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How to Pass the CMA Exam

Instructor: Jessie Hemmons

Jessie has a master's degree in clinical psychology.

Learn about the requirements for passing the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam, strategies for studying for the test, and all of the components needed to obtain certification.

Understanding the CMA Exam Content

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam is administered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and is comprised of two parts. Part 1 covers financial reporting, planning, performance and control, and Part 2 covers financial decision making. Each part of the exam consists of 100 questions and 2 essay questions, and test-takers have four hours to complete each portion of the exam.

In order to pass the CMA exam, a minimum score of 360 on each part of the exam is required. Below you'll see the major financial concepts covered on each section of the test, as well as the percentage of questions on the exam.

Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance and Control

Test TopicPercentage of Exam
External Financial Reporting Decisions 15%
Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting 30%
Performance Management 20%
Cost Management 20%
Internal Controls 15%

Financial Decision Making

Test TopicPercentage of Exam
Financial Statement Analysis 25%
Corporate Finance 20%
Decision Analysis 20%
Risk Management10%
Investment Decisions 15%
Professional Ethics 10%

Preparing for the CMA Exam

There are several options to study for the CMA exam, including instructor-led prep courses and online self-study courses. The Institute of Management Accountants offers a list of courses on their website for candidates looking to prepare for the CMA exam.

Study.com also offers courses in finance and accounting that can help you study for the CMA exam. The courses provide you a multitude of interactive learning experiences, including video lessons that help to illustrate the material, quizzes and tests to gauge your progress, and cumulative course exams to help you practice for the CMA exam. Course instructors are available for questions and clarification about any of the topics. Here are just a few of the courses offered through Study.com:

Requirements for Certification

In order to qualify for certification, there are several educational and professional requirements in addition to passing the CMA exam. In terms of educational requirements, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, or hold a professional certification in a related field. Additionally, those seeking certification must have two consecutive years of professional experience.

Once certification is obtained, CMAs must complete 30 hours of CPE credits, including at least two hours of ethics, to maintain their certification. CMAs must also have an active IMA membership.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

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