I Pass The CMA Exam!

CMA Exam Difficulty: How Hard Is the CMA Exam?

Passing the CMA exam is one of the most involved and intensive steps in earning the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification. Because the exam has 2 parts, presents hundreds of questions, and takes hours to complete, careful and time-consuming preparation is a must. But along with knowing the question counts and content coverage, CMA candidates also want to understand the CMA exam difficulty. As they start the CMA journey, they wonder, “How difficult is the CMA exam?”

We can answer this valid question by assessing the different qualities of the exam. And with this information, we can objectively determine how hard the CMA exam is.

Indications of CMA Exam Difficulty: Pass Rates

The first sign we have that the CMA exam is fairly challenging is the CMA exam pass rate.

CMA Exam Pass Rates

Exam Part

2013 2014 2015 2015-2016 2016-2017


Part 1


35% 36% 35% 35%


Part 2


49% 55% 52% 50%


As you can see, the average CMA exam pass rate for the last few years has been about 43%. In comparison, the overall CPA Exam pass rate is about 50%, and the CPA Exam has a reputation for being very difficult.

So, is the CMA exam more difficult than the CPA Exam? Not necessarily.

One important reason for the CMA exam’s low pass rate is the low CMA exam requirement. To sit for the CMA exam, a candidate only needs a bachelor’s degree. And, that degree can be in any discipline and from just about any country.

The CPA Exam requirements are much stricter. Candidates must accumulate accounting credit hours equivalent to an accounting major and graduate with a 4-year bachelor’s degree. After that, a CPA candidate must earn 30 additional credit hours of education for a total of 150 hours. Therefore, the CPA candidate pool has a much stronger background in accounting, which helps bump up the overall pass rate.

For this reason, we cannot say that the CMA exam is definitely more difficult than the CPA Exam or other accounting certification exams with higher pass rates. However, we can say that at least half of the candidates that sit for the CMA don’t pass, so this exam is certainly not easy.

Indications of CMA Exam Difficulty: Exam Content and Structure

The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) has extrapolated on the CMA exam content in the content specification outlines (CSOs). The CSOs reveal that the CMA exam has 2 parts:

  • Part 1: Financial, Planning, Performance, and Analytics
  • Part 2: Strategic Financial Planning

 The first exam part addresses 5 topics:

  1. External financial reporting decisions
  2. Planning, budgeting, and forecasting
  3. Performance management
  4. Cost management
  5. Internal controls
  6. Technology and Analytics

The second exam part covers 6 content areas:

  1. Financial statement analysis
  2. Corporate finance
  3. Decision analysis
  4. Risk management
  5. Investment decisions
  6. Professional ethics

Furthermore, the CSOs list 22 total subject areas under Part 1 and 19 total subject areas under Part 2. Then, the Learning Outcome Statements (LOSs), an additional exam resource provided by the ICMA, digs deeper into the topics and subject areas described in the CSOs to reveal the tasks CMAs must be able to perform. The LOSs list hundreds of tasks under both Part 1 and Part 2.

Clearly, the CMA exam covers a lot of topics. And it does so using a large number of questions. Each CMA exam part contains 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and 2 30-minute essay scenarios containing about 8-10 written response questions.

The CMA exam is also quite long. To answer all of these questions, candidates have 4 hours of total testing time: 3 hours for the MCQs and 1 hour for the essays.

While the CMA exam may not have as many parts, topics, or questions as some other accounting certification exams, it nevertheless is a complex assessment that asks a lot of candidates.

Indications of CMA Exam Difficulty: Exam Knowledge Levels

A third indication of CMA exam difficulty is the depth of knowledge the exam expects candidates to possess.

Along with outlining the content of the CMA exam parts, the CSOs also explain the levels of knowledge assessed by each section of each exam part. Specifically, they identify and define 6 cognitive skills candidates must have in order to pass the exam:

  1. Knowledge: the ability to remember previously learned material such as specific facts, criteria, techniques, principles, and procedures (i.e., identify, define, list).
  2. Comprehension: the ability to grasp and interpret the meaning of material (i.e., classify, explain, distinguish between).
  3. Application: the ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations (i.e., demonstrate, predict, solve, modify, relate).
  4. Analysis: the ability to break down material into its component parts so that its organizational structure can be understood; ability to recognize causal relationships, discriminate between behaviors, and identify elements that are relevant to the validation of a judgment (i.e., differentiate, estimate, order).
  5. Synthesis: the ability to put parts together to form a new whole or proposed set of operations; ability to relate ideas and formulate hypotheses (i.e. combine, formulate, revise).
  6. Evaluation: Ability to judge the value of material for a given purpose on the basis of consistency, logical accuracy, and comparison to standards; ability to appraise judgments involved in the selection of a course of action (i.e., criticize, justify, conclude).

The CSOs then delineate 3 levels of coverage for these cognitive skills:

CMA Exam Skill Levels




knowledge and comprehension

knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis


knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation

The coverage levels build upon each other, so Level C includes Levels A and B.

Finally, the CSOs assign a coverage level to each of the major topics each part of the exam addresses.

