CIMA Exam Structure in 2023

In this article, we explore the structure of the CIMA qualification for 2023 and provide you with information that will help you prepare for your exams.


Here we are again. Another year for you to achieve the management accounting qualification you’ve always wanted. 

CIMA affords thousands of students yearly the ability to achieve the most highly prized professional qualification in the world. And every student knows that sacrifices and careful planning are required.

But where do you start?

In this article, we’ll make things easier for you by exploring the structure of the CIMA qualification for 2023 and providing you with information that will help you prepare for your exams.

As industry leaders in CIMA Online Tuition, VIVA can provide you with everything you need. Simply keep reading. 

How are the 2023 CIMA Exams Structured?

Image courtesy of

Quick Overview of CIMA Exams 

You will write 12 exams called Objective Tests plus 3 Case Study Exams.

Objective Tests

Each level has three objective tests. They are 90 minutes long, computer-based and can be taken any time during the year.  

Case Study Exams

Each case study exam is 3 hours long. They are computer-based and must be taken at specific times (February, May, August, November).

Certificate Level - Providing Introductory Principles of Accounting

Formally called CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting. This level is the formal entry route into the CIMA Professional Qualification.

Underpinning the foundational knowledge provided at this level is BA4 covering the fundamentals of ethics, corporate governance and business law.

The three objective tests are:

  • BA1 - Fundamentals of Business Economics
  • BA2 - Fundamentals of Management Accounting 
  • BA3 - Fundamentals of Financial Accounting

The certificate level teaches core business and financial skills to those with no or limited accounting experience.

Operational Level - Providing Introductory Technical Skills

Consisting of 3 pillars - Enterprise, Performance and Financial. This level will provide you with technical skills in each pillar.

  • Enterprise Pillar - Develops technical skills in risk management, financial strategy and financial management.
  • Performance Pillar - Develops technical skills in performance management, cost management and budgeting
  • Financial Pillar - Develops technical skills in advanced financial reporting and taxation

The three objective tests are:

  • E1 - Managing Finance in a Digital World
  • P1 - Management Accounting 
  • F1 - Financial Reporting

On completion of the objective tests and case study exam, you will be awarded the CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting.

Management Level - Providing Practical Management Skills 

The focus of this level is to equip you with practical skills allowing you to manage a team within a real-life context. 

The three objective tests are:

  • E2 - Managing Performance
  • P2 - Advanced Management Accounting 
  • F2 - Advanced Financial Reporting

On completion of the objective tests and case study exam, you will be awarded the CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting

Strategic Level - Providing Strategic Management Skills

The focus of this level is to equip you with high-level skills in team and organisational management. Managing strategic relationships at this level enables you to lead a company into a sustainable financial future.

The three objective tests are:

  • E3 - Strategic Management
  • P3 - Risk Management
  • F3 - Financial Strategy

Project and Relationship Management Skills are also covered on this level. 

On completion of the objective tests and strategic case study exam, you will be assessed on the practical requirements of the qualification. Then awarded CIMA Membership with the designation of CGMA.  

Management Accountants worldwide have trusted VIVA to take them through the CIMA Exams. If you want tuition at a price that makes sense, contact us today!

CIMA Masters Gateway Exam - Fast Route to Strategic Level

If you have a graduate degree in Accounting, you may qualify to enter the qualification at Strategic Level. By passing the Masters Gateway Exam, you will receive permission to skip the lower levels of the qualification.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Permitted Exemptions

If you have an accounting qualification with a recognised provider in the UK, you may be eligible to receive credits for certain exams in the qualification. The CIMA Global website provides an exemption calculator to check your exemption status. We also have a useful free guide to CIMA Exemptions, which you can read here.

CIMA Exam Format

This can seem daunting. But VIVA has comprehensive course syllabi that cover all aspects of the exams to prepare you for success.  

You can preview each subject course here.  

Scheduling Your CIMA Exam

Exams can be completed online at any time during 2023. In some countries, test centres are available. You can use the test centres if your laptop, computer or internet does not meet the system requirements for the online exam.  

Register with CIMA Global as a student to gain access to a MyCIMA Account. This student portal will allow you to schedule exams in your time zone. 

System Requirements

CIMA advises that you successfully test each requirement before scheduling an examination. The requirements are:

Image courtesy of

ID Requirements

CIMA requires valid (unexpired) government-issued original IDs. No photocopies will be accepted. The ID must include your name and a recent, high-quality photo. The first and last name on the ID must be the same as the name on the examination.

Acceptable forms of ID:

  • International travel passport
  • Driver's license
  • Identification card (national, state or province ID card)
  • Alien registration card (green card or permanent resident/visa)


- When can I schedule my objective test?

You can schedule objective tests up to 24 hours before you want to sit for the exam. You can pick any available slot but cannot reschedule or cancel your exam if you have less than 48 hours before the examination. 

For case study exams, you must check the exam schedule on CIMA Global, as these exams are scheduled four times a year in February, May, August, and November.

- Can I use a calculator, paper or a whiteboard during the exam?

Calculators from the approved list can be found on the CIMA Global website. Online functionality does not allow the use of erasable notes or whiteboards. However, the site does provide a whiteboard that allows you to enter numbers. 

- Will I be able to leave the exam session at any time?

If you leave your exam at any time, the invigilator will close your session, and you will not be able to return. Breaks are not given during the exam. 

- What other rules should I be aware of during the exam?

Mobile phones, headphones or headsets (wired or Bluetooth), handheld computers or other electronic devices, books, notes, notebooks, study guides, and food or tobacco products will not be allowed during the exam. 


Image courtesy of Gettyimages/Canva

In this article, we have covered important information pertaining to the CIMA Exams for 2023. We have explained each level and given you an idea of what the exams test. Furthermore, we have provided helpful tips to get your mind around writing the exam online. 

A key to success will be the learning provider you choose to help you through the CIMA qualification. This cannot be overstated.  

You do not want to find yourself in a situation where the provider cannot support you or provide adequate learning material. 

From years of experience, we recommend you consider providers that meet the following criteria:

  • A holistic approach to learning that is flexible and adapted to the digital framework
  • Skilled and knowledgeable tutors that have personal studies and working experience in the accounting field
  • A multi-method approach that enriches the learning experience, e.g. live webinars, online videos, course notes, mock exams and practice questions 
  • Recognition from CIMA as a training partner
  • A high CIMA exam pass rate

VIVA meets every one these criteria and provides affordable tuition that makes sense. (See student testimonials here).

You can purchase an All Access membership today for £399. This price reflects our innovative delivery strategy in which we deliver premium online education at scale, giving thousands of students a chance to achieve a qualification at a reasonable price.

why viva?

Pass faster. Pay less.

Save thousands, save time, without compromising your standards.

CIMA Courses

Operational Level
Management Level
Strategic Level

Study for your CIMA Objective Test and Case Study exams with the most extensive, award-winning study resources including video lectures, course notes, mock exams, and more.

Start learning from only £34 per course.

ACCA Courses

Applied Knowledge
Applied Skills
Strategic Professional

Coming soon in 2022: save thousands on ACCA tuition with VIVA's All Access ACCA pass, granting you access to all ACCA subject courses, including video lectures, practice questions, live Q&As, and more.

Register for free to receive exclusive Early Bird discounts:

Start Learning for Free with Award-winning CIMA Tutors

Simply enter your info to unlock. No credit card required; get immediate access
Sign up to get started
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Join 30,000+ students”, let’s replace it with: “10,000+ students, 4.7 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot