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 be for a raise, a better job, or because you want to learn the material (the exact reason does not matter). What matters is that you have a specific reason. Passing the exam requires a significant time commitment and if you do not know why you are doing it, you will find many reasons to not study. (See: The Only Question You Need to Answer to Pass the Exam)
Second, you need to have a plan for studying and passing the exam. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I cannot overemphasize this point—make a schedule so you know when you are studying and when you are not studying. (See: Exam Tip: Scheduling for Success and Peace of Mind)
Third, use your study materials. You cannot learn from your materials if you do not study them. This means that you not only read the textbook, but you study the examples and solve every practice question, both multiple-choice and essay. If you have flash cards, use them. We created flash cards for a reason—they are a very helpful study tool. Our videos are also very helpful and reduce the amount of time needed to study and make the study process a bit easier for most people.
Fourth, ask questions! As you are studying, certain concepts will be unclear. When this happens, do not ask Google. The CMA exam has very specific content, and very little of what is on the Internet is specific for the CMA exam. A lot of what you find on Google will also be wrong information. You could also just “hope” that they do not ask about a particular topic on the exam, but this is very risky because you cannot predict what the specific topics your exam will cover. Your best option is to ask questions. Please, ask questions! At HOCK, we provide unlimited support to all candidates who purchase our materials because we want you to pass the exam. If the company that you bought materials from does not support you by answering questions, let them know that they should. (You might also be interested in the Switch to HOCK Discount.)
Finally, you can share the risk with another party, which is what car, home, or health insurance do. You hope that you do not need to use the insurance, but if do, you’re very glad that you have it. You can do this for the CMA exam with HOCK’s “You Pass or We Pay” Guarantee. If you follow our program and do not pass the actual exam, HOCK will pay for you to retake the exam. You hope that you do not need to use it, but if you do, you will be very glad that you have it. (As a side note, at the time of writing this, we have not had to pay for one person to retake the CMA exam because our materials work—if you use them and follow the plan.)
Yes, the CMA exam pass rate has declined a little bit. But, with proper risk management and planning you can make certain that you pass the exam, even when the statistics do not appear to be in your favor.
Brian Hock, CMA, CIA