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New CMA Exam Changes in 2015


new CMA exam changesIMA has announced the new CMA exam content effective January 2015.


Every 5-7 years, IMA conducts studies on job responsibilities of management accountants. CFOs, controllers and accounting professionals are asked for their opinions on the knowledge and skills required in management accounting. IMA may adjust the exam content based on these findings.

New CMA Exam Changes in 2015

The CMA exam changes are relatively minor this time. It will affect around 10% of the exam content, mostly with additional content related to financial accounting and strategic planning in Part 1.

Part 1 CMA Exam Changes

This comparison chart is based on the table of content of Wiley CMA Learning System 2015 vs 2013/4 version. The CMA Learning System is officially licensed by IMA and therefore the content should closely match with the syllabus.

Section 2015 Version 2013/4 Versions
A External Financial Reporting Decisions Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting
B Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting Performance Management
C Performance Management Cost Management
D Cost Management Internal Controls
E Internal Controls Professional Ethics

Most of the changes occur in this part of the exam. There is new coverage on external financial reporting (Section A in 2015), such as financial statements, recognition, valuation and disclosure.

There is also new content on strategic planning in Section B. Another notable change is the combination of Part 1 Professional Ethics (Section E in 2013/4) to that in Part 2.

The rest of the changes are minor, such as the removal of time series analysis and smoothing under forecasting techniques in Section B in 2015, and additional explanation on certain concepts.

Part 2 CMA Exam Changes

Section 2015 Version 2013/4 Versions
A Financial Statement Analysis Financial Statement Analysis
B Corporate Finance Corporate Finance
C Decision Analysis Decision Analysis and Risk Management
D Risk Management Investment Decisions
E Investment Decisions Professional Ethics
F Professional Ethics n/a

There are some minor content changes in corporate finance and investment decisions. The Professional Ethics section now includes the portion originally tested in Part 1.

Old vs New Comparison by Subtopic

This video compares the table of content page by page so you know for sure which subtopics are added and removed:

CMA Exam Format and Duration

The format remains the same with two 4-hour exam sections (Part 1 and Part 2). Each part includes 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions.

Here is the detailed syllabus and pass rates in new exam format:


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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  • Kanchetianil says:

    HI Sir

    I completed P.G(MCA in 2008) , and i am doing IT job,

    My aim is to settled CMA

    1.What is the qualification and eligibility of CMA .

    2.As CMA how was the life compare to IT .

    3.How long doe’s it take to complete CMA.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Kanchetianil,
      Here is a post on the requirements of taking the CMA exam: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-requirements/

      On 2… I guess I’ll need to do some research on what you have been doing πŸ™‚ But you can tell me what your every day work here and I can help compare with what a typical CMA’s job with that.

      3. Most people are able to complete the exam within a year. There are two parts of the exam, and you can take one in each testing window (there are 3 testing windows in a year). Even in case of failing one part, there is still another window in the year.

      But then, passing the exam doesn’t mean you can get the certificate. You still need to work in relevant field for 2 years. This is something you need to decide whether it’s possible, given you have been working in a different field. Something like IT audit or accounting system is a mixture of accounting and IT. There are quite a lot of opportunities in this area. hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Bilbin says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    The details were very informative.

    Thank you so much


  • Rathi Rao says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am planning to take CMA in 2015. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in finance from India. Worked in the US for 2 years and now planning to do cma. Could you let me know if I would be eligible to take the exam?

  • sid says:

    Hi stephanie,
    I have an issue relating to the depth of the syllabus. In the university where I study, the instructors tell me that CIMA would be a better management accounting qualification to study for as the CMA syllabus is a bit shallow. Hope you can clear this issue.

  • mohamed ezzat says:

    dear ,

    do you have any source to buy the new CMA materials , for gleim & hock .

    many thanks,

  • Naia says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am planning to take the CMA part 2 in June 2015. I have the 16th edition of gleim both for part1 and 2 and I am wondering if I need to buy the 2015 edition due to changes. What do you think?
    Thank you.

