Have you recently taken the CMA exam and are wondering about the CMA exam score release date for 2021? After all, candidates commonly have questions about CMA scores are released. As you probably know, most people do not take the two-part exam back to back. Therefore, you might be waiting for the results from CMA Part 1 before you take CMA Part 2.
If you have questions about the CMA scores release and the time it takes to get them, I hope this post clears them all up. Moreover, I’ll go over when to expect your CMA results, the formula for getting results, and even tips on what to do while you wait.
You’ve taken the CMA exam or part of it, and now you’re playing the waiting game. They say that waiting is truly the hardest part. Although this may be true, you can do some value-added things while you wait on CMA score release dates. In fact, I have a list of 7 things to do while you’re waiting on results to keep your career moving. But first, let’s talk about those exam results.
So, when can you expect your CMA exam results? It’s easy to figure out.
The IMA states that scores will be released about 6 weeks from the last day of the month you took the test, plus or minus a day. For instance, the score release date for the CMA May June window would be mid-August.
First, the IMA will email your exam results almost immediately from this date. Furthermore, your results will also appear in your personal MyIMA online portal.
Second, if you happen to fail the exam, Prometric will email you a Performance Report on behalf of the IMA. These reports are emails approximately 14 days after your results are available. In this report, you can see a breakdown of the topics and your performance in each. Therefore, this report will guide your studies as you work to re-take that exam part.
|Testing months (2021)||Jan||Feb||May||Jun||Sep||Oct|
|Estimated score release dates||Mar 14||Apr 11||Jul 12||Aug 11||Nov 11||Dec 12|
|Actual score release||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBS||TBD||TBD|
|# weeks after the end of
|Testing months (2020)||Jan||Feb||May||Jun||Sep||Oct|
|Estimated score release dates||Mar 14||Apr 11||Jul 12||Aug 10/13||Nov 9/12||Dec 12|
|Actual score release||Mar 14||Apr 11||Jul 12||Aug 11||Nov 11||TBD|
|# weeks after the end of
|Testing months (2019)||Jan||Feb||May||Jun||Sep||Oct|
|Estimated score release dates||Mar 14||Apr 11||Jul 12||Aug 10/13||Nov 9/12||Dec 12|
|Actual score release||Mar 14||Apr 11||Jul 12||Aug 11||Nov 11||Dec 12|
|# days after the end of
Now, I know what you are probably thinking: Why is it such a long wait? Well, the answer is related to the fact that the exam grading isn’t fully computerized. It may be one day, but for now, it’s all still done the old-fashioned way. Specifically, the essays need to be graded by humans. After all, each exam part has two sections – a section with 100 multiple-choice questions and a section with two essays. Therefore, it takes time to grade the CMA essays. Plus, the reviewers grade all papers from the same testing window at the same time to ensure fairness and consistency.
Also, extra work and checking may be required when the raw score is converted into the scaled score. At the end of the grading process, the reviewers even double-check their work for exams on the border of a passing score. So as you can see, this level of personal attention to grading the CMA exam takes time.
For your reference, the CFA exam takes 7-8 weeks to get the results even though the first two levels are fully computerized. So all in all, six weeks for the CMA exam is about as quick as you can expect these days. Before you even take the exam, you may want to do some research into pass rates. You also need to study with a reliable study guide to ensure you pass on the first try. Check out the reviews on this site to help you choose the best study guide and materials for your needs.
Next, let’s take a look at those CMA pass rates.
Taking a look at the CMA exam pass rates will give you an idea of how hard the exam is in comparison to similar tests. According to the latest percentages, the average CMA exam pass rate is 45%.
The Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) released stats for 2018-2019 that showed a 35% pass rate for Part 1 and a 50% pass rate for Part 2. Then, the ICMA made certain changes to the CMA exam in 2020, which you can read about in this article. According to the first quarter results for 2020, the pass rates are leveling out a bit:
I will keep an eye on the new averages after the rest of the 2020 and 2021 CMA score release dates.
How does the CMA compare to other accounting exams? Well, the pass rates for the CMA exam are actually lower than those for other accounting exams that are often deemed more difficult, like the CPA and CFA.
Furthermore, the pass rate for the Enrolled Agent exam is 61-86%, and the EA exam has long been touted as more difficult than the CMA.
If you take the CMA exam in 2021, it might seem like a long time before your CMA score release date in 2021. Now that you know you’re going to be waiting on those exam results, the next best thing you CAN do is keep yourself occupied. Likewise, you can do the following while waiting for your CMA score release in 2021.
If you have half-abandoned your dear ones during your CMA studies, now is the best time to make it up. Seriously, so many people immerse themselves in the study process for weeks and even months leading up to the exam day. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to reconnect with those close to you. Go out with friends, spend some quality time with family, or do something nice for yourself.
