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 live classes.

Among the questions that you should ask, as well as some suggestions as to what is a “good” answer would be, are:

How many hours of instruction are provided per part?

Our CMA video courses are 30-35 hours per Part. In a live class, you should expect about 50 clock hours of instruction. Also, more hours are not necessarily better—inefficient instruction wastes time and may suggest that the instructors are not well-qualified.

Who are the instructors?

Ideally, instructors should hold the certification that they are teaching because this indicates that they know the exam syllabus and what the exam is like. However, it is not necessary for some specialized topics. For example, if the person who teaches the IT part of the course content does not hold the certificate, but is an experienced professional and a good teacher, then that should be fine.

How many people are usually in a class?

I suggest 15-25 students is the right size, showing that the class has been accepted in the market, but is still small enough to allow you access to the teachers as needed.

May I attend a class or part of a class for free to see how the class is run?

A company that is confident in their classes should be glad for you to come and sit in on a class as part of your decision-making.

What support do you provide outside of classes? Will the publisher of the materials that you use answer my questions?

You should be able to e-mail the teachers (or other exam-content experts) at the company with questions. At HOCK, we consider candidates who study with our materials in a classroom to be our students too, and we provide unlimited support from exam experts to any student who has authentic HOCK materials.

Will I need to study between classes?

The only acceptable answer is “Yes.” If the company tells you that you do not need to study between classes, do NOT attend classes at that company. No matter how good the teachers are and no matter how many hours the classes are, you will still need to answer practice questions and review between the classes.

What if I miss a class? How can I “make it up?”

The company might allow you to attend that class with a different group, or they might provide a recording of that class. No matter how, there should be a way to make up a missed class.

What study materials are provided?

At a minimum, we recommend a textbook and question bank. You should also confirm with the supplier of the materials that the company is using the materials with their permission. All of the companies that are authorized to use HOCK materials are listed on our website.

You should also know that if a company is listed as a preferred provider on a regional IMA site, it only means only that they use Wiley materials, nothing more. There is no assessment of the quality of the company, classes, or teachers.

What will you do for me if I attend every class and fail the actual exam?

At a minimum, they should allow you to attend the classes again for free, as long as you attended every class and passed their assessment quizzes along the way.

What is the total cost of attending class?

Some companies provide one all-inclusive price for their course, while others will charge many small fees that add up. Be sure to get the total cost for the course including any fees that may be charged later.

As a benchmark for CMA classes, if you purchase the HOCK CMA Complete materials for both parts of the CMA Exam, your cost is $999. This includes ALL of the materials that you will need to pass the exam, complete video classes taught by me, and also the HOCK “You Pass or We Pay” Guarantee. If a live-taught class costs more than $999, you need to ask what services that the company provides that justify the higher cost.

We hope that this list will help you choose an excellent live classroom provider should you pursue your studying in a live classroom setting. We are always happy to answer any questions that you have about HOCK materials, whether you are studying directly with HOCK or choosing a class that uses authorized HOCK materials.

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA