Best CMA Exam Prep Courses

Pass the CMA exam on your first attempt

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The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional credential for accounting professionals looking to climb the ladder and take on accounting management roles. CMAs must pass two rigorous exams and many need a CMA prep course to complete each part, but with several options to choose from, it can be tough to decide which option is best.

To make it easier, we reviewed a dozen CMA exam prep course providers. We looked at company history, reputation, pricing, guarantees, and more. These are the best CMA exam prep courses for every type of student.

The Best CMA Exam Prep Courses of 2021

Best Overall : Gleim

Gleim

 Gleim

Gleim earned our top ranking because the company is well-established, with more than 40 years of preparing CMA students. The company also boasts a 99% satisfaction rate, with over 250 universities working with Gleim, and offers the most comprehensive CMA exam prep of all the companies we reviewed.

Pros
  • Free demo of Premium Review

  • Access until you pass with Premium Review

  • SmartAdapt learning platform technology

Cons
  • Pricing starts at $999

  • No live instruction

  • Tougher without an accounting background

Gleim snagged our number-one spot because of the company’s long-standing reputation, customer satisfaction, and comprehensive review program. Established in 1974, Gleim is a strategic partner of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and a leading accounting exam prep provider. Based in Gainesville, Florida, the company offers prep courses for the CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, AFSP, and continuing education. 

Gleim offers three exam prep packages: Premium CMA Review ($1,599), Traditional CMA Review ($1,349), and Mega Test Bank ($999), with an optional payment plan through Affirm. If you're not ready to buy, Gleim offers a free demo of the Premium CMA Review, with unlimited access to one exam topic. College students may be eligible for a 20% discount.

The Premium and Traditional packages include the test bank with thousands of questions, books, online reviews, full-length exam rehearsals, study planners, and audio lectures. But the Premium also offers videos, access until you pass, digital flashcards, and assistance from the accounting team. 

While all three packages offer Gleim's customer service, the Premium and Traditional packages also provide mentoring. The Premium package kicks it up a notch with access to accounting experts. Another perk is Gleim's SmartAdapt learning platform, which shows you where to focus and adjusts your study plan over time.

Best Test Bank : Wiley Efficient Learning

Wiley Efficient Learning

 Wiley Efficient Learning

Wiley Efficient Learning made our list because it offers more practice questions than any other provider we reviewed. The company provides over 5,500 practice questions to prepare for the CMA exam.

Pros
  • Free 14-day trial

  • Access until you pass with all three courses

  • 11th Hour Final Review with Platinum Course

Cons
  • Pricing starts at $900

  • No live course in the U.S.

Wiley Efficient Learning earned a place on the list because of the company’s massive test bank with over 5,500 practice questions. The Sedona, Arizona-based company is an IMA strategic partner with more than 200 years of education experience, with prep courses for accounting and finance exams. Wiley says eight out of 10 of their students pass both parts of the CMA exam, which is almost double the global pass rate of 40%.   

Wiley has three options for CMA exam prep: Platinum Course ($1,800), Gold Course ($1,350), and Silver Course ($900), with optional financing through Citizens Bank. The company also has a 14-day free trial and a 20% discount for college students.

All three courses provide access to the learning platform, access until you pass, a mobile app, and video lessons. The Platinum and Gold courses have 5,500 multiple choice questions, instructor mentoring, and an online test bank; the Platinum course adds a final review and flashcards. Additionally, the Platinum course offers an 11th Hour Final Review with guidance from Wiley’s instructors to boost your confidence.

Wiley's predictive scoring may help you feel more confident on exam day and the company's FocusMe technology adjusts your study plan to focus on weaker areas.

Best Value : Hock International

Hock International

 Hock International

Hock International wins the best value category because of its affordable pricing, including special offers and payment plans. The company is among the most popular options because it offers top-quality CMA exam prep courses at an accessible price.