Content and Skill Coverage Levels for CMA Exam Part 1


Main Topics

Content Percentage of Topics

Cognitive Skill Coverage Level

External Financial Reporting Decisions

15% Level C

Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting

20% Level C

Performance Management


Level C

Cost Management 15%

Level C

Internal Controls 15%

Level C

Technology and Analytics 15%

Level C

Content and Skill Coverage Levels for CMA Exam Part 2

Main Topics

Content Percentage of Topics

Cognitive Skill Coverage Level

Financial Statement Analysis

20% Level C

Corporate Finance

20% Level C

Decision Analysis


Level C

Risk Management 10%

Level C

Investment Decisions 10%

Level C

Professional Ethics 15%

Level C

As you can see, all of the major topics in both CMA exam parts require candidates to have the deepest levels of cognitive skills. Therefore, in order to pass the exam, you can’t simply memorize some formulas. Rather, you must know the exam content very well. Consequently, getting to these levels of comprehension involves a lot of time, effort, and concentration.

Indications of CMA Exam Difficulty: Candidate Feedback

While this last source of measurement for CMA exam difficulty is somewhat subjective, it is still a useful way to explore this topic.

To inform future CMA candidates about how hard the CMA exam is, I’ve asked for feedback from a few readers who have taken both the CPA and the CMA exams.

Most of them agreed that the CPA exam covers a much wider scope of topics. While this does increase the CPA Exam’s difficulty level, it does not move it out of the range of the CMA exam difficulty. This quote from one of my readers represents common themes of the feedback I received:

“How hard is the CMA exam compared to the CPA Exam? Well, I thought the material was as challenging, but because there are only 2 parts rather than 4, there is less study time overall. I put in as many hours for each section of the CMA as I did for the CPA. I hope it pays off…

“There is some overlap between the 2 exams. Part 1 of the CMA exam has material that is covered in BEC, and Part 2 has stuff from FAR. That’s an oversimplification because really there are things from all sections of the CPA Exam scattered throughout the CMA exam. Of course, there are also subject areas tested on the CMA exam that are not tested on the CPA Exam.

“If you can stomach the additional studying for a few more months (and if you have the money!) I definitely recommend doing them back to back while all the CPA info is still fresh.”

Additionally, you can further determine your CMA exam readiness by utilizing free CMA study resources.

Relief for CMA Exam Difficulty

While the ICMA has designed the CMA exam to be difficult enough to ensure that CMA candidates have all the knowledge and skills they need to represent the profession well, quantifying the difficulty of professional certification exams is tricky nonetheless. That’s because your own prior knowledge and your ability to understand and remember the information with ease affect how hard the CMA exam is for you.

But, one way you can make the study process much easier and give yourself the best chance at success no matter how much you knew before is to use CMA exam prep. I’ve compared the pros and cons of the most popular CMA review courses on the market, so you can get exactly what you need to pass. And, I’ve also gathered some great CMA review discounts, so you can save big on the CMA exam process.

However, you don’t have to pay for everything you use to prepare for the CMA exam. You can get my CMA course that tells you how to pass the exam the first time absolutely free. Learn more about my free CMA course now or sign up below!

​Get Free CMA Information!

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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Leave a Comment:

Kumudika Mdhumali says August 28, 2020

Hi there,
I am planning to migrate to Canada and visa is under process. Right now I am working as an Accountant with a Bachelor degree. Could you please advise me with a better professional course. I heard CMA is quite good. But still I seek your guidance. I live in UAE.

Thanks n Regards,
Kumudika Madhumali

    Stephanie Ng says September 16, 2020

    Hi, Kumudika! The CMA is the best professional certification for accountants who wish to work in private/industry accounting. Please read about the CMA benefits for more information.

Aflah says March 7, 2019

Hello sir….
I would like to be an cma graduate. All i want to know is that is there any excemptions for cma graduate for taking acca??

Looking forward.. Giv me a reply…

JEEVANANDAMR says February 13, 2019

i am jeeva ,i have completed B.sc maths and i desire CMA course then how many year required completed this course?

    Stephanie Ng says February 28, 2019

    Some candidates can complete it in as little as 3 months.

Shafique Ahmed qazi says January 20, 2019


I have done MBA 3.5 years in management plus 2 years B.com. My total education is 17.5 years. and i am working as an accountant in Middle East for past 3 years. Am i eligible for CMA. and how do you see my previous background will help in perusing CMA?
Kindly Guide.

Shafique Ahmed Qazi.

    Stephanie Ng says February 6, 2019

    Based on what you have told me, you should be eligible. Your background might help you feel more at ease with the topics if you had a lot of accounting classes.

M.Sivaji says July 17, 2018

Hi Stephanie Ng,
I am a Retired Employee from BSNL India.I am 63 years old.I am a B.Sc Graduate from Madurai Kamarjar University,Tamil Nadu.
I am wasting my precious time simply seeing TV and Internet.I want to utilize my time useful.Am I eligible to appear CMA Exams?.If I am eligible how much amount has to be spend.Please reply me.
Thanking You,
Yours Sincerely,
M.Sivaji,Retired Sub Divisional Er,
BSNL, Veeravanallur.

    M.Sivaji says July 18, 2018

    I have already inquired about my eligibility to appear the CMA but still no reply for my doubt please.

    Stephanie Ng says September 15, 2018

    You can find the CMA exam requirements here. And the CMA exam fees are here.

    Kind regards

Aparna says June 21, 2018


First of all, thank you for all your answers. They were extremely helpful.

I wish to study for the CMA exams by myself. Can you tell me if IMA has some kind of a study material / textbook that I could use as base material?

Also, will the articleship training that I underwent as a part of my Chartered Accountancy course (India) be counted as experience for CMA certification?

Thanks in advance!

    Honest Accountant says July 3, 2018

    Try Wiley’s CMA study guide. They sell Parts 1 & 2 textbooks and online testing bank separately. They also have a great promotion going on until July 10, 2018. You can also try Becker, Gleim, and others.

ABDUL BASIM says June 13, 2018

I am confused because….
CMA with partime bcom is better or
Bcom with partime CMA is better….which most useful to us

ABDUL BASIM says June 12, 2018

Thanks for your valuable comment….thanks a lot

    Stephanie Ng says June 13, 2018

    Most welcome Abdul!

ABDUL BASIM says May 30, 2018

I would like to do cma after +2 is it possible…
And i am a average student I has 61% in +2 science…for me it is possible to finish cma is first attempt in exm …please help

    Stephanie Ng says June 12, 2018

    Sure Abdul, it’s definitely possible. These professional exams are different from the university exams. Don’t worry what you’ve got in the past, but you do need to put in the time and effort.

Gerry Sharma says May 28, 2018

Dear Stephanie,

Is CMA widely used in other parts of the world other than the middle east? Are there streams like Canada/US/Middle Eastern to study?

I have a MA from a recognized university but my bachelors is not from a recognized institution, can I still apply to IMA?

Gerry Sharma

    Stephanie Ng says June 12, 2018

    Hi Gerry,
    The IMA headquarters is in the US so US is definitely well recognized. China is also big in that regard. Canada has their own version in the form of the Canadian CPA so I can’t say the IMA CMA certification is popular there…

    On your qualification, I think it’s ok, but it is best to check with the IMA directly. Thanks! Stephanie

Saad says May 8, 2018

Hi stephanie,

I want to start CMA. I am a CA finalist with only 2 papers to qualify plus B.Com ( 2 years program). I am currently doing job in Dubai as an Internal Auditor having more than 3 years of experience.

My questions are;
1. Is I am elogible to start CMA on the basis of B.Com of 2 years plus CA finalist and
2. Will my experience be counted to gain CMA certificate after passing CMA exam both parts.

Waiting for your reply.


    Stephanie Ng says May 10, 2018

    Hi Saad,
    Thanks for your note. Normally IMA looks for 3-4 years of bachelor program, but if you have done part of the CA certification, please email IMA and see if they will allow it. IMA is very helpful in this regard.

    Yes I believe your experience can be counted, but you can check with the IMA at the same time. Their email is ima@imanet.org.

    Let us know how it goes! Stephanie

JL says January 7, 2018

I’m currently studying for CMA part 2 and am planning to take CPA after. Do you suggest that I take FAR first or BEC first?

BEC would be easier for me but because of the 18-month limit, I’m also considering FAR first. Does FAR have a lot of overlap with CMA?

    Meghan D says August 8, 2018

    FAR has some overlap with the CMA. I do recommend taking FAR first because there will be overlap with FAR, BEC, REG, and AUD (the amount of overlap varies). I hope this helps!

nash says December 19, 2017

Hi Stephanie
Iam a b.com graduate with 56%
I still being with cma . how much of duration take to pass this course

    Stephanie Ng says December 28, 2017

    Hi Nash,
    It really depends on your experience and background, but the IMA suggests at least 150 hours for each part of the exam. I think that’s about right unless you are very familiar with the materials. Regards, Stephanie

BABITA says November 4, 2017

i am arts graduate with 43% marks i am eligible fore CMA exam .
Kindly suggest but is the first step of CMA courses.


    Stephanie Ng says November 4, 2017

    Hi Babita,
    As long as you pass enough classes to graduate from a bachelor degree (in any discipline), you are qualified for the exam. But if your major is not relevant or that you didn’t do as well before, it’s prudent to allocate more time in the studying. It isn’t rocket science so a university graduate can certainly handle this, but time and effort is required. Regards, Stephanie

Naveed Najeeb says August 16, 2017

Dear Stephanie?

CMA or ACCA Which is easy? Which has more passing rates?

    Stephanie Ng says August 17, 2017

    Hi Naveed,
    They are pretty different in terms of the format and purpose of the exam. Can’t really compare directly as they are like apples and oranges. There are people (especially those from outside of the US) who claim that the CMA exam is easier. I don’t agree — in fact, I don’t think those people even took the CMA exam so they aren’t qualified to make such comments. Just be careful when you read the discussion in various forums.

    If I really have to compare, I would say the CMA takes a much shorter time to complete, but the exam questions are tough. Part 1 pass rate is 35%, just to give you an idea. The exam is mostly multiple choice which is also very different from that of ACCA. Regards, Stephanie

Naveed Najeeb says August 12, 2017

I am a BCom graduate.I would like to pursue a CMA course.

Can I know how many hours to be spent for studying daily for CMA?

I would like to be a accountant , Is it beneficial?

Can I know best institutes in India for CMA coaching classes?

