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Does Age Affect CMA Exam Results? Are You Too Old for This?

age affect cma exam resultsI receive questions from readers on whether age is a factor in getting the CMA certification. In other words, does it get more difficult to pass the CMA exam as we get older? And secondly, does the impact of the CMA title increase or decrease as we age?

Is it Harder to get the CMA Title as We Get Older?

It is fair to say that for any professional exam, the younger you are, the easier you pass. After all, examinations often involve memorization. And when candidates are fresh out of college (or during college), their “book-smartness” is generally higher than those who are out of school.

At the same time, the skills we gain as we enter the workforce are not tested in the exam. It is not that the examiners do not care about these skill sets, but it is hard to “test” your experience…

In other words, the answer is yes: Taking the CMA exam later rather than sooner is likely a disadvantage for many candidates.

Are Most People Taking the Exam During College Then?

Based on the above logic, most candidates would have taken the CMA when they were in college or right afterward. Is this true? I don’t have the exact statistics, but most people actually take the exam years after college.

The average age of a US CPA candidate is around 29 years old. Even though the CMA is obviously a different qualification, the background of candidates is very similar.

Another reference point: IMA has a “Young Professional Award,” and the cut-off age is 33, more than 10 years after most people get their bachelor’s degrees.

What is the Advantage or Disadvantage of Getting Certified Later?

If you believe that the CMA title can help you make more money, as shown in the IMA annual salary survey, then yes, your opportunity cost is higher if you postpone your CMA certification.

Having said that, the Middle East salary survey has shown that the impact of the certification is the biggest in higher positions. Therefore, it is still worth the effort to take the exam and get the designation even when you’re mid-career.

Here is a Summary in Video Format

What Do You Think?

Do you think age is a big factor in the CMA exam? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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

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About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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