I Pass The CMA Exam!

CMA Exam Essay Questions: Complete Guide to Ace the CMA Essays

Many aspiring CMAs with an international background dread the CMA exam essay questions. The writing aspect of the exam can be daunting for many people. This is especially true if English is not your first language. However, some CMA preparation for the essays can help you reduce your anxiety about the written section.

Don’t get thrown off by the CMA essay questions. You can review for the CMA essays and prepare yourself for this part of the exam once you know what to expect. What exactly are the examiners testing, how are the essays graded, and how can you get a good score?

CMA Exam Structure

You have 4 hours to complete each part of the CMA exam. If you complete the multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in less than 3 hours, then you have the remaining time to work on the essay portion. If you use the full 3 hours for the multiple-choice questions, you will have stop and move on to essay questions.

For candidates whose first language isn’t English, I strongly encourage you to practice going through CMA exam MCQs quickly, so you can allot more time for the essay portion of the exam.

However, keep in mind that there is a chance you won’t see any essay questions on your exam if you do poorly on the MCQs. In fact, you can only move on to the essays if you get at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions correct. If you do not score 50% or higher on the MCQs, your exam will end and you will need to sign up to sit for the exam again.

The CMA exam has two parts:

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

Each part contains 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and two essay scenarios. Each scenario has several short-answer questions that accompany it.

CMA Exam Format for Essays

There are two possible essay topics or scenarios, each consisting of several questions. You may be asked to complete a business memo or to work on a quantitative analysis.

You’ll add your answers to the essay questions using a simple word processor that is similar to Notepad. For essays that require a computational response, you should create simple tables and show calculations within the word processor space provided. It is a good idea to get familiar with the testing program before your exam day so you can gain confidence in using the essay section’s word processor.

The most accurate exam-mimicking practice can be found in Gleim CMA Review. Their platform allows for complete immersion in the Prometric virtual environment so there are no surprises on exam day. CMA candidates email me daily about acing the essays, and you’ll be well on your way to completing the essay questions if you use the Gleim Premium CMA Review System.

cma essay scenario

Essay example

CMA Essay Scenario Screen

When you reach the essay section of each part of the CMA exam, you may open the essay scenario. The essay scenario includes all the information you need to answer the questions correctly. Consequently, you’ll find that the essay scenario window will open to the left of the window that is displaying the answer box. I highly recommend keeping your essay scenario window open at all times, so you don’t miss any critical information as you answer the questions.

Most exam prep courses will show you screenshots and possibly videos of this so that you know what to expect. To repeat, the essay scenario window looks like Notepad, or a similar word processing program, and it will have several features to make it easier to complete your essays.

The CMA essay scenario screen functions include the following: 

  • Zoom – Using the “+” and “-” buttons, you can make the text bigger or smaller, as needed
  • Navigate – You can use “>”  or “<“ to help you navigate throughout the pages of the essay scenario
  • Scroll – The gray scrollbar on the right side of the screen will help you scroll up and down the page
  • Grab – To “grab” the page, click and hold the left mouse button, and then drag the page in any direction
  • View page thumbnails – Use the green button with the double rectangle icon (top left) to see all pages as thumbnails
  • View table of contents – Use the green button with the “bookshelf” icon (top right) to view the essay scenario as a table of contents

Because you don’t want to waste precious time trying to learn how to use the various CMA exam functions, your actual exam day is the worst possible time to become acclimated with them. Thus, be sure to use my advice from the prior section about finding a CMA review course that emulates the actual exam.

How to Answer CMA Essay Questions

To answer the CMA exam essay questions, you must write a response or complete a calculation related to the scenario that the exam provides you. You must read the question very carefully so you can understand the requirements and adhere to them properly. If you’re doing a calculation, it’s essential you show your work. You can get partial credit for the information you provide related to the topic, but only if you show your work!

When providing a written response, you must be as detailed as possible. You want to be concise and avoid flowery language, but you also need to be comprehensive and accurate. Therefore, mention anything that might be relevant to the topic you are writing about to help you score more points. Brainstorm and then work through your first draft so that your answer is complete, then you can go back and proofread your answer, as time allows.

Because this process could take a while, especially if English is not your first language, it’s essential to get through the MCQs efficiently. Remember, if you finish up the MCQs early, you can bank that extra time for use in the essay portion of the exam.

cma exam essay answer

Example of how to format a quantitative answer on the CMA essay section

CMA Essay Grading System

CMA Essay Points vs. MC

The two types of CMA exam questions account for the following percentage of your overall score:

  • MCQs: 75%
  • Essays: 25%

The essays are graded by trained subject matter experts using an approved scoring rubric to ensure objectivity and consistency. In contrast, the MCQs are graded by a computer.

Why does the CMA exam contain essay questions?

This part of the exam is meant to test your:

  1. Knowledge of the exam content
  2. Ability to apply concepts in real business situations
  3. Ability to write clearly and logically

1. Knowledge of Exam Content

Obviously, becoming proficient with the CMA exam content is a critical step to pass both the multiple-choice questions and the essay part of the exam. In addition to reading and watching video lectures, you should spend sufficient time answering practice questions and essays. Unlike reading and watching lectures, answering practice questions helps you apply the concepts you learned. Answering practice questions is about more than just memorizing facts. Therefore, it is most important that you learn the material in such a way that you can apply it to practical scenarios that you might face on the job.

In the Wiley CMA Course, for example, there are 16 exclusive CMA practice essay questions with model answers. And even better, NINJA CMA Review has over 40 sample essays that come with answers, too.

Similarly, the Gleim CMA Course includes hundreds of essay scenarios with detailed answer explanations. Plus, you’ll have a chance to practice typing in the answers in a simulated exam environment on your computer. This is a great way to familiarize yourself firsthand with what it will be like on the actual exam.

2. Ability to Apply Concepts in Real Business Situations

Knowing the CMA content-specific facts does not mean you know when and how to apply them. However, the essay questions help ensure that CMAs in the workforce understand the CMA content at an application level. When you are faced with an essay question, you should:

  • Read each word in the question carefully to understand what the examiner is asking
  • Identify the major concepts being tested
  • Identify keywords to use in your responses

I like to use a mind map to brainstorm as many relevant keywords as possible because the inclusion of the correct keywords helps you score points.

3. Ability to Write Clearly and Logically

The CMA exam does not test your vocabulary skills. Therefore, you should focus on simple and clear writing; this is not the time to show off how many SAT words you remember.

Instead, the ICMA is looking for your ability to express yourself clearly and logically, as it relates to the CMA material tested in the essay questions. You can find the three general principles of effective business writing below. This will help you know how to best answer CMA essay questions on exam day.


gleim cma review

How to Best Answer CMA Exam Essay Questions

Use of Standard English

Knowing how to use proper, standard English will be essential. It’s the same style you’d use for any American academic or business writing. Use this breakdown to learn what that means for the US CMA essay questions.

(i) Correct Spelling

All words should be properly checked to avoid spelling errors and typos. You shouldn’t use colloquial sayings, slang, and text-message words or abbreviations.

Acronyms should be fully spelled out when they are first introduced in the essay. For example, ABC should be spelled out as “Activity-Based Costing (ABC)” first, and then the term ABC can be used in the rest of your response. The graders want to know that you understand what these acronyms stand for.

cma essay answer example

An example of how you can format your CMA exam answers for qualitative questions.

(ii) Proper Punctuation

Avoid writing words in all caps (LIKE THIS) and exclamation marks. This rule applies to most business writing anyway, so the same goes for your essay answers. Show emphasis, if necessary, by using your words, not your punctuation.


Your CMA essay response should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

(i) Beginning Paragraph

The beginning should be introductory in nature and directly address the question. You can simply rewrite the question and include a summary of what you’ll discuss throughout your answer. Don’t copy directly from the question, though, because copying and pasting is generally not a good idea. Here’s an example:

Question: “Explain why there is a difference in net income between variable costing and absorption costing.”

Answer: “There is a difference in net income between variable costing and absorption costing because…”

(ii) Middle (Main) Paragraph

The middle paragraph is where you present CMA content-specific facts and ideas. You can choose to add a couple more paragraphs if you need to expand the ideas, such as adding examples to support your rationale.