  • shilpi says:

    Hi Stephnie,

    I am planning to take the test in Sept 2015. I am a Commerce graduate with a PG in Finance along with a 3.6 yeras of experience in Finance and Accounts. I have studied from India and I dont see my PG University name in the list provided by u in the below mentioned link. Will it be a problem to write the exam ?
    Link: https://ipassthecmaexam.com/cma-exam-requirements/

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Shilpi, normally it is not an issue but you need an extra step of getting a credential evaluation report. For details e.g. which evaluator can help you out, it is best to seek the advice of IMA. They can be reached at ima@imanet.org. It may also be helpful to confirm with IMA that in your case, an evaluation report is sufficient to get you qualified. Regards, Stephanie

  • Menon says:

    Greetings Stephy!

    Do we really need to rely on stick on to relative weights that is assigned to each units In CMA Part 2? Will it be tested as per the weights? Or do we need to focus on each and every single Unit. I find Study Unit 6: Managing Current Assets, bit tough. Is it ok to skip this unit and concentrate the rest units to its full? Thanks.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Menon, I understand the weighting in the actual exam is quite close to that, but I don’t know if it has to be — this is probably something the examiner won’t disclose publicly. I wouldn’t skip a study unit because it’s tough. In fact, I won’t even skip one practice question because it’s tough. The whole point of doing practice questions is to figure out what’s difficult, then work through it until you understand. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Jayne says:

    I have worked as a MA for 25yrs but have not been certified. I am now told I have to get certified this year. Can I take the CMA Exam or do I have to go to school?

  • John G. Kallarackal says:

    Hi Stephnie,

    I’m A graduate in Commerce & now I’m doing my Masters in Commerce. I wish to do CMA. I want to know is it possible to do CMA along with my present studies? If possible then whats are the procedures to do the same.

  • lisa says:

    Hey Stephanie,

    I graduated in 2010 with an Associated Degree with a Major in Medical Assisting. I changed careers quickly out of school to another field, therefore i never took my CMA exam in the state of Iowa. I now just moved to Texas and was wondering if my degree can still get me a chance to sit for the exam or do i have to restart everything? Please help! Thank you !

  • Amr Ali says:

    Hi.. i am planing to go to the cma exam in 9/2015 i am studying from gleim with it`s question but i heard that willy is the best what shall i do shall i get willy to or gleim is enough

  • Adam says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I started studying for the CMA exam earlier this year, but I am studying at a much slower pace than most (three young children and very busy job!) Given my slower study pace I have had to register to take part 1 of the exam in the Jan/Feb 2016 window. I’m concerned that the 2015 materials that I’m studying could become out-dated in January, if changes are made to the syllabus for 2016. Do you know of any planned changes to the syllabus in 2016? Is there anything that I can do to mitigate this risk? I’m using the Gleim study course.

    Many thanks (this site is a great resource),

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Adam, thanks for your kind words!
      As you see from the above, there was a major change in 2015, so I don’t suspect major changes at all in 2016 (usually this occurs once every 5 years or so). There are always minor adjustments but I think you are safe to use the current version. Let me check with the review course providers to make sure. Cheers, Stephanie

  • zain says:

    Hi All,

    I have passed CMA part 1 last year Feb 2014 and bought material for part 2 in June 14 , there was circumstances that delay taking the exam and now I’m planning to sit for the exam on Sep 15. Do I have to buy the new part 2 material ?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Zain,
      There has been considerable changes since Jan 2015, though Part 2 has fewer changes. You can watch the video as it shows exactly the difference between the new vs old syllabus. Regards, Stephanie

  • Irmak Ozturk says:

    hello, your cma study informations are very useful thanks for sharing them with candidates πŸ™‚ I have two questions for you if you could answer them, I appreciate it πŸ™‚

    Δ± got my cpa degree in Turkey, do you have any Δ±dea that candidates who have cpa degree are exempt from some of the parts in cma exam ??