Pros
  • Free 14-day trial

  • Pricing starts at $499

  • “You Pass or We Pay” Guarantee with Complete package

Cons
  • Questions & Mock Exams package may not be enough to pass

  • Smaller test bank than some competitors

  • Strict requirements for “You Pass or We Pay” Guarantee

Hock International earned a spot for best value because it's a reputable but affordable option. Since 2000, the Columbus, Ohio-based company has been a trusted name for students taking the CMA, CPA, or CIA exams.

Hock International offers three packages: CMA Review Complete ($1,449), CMA Review Standard ($699), and CMA Questions & Mock Exams ($499). The company offers a worldwide, interest-free payment plan and seasonal discounts, making it more accessible for students on a budget. You can also test the program with a 14-day free trial.

While all three options include the test bank and mock exams, the Standard Package also has an interactive study guide, teacher support, and physical and digital textbooks. 

The Complete package adds 62 hours of video, along with the company's "You Pass or We Pay" guarantee. This guarantee says if you don’t pass the CMA exam on your first attempt, Hock International will pay the fee for your second exam attempt, assuming you meet the requirements.

Best for CMA Coaching : CMA Exam Academy

CMA Exam Academy

CMA Exam Academy

CMA Exam Academy scored a place on the list because of the program’s coaching. The company’s personalized approach includes weekly support calls, unlimited one-on-one coaching, and easy access to your coach via email.

Pros
  • Pass or 100% refund guarantee

  • Weekly support calls and unlimited one-on-one coaching

  • IMA and CMA discounts

Cons
  • Total pricing at $1,486

  • Limited demo

  • No live classes

CMA Exam Academy made our list because of its unique CMA coaching program. Based in Irvine, California, Nathan Liao has helped over 35,000 CMA students prepare for their exam. 

CMA Exam Academy offers the Complete CMA Review Course Combo for a $499 down payment and three monthly payments of $329, for a total cost of $1,486. If you pay for the entire program up front, you may qualify for a 22% discount. CMA Exam Academy provides a few sample lessons, but you won’t get a robust demo like some competitors.

The program includes weekly support calls with Nathan, unlimited one-on-one coaching via email, weekly assignments with accountability emails, and a 100% pass guarantee, assuming you completed all course material. After signing up, you have access to the course and test bank for two years. 

You also receive review lectures, physical and digital books, a test bank of over 2,500 questions, and more. CMA Exam Academy throws in 15% discounts on IMA membership and the CMA entrance exam.

Best for Efficiency : Surgent

Surgent

Surgent

Surgent wins for efficiency because the company promises exam-ready students in fewer than 70 hours. The company's adaptive learning technology aims to reduce your study time by as much as 50%.

Pros
  • Pass or refund guarantee

  • Competitive pricing options

  • Unlimited practice exams with all packages

Cons
  • Free trial only last three days

  • Unlimited access until you pass with Ultimate Pass only

  • No live classes

Surgent earned a place on our list because the average student completes the program in 61 hours. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Surgent has been around since 1985, offering prep courses for the CPA, EA, CMA, CIA, and CISA exams. The company is an IMA strategic partner with a reputation for an efficient CMA exam prep program. 

Surgent offers three packages: CMA Review Essentials Pass ($699), CMA Review Premier Pass ($999), and CMA Review Ultimate Pass ($1,699). Each package offers optional financing through Affirm, and you may get a discount by switching from another CMA exam prep provider. If you want to test the program, you’ll have to make a quick decision because Surgent only offers a three-day free trial. 

All three packages offer the two-part review course, 3,945 questions, 65 essays, unlimited practice exams, PDF textbooks, and a pass or money-back guarantee. The Premier Pass also includes 24-month access and 60 video lectures, and the Ultimate Pass tacks on two one-on-one coaching sessions, a physical textbook and flashcards, and unlimited access until you pass. 

Surgent's adaptive technology uses an algorithm to cut back on study time, optimize your plan, and the company's ReadySCORE shows your preparedness.

Best Guarantee : Powers Resources Corporation

Powers Resources Corporation

Powers Resources Corporation

Powers Resources Corporation (PRC) earned a spot for best guarantee because it offers the most affordable prep courses with a money-back guarantee. You may be eligible for the company's guarantee with all three CMA exam prep courses.

