CMA Exam Pass Rate: What the Latest CMA Pass Rates Mean to You

Have you been told the CMA exam is easy? Or are you convinced that it is super hard? You don’t need to be uncertain. Instead, to help us understand the CMA exam difficulty, we can look at signs like the CMA exam pass rate. The latest CMA pass rates help us see how challenging the exam has been for past candidates. And with this information, you can get a better sense of how much you need to prepare to pass the CMA exam.

In this post, I am going to walk you through it and help you understand CMA pass rates and how it relates to preparing for the exam.

Latest CMA Exam Pass Rates

According to the latest percentages, the average CMA exam passing percentage is 45%. The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) seems to have slowed down their release of the CMA exam pass rates in recent years. Looking at past statistics, we can see that the ICMA used to release CMA passing percentages for each exam part about every 9 months. But the exact time period for the latest CMA pass percentages (35% for Part 1 and 50% for Part 2) is unclear. We have to do the best we can with the information that is given to us.

CMA Exam Pass Rates

Exam Part2013201420152015-2016*2016-20172017-20182018-2019
Part 1 35% 35% 36% 35%35%40%35%
Part 2 42% 49% 55% 52%50%50%50%

*In 2016, the ICMA adjusted when it releases the CMA exam pass rate data. 

As you can see, the Part 1 pass rate was fairly consistent until it jumped up in 2017-2018. The Part 2 pass rate increased to 55% in 2015 but slowly fell back to the 2014 level by mid-2016 and stayed there ever since. There are different reasons for this pass rate, which we will discuss more later on. For now, let’s see how the CMA pass rate compares to the pass rates of other accounting certifications.

CMA Passing Rate Compared to Other Accounting Certification Exams

One of the most popular questions I get from my readers is: how does the CMA exam pass rate compare to that of other accounting certification exams?

Usually, this is because candidates are trying to determine which is the hardest accounting exam, or they are comparing while deciding which certification they are going to go for. It’s not a bad strategy, but pass rates alone are not enough to tell you which exam is the hardest (or which one is best for you).

Contrary to popular belief, the overall CMA exam pass rates are lower than those of the “most difficult exams”, such as CPA and CFA. The CMA exam pass rate is also much lower when compared to some niche qualifications. For example, the Enrolled Agent exam pass rate is 61-86%. These statistics usually surprise people, since they expect the CMA to be easier, and therefore, have higher pass rates.

Should we conclude that the CMA exam is indeed more difficult, or are there other factors to consider? Let’s take a closer look at the CMA exam pass rate details.

CMA Exam Pass Rate Analysis

Doing analysis into the pass rate data we have for the CMA can help us determine patterns and also what factors contribute to these rates. Unfortunately, we only have regional CMA exam passing rates up to October 2015. But I think this information can still be helpful. So, I’ve retained this breakdown of the CMA exam pass rates breakdown by region and part.

CMA exam pass rate 2015

Source: SF Magazine (Sep 2016)

Now, we can analyze the Part 1 and Part 2 performances in more detail.

Part 1 CMA Exam Pass Rates

part 1 cma exam pass rate 2015

For this 4-year period, the worldwide CMA exam pass rate was a rather scary 31%-35%. That’s very low in comparison with other exams. But, if you exclude the Middle East, the statistics look much better. These stats show us the Middle East scored significantly lower in pass rates when compared to other parts of the world.

Consequently, the charts make it quite obvious that if your native language is English or you have a chance to learn English in your country (notably Europe, and to a lesser extent, Asia), you have a higher chance of passing. Another reason the Middle East could have lower scores is that they lack the same resources for study materials. Many candidates from the Middle East use local study courses that could be out of date. When the study materials are not high quality, it reflects in the pass rates of those taking the course.

I don’t have details about the sudden jump in the Asian pass rate. Likely, the IMA counted the pass rate of the local language (63%) versus the English language (56%) among Chinese candidates or the weighted average figure. They represented the vast majority of Asian candidates in 2015. How much does language really affect the CMA scores and pass rate statistics? This is another important factor to consider when we examine pass rates.

The Effects of English on the CMA Exam Pass Rates

The CMA exam tends to have wordy and complex questions that could be a challenge for those with slightly weaker English language comprehension skills. Also, the CMA exam comprises not only multiple-choice questions but also an essay section that human examiners grade. This essay section weighs heavily on your ability to read and write English. If you are not a native English speaker, this is one part of the exam you may want to give extra attention to when studying.

