CMA Exam FAQ and Resources for Management Accountants

cma exam FAQI thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for your CMA exam FAQ. Bookmark this page for your reference and convenience!

CMA Exam Decisions

1. Is the CMA exam worth it?

2. Can I make it?

3. Costs (and how to save costs)

4. Salary potential

CMA Exam Process

1. Registration and requirements

2. CMA exam format

3. CMA exam FAQ: when, where, how

CMA Exam Preparation

1. Review courses comparison

2. General tips

3. Essay tips

4. Setbacks (and what to do)

5. Motivations

What’s Next

Management Accounting Certifications

Official Resources

How Can I Be More Helpful?

Check out my free one-week mini-course so I can walk you through the application procedure and CMA exam prep tips in an organized manner:

Comments

  1. saj says

    hi.. thank you for such a helpful site! will appreciate if you could answer my query; my regn. date is 17/02/2011 and i just passed part 1 in june window (370)but failed part 2 (320). i would like to know if i dont pass part 2 in sep – oct window, am i eligible to sit in jan – feb window before 17th feb 2014 as both parts must be cleared in 3 years since the regn. ? thanking you in advance, Saj

  2. Rekha says

    Hi, Stephanie
    1. CPE credit is it required to fulfill after passing the exam or before as well as soon as you become member of IMA?
    2. If I plan to take exam in Jan 2014 window, what is the good time to register it?
    Thanks!

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Rekha,
      1. CPE is not required until you become a “full” CMA, i.e. after passing the exam and getting the experience verified.
      2. The registration process is very fast as long as your transcript is readily available. From my experience, if you have tight schedule (work or family wise), it is best to start studying and see how the progress is before registering, so in case you need more time you can take it in the next window. But if you are firm about Jan 2014, then you can actually apply say a couple months before that. This gives you plenty of time to schedule the exam on your preferred date.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  3. Shyam Kaladi says

    Dear Sir,
    I am new to CMA and wish to take Part 1 exam in June 2014.When should i register and Which edition of wiley online text book should i buy(2013 or 2014).

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Shyam, I would wait until later in the year to get the 2014 version. Typically you don’t need so many months to get prepared for the exam. It will bore you to tears :) Stephanie

  4. SRINIVAS says

    Hello…
    Please clarify as to How does CMA certification will really help for a banking employee who is into service for about 15+ years and at the age of 35. Also How will it impact for him who will start studying after a gap of 15 years again for this exam. Will It really makes the difference in a career ? Please reply in detail…ThankYou…Srinivas

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Srinivas,

      Which part of banking are you in? Client-facing or internal? It makes a big difference.

      Assuming you are in the front-line/client-facing business, I don’t think CMA helps much in banking in general, because CMA is more on the corporate side of accounting. Having said that, Part 2 of the exam is more relevant but if this is what you are looking for, but if so CFA is the one to go. Hope it helps, Stephanie

  5. SRINIVAS says

    ThankU Stephanie… Well to be more clear & understand more on this further, I put up few more questions…Request your time & valuable suggestions.
    a) I am currently a branch head which obviously becomes a front line, going forward I wish to have some specialisation & shift towards that. Morover I need good professional degree after my B.Com(India). Put up nearly 15+ in banking…Need a career and good option. Shift to abroad 2 a different bank is also available but with these specialisations both in banking and qualification.
    b) IF CMA does not suit what would be the ideal course..Budget is also a bit constraint. At first thought of doing CPA / ICWAI (India) but these seem to be long term approach.
    c) Even it does not suit cant I use this course as a step to go up the ladder and whether will it fetch me a better opportunity abroad or in India having good amount of banking experience.
    d) Motive is go up with the current position and for a good career. Ultimately the course has to solve the purpose of my career.
    e) Assuming we go in for the course, Also clarify I understand that the registration cost is with or without any study material & whether they are sufficient or should we opt for extra study material as suggested in your myrecommendations column.
    f) Does this course needs outside coaching (India) or self study is sufficient.
    Request to clarify each of the above…Thanks in advance..Srinivas

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Srinivas,

      a) if you are branch head then yes it would be quite suitable, because it involves strategies and financial aspect of managing a business which is also one of the core (and more interesting) part of the CMA program.

      b) – d) Sure, sounds good

      e) the registration does NOT include study materials.

      f) I generally recommend self-study courses. Quality of coaching in local countries varies greatly and I can’t give any recommendations. While for the self-study courses they are used by most American candidates (so quality guaranteed), delivered in computerized format which is similar to the actual exam format, and save time in commuting. It is generally a lot cheaper. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  6. Leslie says

    I would like to get my CMA. There are several things holding me back. I am in my 50’s and have been out of school for many, many years and my job has had me segmented in one area for the last 15 years. I am afraid that I will be lost even in the prep classes. I tried a few years ago but with time restraints and feeling overwhelmed, I did not stay with it. Any advice?

