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

Exam Shortcuts

Do Exam “Shortcuts” and “Cheat Sheets” Work When Studying for a Professional Exam?

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.

Marketing Gimmick

When someone advertises that they have a shortcut or very short materials that condense the exam into “only what you need to know,” this is only a marketing gimmick. Unfortunately, marketing does not help you pass the exam. Marketing may help you feel confident that you have some special knowledge, but when you get to the exam you will be in for a surprise if you don’t know the information that is tested on the exam.

Practice Questions vs Exam Questions

One comment that is often made by unsuccessful candidates is the questions on the exam were different than the practice questions. Of course the practice questions and exam questions are different—they should be different! If the actual exam had only questions that you practiced with, then the exam would not test what you know, but only how many questions you can memorize.

Knowledge Application

Candidates who pass that exam understand the concepts and theories tested on the exams and are able to apply that knowledge, even if the questions are asked differently than the questions that they had practiced with. Earning the credential means that you can apply your knowledge to new situations, and this is what your employer expects you to be able to do. Memorizing specific answers is of no value to your employer.

How to Save Your Time and Money

In order to be prepared to pass the exam the first time, you need more than shortcuts or simplified materials. You can save yourself a lot of time, effort, and money by studying only once using complete and comprehensive exam prep materials that prepare you to pass on your first attempt.

You can learn more about HOCK’s comprehensive CMA, CIA, and CPA exam prep materials on our web site. We may not have any shortcuts, but with our Complete program, we guarantee your success!

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA


  1. Eltag on February 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    This is really a good topic that every student needs to read in order to realize the importance of a good preparation for the exam like a CMA certification.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important topic.

  2. Nowfel on February 7, 2016 at 6:51 am

    An important note high relevance. Most of us may get mislead to fall in to the abyss of fake marketing techniques. Well written Mr. Brian. Keep going

  3. HASSAN MOHAMMED OSMAN ELSHAFE on July 25, 2020 at 5:34 am