Pros
  • Free 15-day demo

  • Money-back guarantee for all three courses

  • Competitive pricing

Cons
  • Less popular CMA exam prep option

  • Live course only available with Review Plus

  • PowersUp package may not be enough to pass

Powers Resource Corporation (PRC) wins our best guarantee because it offers an affordable money-back guarantee for repeat test-takers. Founded in 2008, the Mississauga, Ontario-based provider specializes in exam prep for the CMA and CIA.

PRC offers three options: PRC PowersUp ($330), PRC Exam Review ($525), and PRC Exam Review Plus ($1,295). You can also buy the live courses for Part 1 and Part 2 separately for $450 each. The company offers a 15-day demo, which is one day longer than a few competitors.

The Review Plus includes the test bank, textbook, mock exam, pass guarantee, and live online course, but the PRC Exam Review doesn't offer the live class option. PRC PowersUp provides the basics without live classes or the textbook. While PRC does offer support for students, these programs are mostly self-study, particularly the Exam Review and PowersUp packages with no live course.

Verdict

Earning the CMA designation isn't easy. With pass rates continually below 50%, many students are repeat test-takers and may spend a considerable amount of time studying. These are the best CMA prep course options, depending on your preferences. If you want a well-established company with a proven track record for over 40 years, we recommend Gleim’s comprehensive CMA exam prep.

Compare Providers

Company Why We Picked It Pricing
Gleim Best Overall $999 to $1,599
Wiley Efficient Learning Best Test Bank $900 to $1,800
Hock International Best Value $499 to $1,449
CMA Exam Academy Best for CMA Coaching $1,486
Surgent Best for Efficiency $699 to $1,699
Powers Resources Corporation Best Guarantee $330 to $1,295

FAQs

What Is the CMA Exam?

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional designation for management accountants. To earn the CMA designation, you need a bachelor's degree or professional accounting certification and two years of work experience. You will also need to pass both parts of the CMA exam. 

Part one of the CMA exam covers financial accounting and the second part covers strategic management. Typically, it takes 12 to 18 months to complete both parts.

Who Should Take the CMA Exam?

With only 4,000 new CMAs every year, and only 70,000 awarded to date, the credential could be a way to establish more credibility in the accounting or finance fields. According to IMA, the CMA designation could boost your earnings and career potential, with a 63% salary advantage, for many years to come. 

Is Becoming a CMA Worth It?

The CMA is internationally recognized, with professionals earning 63% more worldwide, according to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). And the salary boost is 33% higher for CMAs in their 20s, proving there is a benefit of achieving the credential early.

A 2017 report found that CMAs earn a $1,696 return on investment per hour of study time, so hitting the books for 160 hours could yield an extra $271,360 during your career. 

What Does a CMA Exam Prep Course Cost?

Based on our research, a CMA exam prep course can cost anywhere from a few hundred to nearly two thousand dollars. The pricing depends on what the program includes, including course materials, live instructions, program guarantees, and more. While some top-ranked programs tend to be more costly, disciplined students may find good value in the CMA self-study prep course options. 

How We Chose the Best CMA Exam Prep Courses

With over a dozen CMA exam prep courses to choose from, it can be tough to decide where to spend your money. To start, we looked at each company's history, reputation, and IMA affiliation. We also compared each course’s pricing, free trials, and guarantees. Lastly, we reviewed the programs’ test banks, course materials, access to instructors, and special features to cement our top picks.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
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  2. AccountingToday. "ICMA releases first 2020 CMA exam results." Accessed Jan. 16, 2021.

  3. Institute of Management Accountants, Inc. "What is the CMA certification?" Accessed Jan. 16, 2021.

  4. Institute of Management Accountants, Inc. "The CMA Advantage: An Update." Accessed Jan. 16, 2021.

  5. Wiley. "CMA." Accessed Jan. 16, 2021.

  6. PRC. "CMA." Accessed Jan. 16, 2021.