CMA USA Self study or Go for a Good Mentor in 2024 | which is Best?

CMA USA Self study

Certified Management Accountant or CMA is a professional certification program offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA. 
It is designed to offer the candidates all the essential skills to be successful in Management Accounting. It is a globally recognized and accredited certification with the syllabus created for the candidates to master 12 critical practice areas in the said field. 
CMA USA can be one of the most renowned courses for any student or employee for its global exposure, attractive salary, and better credentials. However, it may not be easy to study and clear the exam on the first attempt. 
CMA certification requires tremendous effort, time, dedication, and consistency to prepare for the exam. Not everyone learns and grasps information in the same way. Hence it depends on you which method suits you the most to study for the CMA Certification that may very well impact your whole career.

Self-study vs Good mentor

If you had to choose between self-study and mentoring, then you might be having trouble making a decision. Let's break down which method of study may be best for you!

Self Study:

Some students are extremely self-disciplined, and they can allocate sufficient time, energy, and effort to clear the exam. They believe self-study is the better and faster means to study.

Pros of self-study:

  • There is a lot of information and content available on the internet. Numerous sources like Youtube, and Telegram can help you get content for the exam.
  • It might be beneficial from a financial POV to opt for self-study. 

CMA USA Self Study: Cons

  • You may get many sources from the internet but the information in those sources will be disorganized, getting a mentor or instructor lead a training program for CMA USA will help you to get organized materials and class videos.
  • The mentors carefully plan a schedule and ensure that the students follow it strictly. You may lose interest or track of the syllabus when the schedule isn't in its place. 
  • When studying on your own, you will have to look for quality study material, which would be time-consuming. Whenever a doubt about a small concept arises, going to the internet and finding the accurate answer will be a task.
  • You will be deprived of clearing doubts in groups and miss group discussions when choosing self-study. When there is an option of studying in a group, it gives you a chance to learn and understand the syllabus with like-minded peers. 
  • You will have to put more effort into understanding the topics and revising them by yourself. It will always be beneficial when you have a team of professionals who encourage and motivate you to achieve your goals.
  • You will have to learn about the software and technology of the exam on your own. You will not have any help with the tips and tricks to be kept in mind to make the exam a bit easier.

Finding a Good Mentor 

When you are working as a full-time working professional or a busy parent, self-studying for the CMA exam can take a longer timeline to achieve your goals. Especially when the subject is new, you will surely need some hand-holding. In such a scenario, it will be best to look for a mentor or a tutor who will give you person-specific inputs to study and clear the CMA exams successfully. 

Pros of taking an instructor/mentor-led course :

  • Access to a mentor is like a boon in disguise. To gauge a conceptual understanding of long-term benefits, you need direct mentoring without wasting a lot of time. You can ask questions and get answers immediately without getting stuck which saves a lot of time.
  • A mentor will set a specific study schedule. Classes are scheduled in advance; therefore, you will be less likely to put off studying for other work. Mentors can encourage you to learn regularly and achieve your daily targets. 
  • Moreover, when there is a mentor, there will be a group of students. Doubts will be cleared by discussions among peers. This could also lead to more discussions around real-world applications as they relate to practical business matters faced by others. Group study sessions will also be possible, creating more ways to learn the subject and seek help when needed.
  • Time Management is an essential factor in Professional exams. The mentor will guide you on the important topics to be learned first and leave the least essential chapters to study later. It gives a clear idea of how much time to devote to a particular topic or subject. A good mentor with experience will also give you some good hacks/tricks to ace your papers.
  • Mentors can also provide you with comprehensive study material covering all the topics and concepts in detail. This also includes revision notes, mock papers as well solved past question papers. 
CMA USA Self study

Cons of mentoring :

  1. You will not get to decide which topics to study when and how much time should be spent on every topic. Just because you already have prior knowledge on one of the topics, it wouldn't mean that you can skip it. 
  2. Getting a good mentor also means making monetary investments toward your studies, which could add pressure on your financial resources. 

Finding the Best Mentor 

If you are looking for a good mentor, then we are here for you! NorthStar Academy is a premier institute for educating the Commerce domain which includes Finance and Accounting courses. We have the most in-demand faculty, Mr. M Irfat who will provide the proper guidance and mentorship for students who dream of a career in Finance and Accounting. 
The institute started with the motto of training the students in the fields of Finance and Accounting, who wanted to take up professional courses like the CA, CMA (USA), CPA, ACCA, and other Finance Shorter courses.

NSA's Approach :


NSA follows a system where they provide students with application-based knowledge, and theoretical, analytical, and critical thinking skills. This is an essential part of improving career prospects and professional growth.  

Learning environment:

NSA provides live online training sessions with recorded sessions in case you miss the session, delivering greater flexibility in the pursuit of professional excellence. NSA has a highly qualified mentor for boosting the enthusiasm for learning.


NSA is a certified learning partner for CMA (USA) in India by Gleim and IMA and the certified learning partner for ACCA. NSA also provides CMA + B.Com, CPA + MBA, ACCA+ B.Com, CA+B.Com, CMA USA + Mcom/MBA degrees with partnered colleges.

Teaching philosophy:

They have a team of brilliant faculty who can go the extra mile for the education of their students. They provide comprehensive learning material, excellent mentors, and regular mocks to embark on professional success. NSA's simple philosophy  is - "We measure our success in yours." 

Mobile learning application

NSA has taken up the initiative of learning anywhere, anytime. They provide flexible learning systems to help you learn better and quicker through online classes.  
Best Mentorship :
M.Irfat has over 22 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of corporate experience in various positions at various MNCs and Big 4 consulting firms. He wanted to mentor those who seemed unsure of their career path. With his conceptual clarity and unique teaching style, he is known as the maestro of costing. All his students guarantee his excellence in his brilliant teaching. 

The way forward :

Choosing self-study or finding a good mentor is a personal decision. However, you need to think about this consciously and objectively since it affects your career along with taking a toll on your time, energy, and efforts. 
If finding a mentor seems like a better option to you, then you can enroll in NorthStars comprehensive CMA program which will help you pass with flying colors. 

Frequently asked questions:

1. Is the CMA too hard to crack for an average student?

CMA certification is for everyone who studies with dedication and zeal. If you put in the right effort, time and resources, CMA is not too hard at all.  

2. Should I have an accounting background to pass CMA?

A commerce student may find it easier to pass CMA.  However, CMA can be done without an accounting background too. There's nothing impossible when you have the right mindset. Many CMAs were not from an Accounting background but still achieved their goals. NorthStar Academy starts the classes with the basics of management and accounting, ensuring that the students from science and arts backgrounds also cope with the others. So believe in yourself and get started.

3. Can I pass the CMA USA exam on my first attempt?

No doubt, the CMA USA is a complex examination. However, many students manage to clear it on the first attempt. You need to have a proper schedule and a disciplined life to complete your daily targets. And it becomes easy to fulfill your dreams. 

4. How can I study for 17 hours with total concentration?

It's not easy to squeeze more hours into your study routine without losing focus. It is not about the number of hours but how much you are able to learn that matters. By incorporating your priority topics or subjects where you have to focus, setting practical goals for yourself, taking a small power nap or a walk in between, group learning sessions, etc. you can study in a better way.

5. How many hours in a day should I study for CMA?

A CMA exam requires 150 or more hours of studying per exam. Depending upon your speed and concentration level, you have to plan your day. It's just an estimation based on an average, however, it varies from person to person. You can divide the number of hours by the total number of days you have in hand, excluding the revision days to identify the ideal number of hours to study. Do not forget to account for buffer hours!
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