    Stephanie Ng says August 17, 2017

    Hi Naveed, thanks for your note. This is a very rough estimate because everyone’s background is different, but IMA suggests candidates to spend at least 150 hours for each part of the exam. We have a study planner that can let you figure out the number of studying hours needed for each study unit. Please see if this is helpful: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-study-planner/

    I don’t know about the Indian local coaching classes, and I personally recommend the online courses. This is why: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-online-coaching-vs-live-class/

Padmesh garg says June 16, 2017

Hey Stephanie
I am pursuing B.com(hons) and planning to start with my CMA coaching.
I have some following queries-
1.Is CMA would be benefical for me in terms of business skills?
2.There are two parts so we have to take both the parts on different dates?
3.what is the scope of CMA’s in Indian market as per demand and packages?

waiting for a positive response.

RAM SONI says June 13, 2017

Hi Stephanie

I want to know that is CMA course good ,right now I have completed my BCOM. I am an average students therefore I should do this or not, I also want to know about it’s duration in india.


Ram soni

    Stephanie Ng says June 19, 2017

    Hi Ram, it’s hard to comment whether it’s “good”… I guess it is helpful for some but not the others. Please refer to this page and see if the CMA certification benefits your own career: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/why-become-a-cma/

anas says May 13, 2017

Hi stephanie,
is there any presentation subjects or a part in cma like mba?

Thomas says May 13, 2017

I am currently working in KPMG in India.I am planning to do CMA with Gleim self study materials due to lack of time. Is it enough or do i need to go for regular classes?

    Stephanie Ng says May 14, 2017

    Hi Thomas, sure, it’s totally fine. The majority of candidates in the US self-study (many with Gleim). Regards, Stephanie

jisna says May 10, 2017

Hi., am a average student but I interested in cma course . And I just attempted tha cpt in ca but I didn’t passed .so I just worried to start up cma .because of confidence reduced..

    Stephanie Ng says May 11, 2017

    Hi Jisna,
    Just to make sure we are covering the US CMA certification here. This exam isn’t easy so it shouldn’t be seen as an easier backup when other professional exams look more difficult. In any case, if one works hard and dedicate enough time and resources on this, it is doable. Please let me know if you have further questions. Stephanie

Fahad says May 4, 2017

Dear Stephanie,

I have some queries to discuss.

Firstly, i have done my bachelors last year in 2016, can I go for CMA ?? Or should I go for MBA ??

Secondly, I haven’t studied Accounting and Finance in detail in my bachelor. So if I study CMA from any institution so will I get all the knowledge in detail or they will just provode am overview of concepts.

Because in order to pass CMA exams we need to have deep knowledge of Accounting amd Finance.

Waiting for you good response.



    Stephanie Ng says May 9, 2017

    Hi Fahad,
    Thanks for your note. For CMA vs MBA, it’s more of a personal choice as there are pros and cons for each. Please refer to this page for more info: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/mba-or-cma/

    The CMA curriculum is mostly accounting and finance, but the review courses will cover all, but will focus also on exam techniques so it is slightly different from the ones in university. In general, taking these review courses alone is sufficient to pass the exam.

siddharth says April 10, 2017

Jii Stephanie,I want to know that is CMA course good ,right now I have completed my 12 like I am an average students therefore I should do this or not, I also want to know about it’s duration

    Stephanie Ng says April 12, 2017

    Hi Siddharth,
    I would take the time to decide once you start your university education, because you want to be relatively sure that (management) accounting is the way to go in terms of career path.

HABEEB says April 4, 2017

Hi Stephanie

I am a CMA student i was waiting for results and i would like to know about any excemptions in doing ACCA after compleated cma if i cleared CMA what are the benifit with other any courses? and i would like to know the grading system also

Daniel says February 14, 2017

I have also completed my BCOM(CA) degree .. am I taking a right decision to do CMA.

    Stephanie Ng says February 15, 2017

    It’s good that you have BCOM Daniel as you can get qualified. As to whether it is suitable for you, it depends on your career aspiration. Here is another post that may be helpful: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/why-become-a-cma/

Daniel says February 14, 2017

Hi Stephanie,

Im from india and planning to take US CMA course, I have an experience of 2years in investment banking field so will they consider my experience for CMA certification.

Thank you,

    Stephanie Ng says February 15, 2017

    Hi Daniel, I guess it depends on what exactly you do in investment banking. Here is more info, and as you see, i-banking is possible but exactly fall in the requirements: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-experience-requirements/

    You can contact IMA (email them with your job description) and they will tell you whether it is acceptable. Good luck!

Nahush says October 19, 2016

Hi Stephanie,

Iam from India I have already done CIMA/CGMA and hold a diploma in IFRS. I want to do CMA because it includes US – GAAP . In how much depth I will get knowledge on this in CMA

Please email me your reply on nahush.deodhar[@]gmail.com

Thanks a lot in advance

    Stephanie Ng says October 19, 2016

    Hi Nahush, in all honestly the CMA exam’s coverage on US GAAP is very introductory — if this is your focus, I would go for the US CPA exam. But then, I see that you’ve already got your CGMA. I understand CGMA is meant to be a joint recognition from AICPA but in reality is it the case? I doubt it. Businesses still value a qualification that is earned. So in my own opinion, to show the US GAAP expertise, US CPA is the one. Hope it helps! Stephanie

Tejas Gore says September 30, 2016

Hello Stephanie 🙂 iam from India.
Can you please let me know the number exemptions a CMA candidate or a CMA gets appearing for CIMA ?

Moh'd Roohul Abedin says September 28, 2016

Respected Ma’am
Quoting Tejas Gore,

We love the way you enthusiastically answer people around the globe
You are such an inspiration.

I am a Pakistani National and working in Saudi Arabia. My question is related to my son, who is doing his A level (pre engineering) in Saudi Arabia. I wish him to pursue career in Accounting & Finance but cant decide the course to pursue. The final certification target is CPA. But before that and after A level which course can he start, ACCA Or CMA. Is he be eligible to join either of CMA or ACCA after A level?
Please advise as I am really very concerned about his career. Secondly I would also like to send him abroad after A level for further studies. Please also advise which country would be better among USA, UK and Australia.
Hope you will help me to get right decision.


    Stephanie Ng says September 30, 2016

    Hi Abedin, thanks for your note. You are such a devoting father. If the ultimate goal is the US CPA license, either ACCA or CMA doesn’t help really, because the qualifications are not recognized by the vast majority of states. Having said that, the CMA title is at least quite useful in the Middle East region. In terms of studying abroad, it is another big discussion that is better covered in other sites and blogs. Ultimately, your son lives his own life. Give him the research you gather, and let him make the decision. Have a wonderful weekend, Stephanie

Rohit says August 6, 2016

I’m preparing for CMA exams currently studying part-2 got my exam scheduled on sept-27 , I was thinking to give both part like part 1 on 1st week of October actually I was prepared for part 1 for may june window but due to some serious reason I was not able to appear for the exam so I need your suggestion. Its been 2 month I haven’t revised part -1 and by august last week I will be tharough with part -2. tell me your opinion how should I move forward only with one or both at once

    Stephanie Ng says August 11, 2016

    Hi Rohit, it really depends how much you are able to retain the materials in Part 1. If you are very confident of Part 2 and have spare time to rework on your Part 1, then sure; otherwise, I would just focus on Part 2 and try the best to pass on first try.

Nina says August 1, 2016

Hi Stephanie,
I am still not sure about the difficulty level of CMA. I cleared CFA level1 on my first attempt w/o much study. I just gave one good read to Schweser notes. That’s all I did. I didn’t solve any mocks, or numerical problems. I scored the highest percentiles on all sections except I guess economics. Since I was planning to stay in loan underwriting/credit analysis, I didnt not pursue cfa any further. For corporate lending etc., CMA definitely looks more relevant and hence I want to pursue it.

I don’t know I might have been lucky on the exam day or it might have been my background (MS Finance from a top school in the US and several years in credit underwriting). However, I am little scared as I read many people take several attempts to clear CMA.

1) Is CFA level1(alone) success is no measure to know once’s chances of success at CMA?
2) When I prepared for CFA1, I thought the schweser notes were not all that easy, but were interesting read. The exam was also pretty similar. However, what I found about the CFA was the bar was set really low. I am pretty sure I random guessed about 20% questions and so it was really not tough come in top 30%le to pass the exam. How does the scoring work in CMA? Do you have to get 50% questions right or CMA also works on percentile and not percentage?
3) Here is what I am thinking: read the books (Hock) thoroughly and with genuine interest to learn, then take quizzes and mocks, the moment I start hitting 95% accuracy, not study further or take mocks and go take the real exam. I don’t want to be over confident here but neither do I want to overstudy 🙂
4) Is too ambitious to aim to write both parts just a couple of days apart?

I am sorry if I am coming across as too presumptuous, but I am just trying to optimize my resources (time and money) here. 🙂

Thank you and your site is amazing.

    Stephanie Ng says August 1, 2016

    Hi Nina, thanks for your note. It’s certainly great accomplishment on your CFA level 1. It isn’t an easy test for the majority. The CMA Part 2 is quite similar to CFA Part 1 in terms of content, which really helps for you, but the question style can be quite different.

    It’s hard for me to tell how you will do on CMA. There are too many factors. You can try signing up for Wiley CMA Review’s 14 day trial, and see for yourself how you do in the exam mode. You can either choose to go straight to the mock exam, or take the mini mock (exam mode questions) at the end of each chapter.

    On 3, Sounds good to me. I would just do that. You might not even need the Exammatrix. You can decide later.

    On 4, sure, can do. No problem to take both parts if you are ready for it.

      Nina says August 1, 2016

      Thanks for all your guidance, Stephanie. Hope your week is off to a great start!

        Stephanie Ng says August 1, 2016


ibrahim mansoor says July 16, 2016

sir,i am a b com graduate want know us cma or cma india which is best,and best to get job in canada or middle east

    Stephanie Ng says July 16, 2016

    Hi ibrahim, it is hard to comment on which is best (both are good), but if you are comparing in the perspective of getting a job outside of India, CMA (US) is better. For Canada though the best is CPA Canada. Typically, if there is a local designation, go for that one. Regards, Stephanie

Sakshi says June 30, 2016

Hey I want to pursue CMA with my graduation. But due to its difficulty level I am confused to do it with graduation or not….

