The Long Road To Becoming a CMA

Mark&Angel 1After having my CPA license and having worked as an IT associate auditor, my interest was to have a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) since it is related to my previous work. Then I met Angel Secerio, Jr. in LinkedIn and his company offered me to take the CMA exam. Without hesitation, I accepted the offer, which basically included everything from the program registration and membership, exam fees, being equipped with the official Wiley CMAexcel study materials, and until I completed the two-part exam.

It was an exciting and long journey for me to be able to complete the two part examination. It was a long journey because it took me one year to take the Part 2 after I conquered the Part 1 last October 2013.

The Part 1 was the most challenging to me since the CMA exam was an unfamiliar territory. Unlike the CPA Board exam, the CMA exam is administered online and has an essay section. I thought the essay portion would be a walk in the park so I did not bother to practice answering essay questions. However, the actual exam was not the case. I wasn’t able to answer all the questions properly in the allotted time due to lack of practice and time constraint. But by God’s grace, I was able to pass the Part 1 exam with a respectable score.

For the Part 2, my target exam date was on February 2014 but I became busy in the CPA review. Upon learning that there are changes in the 2015 syllabus, I decided to register for the Part 2 exam and had only two months to prepare. However, we decided with my co-authors in Applied Auditing to finish the textbook to be able to catch up with the next semester/trimester of some schools.

After finishing the book, I had only four days left to prepare for the CMA exam. Yes, four days! Due to time constraint, I was not able to read the last chapter of the CMA Reviewer and was not able to answer all the practice questions in the Wiley CMAexcel online test bank. Unfortunately, the topics discussed in the last chapter which I was not able to read came out in the actual exams – at least 5 items in the MCQ portion and one sub-question in the Essay portion.

Mark 1Do you think four days of review is enough to hurdle the Part 2 exam?

I would humbly say yes. But looking inside, my preparation actually started way back in college when I was still a student until I myself handled review subject on Management Advisory Services for two semesters, and those four days was only my formal preparation.

In my journey, I have learned the following important lessons:

  1. Foundation is extremely important. Master the concepts.
  2. Time management is critical. Allot more time for preparation. Practice a lot. Avoid cramming.
  3. Try to read everything. The topic you may not be able to read may be asked in the exam.
  4. Believe in yourself. Always be optimistic. Worrying does not solve anything.
  5. Sometimes the road can be long and seemingly never ending, but never give up on your dreams.
  6. Prayer definitely helps.

Now, the wait for the delivery of the illustrious CMA Certificate has begun. To God be the Glory!


The author, Mark Alyson Ngina, is a BSA graduate at the University of the Cordilleras in 2009. He placed 7th in the May’10 CPA Board Examination, and recently completed his CMA Program requirements this year. He is currently a CPA Reviewer at the Nation’s Foremost CPA Review, and concurrently a CMA Reviewer at Insights Financial Review Services. He is a co-author of Applied Auditing, 2015 edition.

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