Please note that the essays are graded positively, and that partial credit can be given. That is, you get a point if the idea matches (or partially matches) with the one on the scoring rubric. This means that you should include as many points as possible as long as they are relevant.

 (iii) Ending Paragraph

The last paragraph should be a short conclusion, typically with a couple of sentences summarizing the ideas presented in the middle paragraph.


While you should spend time writing all the related points you can possibly think of, present your response clearly and logically. It is essential to:

  • Read the question carefully to make sure you understand what is being asked
  • Double-check that your ideas do not contradict themselves

How to Practice for the CMA Essay Questions

If you want to do your best on these essay questions, it’s essential you study and practice. We’ve talked about the study portion, and about what to expect on the essay portion of the exam, but let’s talk about how you can practice for it when you don’t know exactly what your essay questions will be. First, a great CMA review study course is a good place to start. I’ll give you my recommendations for that in a bit.

Also, another great way to practice for the CMA essay questions is to practice writing mini-essays on the CMA exam material. You can turn MCQs into essay questions by writing out your answers and checking them against the written explanations. Try answering and writing just the way you would if you were taking the exam.

cma essay practice

Practice using exam mimicking software. Here’s an example where multiple windows within the essay section are open at the same time.

Readers’ CMA Exam Essay Questions

Let’s take a look at some questions from readers that might help you.

Question #1

If a question asks about a calculation, do I need to be formal and write it out as words, or can you type out the numbers?  For example, if I ask for depreciation expense for one month of an asset with a 1,200 dollar cost and a 12-month life, can I just write “$100” or “you divide 1,200 by 12 months to get 100 dollars per month which is your depreciation expense”?

Answer: You do need to show your work, but rather than saying “you divide 1,200 by 12 months to get 100 dollars per month” you could show “$1,200/12 months = $100 per month in depreciation”. This way, you will more likely get partial credit in case you use the right formula but just missed a number.

Question #2

I am practicing the essay questions, but there are no Excel capabilities or even a table creation function that make tabular presentations possible. Do you have any suggestions on how to address this? Even underlining the numbers to indicate summation is not possible.

Answer: The examiners have taken away the spreadsheet function in recent years. Since the reader is a Gleim customer, I’ve asked the Gleim Team who has kindly provided the following answer:

There are no Excel or table formatting tools in the essays on the exam or in the Gleim materials.

I have a few suggestions. First, practice with the Gleim essays because it will get [you] use[d] to that.

Second, we have a video in the first study unit of our course in the supplemental videos section. This video is a how to on the essays. It could be very useful as it discusses formatting and how to answer them.

Third and final, the key is to make sure that the answers are clear and organized and labeled well, but it doesn’t need to be formatted any special way as long as the grader can determine what you are answering and what your answer is.”

Question #3

How realistic are the Gleim CMA essay questions? I’m asking because some are really long and have tons of calculations. Are the Gleim CMA questions harder than what I’ll see on the actual CMA exam?

Answer: In my experience, yes. Gleim CMA makes sure that you can actually apply the concepts that you’ve learned. Therefore, the Gleim essays for CMA review may be more complex because they have to ensure you know how to answer questions on all the topics and subtopics. I actually appreciate that the Gleim questions are pretty tricky. If you’re like me, you may feel proud and well-prepared when you do well on the Gleim CMA exam simulation. That’s almost a sure sign that you understand the concept and can nail those questions on the real exam.

Learning Tools

Gleim CMA Review Mega Test Bank & Complete Course

Gleim CMA includes an online CMA test bank and provides sample CMA essay questions for every topic. They also show you how to format of your answers (e.g., how to write out the calculations) in the answer explanations. You can get it through the integrated review product – Gleim CMA Review System – or purchase it separately.

If you can’t decide between these two, you can use our Gleim CMA vs. Wiley CMA analysis to help inform your decision.

CMA Exam Sample Essay Questions

The following essay questions examples come from the Institute of Management Accounting itself. You can find a PDF containing these questions as well as more CMA sample questions here.

