About The CMA Exam and Designation CMA

The CMA certification is the leading advanced professional certification designed specifically for accounting and financial management professionals in business. This is a common certification for management accountants, who accountants are crucial figures in determining the status and success of a company. Often their focuses surround cost accounting, financial planning, and management issues – and this certification helps reiterate their expertise when applying for jobs. Not Sure if a CMA is right for you? We can help.

Education and Experience Requirements

CMA Examination Requirements

Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or have a professional accounting certification, as well as at least two years of work experience. Additionally, candidates must have an active membership in the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).


CMA candidates must successfully complete both parts of the CMA Exam:

Part 1 - Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance

Control Part 2 - Financial Decision Making

Watch a free live demo

Register for a free trial and see for yourself why so many accounting professionals choose the Surgent CMA Exam Review to prepare for and pass the Certified Management Accountant

About the CMA Exam

So, first you need to know that you can sit for the CMA Exam within specific testing windows – these are:

CMA Testing Windows

  • January to February
  • May to June
  • September to October

The CMA Exam consists of two parts that can be taken in any order. Only one exam can be taken at a time. Candidates must complete both exam parts within three years and register to take one exam part within the first 12 months of entering the program. 

Section One

Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics

Section Two

Strategic Financial Management


Duration: 4 Hours

Exam Question Count:

100 Multiple Choice

2 30-minute essay questions Exam Question Count


External Financial Reporting Decisions (15%)

Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (20%

Performance Management (20%)

Cost Management (15%)

Internal Controls (15%)

Technology and Analytics (15%)


Duration: 4 Hours

Exam Question Count:

100 Multiple Choice

2 30-minute essay questions Exam Question Count


Financial Statement Analysis (20%)

Corporate Finance (20%)

Decision Analysis (25%)

Risk Management (10%)

Investment Decisions (10%)

Professional Ethics (15%)

Overview of CMA Exam Difficulty & Pass Rate

The CMA Exam is tough – there’s no doubt about that. And with such a low worldwide pass rate – you’re not alone in feeling that.
But it’s possible – get the lowdown on how difficult the exam is and the average pass rates here.

How to Get Started Preparing for the CMA Exam

Ready to get started? How exciting! Before you dive into registering for the exam, you’re going to need to study. Here’s the rundown of what three steps to take first:

  1. Get your hands on as many free course trials as possible – before you invest in a CMA Review Course, you need to ensure it’s right for you. And there’s no cap to how many free trials you can sign up for!
  2. Identify your learning style – everybody studies and learns differently, and that’s okay! To make sure you invest in the most effective course for you, it’s important to understand what helps you retain information most. Is it a linear study plan, or do you prefer to focus on your weak areas while you progress? Do you want flashcards, or video lectures? These questions are all important to ask yourself.
  3. Create a study plan – the CMA Review Course you opt for should help you with this, but figuring out a realistic number of hours you can study – and number of days you can study – per week is crucial to ensure you appropriately account for your time and schedule.