About the CMA Exam: CMA Exam requirements, topics and scores

CMA holders are valuable to any business due to their expertise in strategic planning. Whether you want to enhance the value you bring to your current position, or expand your career potential, the CMA will help you set the standard for professional excellence. As you start the CMA journey, it’s important to understand the CMA Exam inside and out. Here is a breakdown of the eligibility requirements for CMA candidates, CMA Exam questions and topics and scoring.

CMA Exam requirements

To be eligible for CMA certification, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements are detailed below:

Active membership with the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

Active membership with the IMA grants you access to work towards the CMA certification. Once you’re a member, you can track your CMA Exam score and access your certificate online. IMA membership also offers networking opportunities through its local chapters.


You can meet the CMA education requirement with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or with certain professional certifications. CMA candidates must submit verification of education to the IMA within seven years of completing the CMA Exam in order to earn certification.


To meet CMA Exam requirements, you must complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management. This requirement can be met before or within seven years of passing the CMA Exam. Internships and nontechnical positions do not meet the experience requirement, but the IMA shares a full list of qualifying roles in the CMA handbook.

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Pass the CMA Exam

CMA candidates must pass both parts of the CMA Exam. In order to apply and take the CMA Exam, all candidates must pay a CMA entrance fee. If both exam parts are not successfully completed within three years of paying the entrance fee, any passed part will expire and the entrance fee will need to be paid again. For more information on the CMA entrance fee, visit the CMA handbook.

Continuing professional education

To maintain your CMA certification you must complete 30 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE), including two hours of ethics courses each year. Becker offers a variety of opportunities for CPE credit. Becker’s Continuing Professional Education will keep you on top of today’s most critical business issues. For detailed CPE opportunities, visit our CPE course catalog.

CMA Exam topics

In order to earn the CMA certification, candidates must pass both parts of the CMA Exam.

Part 1 covers Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics. CMA Exam questions in Part 2 covers Strategic Financial Management.

Here is a breakdown of each part’s key topics, their score weighting and level of coverage.


Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics

4 hours -100 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions

Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

4 hours -100 multiple choice questions and 2 essay questions

Practice makes perfect! Becker’s CMA Exam Review has unlimited CMA practice exams and you can tailor everything from the topics to the number of questions to answer, including multiple-choice questions and essays.

CMA Exam scoring

To pass the CMA Exam, you must earn at least a 360 out of 500. All scores on the CMA Exam parts are expressed as scaled scores to maintain consistency and fairness across candidates.

If you fail the CMA Exam, Prometric will email a performance report detailing your performance in each key topic area. This report is emailed around two weeks after you receive your exam results. This is a great way to assess your most challenging areas and prepare more effectively for your next attempt. You cannot take an exam part more than one time during a testing window, so you’ll have at least one full month to regroup and study again.

CMA candidates are eligible for exam awards based on the total score of Parts 1 and 2. To qualify for an award, you need to pass each of the two parts on the first attempt and complete both parts within one two-month testing window.

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What is the CMA Exam?

The CMA Exam includes two parts -Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics and Strategic Financial Management. Both parts include 100 multiple-choice CMA Exam questions and two 30-minute essays. The essay section includes 10-12 written response or calculation questions based on typical business scenarios.

How much time do I have to take the CMA Exam?

There are three hours to answer multiple-choice CMA Exam questions and one hour to complete the essays, totaling four hours for each part of the exam. The multiple-choice section comes first. You must score at least 50% on the multiple-choice questions in order to move on to the essays. Once you exit the multiple-choice section, you cannot go back, so be sure you’re completely ready to move on.

When is the CMA Exam graded?

CMA Exam scoring is determined by a combination of each part’s multiple-choice grades and essay grades. You can fail one of the section types and still pass the exam. Your score is not offered immediately following the exam because of the essay sections. Instead, exam results will be emailed and posted to your online profile about six weeks after your exam month.

When is the CMA Exam offered?

Both CMA Exam parts are offered in three testing windows: January/February, May/June and September/October. Registrations for these testing windows close after the 15th of February, June and October. Don’t forget -you have three years to pass both parts of the exam. The time period will begin with the date of your entry into the CMA program. The CMA Exam is administered by Prometric testing centers.

How do I prepare for the CMA Exam?

As you start your CMA Exam prep, test your knowledge in the exam’s topics and review the exam’s question format with real CMA Exam prep questions. Becker can help prepare you for success on the CMA Exam with our CMA Exam Review course.

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Why Becker?

The benefits of being a CMA are clearly widespread, and can lead to a variety of lucrative and fulfilling career opportunities that can reward you throughout your career's lifecycle. Explore all of Becker's CMA offerings to get started on your path to CMA.

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