  7. Ronald davis says

    Respected Madem,

    Is CMA beneficial in middle east (qatar , U.A.E) if competing courses of ACCA,CIMA,CPA, CA…,,,,If i passed CMA with no job experience (I’m a fresher graduate ),then how much job scope in middle east? I’m worry about this thing,,, I need a concrete reply.

    Regards
    Ronald

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Ronald,
      Thanks for your note. I don’t really have a concrete reply for you, because getting a job requires a lot more than a certification. I don’t have experience getting a job in your region, but most places require a well written resume/CV and a good interview. Networking helps a lot in most places too. I would say the CMA helps throughout your career if you stay in accounting, but likely won’t guarantee you a job.

      For more info on the comparison of different certifications, please read this article: http://ipassthecpaexam.com/accounting-certification/

      Regards
      Stephanie

  8. Anto says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I did see your comment to Ronald……”I would say the CMA helps throughout your career if you stay in accounting, but likely won’t guarantee you a job”.

    My dilemma is whether or not CMA is a guaranteed job or is there difficulty in finding job in a corporate set up even if it is a fresh CMA in middle east.

    So what is your stand on CIMA (UK).

    Thanking in anticipation of your reply.

    Regards,
    Anto

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Anto, in my opinion CMA (US) is more popular than CIMA in the middle eastern region, but it is best to ask the locals e.g. your friends, peers, supervisors to make sure, since you are actually living in the region.

      In any case no qualification can guarantee any job… if you are the employer, you’ll likely pick someone who is knowledgeable and hardworking, but also whether this person can fit into the culture of the organization. The professional qualifications can never show the personality fit.

      Regards,
      Stephanie

  9. Alpana says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have done Master of Commerce and MBA (Finance) from India long back in 1995-1997. I want to pursue CMA but not sure which review system to buy. In India, I have two options; (1) join contact classes that offers study with Wiley review system or (2) purchase Gleim review system for self study.

    Considering, that i prefer books over computer study and may require thorough understanding of the concepts, which option should I choose from the above? My style of study is traditional method, i.e., read from text book which explains in simple method and then practice exam questions.

    Also I have apprehension whether Wiley test preparation software is enough (in comarision to Gleim) to pass the exams?

    Rgds,
    Alpana

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Alpana, Wiley CMA Review sounds good for you, but I cannot comment on the live classes because I have no idea about the quality for the lecturers. Please check and see if they are ok.

      For self-study, both Gleim and Wiley works. For Wiley you have to pay extra for the shipping cost. For India, I think it will be over US$100. If you don’t mind the e-book, there is no shipping cost. Gleim will only have electronic books.

      Here is more info:
      http://ipassthecmaexam.com/wiley-cma-review/
      http://ipassthecmaexam.com/gleim-cma-review/
      Regards, Stephanie

      • Alpana says

        Hi Stephanie,

        Thanks for the quick reply. However, I just compared the prices of both and think that the price of Gleim review is quite lesser than the Wiley.

        Given my background, do you think choosing Gleim review system for self study would be fine in my case?

        Since, I intend to migrate to Canada in about couple of years, how are the prospects for job in Canada with IMA CMA? Though I understand that in Canada there are three major Accounting bodies (under unification process) but my perspective is to have something such as IMA CMA rather than not have any international qualification when I land in Canada.

        Your feedback on both the points will be highly appreciated.

        Rgds,

        • Stephanie Ng says

          Hi Alpana,
          Gleim is a lot more affordable, that’s for sure :) In terms of effectiveness, it depends on the candidates but generally it works pretty well for most people. If you have existing knowledge in accounting, it should be a great learning tool.

          As for whether IMA is useful in Canada, it is hard for me to tell, but I believe it is better to get a Canadian version (used to be CMA in Canada) in your case. The program is now closed as they will be accepted applicants for the combined Canadian “CPA” designation.

