To join the CMA course, you need hold a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized/accredited college or university in your country. Those pursuing B.com, BBA, or any other graduation or post-graduation course are also eligible to enroll for the CMA course.
Holders of professional certifications like chartered accountancy, cost accountancy, CIMA, etc. can also pursue the CMA course. They have to get a letter from the institution that has granted them the certification confirming that they have passed the necessary examinations.
IMA provides a list of the US and non-US based institutions whose certifications are recognized. In case you have received a degree from a college which is not in this list, then your qualification has to be evaluated by an independent agency as specified by IMA. You have to mandatorily get this evaluation done. Send the report along with your application for membership.
The detailed requirements can be found in the CMA Handbook.
CMA Exam Part 1 Syllabus
Part 1 of the CMA exam covers Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, And Control.
The weights assigned to the different areas are:
|External Financial Reporting Decisions||15%|
|Planning Budgeting and Forecasting||30%|
CMA Exam Part 2 Syllabus
Part 2 covers Financial Decision-Making, and the weights assigned to the different areas are:
|Financial Statement Analysis||25%|
CMA (US) Exam Pattern
The theoretical education requirements for receiving the CMA certification specify that the candidates to pass both the Parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam. Part 1 and 2 of the CMA examinations can be taken in any sequence, but it is mandatory to pass both. There is no restriction on appearing for the exams of both parts on the same day. If the candidate is well prepared, then he may do so.
The examinations for the two parts are of four hours each, consisting of:
- 100 multiple-choice questions to be completed in three hours.
- 2 essay type questions which have to be completed in 30 minutes each.
It is mandatory to complete the multiple-choice questions first, and then attempt the essay type questions. Students will get access to the essay type questions only after they have completed all multiple-choice questions or on the expiry of three hours, which is earlier.
If the candidate is able to complete the multiple choice questions in less than 3 hours, then he can utilize the extra time for answering the essay type questions.
Another restriction is that only if the candidate is able to complete at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions within 3 hours, he/she will be allowed to answer the essay type questions, otherwise not.
Exam Date & Schedule
To become a CMA, the candidates have to prove their competency in 11 topics in total. Exams are conducted in 2 parts, with 5 competencies tested in Part 1 and 6 in Part 2.
Both the Parts of the CMA exams are tough, due to the extensive coverage of the syllabus and the challenging questions that are posed in the examinations. The percentage of marks required to pass each of these examinations is 360/500, i.e. 72%.
The exams are held only in 3 windows spread over 6 months in a year:
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
MAY AND JUNE
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
IMA requires the students to clear both parts 1 and 2 within 3 years, giving them access to a total of 9 exam windows within this period. The candidates should carefully prepare and appear for their exams, keeping aside adequate time for any retakes that might be required. Since the syllabus is vast and many of the topics are difficult, the candidates have to spend many hours in preparing for the exams. It is advisable to start the studies early so that there is adequate time to devote to learning and revising the topics.
The examinations are computer-based and are conducted by Prometric in their testing facilities across the world. Students can book a seat in a test centre of their choice at a time slot convenient for them. IMA strongly recommends that the candidates book their seats at least four weeks before the exam date. All bookings have to be made at least 72 hours before the exam.
Only the current members of IMA can register for the examination. Follow these steps to register yourself:
- Create a member login for yourself on go www.imaonlinestore.com.
- Enter the site with your login credentials.
- Pay the necessary testing fees online here.
- Receive the authorisation number(s), and a set of instructions for completing the remaining steps for registration.
- Thereafter, you can schedule your examination with Prometric by logging onto go www.pro-metric.com/ICMA.
Test Centres & Location
Among the professional examinations, CMA has the widest range of testing centres across the world. It has 300 local chapters, and its members are spread across more than 120 countries globally. Hence its reach is wide, and its testing partner Prometric is also a well-known name worldwide.
To locate at the center near you, go here.
If you live in a major city, then it is most likely that you will find a test centre in your city. Otherwise, type the names of a few neighbouring cities to find whether there is a test centres there. The wide availability of test centres is very useful for the candidates since they will not have to travel long distances just to appear for the examinations.
Before Graduation or After Graduation
CMA certificate holders should be at least graduates. IMA allows candidates who have already passed their graduation, as well as those who are still pursuing their Bachelor’s degree to enroll for the course. Candidates can start early and prepare for the CMA exams simultaneously with their graduation course. In fact, close to 24% of the registered members of IMA pursuing the CMA course at present are undergraduates.
However, it has to be remembered that they cannot become a member of IMA till the time they complete their graduation and meet the other requirements related to practical experience.
IMA offers two strong reasons for starting the CMA course early:
IMA offers a scholarship for undergraduate and masters level students who are interested in pursuing the CMA course. This scholarship is known as the IMA CMA Scholarship. Students who receive this scholarship can appear for the CMA exams completely free of cost. They have to show academic excellence and be nominated by a faculty to receive this scholarship. Read more about the available scholarships here.
IMA offers a special fee structure for student/academic members. Needless to say, this fee structure is significantly lower than the regular fees. Concessions are offered on both entrance fees and exam fees and are valid only till the candidate graduates. After graduation, the regular fees will apply.
If you are sure about building your career as a CMA, you should go ahead and start early. However, if not sure about what you want to do in life, then it may be better to wait till you complete your graduation. If you need any guidance in understanding whether CMA is right for you, then you can always get in touch IMA or our certified career counselor. We will be happy to guide you.