We find more proof of the importance of English in China where candidates can choose to take the CMA exam in English or in Chinese, as mentioned above. The 7% point difference in the pass rates for these 2 exam versions is statistically significant. In short, when candidates can take the exam in their own language, they perform better. However, this is not available globally yet, as the CMA is primarily a U.S. distinction.

In light of this, international candidates should, therefore, practice English writing as part of their exam preparations.

Part 2 CMA Exam Pass Rates

The data reveals that the pass rate of Part 2 during this time period was considerably higher and even more significant in the non-English speaking regions.

The year-on-year improvement was also encouraging, with the Middle Eastern region reaching an all-time high of 45%.

Reasons for the discrepancy between Part 1 and Part 2 pass rates may include the fact that many candidates sit for Part 1 first and, as we can see, many candidates fail. Therefore, Part 1 seems to weed out the less-prepared candidates. The candidates who go on to take Part 2 were well-prepared for Part 1. And, now that they are more familiar with the exam, they are even more prepared for Part 2. You can take the exam parts in any order, but starting with Part 1 is popular, and that may be partly why its pass rates are lower.

Another potential reason for Part 2’s pass rate success is the fact that Part 2 tests candidates on a narrower range of subjects and, consequently, requires a bit less preparation than Part 1. Part 1 covers a broad scope of topics and can, therefore, be more difficult for some.

Lessons from the CMA Exam Pass Rate

Before you let these low pass rates scare you away, let me explain some other important details about the CMA exam. These things impact the pass rates and it is important to how you view them. Let’s explore.

1. Diversified Pool of Candidates

First, while the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) welcomes CMA candidates from all over the world, the exam format is U.S.-centric. Candidates outside of the U.S. may not be familiar with the terminology in the multiple-choice questions, and if their native language is not English, scoring well on the essays can be quite challenging. We outlined some ways this impacts the pass rate above.

2. Low Barrier of Entry

Second, the IMA lets candidates with just about any type of bachelor’s degree take the CMA exam. It is not specific to accounting degree holders. In contrast, CPA Exam candidates must take a substantial number of accounting and business courses.

The low barrier of entry attracts candidates who just want to give the exam a try. These casual takers do not invest sufficient time, money, or effort into properly preparing for the exam. You don’t have to be one of them and add to the statistic of lower pass rates. That’s why we are going over it now.


Now that you know more about CMA exam pass rates, you can prepare for taking the exam yourself and passing on the first try.


  • If you have a good command of English, and/or
  • If you work hard and complete lots of practice questions to get familiar with the style of the multiple-choice questions,

your chance of passing the CMA exam is much higher than the average CMA exam pass rate. Don’t let the numbers intimidate you. When you study and prepare yourself properly, you can be in the percentage who pass. Below is a video that helps you summarize the information above. It’s also helpful for people who learn better through visuals vs. the written word.

CMA Exam Pass Rates Video

In this video, I summarize the above information using more pictures and charts.

How did that video help you with understanding CMA exam pass rate information?

Next, let’s look at some ways you can increase your CMA exam pass rate. No one goes into the exam wanting or expecting to fail. Preparation is key to your success.

Ways to Increase Your CMA Exam Pass Rate

Obviously, if you are planning to take the CMA exam and you are reading this post, you already have an interest in doing well. That’s great! It means you’re on the right track and you’re doing the legwork necessary to ensure you have a passing score the first time you take the exam.

To give yourself the best chance at CMA exam success, you must review thoroughly and study well. You can learn exactly how to do that in my ultimate CMA exam prep guide, which includes 50 actionable tips to help you nail the exam!

Another way to ensure that you have everything you need to pass the exam is to use CMA exam prep. You can learn all about the most popular courses and get my advice on which ones to trust in my CMA review course comparison.

How to Study for the CMA Exam

To ensure you pass the CMA exam parts 1 and 2, you need to study properly. As I mentioned above, one reason for the low CMA pass rates is that people simply did not prepare for the exam properly. They may have been told it was the easier exam, or they may have just dropped into it on a whim, without much preparation put into it. Furthermore, they could have taken the CMA exam when they were not an accounting major and without doing the proper research to ensure they passed.