The sample CMA essay question for part 1 gives an example scenario of a month’s worth of figures for a family-owned business called Brown Printing. There are then six questions for you to answer in your essay.

Screenshot of IMA's sample essay question for CMA exam part 1

A sample essay question for part 1 of the CMA exam

Similarly, the sample CMA part 2 essay question gives you the scenario of four projects under consideration by a fictitious company called Grandeur Industries. You will then need to answer five questions about these projects.

Screenshot of the IMA's sample essay question for part 2

A sample essay question for part 2 of the CMA exam

Fortunately, the same document also provides CMA essay examples that fully and correctly answer the questions. Download the PDF to see what good answers looks like. Note the length of the answers, the standard English phrasing, and the shown work for the calculations

CMA Essay Tips

Here are some general tips to help you get through the essay questions.

Know your formulas. Use them to calculate what you need to before you begin to write.

Read the entire question before answering. Get an idea of the scope of what the question is asking you.

Pay attention to verbs. The questions will give you a hint how to answer based on what verb begins the sentence. Here are some common verbs: define, compare/contrast, calculate, examine, analyze, interpret, or apply. Make sure your answer fulfills the specific verb. That is, don’t spend time calculating if you’re supposed to be analyzing.

Show your work. I repeat this to emphasize it – even if you get the final answer wrong, you may be able to get some points if you show how you arrived at that answer.

Use your scratch paper. Don’t try to do everything in your head. Do, however, try to keep your handwritten notes somewhat neat, as you will need to type up your calculations to show your work. Refer back to the PDF of sample answers.

If you begin to run out of time, use an outline or bullet points. Remember, your goal is to include as many relevant points as possible. Never leave a question completely blank.

Don’t waste time formatting. As long as your writing itself is clear, it doesn’t have to look pretty to score points.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some more general CMA essays questions.

What should I study for the CMA essays?

Studying for the essay portion is less about specific topics than it is about applying your knowledge of those topics. Make sure you know how to perform important calculations. Also know how and why those calculations are used.

What are typical essay questions on the CMA exam?

Unfortunately, there’s really no such thing as a typical essay question, as they’re all different. However, familiarize yourself with the actions that the questions will ask you to complete: define, compare/contrast, calculate, examine, analyze, interpret, or apply

If you get to the CMA essays, does that mean you will pass?

If you get to the CMA exam essay questions, all that means is you have scored at least 50% on the MCQs. However, if you don’t get to the essays, that means you haven’t passed.

For the CMA, can I fail multiple choice and go on to the essay anyway?

No. If you don’t pass the MCQ portion of the test, you will not even be able to look at the essay questions. Your test ends there.

Can you pass the CMA exam without doing well on the essays?

Yes, it is possible to do so well on the MCQs that you don’t need to pass the essay portion to pass the whole thing. However, it is never a good idea to make this your test-taking strategy! Since the essays don’t penalize you for wrong answers, only award you with points for the right answers, think of them as opportunities to increase your MCQ score.

For Your Further Reading

Don’t miss my mega-post on the ultimate CMA exam prep guide, with 50 actionable tips to help you nail the exam!

Also, you’ll want to sign up and receive my 10-day e-course with study planning strategies and test-taking tips for the CMA exam!

Join us if you want to get tips on how to plan,
study and pass your CMA exam… on your first attempt!

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:

AMIT says September 27, 2018

I am Amit from INDIA. I have completed B.com. and I have 2 Year Experience In Accounts Profile. But I could not find USA CMA classes for Part-1.
Please help me

MOHAMMED says June 19, 2018

hi stephen,

i just complete my part 1 exam yesterday, and iam now worry about i had’t save the essay question and it will dissappeared automatically when the times up .

mayi atienza says February 23, 2018

Hi Stephanie,

I just recently took the exam. I reached the essay part but I am a bit worried because there were 11 questions and each have sub questions.
Due to time constraints, I only answered each in one sentence. I am really worried that I failed the essay part. If say I am confident that 5 out 11 were answered correctly, since it’s less than half of the total questions, did I failed already?

How do they grade the essay part? Is it based on how long your explanation for each questions?

Thank you! Hoping for your feedback.

    sathya says January 26, 2019

    Mayi – For your understanding can you please share whether you passed the CMA Part1?

