CMA Exam Pass Rate in 2012 and 2013

Did you ever have the impression that the CMA exam is easy (or easier)? Well, if you look at these CMA exam pass rates, you may be surprised!

The exam is divided into two parts:

  • Financial Planning, Performance and Control
  • Financial Decision Making

Latest Statistics (May 2012 – Feb 2013)

2013 CMA exam pass rate

Source: IMA

Here is the latest passing rates covering the latest testing window. You can see that while there are some ups and downs in different regions, the macro picture is pretty much the same. You can still rely on the analysis I wrote below a few months ago.

CMA Exam Pass Rate: Part 1

cma exam pass rate 2012 part 1

Note: 2011 covers the nine-month period from Sep 2010 to Jun 2011; 2012 covers the nine-month period from Sep 2011 to Jun 2012.

The worldwide pass rate is a spine-chilling 35% in 2011 and 31% in 2012, but if you exclude Middle East, the statistics will look much better. It is quite obvious from the above that if your native language is English or you have a chance to learn English in your country (notably Europe, and to a lesser extent, Asia), you have a much higher chance to pass.

One of the reasons is that the CMA exam comprises not only multiple choice questions but also an essay section that are graded off-line. International candidates should therefore work on practicing English writing as part of the exam preparation.

CMA Exam Pass Rate – Part 2

cma exam pass rate 2012 part 2

The data reveals that the pass rate of Part 2 is essentially the same as Part 1 for English-speaking population, but for non-native speakers of English, Part 2 seems to be more manageable. The most significant difference is Middle East with a 15% point jump in 2012.

Candidates also did considerably better in 2012 for Part 2. I haven’t figured out the reason but if you have any ideas, please drop a note in the comment section.

CMA Exam Pass Rate – Part T

cma exam pass rate 2012 part T

Part T is the “Transition Test” applicable to those who passed Part 2 and 3 of the old exam format before June 30, 2011. You can learn more about the new CMA exam (effective Feb 2010) here. In practice very few candidates will take this exam in 2013.

What We Can Learn From These Passing Rate Statistics

Before these pathetic pass  rates scare you away, let me try to explain how we can analyze the data.

First, while CMA exam welcomes candidates from all over the world, the exam format is US-centric. Candidates outside of the US may not be familiar with how the multiple choice questions are written and also, if their native language is not English, it is pretty hard to score well in the essay section.

Second, IMA (the exam administrator) makes it very easy for anyone with a bachelor degree to apply, unlike, for example, the CPA exam where candidates must take a substantial number of accounting courses.

What Does It Tell Us?

If you have a good command of English and you know management accounting through coursework or experience, your chance to pass the CMA exam is much higher than this average statistics.

Your Next Step

Any Questions?

For more information on the CMA exam as well as tips on study tactics, please consider signing up to my e-course which is completely free. You can learn about the mini e-course here or sign up directly below.

Comments

  1. ibrahim elhelw says

    could you please, help me to get a course make me good in English ?
    cause I think that language is the only problem that faces me and thank u so much for mini course because it help me so much to understand some points I couldn’t understand.
    THANK U SOOOOOOO MUCH

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Ibrahim this is a tough question… but I guess it depends whether you want to improve your reading or writing skills. For writing there is a book called “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. which is a classic for this purpose. hope it helps! Stephanie

    • Amr says

      سلام عليكم.
      my opinion m.ibr that the language(Eng) is not the problem of the CMA.
      I am CMA . My Language is not Sound as it should be
      its only by practice

  2. Helemish says

    So kindly gentlemen,if i am working as a chief accountant on Egypt, and passing CMA exam and became certified. Is it enable me to work in USA and Canada in a good suitable position. While i have fluency in English cause i am working in a multinational company and my business language is English.
    I do appreciate your prompt response.

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Helemish,
      Getting the CMA will help you recognized in companies around the world especially in the US. For Canada, they have their own CMA certification but getting that requires studying within Canada, which could be hard to do.