It’s time to unwind! As I said, you’ve probably been deep in study sessions for a long time now. It’s finally time to take a break. Whether you choose to go shopping, have a spa day, or relax on a beach, do something that you truly enjoy. You can consider combining point 1 above by going for a short trip or do something fun together with family and friends. Win-win!
If you still have another part to go after your 2021 CMA score release date, it’s time to get organized and prepared. Take a moment to learn from your experience from this past test — how can you prepare your next part more efficiently and effectively? Ask yourself:
Should I increase or decrease study hours?
How can I balance between reviewing and working on practice questions?
Incorporate your findings in your next study plan. This is a great way to make productive use of your time waiting.
Plus, think about the materials you used to study. Did you find them useful? If not, considering switching review providers before studying for your next exam part. I have reviews for some of the top courses in this article.
If you are finished with both parts and are waiting for the final CMA exam results, you can print out the experience verification form. Then, consider how you can complete the work experience requirement. Since the experience requirement is a big part of getting the CMA certification, it’s never too early to start planning how you will obtain it.
You are required to provide a description of your daily work. Therefore, if your work is not directly related to accounting or financial management, you may need extra time to frame it in such a way that it counts.
Ultimately, getting the CMA certification is a means to get a promotion or better career prospects. After, career mobility is a major motivation why many people get certified. Therefore, now may be a good time to revisit your career plans. If you’re going to ask for a promotion with your CMA certification in hand, start revising your resume and aim for your dream job. It’s never too soon to start planning your career path. And with the CMA exam behind you, you’re one step closer.
Some of my readers pursue multiple certifications. This path is not for everyone, but it’s time to take a good look at the options. For example, the CIA or one of the IIA specialty certificates could be ideas to consider. One of our bloggers, Waqar, researched other credentials while waiting for Part 2 results.
If this applies to you, then now would be a good time to start examining your options and what you need to do to get there.
You might as well research CMA CPE courses while you’re waiting for your scores. Most people wait until after getting the CMA exam results to do this, but you could find them now and get it out of the way. To explore the CPE requirements and available courses, see a link below for help. Once you get your CMA certification, you will need to have regular CPE credits to maintain it. You can certainly start planning now when and how you will get these credits.
Next, let’s explore a reader’s question.
“I just took Part 1, my first exam. I am not sure if I will pass. Should I wait for the results first, or start studying for Part 2? When is the best time to start studying?”
As for when to study for the next part, unless you are quite sure you failed Part 1, I encourage you to take a break for a few days for a break. Then, dive into studying for Part 2 while you wait for the first part results. This way, you don’t lose your momentum. If you are really busy with other commitments, then the waiting time is a great opportunity to clear up your to-do list and give Part 2 a fresh start.
If you have a question that isn’t answered in this post, leave me a comment or send a message so we can answer it for you. Now, let’s take a look at a video summary of the things I’ve said above.
Waiting on the scores is one thing, but once you finally get those scores back, you need to know how to read them.
The CMA pass rate averages show us that not everyone passes on the first try. In fact, over half will need to sit for the exam a second or even a third time to pass. If this is so commonplace, why are so many people nervous waiting for the results? Well, the probable reason is that if you don’t pass, it means you fail, right? And no one likes to fail.
Except this: not passing the CMA exam isn’t exactly the same as failure.
Why do I say that? Well, the CMA exam is a criterion-referenced test, which means it is not a simple pass/fail when it comes to scoring. If the scoring confuses you, I’ll give you a basic run-down of how it all works.
Each part of the CMA exam has 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and two essays. In terms of the CMA exam grading system, around 75% of the score is allocated to the MCQs and the rest to the essays.
CMA scores range from 0 – 500, with 360 being the passing score. The panel of experts who developed the scoring formula intentionally set the bar high. Therefore, those candidates who pass will reflect positively on the profession as a whole.
However, the CMA exam is not an adaptive exam (such as the US CPA exam) and each question is supposed to be equally weighted. But still, the grading system is sophisticated enough to adjust the mark based on the difficulty of each exam. This is necessary because each set of exam questions is different for different candidates since the computerized delivery of the CMA exam.
Here is a video explaining this:
You need to answer at least 50% of the MCQs before you will be able to move on to the essays. However, you are not required to pass both the MCQs and the essays in order to pass the exam. All that matters is your total score. Therefore, if you struggle with the essays and get low marks but score really well on the MCQs, you can still pass the exam.
Furthermore, it’s all about earning points toward that overall goal – to show that you have the knowledge of a CMA and the skills necessary to work daily in this profession. It’s not about memorizing answers, but rather, about proving that you can apply the knowledge you have to real-life scenarios.
As mentioned above, the exam is scored based on a scale of 0-500. You need at least 360 to pass. This scale does not directly translate into a percentage like other tests you may be familiar with. For this reason, the CMA scoring can be confusing to a lot of people.
This site is a wealth of information about the CMA. If you’d like to learn more, here are some links that might interest you.
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.