Dei Gutiv says August 16, 2017

Hi Stephanie,

Just want to ask if I’m eligible in CMA having the following credentials:

• Bachelor of Science in accountancy – for 2yrs (under graduate)
• Took up Modern Accounting Course (Essentials of Accounting, Budgeting and Costing, Financial Statement Analysis , Intermediate Accounting)
• 3yrs accounts working experiences


    Stephanie Ng says August 17, 2017

    Hi Dei, I believe the IMA normally requires the bachelor degree to be at least 3 years, but there could be exceptions especially that you have taken up extra accounting courses. Please contact the IMA directly for them to evaluate your situation. Best of luck! Stephanie

Kamlesh says July 19, 2017

Ok thank you.

Kamlesh Vaishnav says July 12, 2017

hi, Stephanie, I took the exam of part 1 and the result arrived and unfortunately, I failed I scored 290 that means a minimum of 250 in MCQ section and have confidence that my essay section was also good but what I did was did not click on the end button during my exam in essay section which I did in MCQ section and let keep going the time until the end of the exam and after the time ended the window disappeared. So my question is whether the essay section has not graded or graded or zero or I am wrong? because my essay section I did was good in the exam and expected a score of mine was at least 70% which means 125*70% = 87.5%. Kindly answer.

    Stephanie Ng says July 18, 2017

    Hi Kamlesh,
    The essay was auto saved, so I would think that section should have counted at least a bit. It isn’t a straight formula so it’s hard to tell whether you were getting at least 250 on your MC question, but you are correct that you should at least get 50% on the MCQ section of the exam.

    Regards, Stephanie

      Lawwrence Merkel says August 17, 2018

      Getting a 50 % on the MCQ will automatically result in a failing grade. 50 % of 375 = 188points and if one scored a 100% on the essay, one would end with 313 points.
      One must score at least a 65% on the MCQ section and a 93% on the essay to achieve a passing grade of 360.
      Scoring a 72% on both sections will yield a passing score of 360 Points.
      I pressed the IMA to provide more detailed scoring on the exam but have been reluctant to do so.

      Good luck, I failed both parts 1 and 2 and quit studying, too expensive

        Meghan D says August 18, 2018

        Sorry to hear this! Accounting certification examiners are usually reluctant to reveal their scoring processes. But maybe you shouldn’t give up just yet? Have you asked your job to sponsor your exam fees so that you can keep going?

          Lawrence Merkel says January 11, 2019

          The IMA needs to be more upfront about the scoring of the essay. It should be 65% on MC before one can go on to the essay part. Anything below a 65% on the MC section = failure.

          Stephanie Ng says January 16, 2019

          Thanks for your comment! To get your voice heard, please reach out to the IMA directly as they may be open to changing this in the future.

Vivek says July 5, 2017

I would like to know if 2 months is sufficient to prepare for both part 1 and part 2 of us cma exam

Judy says July 1, 2017

Hi Stephanie,

I have Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Goa University and Post Graduate diploma in Financial Management is from Indira Gandhi National Open University. Both are listed on your website. Do I need to send the Original transcripts to Naces or do I sent it to IMA?

    Stephanie Ng says July 17, 2017

    Hi Judy,
    If it is on the list, you don’t need to go through NACES. Can send the transcript to the IMA directly. Good luck! Stephanie

Devarsh says June 28, 2017

Hello ma’am ,
is there any specific source where should questions come from??
I’m doing my Wiley question bank , is that main sourc. of questions in IMA ?

    Stephanie Ng says July 17, 2017

    Hi Devarsh,
    I wouldn’t say it is the “main source”, but any practice questions from major review course providers can be considered good source for practice. You can learn about the pros and cons of each provider here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-review-course/

    Regards, Stephanie

Anthony says May 21, 2017

I’m in the early stages of trying to figure out if taking the CMA exam would be a good fit for me. My main question is about the CPE requirements and how to go about completing them each year along with the approximate cost.