You don’t have to be a statistic. When planning your study for the CMA, here are some tips:

  • Decide which part you are going to take first. There are two parts to the CMA exam and you don’t have to take them in order. Some people choose to take Part 2 first, since it tends to be easier. Once you know which part you are taking first, you can begin to study that part.
  • Choose which exam window you are going to test in. There are only three times of the year that testing windows are open: Jan/Feb, May/June, and Sept/Oct. You will need to schedule your exam for one of these windows. When you decide in advance which testing window you are going to register for, you will know how much time you have to study and prepare.
  • Create a solid study plan. I talked above about using study guides and review courses, but even the best guides are only as good as you allow them to be. It’s essential you make a study plan and then stick with it consistently. This is how you get efficient study in before your big day, so you can feel confident you will pass the exam.

Finally, to learn all about the CMA exam process, you can sign up to my e-course, which is completely free! Learn more about the course or sign up directly below.

Further Reading:

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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  • ibrahim elhelw says:

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

  • Mohammed says:

    I would like to inquire about salaries of the CMA holders in USA or any other place in the world.

  • mohammed says:

    Thanks Stephanie I appreciate your efforts.

  • Helemish says:

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

    • Stephanie says:

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

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

  • Amir says:

    Hi Stephanie,

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


  • Tin says:

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

    • Stephanie says:

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

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

      • Tin says:

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

        • Stephanie says:

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

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

          • Tin says:

            Will do. Thanks for the advice Stephanie! Appreciate it.

          • ahmed says:

            is it harder than the cpa or what ?

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

          • Stephanie says:

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

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

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

  • Ikram Mansoor says:


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

    • Stephanie says:

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

      Are you all ready for Part 2?

  • ahmed says:

    hi there

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

    what do u think about it ?

  • bakri alradi says:

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

  • tamer says:

    i like to know , the score of the essay only in the exam .

  • Rafay says:

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

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

  • MOHSIN says:

    Hello Sir,

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


  • Paulette says:

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

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

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


  • tamer says:

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

  • mudassir khan says:

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

  • Mostafa says:

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

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

    Best Regards

  • Mus Meg says:

    Hi Stephanie,

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

    Thanks for your help and keep it up.



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

  • Mahesh Kumar says:

    Hi Stephanie,

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

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


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

  • onkar says:

    can a normal student pass the wholly examintion of cma?

  • Khaled says:

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

  • Muhammad Khabeer says:

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

  • joseph says:

    Hi Stephenie,

    I am from India, if i do Cma from India will i get recognition and membership in cma us.

  • joseph says:

    Thank you stephanie

  • jaleel says:

    iam Jaleel from india.If i passed both papers in CMA.Can i get a job in a reputed company for practical experience, by producing 2part’s marklists.

    • Hi Jaleel,
      Yes you certainly can but there won’t be a job waiting for you. You need to apply just like any other candidates. With the CMA certification it helps especially if you look for companies in manufacturing, or involve in cost and inventory accounting, or the Fortune 100 companies in general. But you still need to proof yourself in other areas with a well crafted resume and good performance in interviews. Best of luck! Stephanie

  • jaleel says:

    thanks for your valuable informat

  • Binoy Chacko says:

    Hi Stephane,

    I have completed my Degree in maths,PG in maths and MBA in Finance.I have been working in Qatar as Finance Manager/Finance controller for last 15 years.I would like to join to CMA to enhance my accounting skills.Would you mind to advise whether maths skills will add value while preparing and appearing for CMA course and exams.

    Thanks and regards,

    Binoy Chacko

    • hi Binoy,
      I would say math and other quantitative majors do help, since accounting is very related to numbers. But then, advanced math like differentiation, integration and theoretical math is not necessary. So I guess it helps to a certain extent. Hope it helps? Regards, Stephanie

  • rafsal says:

    iam a bcom graduate student from india. i plan to join cma in this coming july.
    is this cma a better option than mba finance? my famly is more sterssing on me for that. as i love accounting i go for a different course.
    how many it consit of problem based and theory based. iam not good in theory papers as like problem papers.
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Rafsal, it really depends on your future career plans. Here is my analysis on your situation:
      Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to help. Stephanie

      • rafsal says:

        thanx staphine,
        what noe iam looking at is to register an distand mba along with cma.

        how many problem portions & theory portion it consists? can you tell me in a percentage form.

        • Hi Rafsal, do you mean the proportion of theoretical vs computational questions in the CMA exam? I don’t think the examiners disclose such information, and it is likely that the proportion changes in every exam. Remember it is a computerized exam which means that they generate different sets of questions for candidates, but the difficulty level is the same. I would focus on both theory and calculations as they help each other in your exam prep. Regards, Stephanie

  • irfan says:

    helo sir..
    i am irfan from pakistan
    and i want to know that from where i can get the past papers mcqs??

  • abdul says:

    hi…. i got 300 score in part 1 🙁 i am currently studying part 2… i want to know that is it possible to manage both parts in same window..????

    • Hi Abdul, sorry to hear that, it’s quite close to pass! There are certainly readers who manage two parts with success. It depends on your available time and commitment. Since you should have known the materials for Part 1, it should be easier this time. I would suggest that you focus on the practice questions. Best of luck! Stephanie

  • Adi says:

    Hi guys! Many of you are having doubts about the comparative difficulty of different US based exams. Here is a comparison starting from the hardest to the easiest.
    CFE=certified fraud examiner.
    Hope it helps!

  • faisal says:

    I am faisal from jeddah currently doing job nd I hv plan to start CMA BUT I completely dont hv any idea about CMA .just recently I come to know I just want to make sure if I gv my 3 to 4 hours daily after 4 months I would be able to appear in part 1.
    2nd I want to know the scope in saudi arabia and in future can I get job

    • Hi Faisal, thanks for your note. It usually takes about 100-150 hours of study for a typical candidate. Based on your plan, it would be 3.5 hours x 30 days x 4 months which is totally enough. Having said that, you do need breaks in between but even if the breaks it looks fine to me.

      On whether you can get a job in Saudi Arabia, I understand the CMA certification is getting quite popular in the middle east so this is certainly helpful. But it also depends on your previous experience and your skill in interviews etc. Anyway, just work towards the goal one step at a time! Regards, Stephanie

  • Vaibhav says:


    Thanks for info. I will be writing in June15, can i study my own without help of any review course?


  • sarada akella says:

    Hi stephanie,
    I have given my cma part 1 and my score is 310 . I did very well in my exambut the scores are disappointing. Please let me know the grading system and the way i have to prepare. im using gliem CMA Review system.
    Thanks and regards
    Sarada Akella

  • John says:

    Hi Stephani,

    I’ve gone thru almost all comments! and I am curious – will i Pass, If I take this challenge ??
    I’m an average student but lazy bone! I do have good grasping power and intellect but with a moderate practice of say 10 hours a week, can i Pass one part in three months time ?

    well, I am commerce post graduate and working as an accountant for three years now!

    • Haha John thanks for the honesty! You don’t need to be a A+ student to pass this exam, but do need to work hard. If your 10 hours per week is all solid studying hours, ie within that 10 hours it is all studying, and not occasional checking of emails, facebook etc, then you should have enough time to get well prepared in 3 months time. It all depends on your attitude. Good luck!

  • Siyu says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am a juninor in Penn State, and my major is accounting. Can i take the part 1 test in China because i know there is a Chinese CMA test in Aug 8 in China. And then finish the second part in USA?

  • binoy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have appeared for part 1 during Feb 2015 and I got 340 score.

    I would like to re appear during June 2015.Do you have any advise where i missed 20 marks .

    Also can you advise whether there is any exam promotions price going on now.



  • narendra says:


  • Binoy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have lost part 1 with a small margin .I got 340.Shall I apply for a re grade of the same.

    Please advise



    • Hi Binoy,
      Sorry to hear that, it was indeed very close. I’ve talked to a few candidates on this as well, but our consensus is that it is very, very unlikely that they will change the mark for you. For the border line ones they should have had manually checked for chances to bump you up (or down in some cases).

      I have this post for retakers if you are interested to read further:

      Regards, Stephanie

  • harikrish says:

    While comparing cma with cia which one is toughest course? Cia with mba without having cma is useful or not?

    pls reply

  • harikrish says:

    Also wish to know about advantages of mba with cfe and mba with cma

  • mohamed says:

    Hi stephani
    I passed CMA course via group coaching (3.5 months ) and one month review after that ( gleim book and CD ) with 420 as passing score in may /June 2015 first attempt
    My question is
    For part 2 do I have to change any thing in my studying way or the same should do the trick
    Thanks Stefanie and your tips was always helpful

  • Rob says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am taking the exam in 1 month and now I am at the point of pure practise. When I was doing the MCQ part 1 for each of the modules with the gliem book, I averaged 77% overall. I want to get it into the mid 80s when doing the MCQ part 2 for each module.
    Is this what you did when you wrote it?
    I am trying to figure out how to be successful here because some of the MCQs are certainly tricky.