          The flip side for the Canadian designation is that it is designed mostly for local residents so it is very hard for non-Canadians to get the qualification. Because of this, I don’t know that much about the process except for a general overview here: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-us-vs-cma-canada/

  10. jasir says

    hi mam,

    please ,let me know what are the procedures to be taken for attanding exam on coming window(feb),

    let me me know how can i register on ima and membership also,

    please give me the steps by step process to be followed,

    i have almost covered my review books(hock and Wiley) and doing software test as well.

    please give me some suggestions for preparing for February window

  11. Vishakh says

    What are the chances that CMA examination authorisation
    code for Prometric renders itself invalid?
    I happened to make payment for the Part 2 exam. Received
    the auth code from ICMA via email. This code isn’t being
    accepted by Prometric website! Checked with an agent of
    Prometric, seems it’s got something to do with activation of
    the auth code by ICMA!! Has anyone else faced this problem?

  12. Ahmed Haseeb says

    Hello Stephanie. I am so glad to have come across your website. You have provided such wonderful resources for those wishing to pursue the CMA designation. I will be taking the part 1 exam in June 2015 right after my graduation (BBA, Accounting). i have 9 credit hours left and have classes Monday and Wednesday in the morning hours. My question is, do i have enough time to cover the materials given that i study 4 times a week while considering my background in accounting? Moreover, i registered as a professional due to the fact i am graduating in June and i cannot register as a young professional ( i reside in the middle east). When do you think i should register for the exam and what documents would i need to upload? Do documents such as transcripts need to be uploaded before taking the part 1 exam?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Ahmed,
      Great to hear from you and thank you for your kind words! I believe you are fine — generally candidates need 100-150 hours to prepare, but given you are still at school when the concept is fresh in your mind, you’ll likely need to study less. It would be helpful to focus more on the practice questions to get familiar with their question styles.

      In terms of registering for the exam, it depends whether you have to take it on popular days (i.e. Friday or Saturday) or not. If you are flexible, registering around 1 month before is fine. Otherwise, I would say 1.5-2 months.

      Yes transcripts are required. I asked my school to mail it directly to IMA. I think you may upload it but somehow need to give them an original copy. Regards, Stephanie

  13. Paul Simon says

    Stephanie could you please tell me how many exemptions will I get for ACCA for clearing CMA exams. I mean just clearing and not getting certified.

  14. Zeshan Jahangir says

    Dear mam,

    Can u please guide that what is the criteria to for enroll in CMA? is there is illegibility for having FIA (ACCA) certificate ?

  15. prasanth says

    Please clarify as to How does CMA certification will really help for a Software employee who is into service for about 6+ years and at the age of 30. Also How will it impact for him who will start studying after a gap of 12 years again for this exam. Will It really makes the difference in a career ? Please reply in detail…ThankYou…Prasanth

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Prasanth,
      I believe it depends whether you want to move to a more analytical and managerial role within your software company. For example, if you want to be a project manager, and that position requires some sort of financial or profit analysis, then yes it’s useful for your personal development. Whether it directly helps you get to that position or a promotion, it depends largely on whether your company values CMA. Typically US headquartered companies (and big ones, e.g. the Fortune 500) has a higher chance to value CMA. Another place to check is whether there are any CMAs in the senior management. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  16. rafsal says

    Hi mam,
    iam fresher from India currently looking for first part in coming june.
    in which regions i likely to get good opertunities as a freshr.
    and what salary scales can i expect in start-up

  17. hassnain says

    i am going to give cma part 1 in 12 may. plz can anyone give some advise. how handle exam questions

  18. hassnain says

    i am using hock international textbook. also having practice in hock software. is that enough or required some other textbook like gleim etc

  19. hassnain says

    i want to ask difficulty lvl of MCQS. is that so difficult? my friend gave exam in month of feb. he told me. MCQs consist on 70% cover theoretical aspect. every questions based upon 2-3lines. 30% Required calculations..those MCQs were lengthy & so much irrelevant data given in mcqs

  20. Moiz says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I wanted to know is there any exemption available in CPA program for CMAs and being a CMA do we still need credit hours and other documentations to start CPA program

    Thanks

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Moiz, unfortunately CPA doesn’t normally accept professional qualification as part of the educational requirements or waiver… You need to follow the same rules in meeting the eligibility requirements. Regards, Stephanie

  21. Moiz says

    one more question does 2 years bachelors degree(in Commerce) make us eligible for cma certification?

  22. Mrinal says

    Hi Stephanie,

    Is CMA – US a chartered certificate like CIMA – UK & will be learning only about American accounting & taxation or will it help me to find jobs in my country India also?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Mrinal, it is not. If I understand your question correctly, CPA is the qualification that gives you privilege to sign an audit report. There are increasing number of Indian candidates in the past year of so from India, and IMA is also expanding their chapters in India, but I would say it’s still not as popular as say the Middle East. Here is my analysis on this topic: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-title-for-career/

      • Mrinal says

        Hi Stephanie,

        You are always very prompt & helpful.