    Stephanie Ng says May 27, 2017

    Hi Anthony, generally the CPE should be less of a concern. There is a recurring cost for sure to do this, but hopefully this is very little compared to what you benefit after getting the certification. More info on the CPE here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-cpe-requirements

Nithisha says April 23, 2017

Hi Stephanie,

I am persuading b.com (2nd year) in India . I would like to do cma usa , is it necessary to have work experience ? And what will be the difficulty level of this exam .

Regards, nithisha

    Stephanie Ng says April 27, 2017

    Hi Nithisha,
    Sure, in fact students have discount to join as member and to take the exam
    (more info here: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-fees/)

    You need experience to become a CMA, but not for taking the exam. So what people do is to take the exam first, and accumulate the necessary experience during or after the exam. Guess it would likely be after in your case, which isn’t a problem at all.

    In terms of difficulty, I would say it is quite difficult in terms of how the questions are framed. They can be lengthy and complex. But as long as you understand what are being asked, it’s basically questions in accounting, internal control, strategic planning, finance etc. Not rocket science. Hope it helps! Stephanie

Keerthan says November 17, 2016

Hi stephanie,

I wanna appear for two parts of CMA exam at a time(day by day)by preparing for a period of 6 months. Should i take two parts or prepare for one exam,appear for it and respectively for other?much confused to start

    Stephanie Ng says November 17, 2016

    Hi Keerthan, you can do it either way, but usually it is better to do it one at a time – 3 months for each part so you can focus on getting one done first. Regards, Stephanie

Nilesh says September 6, 2016

Hello. I failed twice in part CMA exam. second was quite good and attempted. I failed to score good marks in essay questions. Now I would like to know, where can I get a access to essay questions for practice?

    Stephanie Ng says September 7, 2016

    Besides the (very) old past essay questions from IMA, you can get extra practice, such as the essay wizard from Gleim. Regards, Stephanie

Gyan Singh says August 30, 2016

Hi Stephanie,

I have taken my Part 2 exam in last window (June’2016). i was short by 20 marks to hit the target.

It was hard to me to accept the fact because had done quite well in exam & expecting 75%+. I have now been received my score card and i fail to meet the requirement in essay section and GOT C grade which indicate that I couldn’t meet the expectation of IMA exam.

I have one doubt here that, i haven’t click the save button. is it role of not clicking on save button??

    Stephanie Ng says August 30, 2016

    Hi Gyan, as mentioned in another reply to you, there is an autosave function but it is possible that the latest version was not saved. I believe the reason of not passing is due to other factors as well (very small factors adding together, giving you are close to the passing score). When you work on the practice questions for your next attempt, try to achieve 80%+ and make sure you rework the 20% you did wrong previously. This way, you have a bigger buffer. Best of luck!

Salim says July 27, 2016

Thanks, Stephanie.

    Stephanie Ng says July 28, 2016


Salim says June 16, 2016

Hi Stephanie,

I appeared for the CMA Exam part II ( Yday). Cleared the MCQ section and moved on to the Essay. I had two questions:

1) Does the essay section save answers automatically ?, I think I have not saved it every time, I changed it.

2) In the MCQ , I think I just about managed to get through, My essay section was very good though. What would be my chance of clearing ?


    Stephanie Ng says June 16, 2016

    Hi Salim, no worries, the system saves answers automatically. I am afraid there is no way for me to know your chance of clearing though, but I am really glad that you feel good about the essays. Just take a well-deserved break and get the results 6 weeks later. Try not to think over this too much in the meantime 🙂 Stephanie

    Farida says June 20, 2016

    Hello ,

    Same question here.If you complete your 50% MCQ and move on to essay part and essay is good.Then are the chances of passing high?

    I too appeared for my part two yesterday. MCQ were tricky and time consuming so i got panic and also blank.Luckily,essay part was good.

    I just want to know fair idea.

    As somewhere,in blog i read that 75% for MCQ and 25% for Essay and 500 scaling.i.e 375 for MCQ and 125 for essay.If you move to essay part you manged to clear 50% i.e 250/375 is 66.67 % .

    If you clear MCQ and move on to essay that means you cleared 50% i.e 250 points .And Now in order to clear you require extra 25 %.
    if overall 75 % passing required or 360 out of 500 which comes to 72 %.