      So getting back to your question, while it helps I wouldn’t say it will guarantee you any jobs there. If you are working in a multinational company it will likely easier if you request for an opportunity to transfer to the US or Canadian regional office for a temporary exchange. If people there like you enough they will more likely offer you a permanent position. This is the easiest way to get hired in the US/Canada in my opinion, and I have readers who have done that. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  3. Amir says

    Hi Stephanie,

    Regarding CMA pass rates can you pls tell us about the score scale and the pass score, i think it s from 500 and am in Egypt how should i get to pass the exam

    thanks,

  4. Tin says

    i’m currently reviewing for part 2 of cma exam and i’m finding it so much harder than part 1. i wonder why the passing rate for part 2 is higher than in part 1…

    • Stephanie says

      I hear you Tim… it depends on individual background, and also, the content can be difficult but the exam itself may not be so. For example, it can also depend on how “tricky” the questions are, whether the examiners test you at introductory level or advanced level of the same topic… by the way, which review course/material are you using? It makes a difference as they can over/under prepare you.

      Hope the higher overall pass rate will give you some encouragement! Stephanie

      • Tin says

        i got the cmals 2-part combo package. but to be honest, i am having difficulty with it. lots of errors (both book and online practice) and the explanations are not complete. i’m trying to find other review sources (without spending again) as i have already spent so much on cmals if you know of any free resources for the cma review, would be very grateful! am already on panic mode…

        • Stephanie says

          Indeed CMALs is probably the most expensive… but Tin I am sorry to tell you that I haven’t found anything that is free regarding the CMA exam, and I don’t expect to find any honestly unless someone is willing to lend you a copy of the book. Anyway the value, in my opinion, is in the test prep software. I will still stick to working on those practice questions if your budget doesn’t allow another test prep provider.

          Indeed you sounded stressed… maybe you can take a break for a day or two? Things usually “click” the next day. I know this is a cliche advice but it does work for me and quite a few of my readers. Good luck to your Part 2!! Stephanie

          • ahmed says

            is it harder than the cpa or what ?

            i dont want to be surprised if u know what i mean

          • Stephanie says

            I personally think it is not as hard in comparison, because CPA is a lot broader and I especially dreaded REG especially the US taxation section. For CMA it’s more like an expanded BEC and some CFA materials. I guess it also depends on your own background. Mine is much closer to corporate accounting than US tax accounting.

            The lower pass rate can be explained by the fact the entry barrier is lower. For CPA a candidate is effectively an accounting major (often with masters’ degree) and therefore must do better when compared to the many CMA candidates who have never studied finance or accounting (since it is not required to sit for the exam).

            Also, there are a lot more non-US speaking international candidates especially from China and the Middle East and the language should have some impact at the pass rate at a macro level.

  5. Ikram Mansoor says

    Hello,

    I have passed CMA part 1 exam with a score of 400. I am not sure how it converts into percentage to have an idea how well I have scored. Pls of someone can translate this score 400 out of 500 into some meaningful measure, it would greatly help

    • Stephanie says

      Hi Ikram, first of all congratulations! With such a low passing rate for part 1 I think you should be happy that you pass with any score. For your information, the full mark is 500 and the passing mark is 360. I don’t think they release any info on standard deviation so it would be hard to know which percentile you fall into, but I would say that with 400 you should have comfortably passed part 1.

      Are you all ready for Part 2?
      Cheers
      Stephanie

  6. ahmed says

    hi there

    i am a cpa candidate , and i am considering the idea of taking the part 1 cma exam since it is very similar to the BEC section

    what do u think about it ?

  7. bakri alradi says

    i have strong desire to read and pass cma exams,it is not only English language level that make people from countries other than Europe,America and all countries that English language is their formal language not to be able to prepare for this certification but many obstacles may prevent and even deprive them to do this .one of these problems is how to attain cma questions and model answers and this is my case.in my self, ifeel that ican do well just if ihave attained the required questions and answers covering part 1 at this stage.

  8. Rafay says

    Hi
    Well I am appearing for the CMA Part1 exam in
    Sep2013 and I m preparing it from Wiley and doing
    Practice from exam support package, and getting
    62% in that package, my question is are the
    Question are similarly related to the exam question
    Or exam question wil be some different

    • says

      Hi Rafay, I guess it is hard to generalize but from readers’ feedback the actual ones tend to be lengthy and more “narrative” than the ones in Wiley… It’s a good idea to rework the ones you did wrong to improve your accuracy to 75-80%.

