Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence

I have been in a leadership/management role for over 10 years. I do not have a degree in the field. Everything I know I've learned on the job. My employer would like me to get this certification. Is studying the handbook enough to pass this? I am intimidated by all the references to different quality principles that I an not familiar with and wonder if I should be starting with something else and working my way up.

7 Replies

Dear Monica Costello

I have found handbooks useful if I want a quick refresher. I have found simpler references to guide me on the fundamentals more helpful. It helps when they are an easy read. You might want to try some old classics…

  • Four Days With Dr. Deming: A Strategy for Modern Methods of Management 1st Edition William J. Latzko
  • Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos Revised Edition by Donald J. Wheeler

Enjoy the journey.


Hi Monica! I just took and passed this exam in March. To prepare, I used the handbook and the practice exams, which I utilized heavily. I did not take any separate courses, but instead simply used the “review” modes to gain an understanding of the areas in which I needed more focus. Then I'd study the text, make notes, etc. After I went through all modules in review mode, I then used them in simulation mode. I also took a few free sample exams found on the internet to supplement, but honestly I'm not sure they were any better than the ASQ exam modules. Overall, I'd say I spent about 4 months preparing via self-study. Hope this helps.

Hello Monica,

I read the handbook front to back and highlighted materials I was unfamiliar with. I then went back and studied those materials I highlighted. After several months I then used the trial questions as a study guide. I took each trial test twice to comprehend and study the questions. I also recommend taking the practice tests if you have not taken a timed test lately. I learned to eliminate some obviously incorrect answers first and seek out the best solution afterwards. I used an average answer time of 1½ minutes per question as a guide. Some were quicker to respond to leaving additional time for the harder questions. I also set a fixed date to take the exam whether or not if I felt ready to do so (because you never really know until you take the exam). The exam was pretty straight forward, and I finished with about 12 minutes remaining. Once I hit the complete button I was nervous to say the least. All that work put in and it now it comes to this - “You PASSED”. A huge relief. I also found that a lot of time can get wasted if you constantly refer to your notes or book while taking the exam. I think I referred to the book three or four times, starting with the index then going from there to confirm my answers. They were right each time. Good Luck. I'm sure you'll do fine.

Monica, As a validated ASQ elite expert instructor for the CMQ/OE, I would suggest looking at the Certified Quality Improvement Associate, CQIA, as the logical stepping stone to progress to the CMQ/OE. It is the pathway mapped out by ASQ for the CMQ/OE for the reasons you have identified.

Good luck!

You post a great question. The CMQ/OE encompasses a lot of different topics which all intertwine in one way or another. The main purpose of the Certification is to increase productivity, lower costs, use the right quality tools to achieve that, and ultimately provide customer satisfaction. This all comes off the CQM/OE factsheet. After reading it all makes sense to me.

Hi Monica,

I obtained my CMQ/OE this past November and I agree with Christopher's post. If you are not familiar with quality principles, methods, nor its history, it may benefit you more to obtain the CQIA first for that foundational Quality knowledge. Then, when you go back to studying for the CMQ/OE, the handbook and ASQ BOK could be sufficient resources for passing the exam. Best of luck on your Quality journey!

Monica, for this exam the years of work history are less important than the kind of concepts you’ve been exposed to and practiced. The ASQ handbook to xyz exam is always a solid reference. And taking practice exams will prepare you for the style of questions, time pressure, and areas that need more study. The exams are expensive, so taking a watered down test aimed at a college intern won’t necessarily predict your success at your goal.
I would also seek to understand your manager’s goal/intent for you getting the certification. If it’s knowledge, a training course may be more suitable.
Good luck in your pursuit!