Three New Suffixes: One Woman’s Journey to CPA, CMA, and CIA

cpa, cma, cia

Candidate Spotlight: Nancy Zhu


Choosing an accounting certification to pursue can be daunting. It’s an investment that could determine what kind of accounting you do for the rest of your life. Nancy Zhu approached this crossroad about three years ago with a strategy in mind that was different from most. She stepped up to the myriad of different paths before her and confidently walked down three of them simultaneously.

“After studying what was available in the market and comparing that with my background, I narrowed it down to the CPA, CMA, CIA, as well as CFA, and CFE,” Nancy said. “CFA is more for people working in the investment banking industry, and CFE is another area that is of interest to me, but maybe not prioritized at the moment. And that is how I decided to go with CPA, CMA, and CIA.”

To earn these certifications, Nancy had to pass three different accounting certification exams, each of which has multiple sections and parts. The CIA exam has three parts, the CMA exam has two parts, and the CPA Exam has four sections. Total testing time for each CMA exam part and CPA Exam section is 4 hours, and testing time for the CIA exam parts varies: 2 ½ hours for Part 1 and 2 hours for Part 2 and Part 3. All together, Nancy had to sit for over 30 hours of exams!

How did that go, you ask? Nancy crushed every test put in front of her during 2015 and 2016. Since accountants like numbers and charts, we’ve arranged her scores for you below.

CPA
CMA
CIA
AUD 99 Part 1 420 Part 1 Passed
BEC 93 Part 2 Passed
FAR 95 Part 2 410 Part 3 Passed
REG 95

The Long, Difficult, and Disciplined Process of Acquiring CPA, CMA, and CIA Certifications

“My motivation really originated from my aspiration for knowledge,” she said.

The important question to answer is, “How did she do it?” It’s tempting to chalk it all up to talent or some kind of innate genius (and don’t get us wrong; Nancy is incredibly smart), but exams like the CPA are less of a sprint and more of a marathon. Being smart only makes you a fast runner. Nancy thinks that the most important factors in passing the accounting certification exams and getting certified are the ones that prepare you for endurance—hard work and a good review system.

“It takes a lot of self-discipline in order to sit down and prepare for the exams,” Nancy said. “There are obstacles and challenges. If there is some area that I am not familiar with, or I don’t quite understand, I will go back to the material and read a second time, a third time, or more, until I really digest the materials. The best way to show that I have mastered the materials is through practice. Practice can reinforce my understanding. Practice with determination serves to drive away all obstacles.”

How Did Nancy Prepare to Pass the Exams?

Nancy had intelligence. She had determination. The last thing she needed to ensure she would pass all three of her exams was a good review provider for all the subject areas. That’s when she turned to Gleim.

“I researched the major providers for those certificate exam preparations. And I liked Gleim because of the reputation of Gleim in the marketplace, the extensiveness of the content, and the reasonable prices. I think Gleim is perfect for people who want to learn the complete knowledge related to the respective certificate, not for people trying to take a shortcut approach to ‘guess’ what is most likely to be tested. I understand that there are some providers who will be only targeting the most frequently tested materials, and having the students only prepare for those areas for the sole purpose of passing the exam. Learning is my primary purpose of taking the exams, so I chose the provider who can prepare me with the most extensive knowledge.”

Gleim is famous for its content coverage. The Gleim Review Systems provided Nancy with all of the information she needed to be ready to take every exam.

“Gleim gives me the confidence that I am fully prepared when I go for the exams,” she said.

However, it wasn’t just the content coverage, reputation, and value that convinced Nancy to use Gleim for all three of her certification exams. There were also a few course features that really stuck out to her.

  1. Summaries of Core Concepts: “It provides a core concept summary for each unit. This is a unique feature Gleim uses to help students avoid getting lost in the overwhelming details. It is extremely helpful from the very beginning of the study to get an overview of the exam, and at the very end of the preparation to reinforce the key concepts.”
  2. Audio Lectures: “It has the audio lectures . . . for users to listen to . . . anywhere and anytime, on the road, doing house chores, etc.”
  3. Test Bank: “It has the most extensive question bank.”
  4. Practice Exams: “The online course is easy to use, and the practice exams can be designed to suit your needs.”

All of these features provided Nancy with a comprehensive understanding of the content as well as enough practice to pass the CPA, CMA, and CIA exams and impress us all.

“Gleim provides the most complete knowledge points and most complete question bank. If candidates go through the materials and questions from Gleim, focusing on understanding the materials and . . . the questions they missed, they can succeed in their exams.”

Three Accounting Certifications, One Review Provider

For over forty years, Gleim has helped millions of candidates like Nancy earn accounting certifications with remarkable scores on their exams. Gleim CPA Review alone has enabled candidates to pass over one million CPA Exams, and Gleim CMA and CIA courses are the most widely used programs in their respective industries. Access our free CPA, CMA, or CIA Exam Guides today to learn all about each exam and start your own journey toward earning multiple accounting certifications!