    Stephanie Ng says July 1, 2016

    Hi Sakshi, it should be doable as long as you put in the time and effort 🙂 Good luck! Stephanie

Jeni says June 21, 2016

Hi how long it take to complete a full CMA course

    Stephanie Ng says June 21, 2016

    Hi Jeni, typically candidates complete the two parts in 12-18 months, depending on one’s schedule and commitment at work and family. We also have bloggers who completed the whole process within 6 months. Regards, Stephanie

      Jeni says June 22, 2016

      Thnk yu stephanie

Tejas Gore says June 13, 2016

My query is what exactly does a CMA do ?
And while searching or enrolling for a job for experience what field should be selected ?

Thank you in advance

JAYDIP GHOSH says June 13, 2016


I am B-com hons and MBA (Finance) but I want to study and complete CMA. I am engaged in a pvt. Company . but I seriously want to study this course.My age is 43. I my decision is correct ? pls advice me.

anand says May 30, 2016

i am an engineer by qualification but somehow due to the downside of the employment market i am currently employed in the FMCG sector more precisely about right now i am in the retail as an assistant branch manager.

having said that i would also like to point out that i am really glad with my present job ,just to enhance the shift to the fmcg sector i would like to be enlightened if the CMA course would do me any good.

    Stephanie Ng says May 31, 2016

    Hi Anand, thanks for your note, and glad you like your job. The CMA program will likely help you understand how the numbers behind the sales and cost mean to you as a branch manager, and this is a really helpful skill as you move up to more strategic positions. But it may not be directly helpful in terms of increasing your salary, for example, because this is a qualification for management accountants instead of for business units. Hope it helps? Stephanie

Tejas says May 16, 2016

How are essay questions assessed ?
On what basis are they judged and slotted with. Points or marks ?
2) what is the pasting criteria for essay type questiosn ?
Thank you.

    Stephanie Ng says May 16, 2016

    Hi Tejas, we know that the essays are graded by experience (human) graders and they have a marking scheme. There are some guidelines as mentioned in the following link, but I don’t think we will know the marking scheme: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-essay-prep/

Tejas Gore says May 13, 2016

Hello Ma’am
I love the way you enthusiastically answer people around the globe
You are such an inspiration

My question is
Can CMA’s work from india? (I from India)
And how much does a CMA earn during his work experience phase ?

    Stephanie Ng says May 13, 2016

    Hi Tejas, thanks for your note!
    If you mean whether a CMA can fulfill the experience requirement in India, the answer yes. You can both take the exam and accumulate work experience in your home country. But it isn’t a program where someone will identify a job for you. You have to find your own job just like any full time job that you may have. Then, once you work for 2 years, you can ask your supervisor to sign the verification form for you. How much you can earn depends on the type of job you are going to get. Hope it is clear, Stephanie

Faisal Feroz Ali says May 10, 2016

HEY I am confuse about selecting in ACCA or CMA guide me what should i choose?

    Stephanie Ng says May 10, 2016

    Hi Faisal, ACCA is more for general accounting (public and corporate) working in local companies (or companies headquartered in the UK), while for CMA it is focused on management accounting, and it is more recognized in US multinational companies or those with public listing in the US. Also, companies with manufacturing base (vs service companies) tend to appreciate CMA more. Hope it helps! Stephanie

Pawandeep Singh Bhandari says April 27, 2016

ACCA announced not to give exemption to US CMA candidates from 2016 pass candidates? Please let me know why? Is popularity of cma is decreasing?
I am working in MNC Company Genpact for a USA based client – William Blair in to Portfolio reconciliation profile in backend. And for career advancement I thought to do this course.
In India there are lots of jobs for Financial Planning and Analysis but I am now so confused that how great this course is ? Will it add value in my resume or its just like an ordinary course?

Pawandeep Singh Bhandari says April 27, 2016

I heard that ACCA decided not to give exemption to US CMA candidates from 2016 pass candidates? Will you please let me know why? Is the popularity of cma is decreasing. I am working in MNC for a USA based Company William Blair in to Portfolio reconciliation profile in backend. And for career advancement I thought to do this course.
In India there are lots of jobs for Financial Planning and Analysis but I am now so confused that how great this course is ? Will it add value in my resume or its just like an ordinary course?

Rob says April 11, 2016

Hi Stephanie,
I read the pass rates for 2015 as 36% for part 1 and 55% for part 2.
I am wondering in your experience and from what you have read on this site why part 1 is so much more difficult?
is this normal?

    Stephanie Ng says April 11, 2016

    Hi Rob, when we look at the geographic breakdown of pass rates in 2014 (2015 data not available), you will see that, while pass rate of Part 1 is lower than that of Part 2 in all categories, Asia and Middle East have the biggest difference between Part 1 and 2. These are the two regions where most candidates do not read and write English as their first language.

    Given the internal control questions in Part 1 are quite tricky (as in there could be more than one seemingly correct answer, and you have to pick the best one), the ability to comprehend long, complex questions in English could be a reason.

    Another reason is that most candidates start with Part 1, and move on to Part 2 only if they pass the first part. Because of this the failure rate is bound to be higher in Part 1.

    The third reason I can think of is that some of the Part 2 curriculum is more straightforward. For example, I find professional ethics in Part 2 quite easy as long as you spend the time understanding the standard and how they apply.