  • Abdul says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Constantly, I have been seeing the difference in passing rate between the regions. Let’s say US and UK and Asia have much better passing rate when compared to Middle East. My doubt is whether the difficulty level of questions may vary regions to regions? But, people say online that Middle East is a non English country. I’m not agree with it because, CMA exam is comprises of technical knowledge about accounting not about grammar or fluency. I would like to know about your comments on it and I want to know whether it will help us to pass or will get easy questions if we choose exam center in highly passing rate regions?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Abdul, the exam questions come from exactly the same pool — so the difference is only on the candidates I am afraid. I am not suggesting the Middle Eastern candidates are anything less intelligent or hardworking, but I believe the English language plays a large part in it. It isn’t about grammar (although, in essay sections, that could be a factor). It’s more on comprehending the complex questions. A non-English speaking candidate may take longer to understand a question, or sometimes may not even understand it at all. This put them at a disadvantage.

      So the solution shouldn’t be “overcoming the system” such as taking the exam in a different region. Rather, candidates should better equip themselves with more practice in understanding the practice questions, study in English (i.e. don’t take local coaching class that teaches in local language), read English newspaper and magazine, etc. In other words, got to immerse yourself in the English language all around to increase your chance of success.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • nagaraju says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am taking exame in JAN ,
    1. now i am following wiley material and i completed total preparation. In practice wiley question bank iam scoreing 90-96 per.
    2. wiley excel material is enough for preparion and in case of essay questions use same wording in wiley excel material.

    • Hi Nagaraju, I suppose you are making a comment instead of asking a question? If so it’s great to know. But generally I don’t think candidates should expect the exam has exact same working showing up in the essay section. Regards, Stephanie

  • mohamed salih says:

    Hello Sir,
    I am graduated in B com.Now i am decided to study the CMA .Everyone say its a huge risk to study. The language is my problem.what will i do to pass the CMA? May i go for coaching these course?

    • Hi Mohamed, assuming you are from India, I’ve seen lots of Indian candidates since 2015. Not sure exactly why but I believe IMA is expanding in India, which is great for those who are or will become CMA some day. It is a tough exam, but certainly doable. Not sure what the “huge risk” is apart from that you may fail… yes, the pass rate is low and the exam questions can be long and tricky, but as I mentioned above, many candidates are casual takers who don’t bother to study much before entering the exam room. Those people fail, of course, but if one prepares well, the chance is much higher.

      You may want to read my bloggers’ story to get a glimpse of what it feels like being a candidate:

  • Reji Antony says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    I would like to have your advise as I am planning to study CMA, which is the one to study first Part 1 or 2, which is the easy to study ?

    Many thanks


  • Raffy says:

    Dearest Stephanie,
    Im from Philippines and some of my friends told me that I should go to either Dubai or Australia to study for the CMA exam. And if I passed the CMA exam in Dubai, per say, I can only use my license in Dubai. Please explain this matter to me further for I am just a mere sophomore college student. Thank you and God Bless!

  • Azhar Ahmed says:

    Hello madame,

    I am a ca final student and presently undergoing articleship training under a chartered acountant,i also qualified b com in accounts and finance.My queries are mame should i start preparation for cma us during this period as i came to know its 6 months course.2 how shall i start my preparation self studying or take coaching ,from which book should i start from gliem or from wiley study mat.or could u please suggest me a coaching institute in kolkata where i can get guidance.I dont have any knowledge about this course and i am uncertain whether my ca course will benefit me in doing this course .
    How will i get the study material of gliem and from where to register from.PLEASE HELP
    Thanking you in anticipation.

  • Azhar Ahmed says:

    Hello madame,
    will i get job opportunities in middle east or in european countries after i qualify the exam further i wish to know that will i be able to manage this course by daily 8 hours of study .
    please suggest me a good study material and its course of procurement if i opt for self study.

  • David says:

    Hello Stephanie. I noticed that the passing rates for part 2 are higher. I that means the part 1 exam is harder or what?