        I am a 32 yr old finance professional. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Commerce. Having scored averagely in my bachelors I know that I am a slow learner & can study only at my own pace to complete CMA. Thus I would request you to please clarify my doubts which are mentioned below :

        I have over 6 years of work experience. I am currently working in a small leisure tour services Indian company as a Finance Manager handling costing & other general areas of accounting. Previously I have handled only back office process oriented jobs like billing, collections, receivables & payables etc. Will I be able to satisfy the work experience criteria for the IMA membership? Is CMA the right course for me?

        Should I enroll as a student or a professional with IMA?

        I am planning to pay the membership & entrance fees to IMA by Dec 2015 & target only for part-1 exam of Sep-Oct 2016, Can I do that?

        Which course material should I go for that will be easier for me to understand & prepare through self study ?

        Please advise if an average minded person can take up only self study preparation or is class room coaching also very important?

        How long does it approximately take to get the exam results & CMA certification after a successful attempt at the testing window ?

        What are the job prospects in India after I complete CMA, can I handle areas like Indian statutory compliance, taxation & audits etc or is CMA beneficial only for those who want to get into reporting, budgeting-forecasting & financial analysis etc?

        If I complete CMA in India can I try my luck in US, New Zealand, Canada or middle east for jobs as my long term plan is to settle in one of these parts of the world?

        Thanking you in advance.

        • Stephanie Ng says

          Hi Mrinal, thanks for your kind words! On your questions:
          1. Yes your current role as finance manager is very relevant. The previous job may not be counted though.

          2. Professional membership. Student membership is for current student only.

          3. You probably don’t need that many months to study as you are BCOM graduate with experience in accounting. And it will bore you to tears :)
          You can take a look at my CMA exam planners (for Gleim or Wiley) to estimate how long it takes for an average candidate.
          http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-study-planner/

          4. I have this pros and cons analysis on major review courses: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/

          5. I personally don’t like live classes and I explain my thoughts here:
          http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-prep-course-online-live-class/

          6. Result is released around 40 days after the end of the month you take the exam. More explanation here: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-results-waiting-time/

          7. It’s more like the second job description. It is not an Indian designation so it doesn’t cover local taxation and compliance.

          8. I believe Middle East is your best bet, because CMA (US) is highly recognized there and I have lots of readers who are thinking or have recently moved to the Middle East while taking the CMA journey. US is obviously a good choice, but it isn’t easy to get a job directly from india to the US. For Canada and New Zealand, they have their respective management accounting qualifications. More details here: http://ipassthecmaexam.com/management-accounting-certification/

  23. Indrajit Roy says

    Hi stephanie,
    i am planning to prepare and give cma next year. I have just finished my 2nd year (bcom). Just wanted to know if i pass cma us from india, will i be eligible for membership of icwa or icmai(indian certification)?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Indrajit, from my understanding, in order for get the Indian certification, you need to take the CMA exam outside of India. As long as you do that, and fulfill the requirements to become a full CMA member, you can do that.

      • Indrajit Roy says

        So if i prepare for it in India but give the exam outside india, i am eligible for membership right?
        Another thing i was wondering was that if i fulfill the work experience from India, would that affect the membership from icwa(indian certification).Sorry to bother you again.

        • Stephanie Ng says

          Hi Indrajit, I believe the agreement is aimed for those who live and work outside of the US. But you may want to check with either CMA or ICWA for the exact rule. Good luck! Stephanie

  24. Mrinal says

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks very much for clarifying my doubts. You are a star. I still have a few more questions for you.

    After I pass both the part exams is it mandatory to get my work experience verified or will I get the CMA certificate instantly? Actually I am a little concerned on getting the certificate & want it to smoothly come to me ofcourse only after I pass the exams.

    To maintain my CMA designation do I need to pay the membership fees to IMA every year on a permanent basis or what happens if I stop paying the membership fees every year after getting the CMA certificate?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Mrinal,
      Glad to help! Yes you have to fulfill the experience and get them verified, but you have plenty of time to do it. I forgot the exact rules but I think you need to get it done within 7 years. After passing the exam, you’ll get a congratulatory letter that you passed, but it isn’t a certification by any means.

      Yes you need to pay the annual IMA membership fee every year. If you stop paying, you have to stop calling yourself a CMA. Hope it helps!

