Tuesday, 30 June 2015

How to Prepare for CMA Exams through Self Study?

I believe you are asking about the CMA exams of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India. As you would already know, the course consists of 3 levels viz. Foundation, Intermediate and Final and it takes at least 3 years to complete the whole course. Understandably, the level of difficulty increases at each level.

In my opinion, it is not very difficult to prepare for the CMA exams through self study. You may follow the following steps in your studies:

1. Read the Institute's study material thoroughly. Highlight points that seem new or important to you, or points that you may wish to revisit during later readings.
2. During your reading, make very short notes of key words. These lists of key words for every topic would help you revise after having completed your course without having to flip through hundreds of pages of your study material.
3. Download and practice all the Revisionary Test Papers (RTP's) issued by the Institute for the past 4-5 attempts. These are easily available on the Institute's website.
4. Download and Practice all the Suggested Answers for the past 4-5 attempts.
5. Revisit the RTP's and Suggested answers repeatedly till you can answer all the types of questions covered in these papers.
6. In my experience, I have noticed a number of calculation and formulae errors in the RTP's. Therefore, it is important to have read your concepts from the study material thoroughly before starting with these papers so that you can identify all the misprints.

With all due respect, in my experience, I have observed that the CMA study material is more theoretical than practical. It is possible that you may find the questions in RTP's to be very different from the type of questions you may have studied in the primary material. To mitigate this, it would be a better practice to go through the topics covered in the study materials and then prepare them from books written for the CA exams. As there are more students for CA in the country, the number of books published for CA students is huge.

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