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How to Apply for CIMA? Registration in 3 Simple Steps

how to apply for cimaIn this article, we’ll show you, step-by-step, on how to apply for CIMA – as student and as exam candidate.

(CIMA in this website refers to Chartered Institute of Management Accountant. For Certified Investment Management Analyst, please click here.)

How to Apply for CIMA in 3 Steps

Step 1: Register as a CIMA Student

This is a simple process but must be done in order to move on to the next step. Once you register, you will be given a Contact ID in order to log in the MyCIMA account. This is a system that holds your profile and progress in your CIMA journey.

If you have any technical questions regarding the registration, the MyCIMA system and Contact ID, please contact cima.contact@cimaglobal.com directly.

Step 2: Obtain Certificate in Business Accounting or Equivalent

The default CIMA entry requirements is to have the Certificate in Business Accounting (Cert BA) offered by the CIMA. This is a program dedicated to those without an accounting or finance background, but would like to switch or start a business and finance related career.

There are no prerequisites to take the course and you can see this as an alternative to university. There are 4 exams at the end of the course:

  • BA1: Fundamentals of business economics
  • BA2: Fundamentals of management accounting
  • BA3: Fundamentals of financial accounting
  • BA4: Fundamentals of ethics, corporate governance and business law

Cert BA is a standalone certification, but most take it as a CIMA qualification requirement for Step 3: the Professional Qualification.


Many candidates apply for an exemption to Cert BA. You should if you have a university degree in accounting, business, economics, management and finance.

CIMA provides a handy exemption lookup database for your reference, but here is the general guideline:

Degree group Exemptions awarded
Accounting All BA1 to BA4
Business studies/administration All BA1 to BA4
Commerce All BA1 to BA4
Business general BA1, BA4
Economics BA1
Finance BA1, BA2, BA3
Management BA1
MBA All certificate level exams + E1

Note: E1 stands for the organisational management exam, which is one of the 3 Objective Tests in the first level of the CIMA exam.

Step 3: Enter the Professional Qualification Program

Once you pass the Cert BA exams or get all the necessary exemptions, you are qualified to take the CIMA exam. Most candidates require 3-4 years in the CIMA journey starting from this step, plus time to accumulate the relevant experience. You can take the exam and accumulate experience at the same time.

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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