    These are all based on my observation and common sense. We don’t have solid data to support but hopefully IMA will be able to shed more light on this in the future. Regards, Stephanie

doug says March 17, 2016

I am self employed. Will I be able to use my accounting experience from doing my own accounting as experience?

Much regard, Doug

    Stephanie Ng says March 17, 2016

    Hi Doug, I have a reader who are also self-employed and has her experience approved. It depends on the nature of work. But she has some correspondence with the IMA in advance. I encourage that you contact IMA as well. Good luck! Stephanie

Karan says January 31, 2016

I’m doing b.com and thinking of doing CMA. Is CMA Is better for career designation. I’m weak in mathematics can I crack it?

V Kannur says December 20, 2015

I want to study CMA and I am afraid that I have completed my studies 12 years back and I don’t have any touch with my books all these years. If I can spent 20 – 25 hours per week, is it possible to complete CMA, because my work schedule and other things permit me only this much hours in a week.


V Kannur.

Deepesh says December 4, 2015

What is the importance of English language in this Course.Can students must have 100% knowledge/capable to speak English.

    Stephanie Ng says December 8, 2015

    Hi Deepesh, you don’t need to speak at all, but you need to write a piece of decent business writing in English, with proper grammar and structure (introduction, main paragraph and conclusion). You can check out my post on the essay here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-essay-prep

Deepesh says December 2, 2015

I’m planning to pursue for cma .I’m a ca inter. Can CMA Course is difficult than CA Course.what’s their pass rates from India.CMA Course is a practical or a theoretical course like CA Course?

    Stephanie Ng says December 3, 2015

    Hi Deepesh, the pass rate doesn’t break down by specific country but it has one by region. The 2015 data is not out yet but here is the 2014 statistics for your info: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-pass-rate/

    As for the other question, I can’t really answer this as I didn’t take CA, but I am in the process of setting up a forum and once I do that, I will invite readers to discuss this further. Hopefully this can be launched before year end! Stephanie

      Deepesh says December 3, 2015

      Thank You for your concern.
      I have a one more question is that CMA COURSE is a theoretical or a practical course means having a sums and numerical questions or having a theory only.and what is the weighted of both in this course.

        Stephanie Ng says December 3, 2015

        Hi Deepesh,
        The exam has both type of questions. It differs in each exam and the IMA does not disclose weighting in this regard.

Raj says November 3, 2015

Hello Stephenie
If i do CMA can that be counted as extra credit hours for CPA. If yes then how many & CMA have objectives type questions in exam like CPA or we have to write practical answer?
Please guide me.

    Stephanie Ng says November 3, 2015

    Hi Raj, I am afraid not. CPA doesn’t give exemptions to professional qualifications other than those listed here: https://ipassthecpaexam.com/iqex/

    But in terms of exam content, there are quite a few overlaps. On that you can save time studying for both exams.

      RAJ says November 3, 2015

      Thank you very much for your kind guidance mam & I really appreciate that.
      Actually I was asking that if I pass my CMA exam then can I get credit hours for CPA exam? For example 30 OR 20 hours which can total up for 120 credit hours to be eligible for CPA exam. please help me. Thank you.

        Stephanie Ng says November 4, 2015

        No I don’t think so Raj… To put it bluntly, the CMA exam can’t help you at all in the CPA exam qualification process. Regards, Stephanie

Prashanth Desai K says September 26, 2015

Hi Stephanie-Myself Prashanth from India…You are doing great job and responding to each queries must have lots of patience and you are proving it…

1) I am thinking to take up CMA…I always wanted to work in Canada and with my education credentials its difficult to find a job in Canada (I have complete B.Com and MBA distance learning from India and have more than 7 years of work experience in F&A), is this good idea to qualify CMA and find look out for job in Canada???

2) There are lots of institutes offering classes here, but I want to study on my own as I don’t get much time during my busy weekdays and weekends, so is it possible to register directly with IMA and get the printed or soft copy study materials??? will I get any online class assistance from IMA?

3) Do I need to go for any practical training after completing CMA or during the course?

Bipin Jalan says September 10, 2015

Hi, I am presently dealing into financial products, security market. I am also at the verge of completing PGDBA (Finance) from distance learning. I want to develop a career as a Finance manager or similar profile. Do you think CMA will help me with the necessary basic educational Qualification and also help me in finding a suitable Job in INDIA / US / Canada/ UK .

    Stephanie Ng says September 10, 2015

    Hi Bipin, it sounds to me that CFA may be better for you? It’s 100% finance. For CMA, I would say 2/3 accounting and 1/3 finance (as in corporate finance), and is catered for corporate accounting. Regards, Stephanie

      Bipin Jalan says September 11, 2015

      Thanks Stephanie for your quick response, I am more interested in developing a career in a Finance department ( Finance Manager, Finance controller, CFO & CEO), . Pl guide accordingly.

        Stephanie Ng says September 11, 2015

        I see Bipin. CMA would work then, but its value depends on which country you work, and which type of company. I believe you have read this post which I discussed this in more detail: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-title-for-career/

        CPA would be the best choice for you in my opinion but it’s hard to get qualified… it also takes at least double the time because there are 4 parts vs 2 parts in the CMA exam. Regards, Stephanie

Arif says August 20, 2015

Hi Stephanie,

You are doing a great job guiding people in CMA. Is CMA really tough? and how many hours of study I need to do on daily basis as I am working professional I find difficult to take out time.Could you please advice.