    I’ve past experience with the two parts. I scored 350 in part 1 and 390 in part 2.
    I noticed that part 2 exam is more tough and complex, however, part 1 material is more dense. After I failed part 1 I changed my strategy and passed part 2. Sometimes I believe if I studied for part 1 with my new strategy I’d definitely passed the exam.

    Now, I’m going to retake the exam with my new strategy. But I’m little worried from this passing rates!

    • Rob says:

      Hi David,
      What strategy did you use on part 2 that was successful? what did you forget to do on part 1?

      • David says:

        focusing on the material itself beside the practicing of the MCQ. You need to familiarize yourself well with the material and what is being tested on this exam. Take your own notes.. Read the material well.. and Practice for the exam.. They ask questions from everywhere,, between the lines!

    • Hi David, I don’t think anyone knows exactly why Part 2 has higher pass rate. It’s hard to compare the difficulty because they test on very different subjects, and also, whether it’s difficult or not largely depends on one’s background. Another possible reason is that many candidates do take Part 1 first. If they fail they don’t move forward to Part 2. Those who continue have experience in the CMA exam and are more mentally prepared… Anyway, I don’t think you need to worry about this. Just focus on working on your weaker areas, and you will be fine. 350 was very, very closing to passing. Good luck!

  • Rani says:

    Can any one give me the tips to pass CMA part 1. I attempted 3 times and I got340 only . I am preparing from Wiley and Gleim products . Really not understanding how to complete this part 1 . I have already cleared part 2 one before

    Thank you

  • Rick says:

    Reply for Rani,
    I am in the same boat as I have not done the exam yet but I am also not getting 85% on the practise exams yet so I cannot write the real exam yet.
    Part 1 is the problem. some people are getting 450…I want to use their magic powers lol. how do they do it?

    • So Rick, among the 15% that you got wrong, what type of questions are they? Some people have this “internal control” intuition. You can generally get them by really understanding each question and answers as you go through them. If the weakness is cost accounting, it’s even better because once the idea clicks, you get them easily. I guess those with 450 are the ones who have mastered these tactics.

  • Josh says:

    I took part 1 and passed with a 430. I just took part 2 in January, and I must say, I felt like part 2 was much more difficult for me. I don’t have the gut feeling that I passed like I did immediately after the first exam. It’s a terribly unsettling feeling. The wait until March is going to be rough. The thought of having to study the material again is so disheartening!

  • Rani says:

    Hi Josh,

    Give some best suggestions to clear Part 1.

    Thank you

    • Josh says:

      I used Gleim and did literally every practice question that they offer. That should prepare you sufficiently.

    • Anon says:

      I cleared CMA Part 1 in Jan-Feb Window with 370. And here is the strategy I followed,
      Chapter A- Numericals from Wiley, only focused on important concepts in A2
      Chapter B- Numericals from Hock, Theory from Wiley Textbook- covered this comprehensively
      Chapter C- Numericals from Hock- Comprehensively covered this as well
      Chapter D- Numericals from Hock- This section requires a lot of practice as it has process costing, job order costing, absorption vs variable and overheads
      Chapter E- Numericals and Theory from Wiley.- Easiest of all, don’t leave anything in this chapter
      Apart from these, I saw videos on very important concepts that you will find in CMA like drum buffer rope system,variances, RI vs ROI, Balance scorecard etc.

      • Thanks a lot for the advice. Very specific and it’s going to be helpful for those who have Wiley and Hock 🙂

      • Rani says:

        Hi Anon,

        Congratulations. Details which you have given is very useful. I could not clear the Part 1 . I am preparing from Gleim. Can you advise Gleim / Hock which one is helpful to clear the exam. Essays – I am doing well. MCQs – I might missed the score. Please let me know some more tips to practice MCQ s . I am planning to retake the exam in this June…

        Thank you

        • Sharma Iyengar aka anon says:

          Stephanie- You are welcome, you are doing a great job. I am willing to contribute to your website after clearing my part 2.

