The CMA Exam Academy review course was founded and created by Nathan Liao after he saw a need in the market for a more curated study guide. Liao, a current certified management accountant, has been a CMA coach since 2012 and has helped over 15,000 candidates successfully prepare for the exam. During this time, he found out that many people need more than just a book or a study guide. They need help with study strategies, direction, and motivation. Thus, the CMA Exam Academy prep course was born.
The basic idea behind this guide is kind of virtual live classroom. Liao is your coach who walks with you through a 12-week program designed to explain all of the important topics covered on the exam and prepare you on how to approach questions you might see on exam day. This is unique to any study course on the market right now because no other company offers this level of coaching. If you get behind, Liao is there to tell you to speed it up. If you don’t understand a topic, you can email him directly for an answer. It’s like having a college professor at your beck and call.
With this system, you can’t really fail. It’s like having a CMA looking over your shoulder during your study process and showing you step-by-step what works and what to do next. He will walk you through everything to make sure you pass. You really can’t go wrong with a program like this.
Let’s take a look at the CMA Exam Academy study materials and what included in the course.
There are three different packages that you can choose from: Lite, Premium, or Platinum Coaching Course.
The Lite Course
The Lite Course is a more affordable version of the course that does not include a textbook or access to an online test bank. This is for people who have already purchased another course and want an awesome supplement. It can be purchased for either part 1 or part 2 of the exam and includes:
100+ CMA EXAM ACADEMY VIDEO AND AUDIO LECTURES
UNLIMITED EMAIL COACHING WITH 36-HOUR RESPONSE TIME
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOLLOW UP VIA EMAIL
1-YEAR ACADEMY COURSE ACCESS AND COACHING SUPPORT
12-WEEK STEP-BY-STEP SYLLABUS AND STUDY PLAN
Again, note that this course does not include a study textbook or online test bank.
The Premium Coaching Course
The Premium Coaching program is a more full-fledged course that uses the Wiley CMAexcel textbooks and online test bank for multiple-choice questions, so you will have access to the full 2,000 question Wiley CMAexcel test bank, practice essay questions, and textbooks. Here’s a full list of what’s included:
WILEY CMAEXCEL TEXTBOOKS
WILEY CMAEXCEL 2,000 QUESTION TEST BANK (1 YEAR ACCESS)
70+ WILEY CMAEXCEL PRACTICE ESSAY QUESTIONS
EXAM FORMULA GUIDES
100+ CMA EXAM ACADEMY VIDEO AND AUDIO LECTURES
UNLIMITED EMAIL COACHING WITH 24-HOUR RESPONSE TIME
2-YEAR ACADEMY COURSE ACCESS AND COACHING SUPPORT
12-WEEK STEP-BY-STEP SYLLABUS AND STUDY PLAN
What makes this package unique is integration of the Wiley study materials, CMA Academy video lectures, and the personalized coaching and guidance from Liao. This is a well-designed course and has everything you’ll need to pass the exam on your first attempt.
The Platinum Coaching Course
The Platinum Coaching program is the elite course. It has everything in it and then some. It includes everything that the Premium course includes as well as the following:
WILEY CMAEXCEL 4,500 QUESTION TEST BANK (1 YEAR ACCESS)
105+ WILEY CMAEXCEL PRACTICE ESSAY QUESTIONS
UNLIMITED EMAIL COACHING WITH 12-HOUR RESPONSE TIME
LIFETIME ACADEMY COURSE ACCESS AND COACHING SUPPORT
DOWNLOADABLE VIDEOS, AUDIO FILES AND LECTURE SLIDES
The Platinum Coaching Program truly is the one-stop-shop for study courses. If you are using this course, it will be difficult to fail the exam.
Now that we know what’s included in each package, let’s take a look at the course as a whole.
The course is set up into 12 different modules that are designed to take one week each. Thus, if you follow the steps, you will be fully prepared for each exam part within 12 weeks.
Each module consists of an overview of the topic and a number of lessons. Within each lesson there is a video lecture, study slides, audio lecture, and a multiple-choice practice quiz.
Each module ends with an assignment that gets turned into Liao for personal review and coaching.
Let’s take a quick look at each one of these components.
The dashboard is your navigation and summary of the entire course. It lists all of the different modules and lessons. It also shows you a progress bar of how many lessons you’ve completed and how many you have to go.
This layout is nice because you can quickly scroll down the page and see what lessons you’ve completed and which ones you still need to work on.
You also have access to Liao’s test-taking tips and strategies section as well as the student Q & A section. Both of which are designed to help with common problems candidates have during the study prep process.
Let’s look at the actual lessons themselves.
Each lesson teaches on a specific topic and includes at least one video lecture by Liao as well as study slides used in the lecture, the audio version of the lecture, and a lesson quiz section.
Here’s what the layout looks like:
It’s clean, easy to follow, and doesn’t get in your way of studying. The video section is on the left with a navigation bar through each lesson in that module on the right. Below each video are links for the study slides, audio lectures, downloadable videos, and the lesson multiple-choice questions.
At the bottom of the page, there is a comment section where you can post any questions you have about the lecture, study materials, or course in general. Liao answers every one of these questions himself. Here’s what they look like:
Let’s take a look at each of these lesson components.
Video Lectures –
The CMA Academy video lectures are professional and informative. Liao does a great job at making boring topics interesting and enjoyable to study. All of the videos are shot in HD and are easy to follow. Liao uses a powerpoint system instead of a whiteboard or some type of virtual writing tablet making the lectures clean.
The biggest thing about the video lectures in this course is the sheer number of them. CMA Academy has way more lectures than any other course. It has over 100 videos covering just about every topic you can think of. It’s extremely comprehensive. Plus, you can download all of them with the Platinum course, so you can watch them without an internet connection!
