How did you prepare for the US CMA Exam?
As I am from an accounting background, I have a stronghold of my concepts. My love for finance and accounting as a whole gave me the confidence to take up and clear the CMA exam in a span of three months.
Was there any specific topic you found difficult?
Overall, the topics from both parts were pretty easy to understand. If I have to dig deep and call out a particular topic, I would say, “the accounting for foreign transaction” topic was tricky during the first few times I tried to comprehend it. I didn’t let that stop me though. I managed to look up and read more on this topic. I made sure to practice more on this topic, at least till I felt confident. However, to level my game, I worked harder on the rest of the topics. That way I could leverage the difficulty of the former topic.
What’s your mantra for clearing the US CMA exam?
I have always believed in one mantra, and I would be delighted to say it again, “Get your concept right from the beginning and make your foundation strong”. What helped me really well is that I focused on essay questions. I thought to myself that performing well on the essay questions can up my chance of clearing the exams. Essay questions are the essence of the exams, is what I feel. 40 – 50 % of the overall questions are relatively easy. Questions are not twisted, and to the point. If you’ve prepared well, there will not be any unpleasant surprise elements when you take your exams.
Any tips for future aspirants for the CMA exam?
I would recommend students/professionals to watch Varun’s videos. I find them extremely useful to understand the concepts behind a particular topic. It will allow us to learn even complicated topics with ease. Also, I recommend aspirants to thoroughly read the Wiley books. The Wiley set of books helped me get a hold of certain concepts more broadly. You should be good with the Miles Concept books, but if you need more information or understanding on a particular concept, Wiley books are what you should head towards. And of course, solve as many MCQs from the OTB. You will get an understanding of the kinds of questions asked and the area that needs your major attention. Doing this will help you understand your terrain better. An added advantage is that you will learn tricks to solve the questions quickly, helping you greatly in time management. Revision is something that one shouldn’t ignore. More and more of solving questions and revisions will only increase your confidence.
Tell us about your actual exam experience.
Looking back at my first exam, I felt I was unprepared. More like, I was confident in my preparation but did not know what to expect! What made things more daunting is that I had only a month’s gap between both the parts. Thankfully, I was able to clear both parts. Though I was successful in pulling that stunt, my advice to anyone taking the exam would be to have at least 2 month’s gap between both the parts. This would ease off the pressure and help you revise at a good pace. At least a week’s break is recommended post writing one part so you get enough time to rejuvenate and prep up for the forthcoming exam.
How was your Prometric center experience?
Before I talk about the Prometric center, I must say that I am extremely grateful to the Miles staff for helping me with the logistics for the exam. Right from the admission to securing the hall ticket, they have been supportive. When booking slots and following the exam protocols, I always had a feeling I would miss out on something or go wrong somewhere. It really helps when there’s someone to guide you. Only on scheduling the exam dates and booking the hall tickets, one can think of the Prometric!
Talking about the Prometric center, they have state of the art facilities and they cover you really well. There wouldn’t be any technical difficulty at all. This helped my exam experience to be a pleasant one. They do a couple of identity and other checks, provide you the stationery, and walk you to your computer. Any problems you face, there is just a look away!
When it comes to how the exam interface looks like, remember when I told you that solving a lot of MCQs helps? Yes, if you solve the OTB thoroughly you get a hang of the interface for the actual exam. So, no surprises there.
Tell us how you prepared for your interview at Northern Trust?
Firstly, I would like to thank Vasudha, from Miles, for coordinating and setting up my interview with Northern Trust. I was in constant touch with her and put forward my requirements and expectations to her. Once the interview was scheduled, I made sure to brush up accountancy concepts. When you clear any professional course/s, the hiring panel would want to know what is the additional value add that you can bring to the table and how can you contribute in your own way to the firm. I prepared myself for such questions. Having a stronghold of accounting concepts and terminologies always helps.
Any last words for future CMA aspirants?
There is a rising demand for US CMAs in India, so there is a bright future ahead for all of us. Compared to the other professional courses, this is a short course and can be completed in a span of just 3 to 6 months. As long as you keep your concepts clear with a strong focus on the questions, you’ll ace your way through the exams.