          Rani- Thank you.
          Go to Roger CPA’s official youtube channel and watch all the videos on Variances and make notes.
          Also, watch Education unlocked’s videos on youtube on Management Accounting topics. They’ll help you in building your concepts that give you a lot of clarity in answering theory questions.
          Search for SusanCrosson on youtube, even her videos were of great help for me in standard costing.
          Also, I have read a lot on a few accounting websites and I cannot recall their names now. And all the videos that I have suggested are free of cost, so do watch them.
          Coming to Hock/Gleim question, Gleim was very bulky for me and was going way beyond the exam level. When I took the exam for the first time, I scored 330. My preparation was not effective at all and I only prepared from Hock. The second time, I followed the above mentioned strategy and I was expecting somewhere over 400, ended up scoring 370. Do sections B,C,D from Hock and section A(that includes the newly added syllabus), section E from Wiley/Gleim.

          • Rani says:

            Hi ,

            Thank you. How can we guess the scores after exam? I cannot afford to buy the HOCK product. It’s expensive for me. I am not understanding how to clear the exam. How many hrs & days you have prepared for the part 1?

        • Sharma says:

          I am a working professional, so I only prepared in the weekends. I gave around 100 hours(if not more) for part 1 alone. It took a lot of time for me to study the topics for the first time. I took coaching from a well known institute for this in my city and it wasn’t very effective , so I had to do a lot of self study. If you have gleim alone, even that is comprehensive enough for the exam. I suggest you not to spend extra money on buying courses.Make detailed notes on numericals from Gleim and revise. REVISION- is what makes the difference, which a lot of candidates don’t do properly. Prometric sends you an exam performance report few weeks after the result gets released, put more efforts in the sections where you under-performed. I actually took a lot of sectional tests and a mock test before the actual exam.After taking the actual exam,I had a feeling that I performed a lot better than the what I did in the mock test, so was expecting a score over 400.

          • Rani says:

            Hi Sharma,

            Thank you & it is really good suggestion . I will do practice more on weaker sections.


  • Rashid Ali says:

    I m doing ma mcom in India, after completion of mcom I want to move canada for doing CMA Anyone knows which is the best coaching centre in Canada… ??
    How much i should spend…. ….. ??
    Is there any exemption for post gratuated…??

    Plz help me…

  • Humayun Khan says:

    Respected Stephanie,

    It’s kindly to inform you that i’m a CA (PAK) as well as a CPA (PAK) student but now i want to skip both these certifications and want to join CMA (USA) Asap. I have keen interest in it but need your complete and helpful guideline regarding it’s books availability in soft form as i want to study myself .If you have the CMA PART 1 Books in soft form then please email me so that i may start my preparation for the upcoming attempt.
    Also kindly share me a few past papers of Part 1 (if possible) so that i should got an idea regarding the exam paper.
    Hope to hear from you soon via email (*** DELETED ***)
    Humayun Khan

    • Hi Humayun,
      I am afraid you and other candidates must get your own review materials. Feel free to borrow from the library or from friends, but distributing copies without the approval of review materials is generally not allowed. You may also breach IMA’s code of ethics with this action. Because of this I will remove your email (also for your own privacy). Thank you.

  • sukhbir says:

    i just wanted to know which part should take first part 1 or part 2 for cma?

  • Hisham says:

    Dear all
    I am happy to join you
    I think the major obstacle in the exam of CMA is the time. We need to know the time management very well. Do you agree with me?

  • Abubaker says:

    hello ,firstly i want to thank you for this gold advices..
    i feel that iam comfort to start with part one, how can i manage my time for part 1 test ?
    my second question that now iam so keen about start Learning and take the CMA can i keep this motivation up one my learning journey ?

  • Saju says:

    Hi, Any idea when the result of CMA september 2017 result will be published?

  • Saju says:

    Thank you Stephanie

  • Manvi Bansal says:

    Hi sir. my name is Manvi. I am thinking to persue my career in marketing course. I am in 11th currently and will soon in 12th. I have read the eligibility criteria for cma and I am confused about the bechelor degree thing. Can you please help?

  • ROY C MATHEW says:

    Weather the chances taken for passing the CMA examination has any effect on the future placements etc

    • Hi Roy, not sure what you mean by placement, but if you mean whether passing in one go or several attempts will have any impact, the answer is no. You are a CMA no matter how little or how much you put in as a candidate as long as you pass 🙂 Stephanie

  • anand says:

    which review course is best for us cma exam?

  • Anwar Sadeth Ali says:

    Hi Stephanie
    I have passed both parts in 10 months since I started to study. Your website helped me a lot to achieve this. You are doing a great job.
    Thank You Stephanie

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