Becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a significant achievement in the world of finance and accounting. The certification opens doors to exciting career opportunities and demonstrates your expertise in the field.
Central to this journey is the CMA exam. A comprehensive assessment of your knowledge and skills that is the gateway to a successful career in management accounting.
In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about taking your CMA exam, from understanding the exam windows to preparing effectively for your prometric exam.
How do I qualify for the exam?
Prospective certified management accountants have to meet the following requirements to write the exam:
- Registration with the Institute of Management Accountants
- A bachelor’s degree or working towards completion
Where can you take your CMA Exam?
The CMA exam is administered as a remotely proctored exam and is offered at Prometric Testing Centers located throughout the world. An up-to-date listing of all testing centers can be found on Prometric’s website. There are 3,000 Prometric testing centers around the world, making it easy for students to take exams.
How to schedule an exam appointment
You must be registered with IMA to register for the English language CMA exam. You can register online or call 800-638-4427 or (201) 573-9000 with your credit card information. There is a CMA entrance fee that is due on the day you book the appointment.
Once you have received authorisation from the IMA, it is your responsibility to schedule your appointment. You can log onto www.prometric.com/ICMA to schedule, confirm, reschedule or cancel your appointment within 24 hours. The website is open to do this seven days a week. You will be given a confirmation number when you schedule your exam, you should take note of the number.
Should you wish to postpone your appointment for the same testing window but a different date, you need to do this at least 24 hours before the exam.
If you cancel your exam date with a Prometric testing center in less than 72 hours of your exam, you will forfeit your exam fee and you will need to purchase a new appointment. Please be aware of this and factor it in when you plan your schedule for the year.
If you wish to transfer your appointment to the next testing window, you will be charged a fee. The request must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than five days before the scheduled appointment. Exam Fees will not be waived for students, nor will any fees be refunded.
The day of the exam
Remote testing can be a daunting prospect for first time students. Here are some tips that will ensure you are not caught off guard by anything going on at the testing center:
- Arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before the time of your appointment. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will lose your scheduled seat and will have to re-register at full cost in the same exam window.
- Sign the Prometric log book and provide a fingerprint as proof that you showed up for your exam
- Have a valid form of identification with you - if you do not have proof of identity, you will not be permitted to take the exam. The name on your ID must exactly match your authorisation letter. All ID documents must be original.
- Bring only an approved calculator with you. Please check the Prometric site for requirements
- Prometric will provide paper and a pencil
CMA exam windows
Choosing the right time for you to take your CMA exam is a pivotal decision. You can take the CMA exam during specific testing windows throughout the year. To help you plan how you will tackle your exams, let’s take a look at the CMA exam schedule and how you can choose one that suits your goals for completing your CMA certification.
Registration for Parts I and II of the exam closes after the 15th of February, June and October.
There are three testing windows provided to CMA candidates each year to write the CMA exam remotely at a Prometric test center.
1st Testing Window: January/February
This window is the first opportunity for you to take the exam in the new year. If you want to get off to an early start and feel that you are prepared to have your knowledge of the CMA program tested, then you get going as soon as the ‘ho, ho, ho’ and festive bells fade into the distance.
2nd Testing Window: May/June
This window allows you to take your exams in the Spring. Perhaps you have more energy now that winter has passed and feel positive that you can tackle your exams.
3rd Testing Window: Sept/Oct
This is the 3rd and final testing window for the CMA year. Perhaps you’ve been preparing all year and now is the time to wrap up your exams before the year closes. Well, go for it!
You’ll have three of these cycles (3 years) to complete Part I and II of the CMA exam. However, most students take around 12 - 18 months, so you can factor this into your planning.
Now that you know you have three opportunities a year to write your exams. Let’s examine how you get your exams booked and what you must do to prepare.
CMA Exam dates for 2024
January to February
Jan 1, 2024 - February 29, 2024
May to June
May 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024
September to October
September 1, 2024 - October 31, 2024
How many times can you take the exam over?
You will be allowed to take the same exam more than once during the same exam window, but you will have to register for each sitting as if it’s a new appointment.
Can you do CMA in the UK?
If you’re based in the UK and want to take the CMA USA exams, you are in luck. CMA is recognised globally and so candidates from the UK have the opportunity to take Part I and Part II of the exam.
You will have to take the same steps as other candidates around the world to register for the exam. Be aware of any prerequisites for the UK regarding your bachelor’s degree before you register. You can find this information on the IMA website.
You can take your exam at any Prometric test center in the UK.
Get ready for your Prometric Exam
Once you’ve decided on a testing window and gotten your mind around the registration for the Prometric Exam, you can use these tips to prepare:
1. Understand the exam format
Before you delve into your preparation, make sure you understand the format of the CMA exam. It consists of multiple-choice questions, essay questions and real-life scenarios. Familiarise yourself with the types of questions you’ll encounter and review sample questions from the CMA study materials.
2. Create a study plan
Develop a structured study plan that covers all the topics included in the syllabus. Allocate yourself dedicated study time each day, depending on your schedule. These exams are not easy so you must ensure you make adequate preparation. Many CMA students have learned the hard way that they cannot rely on their practical knowledge and experience to pass these exams.
3. CMA review course
Here’s a big tip. The IMA has only accredited certain tuition providers to provide high quality study materials to students. Take note of this, and make sure that you go with one of these providers. They will provide you with lectures aligned to the syllabus and give you practice questions and real-life mock scenarios.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Nope, we didn’t say it too many times. This is essential for you to pass your exam - don’t be caught off guard is our best advice. Work through the practice questions thoroughly, and don’t underestimate the difficulty of those MCQs. They can be tricky, so you need to get used to the format.
5. Simulate exam conditions
As your exam approaches, try to simulate exam conditions at home. Practice answering exam questions within allocated time frames and create a comfortable, quiet space with all the equipment you need to complete the exam.
In this article, we’ve looked at where you can take your CMA exam, the exam windows, how you can register for the exams and how you can prepare beforehand.
Your CMA tuition provider can be a big help as you prepare for your exam and give you support if you fail your exam on the first attempt. If you have any questions about the CMA course content or the exams, you can contact us today.