For Certified Management Accountant (CMA) candidates planning to pass the CMA exam, a review course is a must-have. Therefore, many candidates want to know which CMA review will give them the greatest return on their investment. In other words, which course will ensure they can pass the exam on their first try.
CMA candidates must investigate this inquiry because the CMA review industry offers a variety of review courses with diverse features and benefits. Furthermore, these courses sometimes target candidates with specific experience and education levels. Therefore, you should take the time to compare courses and find the best fit for you.
However, of all the available programs, one course is the most popular, and that course is Gleim CMA Review. So, let’s analyze the features of the 2021 version along with the pros and cons of the course.
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Gleim has nearly 40 years’ experience in the CMA space. And currently, Gleim offers 3 versions of their CMA review system. These include:
The Gleim Premium CMA Review System contains all the tools and resources you need for effective CMA exam prep. What’s more, the Premium course is the only version that includes enhanced features. These features include professor-led video lectures, a no-hassle money-back guarantee, an access until you pass guarantee, and direct help from experts. Therefore, the Premium course is ideal for candidates who don’t have a depth of experience with the CMA exam content. It really is a complete offering.
Additionally, the Gleim CMA Premium Course includes the following components:
Yes, you need a complete CMA course for one very compelling reason. With the full package, you receive access until you pass. And with this guarantee, your materials will automatically update.
Come 2020, the access until you pass component will be extremely important because the CMA exam is set to undergo extensive changes. So, materials from 2019 or earlier will no longer be adequate to prepare you for the updated exam. In this case, the access until you pass feature will be critical to your success. Therefore, I highly recommend that you ONLY purchase a course that includes this component.
I know a full CMA review course is expensive, but it’s also a good value. Remember, each re-take for the CMA exam costs over $400 per part. And if you purchase a full review course, you have a better chance of avoiding any exam re-takes. Not to mention, you can become a CMA more quickly. So, if you invest in a complete CMA course right away, you’ll save money as well as hundreds of study hours.
As a side note, Gleim does offer financing options for their courses. To apply, you’ll need a valid U.S. social security number.
Comparatively, the Gleim CMA Traditional System is a more basic self-study CMA exam course. Consequently, the Traditional package does NOT include these features from the Premium system:
Without these features, the Traditional course truly becomes a self-guided course. You still have access to an exam mentor, but they won’t be able to answer your technical questions about the exam content.
However, the Traditional system may still be a good option for you because it includes these features:
The price of the Gleim Traditional CMA Review System and Premium System are not so far off. But the Premium course offers more value for its price. As such, I recommend the Premium option over the Traditional option.
The Gleim CMA test bank is known as the Mega Test Bank. This test bank includes 1 book for each exam part. You can choose to have the physical book delivered to you or request access to the digital version. And if you go the digital route, you’ll save money on shipping fees.
Of course, the test bank also contains thousands of multiple-choice questions and hundreds of essays. As a reminder, you also receive access to this test bank as part of the Gleim Premium or Traditional CMA course.
Regardless of which course you choose, you can use the Gleim test bank to prepare you for exam day. Specifically, you can use it in 2 ways:
This CMA test bank is a powerful tool because it shows you the explanations for the correct and incorrect answer choices. Therefore, the best way to use a test bank is to read all the explanations, even those for the incorrect answer choices. In doing so, you can ensure that you understand the exam concepts and the reasoning behind each answer.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive analysis of the 3 Gleim CMA review products, check out my chart below.
To summarize, the main difference between the courses is the addition of video lectures. The Premium course is the only course to come with video lectures (40+ hours) and offer you a classroom experience. In comparison, the Traditional course features everything in the Premium course except the video lectures, access until you pass, expert help, and a money-back guarantee.
Finally, the Gleim CMA Mega Test Bank is solely a bank of practice questions. With it, you won’t get any lectures, guarantees, or additional support.
|Premium CMA Review||Traditional CMA Review||CMA Mega Test Bank|
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|CMA Test Bank|
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Clearly, I’m a fan of the Gleim CMA Review course. I think this course offers significant advantages and is, therefore, a strong investment. But I also recognize that some candidates may have hesitations about the product. So, to help you make your decision about Gleim CMA Review, I’ll detail the positive and negative aspects of this course.
Dr. Gleim was one of the first CMAs in the country (you can see his certificate number on the IMA website). He was also a highly respected professor at the University of Florida and has spent many years teaching exam review courses for accountants. What’s more, Dr. Gleim was the first author of the popular Wiley CPAexcel Exam Review!
Furthermore, Amy Ford, the lead instructor in the Gleim CMA videos, was one of the top scores on the CMA exam. For her achievement, she received a Certificate of Distinguished Performance from the IMA. Amy is also an instructor of accountancy at Western Illinois University (WIU), and in 2011, the IMA named her IMA Faculty Mentor of the Year.
Gleim is proud of their practice questions, which cover the widest range of topics. In total, the Gleim test bank has more than 3,000 questions. Some candidates study best by cranking through lots of practice questions (like I did). So, for them, Gleim is an excellent choice.
In my opinion, Gleim CMA is able to develop such a comprehensive set of questions because they have also created review courses for the CPA, CIA, and EA exams. Therefore, they have a deep and wide understanding of accounting that goes beyond management accounting.
Gleim’s CMA courses are the best at recreating the exam environment. With a Gleim CMA course, you can learn how the exam operates as you prepare for it. And with this experience, you can minimize the number of surprises you encounter on exam day. Another great feature of the test bank is the test mode. In this mode, you gain an advantage by taking a very realistic practice test.
I can see that Gleim has put a lot of thought into the design of Gleim CMA Review. Specifically, I appreciate the detailed instructions as well as the very exact guidelines. Additionally, Gleim CMA provides study tactics and the recommended number of study hours for each of the sub-units (micro study units) in a section.
If you get the Premium or Traditional Review System, your course comes with access to a Personal Counselor. Many students need help creating a study plan, practical tips for sticking with it, and answers to questions about the exam. Consequently, the Personal Counselors at Gleim supply a value-added service of presenting solutions to these common issues. But remember, the Gleim Personal Counselors do not answer technical questions, so you’ll need the Premium CMA Review Course specifically if you want this service.
While I appreciate the very detailed topic discussions within the books, some candidates find this information hard to read or just too much to read. I personally prefer a format with more bullet points and more white space on each page.
However, if you follow the study guide in the online course, you will see that it does not require students to read the whole book. Instead, the study guide recommends that students just focus on the sections they are not familiar with. And if you do that, the books will be much less overwhelming. Also, watching video lectures is a much better way to digest information that can be challenging to read through. So, if you watch all the lectures and don’t find the books helpful for reinforcing your weak areas, you can probably skip the books altogether.
Gleim may be better suited for candidates who have an accounting background. Because the course teaches certain concepts at a high-level, some candidates who do not have an accounting degree may not feel at ease with this teaching style. However, the Premium course comes with more than enough study aids. So, if you purchase this product, you should be able to catch up on the most basic concepts quickly using the many different study tools.
If you’re asking me, the answer is yes, definitely! The pros of these courses certainly outweigh the cons. And, Gleim CMA Review is the gold standard in the industry. Additionally, Gleim was the first CMA review provider and is a partner of the IMA. Moreover, the Gleim materials are top-notch and meticulously updated every year. And finally, the Gleim CMA Review Course is a very popular choice among my readers and is likely the most widely used CMA review course on the market.
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I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!