  9. MOHSIN says

    Hello Sir,

    I want to start CMA Part 1 preparation for exams, is it possible to prepare for exams by self study or it must that you have to take coaching for it, please guide me about this.

    Thanks

  10. Paulette says

    Hello Stephanie,
    First of all, thank you for all the information you are providing in your website; It is a goldmine!
    I am mooving to canada in January 2014 (waitng fo my visa) and I would like to arrive there having my CMA part 1 done , and take the part 2 once there.
    1st question, can I tak the part 1 in Ireland, and the part 2 in Montreal with a tourist visa (if i will still be waiting for my working visa) ? I guess yes…but just to be sure.
    2nd question:
    I have a master degree in international management and 2 years exp as a junior project controller. English is not my native language but i do feel quite comfortable with it. I am wondering if I start in August 2013 to learn by my self , how long should I wait to take the part 1 (and 2).
    Do you think end of septEember would be too early?
    3rd question: I checked availabilities and it looks that they are tests for part 1 and 2 in november 2013 too in Dublin which strange as normally it is sept/oct and jan/feb… do you know if it is in fact possible?

    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for the time you’ll spend on my questions!
    All the best!

    • says

      Hi Paulette,
      Thanks for your note! Before I answer your questions, could you let me know whether you are looking at the US CMA or Canadian CMA? Because getting the Canadian version makes more sense in your case if you work in Canada. My site only covers the US CMA offered by the IMA.

      Stephanie

  11. tamer says

    could you please tell me how many years allowed to get the cma after registration?
    the three years are after the registration or after passing part one.

  12. mudassir khan says

    hi stephan i like to ask u a question i am currently student of ACCA i just cleared 3 papers i now heard about CMA so i m now thinking to give CMA and get exemption in ACCA ?and how many exemption are?

  13. Mostafa says

    Hi
    There are some questions are bouncing in my forehead and need some answers if anyone could help:
    Firstly, I am egyptian. SO, my 1st Q is:
    How many people did achieve CMA certificate in my country or even in my region? in Average
    2nd Q:
    What are the perfect tips that could help me pass the certif. with a high score? referring that I am a commerce faculty grad plus I am working as an accountant. How to prepare and those steps should be taken
    3rd Q:
    Need to know the steps of making account for IMA
    4th Q:
    Which parts to focus on, in part 1?
    5th Q:
    Will I use Grammer & language kinda related stuff to express my answers in the essay’s question ?

    Also if any CMA holder have other advices for me. well, that could help alot!

    Best Regards
    MT

  14. Mus Meg says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m using Gleim book and software for part 1, and i’m wondering how close are the MCQ in Gleim to the ones in the exam?

    Thanks for your help and keep it up.

    Regards,

    Mus

    • says

      Hi Mus, it’s really hard to tell, but I don’t think you should expect the same questions pop up in the real exam. At least gleim has some out-of-the-blue questions that train you to think on your feet. At least that’s what I like about Gleim. Cheers, Stephanie

  15. Mahesh Kumar says

    Hi Stephanie,

    As you mentioned in your many answer that minimum passing marks is 360 out of 500.

    Is 360 score including essay ! If someone will gets 70% scoring in MCQ but he will get zero in essay , what will be the final result. Will he pass in the exam.

    Regards,

    • says

      Yes Mahesh, 360 is an overall score. The administrator doesn’t disclose the exact formula (it’s likely too complicated anyway) so I can’t answer your question, but generally candidates find the essays manageable. MC is the difficult part. Stephanie

  16. Khaled says

    The reason that CMA part 1 has much lower passing rate in the middle east is a combination between 2 factors, English language and Internal Controls (Audit) Part, which almost has no numerical numbers and rely heavily on candidates English language specially when it comes in the Essay part of the exam

  17. Muhammad Khabeer says

    sir i live in pakistan and i,m student of CMA(USA) kindly tell me how can pass the cma in first attempt and also tell me the reason of failure and also tell me the future of cma.thanks

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