Market Tech Lab

How To Prepare for Your CMT's

Check At Market Tech Lab, we are committed to helping you build a solid foundation for future success on all levels of your CMT Examinations as well as in your career.

The CMT exams offer almost anyone the chance to learn a great deal about technical analysis; you will become well versed in avenues which you previously had no knowledge. The nature of the exams allows candidates to study and learn on their own time.

Exam Basics

==== Categories ====

The Level 1 CMT exam consists of four categories:

  1. Market and Technical Terminology
  2. Charting Methods
  3. Determination of Patterns and Trends
  4. Projecting Price Targets
  5. Equity, Futures, and Options Market Analysis

These are the macro topics to focus on. You may want to divide your notes, outlines, study cards, etc. by each category.

Check Tip #1: One thing you can do is color code each of the four categories with note cards or ink.

==== Questions ====

Questions vary by exam. The level 1 exam focuses primarily on definitions and terminology, while the level 2 exam focuses more on application of concepts.

  • Number of Questions Level 1
  • Number of questions: 120 Questions
  • Time given for exam: 2 Hours
  • Time per question: 1 minute

Check Tip #2: Complete all definition, terminology, and chart reading questions first.

The exam is a multiple-choice exam and is administered via PC. You may bring a simple calculator, pencil, and ruler. You will be given scratch paper at the testing site.

Study Time
The MTA suggests that candidates preparing for the Level 1 exam adequately study the material in 100 hours, though for some it may take more time to finish with the highest marks.

Check Tip #3: Go above and beyond to increase the likelihood you will get a good score on your exam.

Initial Preparation

You may first need to decide when is a good time to begin preparing. If you start studying 4 months in advance, and stick to the MTA's suggested prep time of 100 hours, you can study for one hour a day and give yourself three weeks for review. You may only be able to study every other day, in which case you'd have to change your plan accordingly. It all depends on how much time you will have to devote to studying and when, as well as your learning style. Additional details on how to plan your reading schedule can be found in our Level 1 CMT Handbook. In addition, a suggested reading order complete with Learning Outcome Statements is given in our free Level 1 Reading Schedule that has been provided from the Handbook.

You will want to begin by buying the books on the suggested reading list from the MTA. If you are considering buying books from anywhere other than Amazon be sure to check first to compare prices. You can buy your books used as well to save some money. When buying used books from vendors, be sure to calculate shipping charges, as these books do not usually qualify for Amazon's free shipping policy. Once you have determined the cheapest place to buy the books you want, be sure to order them about a week before you want to begin preparing for your exam. If you need to buy only one book first, MTL recommends starting with Technical Analysis of Stock Trends, 9th Ed. by Edwards, Magee, and Bassetti.

Check Tip #4: Set a reading schedule by order of pages, and pages per day, and stick to it.

==== Level 1 Books Spring 2013 ====

The links to the books on Amazon can be found below:

Technical Analysis of Stock Trends, 9th Edition – Edwards, Robert D. and Magee, John

Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource – Kirkpatrick, Charles D. and Dahlquist, Julie R.

Technical Analysis Explained, 4th Edition – Pring, Martin J.

The Definitive Guide to Point and Figure – du Plessis, Jeremy

Check Tip #5: Buy your books as early as possible in order to make sure you have them in time and to motivate yourself to begin sooner and allow yourself more time for review. Do NOT delay, order today!

Study Guidelines

Now that you have all of your books for the level 1, MTL recommends that you begin reading Technical Analysis of Stock Trends by Edwards and Magee. It is a good book to get you familiar with technical analysis. This is one of the easier books to pick up and get your feet wet. Don't let its size intimidate you.

Consistent Preparation
Once you have set a reading schedule and as you begin to read you may want to take notes, write note cards, or something else based on your suitable learning style. You can review your notes periodically as you go. Be sure to stick to your reading plan over time. You may want to make it a goal to get ahead of this schedule.

Check Tip #6: Bookmark pages or chapters that you have difficulty understanding and return to them later.

Read the Books
When studying for your Chartered Market Technician (CMT) exams, the best course of action is to be sure to read all of the assigned material from the specific books. For the list of books to read, check out the MTA’s reading list.

Reference Important Concepts
You may find it useful to write down all of the concepts covered and the page number while studying and then go back and test yourself to see if you remember the details of each. Then you'll have a list of concepts you need to memorize and page numbers where you can reference what you need to know and commit them to memory, focusing on the more difficult material as you progress.

In addition, you may want to write the most important elements of each concept on notes or as flashcards, for later reference and study as you prepare for the exams.

Check Tip #7: Create flash cards.

==== Integrate and Apply ====

If you choose to complete the CMT program you will need to know more than definitions alone. Applying technical concepts will be tested in all three exams. There are numerous free resources online you can access to strengthen your understanding of the material:

  • Investopedia - a great financial and technical wiki encyclopedia
  • Stockcharts - a great free charting website with multiple charting options including P&F charts
  • Yahoo Finance - Financial news, stock research, charts, and more


Once you have read all of the material, begin by reviewing your notes or returning to chapters which you had difficulty with. You can practice with study questions from the MTA Knowledge Base. Additionally, MTL has prepared multiple full Practice Exams for the Level 1 CMT Exam, which you can sample as well as purchase here.

Check Tip #8: Identify Areas of Improvement

You can take the Practice Quiz to help determine what categories you need improvement in, and what pages to find answer explanations.

Check Tip #9: Sign up for Market Tech Lab's free resources and make use of the practice quizzes and reading plan.