    Stephanie Ng says August 22, 2015

    Hi Arif, the IMA suggests 100-150 hours of studying for each part of the exam. If you look at my excel study planner (link below), it’s about right. Whether it’s tough is pretty subjective… I tried to somewhat quantify it above but in reality it really depends on your own background.


    Being a work professional isn’t really a problem as the vast majority of candidates (in US at least) take this exam together with a full time job, so at least you are not worse off than others in this aspect. Feel free to post if you have additional questions. Regards, Stephanie

Jijo T.P says August 4, 2015

I am a graduate, working in middle east for the last 7 years as administration officer ( not as an accountant). I prefer to study CMA but having following doubts:.
1. Can i go for CMA even I am not working as as an accountant?
2. After passing CMA exam will get any pass certificate to apply a job (because will get the CMA certificate only after my 2 year experience)

    Stephanie Ng says August 4, 2015

    Hi Jijo, thanks for your note. Yes you can take the CMA exam now but the bottleneck for you would be the experience. You must have relevant (i.e. accounting) experience to get the certification. Passing the CMA exam along won’t get you any official document from IMA.

Aniket says July 8, 2015

Hi Stephanie, what is the minimum passing score for each section required to obtain CMA certification? as for CPA they say its 75% for each section

Vincent says June 25, 2015

Hi Stephanie,

I found this website to be extremely helpful and has given me great insight as I weigh my options before taking the CMA.

I had a question regarding the education requirement. I am just finishing up my first year in financial management and previously came over from doing 6 months of public accounting. Prior to that, I worked an internship in financial management for 6 months but there was a gap of about a year to finish school.

Does this satisfy the education requirement or do I need to have 2 years of continual work experience in the same industry/position.


    Stephanie Ng says June 25, 2015

    Hi Vincent, thanks for your note! In terms of the educational requirement, you’ll need to be pursuing a bachelor degree. I assume your financial management is a degree program and if so, that’s great. The gap shouldn’t be a concern as long as you plan to graduate. You can take the exam as a current student and are qualified for the student discount. You will need to graduate (plus the experience) to get the CMA certificate.

    In terms of experience requirement, your 6 months in accounting and internship won’t count though, as they are looking for 2 consecutive years of relevant experience.

    In case you haven’t read it, for more info on the requirements, please check out this page: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-requirements/

      Taha Shaikh says June 12, 2016

      hy stephine some people always tell me that MBA is more benificial compare to CMA and some people give advice for CMA and i have interest in accounting so plz tell me what can i do

        Stephanie Ng says June 12, 2016

        Hi Taha, I would say it depends on which MBA program you go through. Unlike CMA which is a standardized program, the quality of MBA program varies greatly. If one gets into Harvard, I am quite sure it is more beneficial to CMA; but if one goes to a diploma mill, it’s of little use. Regards, Stephanie

          Taha Shaikh says June 13, 2016

          thanks but one thing which i want to ask you that which field will give more handsome salary and plz define me the difference between academic education which is BMA and professional education which is CMA and honestly i interested in CMA so plz guide me about CMA and about their advanteges because i want to do some thing special for my family

          Taha Shaikh says June 13, 2016

          second thing which i want to know that if i not good in mathematics so should i go for cma or if i will complete cma so can i illegible for good job or earn some handsome salary

          Taha Shaikh says June 24, 2016

          sir i am waiting for your answer which is best in Pakistan cma or mba plz give me answer as soon as possible

          Stephanie Ng says June 25, 2016

          Hi Taha, I don’t have an answer specifically for Pakistan but we have a general discussion here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/mba-or-cma/

Jittu says June 18, 2015

Hey Stephaine. How are you?
I wanted to do CPA , but most people say that the course is too difficult.
Does CMA carry the same level of difficulty?


    Stephanie Ng says June 21, 2015

    Hi Jittu,
    I believe the level of difficulty is similar, but CPA covers way more materials so it is at least double the time in terms of studying. For CMA, you are done after passing two parts, but for CPA, it’s only half way. So it takes a lot more stamina, and I believe this is the reason why people find CPA more difficult.

    They also have a higher barrier of entry as well. It is harder for international candidates to get qualified for the CPA exam these days. It’s possible for sure though, and you can check it out here: https://ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-application-for-international-students/

shrinivas says May 1, 2015

Thank you so much :).. I hope it’ll not be difficult for me…
And 1 more qst :p …

I’m also planning to do mba. . So will I get a nice impression by having degree of mba with cma. ?

shrinivas says April 30, 2015

I’m planning to pursue for cma . I’ve finished my graduation and I’m a ca inter.
The only thing I want to know is there any sums in cma which has mathematic like DERIVATIVES and INTEGRATION .. Because I’m very weak in advance mathematics especially the chapters which I have mentioned above. .

Waiting for positive reply 🙂

    Stephanie Ng says May 1, 2015

    Hi Shrinivas,
    Thanks for your note. There are some coverage of financial derivatives in Part 2, but it is at introductory level and calculation is not required. And definitely no advanced mathematics like sets and integration, no worries. Regards, Stephanie

Blade Ballard says January 16, 2015

This helped a lot

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