      • Mrinal says

        Hi Stephanie,

        Thanks once again for all your support & to the point answers. Well I am ready to face all the challenges & conditions to seriously take up CMA as my career’s professional qualification but I am quite not convinced with 1 point which is the payment of membership fees every year. I feel its like a mandatory yearly ‘expense’ for all the CMA takers to maintain their membership.

        It would have been nice if we had to pay only the entrance fee & the exam fee & after passing the exams we should be getting the certificate.

        Also after getting the certificate if we stop paying the membership fees how will it matter whether we are a member of IMA or not?

        I guess for job hunting the physical copy of the certificate in hand matters more than the membership, This little ambiguous, Need clarity from you Stephanie.

        • Stephanie Ng says

          Hi Mrinal,
          I guess paying the annual membership fee is part of the investment you need to plan for your career. Hopefully, when you get more successful, US$250 a year isn’t much. But I understand your point and you can simply take the exam when you think you can afford it as a longer term.

          You can show your certificate to the recruiters and stop paying the fee. But if they want to double check your status, it can be easily done, either on the Internet or by asking IMA directly. You are not supposed to show your certificate if you are not an active member, so it depends whether you want to breach the professional ethics required by the IMA (which in fact is in Part 2 of the exam, so you can’t claim you haven’t read it) :)

          It’s your own decision, but I wish all my readers would upload their integrity as a professional and call themselves a CMA only if they follow the rules and pay the dues.

  25. shrinivas says

    I’m planning to give cma in January. . But the work which I’m doing right now is all about taxation. ..
    so my question is will I get 2 years work experience as per the criteria to obtain cma certificate. If i work only under taxation profile?

  26. Atefeh says

    Hi Stephanie.
    This is atefeh. Thanks for your all useful information.
    I’m from Iran and I hope I will get my USA’s visa next year. I’m interested in management accounting and I want to pass the CMA exams. I know that before exam registration, I must first join to IMA (paying 220+15$), then pay CMA entrance fee (240$).
    1. But for IMA registration, part “IMA Customer Registration”, I found that for fulfill the form and select the country field for address, the name of my country “Iran” is not listed. Does it mean I can’t register and take the exam?
    2. I’m stock exchange trader in Stock Exchange Market of Tehran. I have over 4 year of work experience in a brokerage. My work consists of trading, analyzing financial statements, risk evaluation and also pricing as well. Is my experience is acceptable for IMA?
    Thanks, Atefeh

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Atefeh,
      Thank you for your note and glad to hear from you all the way from Iran! On your first question, I understand that for CFA, it is restricted for certain countries, but not sure if this is the case for CMA (I haven’t heard of it, just not sure). It is best for you to email IMA directly to find out. They can be reached at ima@imanet.org.

      As for your experience, the analyzing financial statement and risk evaluation is great. You may want to write your job description in the same email as well, and IMA would be able to tell you. They are customer-friendly.

      Otherwise, you can wait till you get the US visa and I am sure you will be eligible then. Good luck! Stephanie

  27. Saqib Saeed says

    I have already appeared in Part I of CMA, I have a question that is it only when you pass the MCQ part of the exam that you enter for the Essay Questions or it automatically opens?

  28. Sampath Kumar says

    Hello Stephanie, I am planning to join for a local chapter in the USA. However I am currently in India and want to take exams from India. I feel it will be helpful for me in the future if I join a local chapter incase if I relocate. Are there restrictions that I should take exams in the USA if I joined a local chapter there? Please respond.

  29. Anto says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I would like to know if you had any idea/clue…..regarding the times/circumstances that IMA declare special discount offers.

    I have heard that an offer is declared at the dawn of a new year.

    Please advice….and thanks for your support.

    Best wishes,
    Anto

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Anto, not that I know of just now… usually, they announce it on facebook page. For example, if it is for Middle Eastern candidate, it will be on their Middle East FB page. Regards, Stephanie

  30. Ruchi says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I would like to ask about the transcript which has to be sent to be submitted to IMA. Do we have to send this before giving the exams? I want to know exactly when can we send the transcript?

    And also I have done my graduation from India and currently I live in UAE so I am not sure my university will provide the transcript or not but I have the degree can I send notarized degree instead of transcript ?

    • Stephanie Ng says

      Hi Ruchi, yes please send before your taking of the exam, although it’s probably ok if you send it later.
      I believe they accept notarized copies, but please double check with the IMA. You can email them and they reply quite promptly. Cheers, Stephanie

  31. Lovina says

    Hey Stephanie, thank you for such helpful and insightful information . I’m on an H4 visa, and I would like to pursue this course, is it possible for me to do so?

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