Study Slides –
The study slides are pretty much what you would expect. They are professional powerpoint slides. Nothing hand written here.
You can download all of the slides to study from or take notes on later.
Audio Lectures –
This is a feature that’s common in the CPA exam review course market, but no one is offering this for CMA review courses except CMA Exam Academy.
Essentially, these are audio files of the lectures that you can download and take with you anywhere. You can listen to them in the car on your commute to work, while you are working out, or on your lunch break at work. This extra gives you total flexibility anywhere you go.
Multiple-Choice Questions –
The CMA Exam Academy review course has a lesson quiz section after each lesson that includes a few related multiple-choice questions. These are pretty standard.
After you answer the questions and submit the quiz, an explanation will appear discussing the correct answer.
This section in the course is fairly small and doesn’t include any real analytics or metrics to show you what topics you are answering correct or incorrect. You simply answer the questions in each lesson and review them manually.
It’s fairly limited, but that’s where the Wiley CMAexcel test bank comes into play.
Wiley CMAexcel Study Materials –
The CMA Exam Academy review course utilities several study materials from Wiley including their test bank, textbooks, flash cards, and essay questions. All of these come with your Premium or Platinum course.
The Wiley test bank has analytics and the ability to make custom quizzes for certain topics along with a number of different functionalities.
Note: these materials do NOT come with the Lite version of the course. If you want CMAexcel materials, you will have to get the Premium or Platinum course.
Exam Pass Guarantee –
I always love it when a company stands behind their product, especially when it’s a study guide. CMA Exam Academy is confident that you will pass once you finish all of the modules and assignments. So much so, if you don’t pass, they will give you unlimited access to the course and FREE coaching until you do pass.
That’s pretty crazy. Many courses will let you use their products until you pass the exam, but none will give you coaching and support for free until you pass. How can you go wrong with that?
Obviously, the biggest benefit to the course is the individualized coaching that you get from Nathan Liao, CMA. You can think of him as your CMA coach or guide through the study process. No other course offers this level of coaching and accountability. Here’s a little of how it works.
He tracks your progress through the materials and let’s you know if you are falling behind. Let’s face it. Some of us need someone there to yell at us when we skip a few study days in a row. 🙂
Basically, he tracks your progress through the lectures and reviews the assignments that submit. Then he sends weekly emails showing your problem areas and what he thinks you need to pay more attention to.
You have personal interaction with him constantly throughout the 12 modules. This kind of coaching is pretty much unheard of in other courses. There’s really no reason why you would fail if you had someone standing side-by-side with you throughout your entire study process showing you study tips and testing strategies. It’s pretty awesome. It’s especially useful for candidates taking the exam outside of the United States.
CMA Exam Academy offers waaaayy more video lectures than any other course. This is particularly important to me. I learn much more efficiently watching lectures than reading a boring textbook. There are over 100 HD video lectures included in the course.
Downloadable Audio Lectures
As I said earlier in my review, this feature isn’t offered in other courses and gives you the flexibility of reviewing lectures and studying on the go in environments that you can’t have a screen or don’t have time to sit down. Big plus.
Tons of Downloads
Each lesson comes with tons of downloadable materials. You obviously get the videos, audio lectures, and study slides, but you also can get excel examples and formula guides.
Unlimited Access / Guarantee
We can’t forget about the unlimited access guarantee. If you finish the course and fail, you can have access to the materials until you pass. Plus, you will get access to FREEcoaching until you pass as well.
As always, I have to be honest about every course I review. Although there are tons of pros with CMA Exam Academy, there are several minor cons as well.
New Kid on the Block
CMA Academy is the new course on the block. It’s a new system and platform. I don’t think this is a problem, but many people want to go with a tried and true company that has been around for 500 years. Even though it’s a new company, Liao has tested and proven his system with over 15,000 candidates. It’s new, but it works.
Let’s face it. We’re accountants and we like numbers. Many candidates want to see their study stats and what they need to focus on with numbers. Exam Academy doesn’t really have an in depth stats section. It shows you how far you are in the course but not much more than that. The CMAexcel test bank does however give you access to some of these metrics.
CMA Exam Academy students must rely on the coaching to tell them what they need to study more. Their personal coach will review their progress and let them know what areas they need to study more.
So obviously this course is much more costly than other review courses. Notice I said it’s costly not expensive. The course cost more because you are actually getting more. You are getting a CMA to personally coach and guide you through your study process. No other course does that. In my opinion, it’s simply an investment in your future.
I think the CMA Exam Academy course is an extremely thorough study guide that is designed to make you pass. The one-on-one coaching forces you to stay on task and do the right amount of studying to pass your first time. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we can all use a little motivation during the studying process.
On the other hand, if you are a highly motivated person who can stick to a study schedule and doesn’t need the help of a coach, you might be better off buying a less costly course; although, I wouldn’t rule this course out.
I’d recommend it to anyone who is serious about passing the exam their first time. Everything is here and if you can’t find it, your personal CMA coach will help you.
- 1 What’s Included?
- 2 The Lite Course
- 3 The Premium Coaching Course
- 4 The Platinum Coaching Course
- 5 Course Overview
- 6 Dashboard –
- 7 Lessons –
- 8 Video Lectures –
- 9 Study Slides –
- 10 Audio Lectures –
- 11 Multiple-Choice Questions –
- 12 Wiley CMAexcel Study Materials –
- 13 Exam Pass Guarantee –
- 14 Pros
- 15 Coaching
- 16 Most Videos
- 17 Downloadable Audio Lectures
- 18 Tons of Downloads
- 19 Unlimited Access / Guarantee
- 20 Cons
- 21 New Kid on the Block
- 22 No Analytics
- 23 Cost
- 24 My Recommendation