    and my second question is: as you know in the oldest exam system there were four parts in cma exam which are part 1:business analysis,
    part 2:management accounting and reporting part 3:strategic management part 4:business applications

    but in the new cma system there is only two parts which are part 1 : financial reporting, planning, performance, and control part 2 : financial decision making

    as you know study materials are very expensive, Δ± borrowed materials from a friend who got his cma degree based on oldest cma exam system, so my materials are based on oldest exam system

    as Δ± mentioned there were four parts in oldest exam system, Δ± have four books to study for cma now all of them based on oldest system

    but i will enroll cma exam on new system which has two parts then

    how can Δ± study

    which part should Δ± take first

    and how can Δ± match study materials which are based on oldest sytem for the purpose to pass cma exam based on new system

    could you give me some advice for studying process

    thanks a lot for your help smile emoticon

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Irmak, thanks for your note. On your questions:
      1. I am afraid not. Since this exam changed from 4-part to 2-part, there hasn’t been exemptions. You may want to contact the IMA to double check.
      2. I have to say studying based on those review materials is quite risky. Even the new format has undergone considerable changes last year with new content in the financial accounting section. The copy you have is more than 6 years old and I am afraid I haven’t looked at those and thus cannot provide comments.

      Regards, Stephanie

    • Jake says:

      The old 4 part pre-2010 version for Gleim(also called 2004) vs 2 part 2010+:

      Nearly all of Section 2 from the 2004 Financial Decision Making section went into Part 2 of the new exam. Only profitability analysis moved to Part 1. Current Asset Management was also removed for both parts.

      Section 3(Strategic Management) is split up a LOT more. About 1/3 of it was junked(Marketing in particular), and about half went into part 2, and 1/5 went into Part 1. Breakdown as follows:

      P1: Capital budgeting, Cash flows and payback, Strategic planning
      P2: Risk & Return, Financial Instruments, Cost of Capital, Cost-Volume Profit Analysis, Marginal Analysis, Cost-based pricing, Ranking investment projects, Risk analysis and real options

      Section 4 used to be entirely essay questions. The old Gleim books are fantastic practice for the current 30 minute essays for the current exam.

      I don’t seem to have the Section 1 book, so I can’t say how it breaks down. I’d assume its focus is more on the current part 1.

      The old Gleim books nice for MCQ practice, but the test has changed far too much to pass with only 2004 study material.

  • Mano says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Good Day!

    Could you please let me know is there any change in CMA Exam content which is applicable for the exams that will be conducted in 2017? In fact I’ve bought Wiley CMA review Materials(Printed Books) 2016 Version, and now I would like to appear for CMA exams in 2017.

    In case there is a change in syllabus in 2017, how can I upgrade myself and get the Delta changes? Kindly advise.

    Your reply would be highly valuable.


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Mano,
      The changes should be minor for this year. There will still be a new edition from Wiley based on latest students’ feedback and improvement in various areas, but in terms of coverage it should be pretty much the same. Regards, Stephanie

  • Mano says:

    Many Thanks Stephanie for your reply!

  • Karen Howard says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I bought HOCK study materials in 2012 but never ended up taking the exam. Would those same study materials work to pass the exam today. I see that the exam requirements have changed since then.

    Thank you!
    Karen Howard

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      That’s right — there has been changes in 2015. Unless you can get yourself a book published in 2015 or later, I personally would purchase the most updated version. The cost to retake would be higher than a new set of materials, and that’s not even counting the time and effort.

  • Rafsal says:


    I have recently registered with Gliem Review 2016.
    But the contents shows very different from 2015.
    Is there really difference in content?
    My part 2 starts with Ethics Fraud & Risk managment in 2016 edition
    were it is FS analysis is the opening topic in 2015 edition.
    What difference does it makes?
    which one i should follow?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hello Rafsal, I am not sure if I understand your question, but you should always get/use the latest version. In this case, the 2016 version should be better than that of 2015.

      Having said that, it shouldn’t be that much of a difference — maybe they rearrange the topics? I reviewed both versions but we are talking about two years back. I couldn’t recall the specifics… my apologies. Stephanie

  • Suraj Rana says:


    Stephanie !!

    I always read your suggestions. I have read hock, gleim and now started wiley text books.
    Also i have practice question from hock, gleim MCQ only. How to prepare for essay and how about wiley text book.

    All above for part 1


    Suraj Rana

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