The CMA Exam, administered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), is given in two parts. Each section tests your knowledge of high-level concepts. Since management accountants often work in positions like risk managers and financial strategists, the CMA Exam assesses your readiness for these decision-making roles.
Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics. CMA Part 1 tests a lot of technical concepts related to high-level accounting duties. The questions will require you to do calculations based on formulas you need to memorize.
Part 2: Strategic Financial Management. CMA Part 2 also tests technical skills. Also, it tests your capabilities to understand and manage bigger business concepts. The CMA Part 2 formulas don’t overlap much with Part 1. So, you’ll still have a fair amount of formulas to memorize to pass Part 2.
Like it or not, you just have to commit some content of the CMA Exam and formulas to memory. Even with the help of modern software that does a lot of the grunt work of accounting calculations, it’s still important to understand these formulas. For the CMA Exam, you’ll need to know when and how to use them. And most significantly, you must recognize exactly what they are measuring.
If you’re wondering, “Does the CMA Exam provide formulas,” the short answer is “no.”
Therefore, it’s essential to commit each CMA formula to memory because they are not provided by the exam software.
The best way to commit something to rote memory is to drill it over and over again. Here are some ideas:
Many people learn concepts best when the material is presented in three different ways. So for example, you could create a CMA formula sheet as a study guide to carry around with you. By making your own sheet instead of downloading it from the internet, you’ll learn faster. If you follow these steps, you’ll encounter the formulas in three ways and memorize them quicker:
a) type out the formulas in a word processing program on your computer
b) say the formulas aloud while you’re typing
c) re-read the formulas on your screen before printing a hard copy to review over and over.
Some candidates like to make their own CMA flashcards that cover the CMA Part 1 and Part 2 formulas. Sure, you could probably purchase some online. But if you make your own, you’ll learn faster.
We will have free Part 2 formulas on our website soon. Stay tuned!
If you need additional information about the CMA Exam, the content, the formulas you’ll need, and other information, check out these links:
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.