    In that scenario, should I understand that i managed to score 250 points and additionally I will require only 110 points to get 360 score in order to pass.Or i scored in MCQ 66.67 % and now only balancing percentage require to clear??

    Well,friends in order to give my review on part two.I would like to say practice lot of questions and time is a big challenge.

    Also,what i noticed is that continuous doing gliem as i referred to that review system.I knew half of the questions and after doing lot practice you feel that questions are same repeatedly and you have gone through that.So next time ,when you appear you don’t read question carefully as you have gone through that and your time get saved and also in practice exam you score good above 75 %

    Here,it is a big disadvantage because in exam scenario you have to read question carefully and all the facts and numbers are new which is time consuming and then select.Sums on Capital Budgeting,CVP analysis are lengthy….

    Hope my efforts get well paid off and I pass with flying colors.Wish me luck)

      Stephanie Ng says June 20, 2016

      Hi Farida, wishing you the best luck on your Part 2!
      On the grading system, it is more or less correct except that we cannot compute the percentage, because this assumes that each question may not carry the same point. It is not. There is an elaborate weighting mechanism based on the difficulty level, among other factors. You can get a general idea here:

      But I would just relax and wait until you see the score a few weeks later. In the meantime, it is great to spend some energy on preparing the next part 🙂

Rohan says May 23, 2016

Is CMa more valuable if done with cpa?

    Stephanie Ng says May 24, 2016

    Not really… they are seen as separate qualifications. Regards, Stephanie

Lance says May 11, 2016

Hello All… I took recently the CMA Part 1 Exam. The essays comes with 2 business scenarios and covers 10 questions with 1-3 sub-questions each. The whole topic in Part 1 was like briefly thrown in these questions and requires calculations and on point essay writing. Now, just waiting for the result which will release after 6 weeks I guess?

Mich says February 26, 2016

Hi stephanie! I took my cma exam two days ago, while i was writing my last answer in the essay box, the time was up and the screen shut down on the essays and took me to the survey part,l. Am worried about the answers if they were saved or not beacuse the time was up

    Stephanie Ng says February 28, 2016

    Hi Mich, just got the exact question the other day. It is auto saved periodically and frequently, so it should be fine. No worries! Stephanie

Abdus Salaam says February 20, 2016

Hi stephinie,

I recently took my CMA part II exam but during essay session i m not sure whether i saved my answers or not.have u any idea about it?my answers are still there or gone unsaved?please reply i am much worried

    Stephanie Ng says February 24, 2016

    Hi Abdus, no worries as the answers are automatically saved. I’ve got a lot of questions on this. I am sure it’s fine 🙂 Stephanie

Sooraj says December 23, 2015

These tips really works for me.
I have started writing essays in mind and small essays in paper when I get time.
And when I started writing and when I read them later, I can find my own mistakes and it really helps me to improve a lot. Thank you very much.

Rob says November 13, 2015

Hi Stephanie,
I am working on the essay’s for gliem.
I was wondering if we need to memorize word for word the IMA standards details. I have the jist of each standard and can describe it well but I have not memorized word for word.

    Stephanie Ng says November 14, 2015

    No I don’t think so Rob. As long as you can articulate that they are and what they mean, it’s good enough. Cheers, Stephanie

      Rob says November 14, 2015

      Hi Stephanie,
      The reason I asked is because when you look at the answers on the essay part, they basically quote the book word for word. If you think the idea is more important then the exact words. The concept is 100% accurate though.

Noel says October 25, 2015

HI Stephanie,

Am a bit worried about the essay questions, and a little bit on the MCQ’s

will practicing on gleims software of multiple choice questions build a strong foundation to face the exams, I know passing is not guaranteed if we do practices on MCQ. but will there be a strong advantage of clearing the exams if more and more MCQ are tackled on Gleims software?

how may essay questions will be asked, is it like they would ask us 2 essay questions and we only need to answer one, can you let me know on the same. will there be options on the essay question?

