CMA Test Guide

The CMA Test Summary
What: The CMA exam certifies management accountants.
Who: Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and two years of accounting experience are eligible for the credential.
Where: The test is offered at Prometric Testing Centers throughout the world.
When: The exam is offered in three test windows: January and February; May and June; and September and October.
How: The exams are multiple-choice and essay.
Type: The exams are computer-based.
Why: The exam is required for professional accountants to earn the CMA designation.
Time: Exam sessions last four hours; three hours for multiple-choice questions and one hour for two essays.
Language: English
Preparation: Many test guides and preparation materials are available for purchase.
Cost: Enrollment in the program costs $200, while each exam part has a fee of $350.

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com


The CMA credential demonstrates that Certified Management Accountants have passed a rigorous exam and have proven that they meet a universal standard in accounting practices, including financial planning, control and analysis. The Association for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business administers the Certified Management Accountant program (CMA).


The CMA exam is a two-part exam that focuses on the day-to-day knowledge and skills needed by a financial professional. The exam was redesigned in 2010 to be more applicable to hands-on work and more relevant to average employers.


Part 1 of the exam focuses on financial planning, performance and control, while Part 2 focuses on financial decision making. Each part lasts for four hours and includes 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions. The essays are worth 25% of the total score on each section. Three hours are given for the multiple-choice questions; the essays will be given once the multiple-choice questions are complete, or after three hours have passed, whichever comes first. If a test taker does not finish the multiple-choice questions within three hours, they will not be given more time to finish. Additionally, test takers must score at least 50% on the multiple-choice section to be permitted to continue.


Part 1 includes questions on:

  • Planning, budgeting and forecasting (comprises 30% of this section)
  • Performance management (25%)
  • Cost management (25%)
  • Internal controls (15%)
  • Professional ethics (5%)


Part 2 includes questions on:

  • Financial statement analysis (comprises 25% of this section)
  • Corporate finance (25%)
  • Decision analysis and risk management (25%)
  • Investment decisions (20%)
  • Professional ethics (5%)


Exams are given during three testing windows: January and February; May and June; and September and October. Exams are computer-based and offered at Prometric Testing Centers nationwide.


Scores are sent to test takers approximately six weeks following the last test. Scores range from 0 to 500; 360 is needed to pass.


Candidates for certification must have a bachelor’s degree completed prior to enrolling in the CMA program. Candidates must also have two continuous years of professional accounting experience, a requirement that must be met within seven years of certification. Additionally, candidates should be familiar with basic knowledge of economics, statistics and financial accounting prior to taking the exam.


Following acceptance into the CMA program, candidates must register for the exam within 12 months and complete the program within three years.


An entrance fee of $200 is assessed upon registration for the CMA program, while the exam bears a registration fee of $350 for each section. If Part 1 and Part 2 are taken during the same testing window, the fees are reduced to $300 for each exam part.


Registration may be done online at https://www.imanet.org/certification_taking_registration_program.asp. Through the end of 2010, test takers will be required to select either the old format of the exam or the new format. Exams must be scheduled separately through a local Prometric Testing Center. See http://www.prometric.com/ICMA to locate a nearby testing center. Exams must be scheduled at least 72 hours in advance of the exam.


For more information on the CMA exam and test preparation, please visit our CMA Test Directory.