Management Accountant. To become a CMA, you’ll generally need a bachelor’s degree and two years of professional experience in financial accounting or managerial accounting. You’ll also need to pass both parts of the CMA exam. 

Is it Worth It to Take a CMA Exam Prep Course?

A CMA exam prep course is worth it because it can help you pass the exam on the first try. Research from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) suggests people who successfully earn the CMA designation often earn salaries 49% to 58% higher than their non-CMA peers. Plus, most CMAs indicated that receiving the designation made them more confident in their ability to do their jobs at a high level. 

What Types of Jobs Can You Get After Passing the CMA Exam? 

Passing the CMA exam demonstrates you have a high level of knowledge about financial planning, performance, and analytics. Plus, it shows that you’re skilled at strategic financial management, like financial statement analysis, risk management, and corporate finance. Once you’ve passed the CMA exam, there are many accounting-related jobs you can get, ranging from a financial analyst or risk manager to the Chief Financial Officer of a corporation. 

What Is the Typical Format of a CMA Exam Prep Course?

Most CMA exam prep courses are self-paced and completed online. Some courses are vertical, meaning you’ll complete the lessons one after another in a logical, sequential order. This format is good for those with limited managerial accounting experience or knowledge. Other CMA exam prep courses use adaptive learning technology to help you fill knowledge gaps, leading to a more efficient experience for intermediate to advanced learners.

How Many Hours Should I Study for the CMA Exam?

The amount of time you’ll need to spend studying for the CMA exam will largely depend on your background and experience. However, the IMA suggests a good rule of thumb is to spend at least 150 to 170 hours studying for each part of the exam. The CMA exam comprises two parts, so you’ll need to study for at least 300 hours. 

Methodology

When searching for the best CMA exam prep courses, we looked at all of the major offerings available throughout the United States and sought out providers that offer comprehensive CMA exam prep course offerings at a variety of price points. We also searched for providers that allow you to study for only one part of the CMA exam if you just need to refresh your skills or give unlimited access if you’re a self-paced learner who doesn’t want a time restriction.

Article Sources

  1. CMA. "Get to the Next Tax Bracket." Accessed June 11, 2021.

  2. CMA. "Taking the Exam." Accessed June 10, 2021.