Have you recently taken the CMA exam and now you are wondering when you will get your results? This is a common question that many candidates have after taking the CMA. As you know, there are two parts to the CMA exam and most people do not take them back to back. This means, you probably are waiting on the results from CMA Part 1 before you take CMA part 2.
Whatever your personal situation, if you have questions about the CMA exam results and the time it takes to get them, I hope to clear it all up for you in this post. Continue to reading to learn about CMA results, the formula for getting results, and even tips on what to do while you are waiting on the results.
You’ve taken the CMA exam or part of it, and now you’re playing the waiting game. They say the waiting is truly the hardest part and while this may be true, there are some things you can do while you wait. I’ll give you a list seven to-do’s, in fact, if you stick with me to the end of this post. First, let’s talk about those exam results.
So, when can you expect your CMA exam results? It’s easy to figure out. There is a simple formula when it comes to CMA exam results dates:
It’s 42 days from the last day of the month you took the test, plus or minus a day.
The result will be updated online in your IMA profile almost immediately from this date. Furthermore, the mail will come in 2-3 weeks after that with the print version of your results.
| Testing months (2019)
|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||TBD||TBD|
|# days after the end of
| Testing months (2018)
|Est. 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 11-17||Nov 11||Dec 12|
|# days after the end of
Now I know what you are probably thinking: why is it such a long wait? This is because the exam isn’t fully computerized. They may be one day, but for now, it’s all still done the old-fashioned way. The essays need to be graded by humans. Also, extra work and checking may be required when the raw score is converted into the scaled score.
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, it’s 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.
Now, let’s take a look at those 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 2017-2018 that show a 40% pass rate for Part 1 and a 50% pass rate for Part 2. How does it compare to other accounting exams? Well, the pass rates for the CMA 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.
Now that you know you’re going to be waiting on those exam results and there is nothing you can do to hurry them along, the next best thing you CAN do is keep yourself occupied. You can do the following while waiting for the CMA exam results.
If you have half-abandoned your dear ones during the studies, it 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, so now is your chance 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 the study sessions for a long time now. It’s finally time to take a break. Whether you choose to go crazy shopping, pay for a luxurious spa 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, 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.
If you are done with both parts of the exam and are waiting for the final CMA exam results, you can print out the experience verification form and see 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. 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 your experience can be counted.
Ultimately, getting the CMA certification is a means to get a promotion or better career prospects. This is a major motivation for why many people get certified. It may be a good time to revisit your career plans. Think about how you can ask for a promotion after you attain the CMA certification, or start drafting a good 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.
This is not for everyone, but if some of you are thinking of a dual qualification, it’s time to take a good look at the options. This is exactly what one of our bloggers, Waqar, did 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.
Most people wait until after getting the CMA exam results to do this, but if you want complete planning you can explore the CPE requirements and available courses (see 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 the next part, unless you are quite sure you fail the Part 1, I encourage that you take a few days for a break and dive into Part 2 during the wait for the first part results. This way, you don’t lose the 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’re reading this now and you have a question that you don’t see the answer to 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’re going to need to know how to read them. Many candidates say the only part more nerve-wracking than the weeks leading up to the exam date, is the time waiting for the results to come back.
The CMA pass rate averages show us that not everyone passes on the first try. In fact, quite a few 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, not passing on the CMA isn’t exactly the same as failure.
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, don’t worry about it too much. I will try to give you a basic run-down of how it all works, however.
The certified management accountant (CMA) offered by the IMA in the US consists of a 2-part exam. In each part, there are 100 multiple choice questions and two essays. In terms of the CMA exam grading system, around 75% of the score is allocated to the multiple-choice and the rest to the essay.
Next, the proportion of time given is the same: 3 hours for multiple choice and 1 hour for essays.
Candidates can get a score ranging from 0 – 500, with 360 being the passing score. The panel of experts involved intentionally set the bar high so that those who pass will reflect positively on the profession as a whole.
However, while the CMA exam is not an adaptive exam (such as the US CPA exam) and each question is supposed to be equally weighted, 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. This means that if the essays are hard for you, but you score really well on the MCQs, you can still pass the exam even with low marks on the essay portion.
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 does not directly translate into a percentage like other tests you may be familiar with. This is why 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.