Occasionally, a student will contact us asking about a different way that they have to calculate an answer to an example or question in our CMA, CIA, or CPA materials. While these alternative ways are sometimes valid, a professional exam is not the place to try out a new theory, disagree with the syllabus, or experiment with an alternate method.
It is true that there are some things on the exams that can be calculated in more than one way. I know that there are different procedures and different ways to calculate a number or ratio that vary from company to company. However, for a professional exam, there is one way to correctly calculate a ratio and usually one way of how a process should be completed. For example, there may be dozens of ways to do a capital budgeting assessment in practice, but for the CMA exam, there are only a limited number of ways that are acceptable.
So, when you are studying for or taking the exam, remember that the questions will be asked from a certain perspective and will use specific processes and calculations. If you have questions about the “right” way to do something for the exam, remember that the “right” way is the way in your materials, because that is the way that the correct answer will be calculated on the exam.
Brian Hock, CMA, CIA