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Archive | From Brian’s Desk

From Brian’s Desk: Three Stages of Understanding

For almost 20 years, I have been writing study materials and teaching exam-based courses for the CMA, CIA, CPA, CFA, ACCA, and CIMA exams. While writing materials and preparing for classes, I have recognized three stages of understanding that a person goes through when learning something new. The first stage is what I call “memorization.” You have memorized the key terms, the steps that need to be performed, the formulas, and maybe some of the unique details for the topic […]

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Exam Tip: Taking a Step Back

We have written previously about the importance of having a study schedule and sticking to it (Exam Tip: Scheduling for Success and Peace of Mind), but sometimes you need to take a step back from your plan in order to move forward. If you’re familiar with soccer (football for our non-US readers), it is common for a team to pass the ball backwards in order to regroup and prepare again to go forward. Sometimes in studying you might need to […]

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The CMA exam is not “bite-sized” or “micro,” and neither is HOCK

Recently I have seen advertising for CMA materials using the terms “bite-sized learning” and “microlearning.” As an experienced teacher who knows what is required to pass the exam, I do not like these terms because the questions on the exam are not “bite-sized” or “micro.” The exam questions require critical thinking and application of multiple concepts to a new situation, not just “bite-sized” keywords or “micro” items from a list. At HOCK, we do not want to just sell you […]

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Frequently Asked Question: Does HOCK have enough MCQs?

In short, yes. More questions do not necessarily mean that you will be better prepared. We know that there are test banks with many old and/or outdated questions, which add to the question count but do not help you pass the exam. Or, there may be a number of variations of the same question with slightly different numbers, but these are not beneficial to learning. We carefully review our questions to ensure that they are relevant and unique and include […]

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The Cost of Taking the CMA Exam: A Fixed Cost or Variable Cost?

Candidates frequently ask us for the total cost of becoming a CMA including both study materials and exam fees. This is an important question not only for budgeting purposes, but it is also an important consideration when choosing your study materials or classroom provider. For every provider except HOCK, the total cost of becoming a CMA is a variable cost, and here’s why: Many CMA providers limit the amount of time you have access to materials and/or support, so if […]

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I’m waiting for my exam result – should I start with the other Part(s)?

After taking the exam, students frequently ask if they should start studying for the next part right away, or if they need to wait for their results first. If you feel that you did well on the exam, I suggest that you should start studying the next part, and here’s why: Even if you do not pass, you will not have a lot to re-study, so you would be able to re-study while you continue studying for the next Part. […]

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Questions to ask about live-taught classes before you enroll

Around the world, there are hundreds of institutions offering live classes for CMA, CIA, CPA, ACCA, and many other certifications. While there are a lot of excellent review course providers, there are also some that charge too much for too little service—perhaps offering poor materials, illegal copies, or unqualified teachers. Having taught live classes in Eastern Europe for over 10 years, I know what questions you should ask before enrolling in a live-taught course so that you can find quality […]

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Value-Added Exam Prep

Recently, I was talking with someone who was interested in HOCK CMA study materials and I was telling them that HOCK students receive unlimited support for as long as necessary to pass the exams without any time limit. That person responded excitedly, “Wow! That is really a value add!” This reaction started me thinking—value-added activities are part of the CMA syllabus and are also applicable to CMA materials. Value-added activities are those activities that create more value for the customer. […]

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Do Exam “Shortcuts” and “Cheat Sheets” work?

Studying for a professional exam is just like preparing to accomplish any significant goal—the only way to succeed is to put in the required time and effort. There is a specific and defined body of knowledge that you need to know to pass a professional exam and until you have mastered that body of knowledge, you will not pass the exam. When someone advertises that they have a shortcut or very short materials that condense the exam into “only what […]

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CMA Exam Risk Management

In my last post I wrote about the declining CMA pass rate and some possible reasons for the decline. Many of you wrote asking what you can do to improve your chance of passing the exam, so this post addresses risk management and what you can do to help ensure your success on the exam. The first step of risk management starts with yourself. You must know why you are taking the CMA exam (or any professional exam). It can […]

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