As part of the planning, know the CMA exam dates, schedule, and deadline. As a result, if you’re planning to take the CMA exam, it’s essential you understand how to register and schedule your time to take the exam, what the recommendations are, and other important information about how to plan your exam.
My goal with this site is to help candidates understand all they need to know about the CMA exam and how to prepare for it and pass it. In this post, I will give you all the information you need about CMA exam dates, scheduling, and the current 2020 calendar. We will also talk about which part of the exam you should take first, and how to plan it all out.
Ready? Here is the latest info.
You need to understand the CMA exam schedule in order to register for your exam dates. Maybe you’ve been studying for weeks (or even months), and you finally feel confident enough to book your exam testing date. However, it’s not possible to take the exam whenever you wish.
First, you must schedule your CMA exam within one of the testing windows. The good news about this is that you will definitely have a lengthy heads-up regarding when you are taking the exam, which allows you time to prepare.
Furthermore, understanding the timeframe of the testing windows is essential to your CMA exam schedule. There are currently 3 testing windows each year for the CMA exam, as follows:
|Testing Window||CMA Exam Dates 2020
|Jan-Feb||Jan 1||to||Feb 28|
|May-Jun||May 1||to||Jun 30|
|Sep-Oct||Sep 1||to||Oct 31|
If you miss your testing window, it’s more than just needing to reschedule. It could throw you off by months on your study plan. Furthermore, it all depends on when you planned to take the exam, what time of year it is, and when the next testing window is available. Missing a testing window isn’t the end of the world, but it’s always better to avoid when possible. Since the testing windows are always the same, it’s really easy to avoid this problem by being proactive about your planning.
Once you’ve decided which testing window you want to go for, how do you book your spot?
You will go through Prometric to schedule your test, but you can also use the site to locate the closest test center to you. This is the most crucial first step for most candidates since planning potential travel arrangements is also essential to when you schedule the test. You can also use this same dashboard to reschedule or cancel your test, and to confirm your test once you have scheduled it.
Next, in order to reserve a space at the exam site at the Prometric center, you will have to get an authorization number. It is advised that you send in your registration around 6 weeks before the intended date of your exam in order to get everything processed on time. Keep in mind that many people are trying to register, and spots may be limited, especially at more popular testing centers.
Finally, remember that you do need to be an IMA member before you try to register for the exam. These are the requirements for getting your CMA certification:
Now that you know when the exam windows are for CMA 2020, let’s look at some tips for scheduling your appointment.
If possible, schedule your exam in the first month of the testing window (i.e., Jan, May, Sep). This gives you more “wiggle room” to work with if you need to reschedule. This will save you money in the long run.
Candidates are allowed to reschedule their exams for free within the same testing window. For example, if you run out of studying time, you can still postpone your January exam to February. If you schedule the exam in February, you can’t extend to May, and instead must pay in full for your next exam.
No one likes to think they will need to reschedule their exam, but you never know what will happen. Putting yourself in the position of having the free rescheduling time is a smart move, just in case.
Now, how do you know which part of the exam you should take first? Do people always take the parts in order? This is a question I have gotten before and want to address it since it affects the CMA planning and scheduling process.
Interestingly, you do not have to take the CMA exam parts 1 and 2 in order, if you choose not to. You can, in fact, choose to take Part 2 first, if you want. So, how do you decide? The first step is to know what content each part contains. If one part seems like it will be significantly easier for you, then you can choose to do that one first. There really isn’t a right or wrong way, since, in the end, you need to complete and pass both parts to get your certification.
The IMA breaks it down like this:
Many candidates find Part 1 to be more difficult since it covers more topics and a wider array of subject matter. You can read more about CMA Exam Part 2 difficulty compared to Part 1 if you want to learn more. In general, Part 2 has fewer subjects and units, so many people do consider it easier. Personally, I was more frustrated going through Part 2. It seems easier when you look at it, but the questions were not as straightforward as Part 1.
You will have an average of 12-18 months to complete each part, with three years to complete both. Many people go in order, taking Part 1 first since it seems the most logical. However, there is no rule that you have to do it this way. Some people think Part 2 will be easier for them, so they register to take it first and get it out of the way. The choice is yours. If you want to review the material a bit more and then make a decision, that is one option.
What other CMA dates do you need to be aware of?
Furthermore, you also need to understand your “CMA clock.” This is the timeline you have to complete all steps of the certification process. Please note that the countdown on your CMA exam clock starts to the day you pay the CMA entrance fee. This is when you are officially “in,” and your work to become a CMA begins.
Specifically, you must register for the exam within 12 months of entering the CMA program and pass the CMA exam within 3 years. For instance, most people have no trouble with these dates, but if you are doing this while holding down a full-time job or other responsibilities, it will be very important to be mindful of your window and not to allow these dates to pass you by. If you run down your CMA exam clock, you have to start all over again by paying the entrance fee once more.
To manage and track your CMA exam clock, most people will plan a calendar. You can also work this CMA exam calendar into your study program to help you stay on track.
It’s quite common for accounting certification exams to require candidates to pass their exams within a set amount of time. For example, CPA candidates have both an 18-month rolling window and CPA credit expirations to consider. Therefore, the 3-year CMA competition deadline is quite normal and even generous, comparatively.
Next, let’s take a look at how the CMA exam calendar will work for you.
Let’s say today is January 1, 2020, and you plan to complete the CMA program within 6 months. It is assumed that you have already accumulated 2 years of relevant working experience as an accountant working in a corporation.
I can’t tell you exactly what your CMA exam calendar will look like since it needs to be personalized to you. However, I can guide you on how to create your own. As you see from this example above, you can build your own calendar, based on the days that you register, become an IMA member, and take the exam parts 1 and 2. Look at this as a bit of a roadmap to when and how you move through the CMA certification process.
Once you register and actually take the CMA exam, there is also a schedule to receiving your results. Like most people, you will probably be anxious to get them, but it’s important to know that your results won’t just come straight away. The test results are still done manually, by hand, and this means there is a processing period from when you take the test until you get the results back.
However, you don’t need to stalk your mail carrier every day because there is also a formula to help you calculate when you will get your results, based on when you took that part of the exam. Let’s explore this.
There is a formula to understand when you will get your CMA results, and there is even a 2020 schedule for when the results are sent, based on which testing window you are a part of. 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.
So, when can you expect your CMA exam results? It’s easy to figure out with this formula.
Results come 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 print mail will come in 2-3 weeks after that with the printed version of your results.
This chart of score release dates will help you see when you can expect your scores, based on when you took the exam.
|Testing months (2020)
|Estimated score release dates||Mar 14||Apr 11||Jul 12||Aug 10/13||Nov 9/12||Dec 12|
|Actual score release||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|# days after the end of
Next, let’s look at some things the IMA says about CMAs. This sounds like a lot of information, planning, and scheduling to get the CMA certification. Is it worth it?
Here is what the IMA has to say about CMAs:
Those are some impressive stats that you now get to be a part of.
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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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