My last question is, if I score maximum marks in my MCQ’s then I can just score the balance in the essay to total to 350 Points to clear CMA part 1 is this true, or is it that essay also has a percentage of passing needed?

your advise to me will be of great help


    Stephanie Ng says October 27, 2015

    Hi Noel,
    If you go through the entire study course including all the online practice questions, you are in pretty good shape. it’s hard to generalize but most of my bloggers use Gleim and they seem to have pretty good pass rates. Gleim isn’t the only reason of course; they worked pretty hard.

    No you don’t have a choice on the essay questions. You have to answer all of them.

    From what I know, you need to pass both the multiple choice and essay questions. But almost all candidates I talked to find the essays straightforward (this includes non English-speaking candidates). If you know the materials and can write decent English (not a problem for you, judging from the above), then no need to worry about it.

    The MC questions can be long and tough — so I would make sure I nail those in the practice questions. Cheers, Stephanie

Juls says June 26, 2015

Hi Stephanie,

Do we have to save our essay answer? I just took CMA part 1 exam. Halfway through answering the essay I saved my answer, I didnt save towards the end. I’m worried my answers will not be counted.

    Stephanie Ng says June 27, 2015

    Hi Juls,
    Don’t worry there is automatic saving in the system 🙂 Stephanie

      Juls says June 27, 2015

      Thank you Stephanie. Now i can sleep well 🙂

        Stephanie Ng says June 27, 2015

        Please do! This question comes up quite often so I am quite sure it is all right. Cheers, Stephanie

Kareem says May 18, 2015

Hi Stephanie,

Normally to study CMA part 1 and be ready for exam, How many month i have
to make my schedule?

    Stephanie Ng says May 19, 2015

    Hi Kareem, it depends on how many hours you can devote to the study each week, as well as whether you have existing knowledge in the exam content, but I would say about 70-80 hours for basic studying, and double that for very thorough studying. Hope it helps! Regards, Stephanie

Lancy says May 6, 2015

Hi Stephanie,

My question is – What is the score/marks for the MCQ each questions?


jasir says February 8, 2015

Dear stephanie,
i would like to know how much questions will be there in essay window, is there any more optionals than 2 questions.

thank you in advance

nhie says September 20, 2014

I just want to ask about the difficulty of the essay part of the exam?

    Stephanie Ng says September 22, 2014

    Hi nhie, most readers find them quite straightforward when compared to the multiple choice questions. I agree with them. Unless it takes the candidate a lot of time to write in English or that he/she makes a lot of grammatical mistakes, it shouldn’t be an area to worry about. Regards, Stephanie

ryan justin says August 26, 2014

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the information this is very helpful.
I’m planning to take the exam next year.



    Stephanie Ng says August 26, 2014

    That’s great to know Ryan! I have answered your other questions in the respective pages. Stephanie

sarika says April 10, 2014

hi i am planning to give cma part – 2 in this coming may-jun14 window.

i want to know what should i refer to solve more question form Gleim.IMA or HOCK, so i can clear my cma in first attempt.

Thank u,


Anoop John says March 26, 2014

Hi Stephanie,

I have an important question to ask, is it possible to take the Part 2 of the CMA exam first and then the Part 1 later? I mean can I take and clear ‘Financial decision making’ first and then later take the ‘Financial planning, performance and control’ exam? Please clarify. Moreover I have heard that Part 2 is easier than Part1, is that true?

Anoop John

    Ramzeen says December 19, 2014

    yup..you can write them like that…
    there is no particular order.. 🙂

Saad says February 17, 2014

Hi Stephanie, I want to ask you the following:
(Theoretically) If I completed the MC part within 2 hours does that mean I have an “additional” hour to utilize with essay part of the exam? Essay will be 2 hours?


    Ramzeen says December 19, 2014

    yes… but i think its not possible..its upto you..
    for essays, 1:15 hours is enough…
    try to complete your MC questions in 2:30 hrs…

      Stephanie Ng says January 1, 2015

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ramzeen. I agree that if possible, try to allocate more time to the essay. Most of my readers seem to find the MC questions more difficult than the essays though.

haris says December 4, 2013

Hi stephanie, thank a lot for putting the time and effort to note these pointers to us

    Stephanie Ng says January 21, 2014

    You are most welcome Haris! 🙂

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