US CMA - Frequently Asked Questions

About US CMA:

CMA stands for ‘Certified Management Accountant’. CMA is one of the highest management accounting credentials in the world administered by the IMA (Institute for Management Accountants). Spanned over just 2 exams, CMA’s curriculum uses some of the most advanced testing techniques to test management accounting aspirants all over the world if they’re worthy of the designation CPA. Lakhs of aspirants take US CMA exams every year to grow into Management Accountants, Finance analysts and many other roles.

Planning to pursue US CMA? Frequently Asked Questions for US CMA Examination has been answered.

Is US CMA recognized in India?

    • The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA to enable mutual recognition and cooperation between the two institutes to develop the profession of Management Accountancy for the benefit of their members and students in the pursuit of excellence in education and training and continuing professional development in Management Accountancy.
    • The MoU will enable recognition of the professional qualification of the respective Institutes. A member of ICWAI can get enrolled as a member of IMA USA and vice versa.

How do I enroll in the CMA program?

    1. Visit org/cma-certification to apply. You will need to purchase the CMA entrance fee and IMA membership. The application process takes about 10 minutes.
    2. Register for the exam. You can register for Part 1 and Part 2 in any order or register for both at the same time.
    3. Prepare to complete certification requirements including submitting your education transcript and work experience. This can be done before or after passing the exam, but is required as a final step to become certified.

How do I register for US CMA Exams?

The CMA exams are computer-based and administered at hundreds of Prometric Test Centers worldwide. With three testing windows each year, you can sit for an exam at a time and place convenient for you.
If you are enrolled in the CMA program and are ready to sit for the exam, here are the steps:
  1. Pick your testing window. Testing windows are offered in January/February, May/June, and September/October.
  2. Register for the exam at
  3. Receive your authorization number(s) along with further instructions.
  4. Schedule your exam appointment(s) with Prometric, our testing partner, at
Candidates may now choose to take the CMA exam remotely or in person at a Prometric Test Center.

What is the CMA exam format?

a) There are two parts in the exam. Each part is 3 hours long for 100 multiple choice questions, representing 75% of the exam score. The second section is essay writing representing the remaining 25%. You will be given 30 minutes for each of the two essays. Total testing duration is 4 hours.
b) You must pass at least 50% of the first (i.e. multiple choice) section in order to advance to the essay questions. You can use any time remaining from the multiple choice questions towards the essay portion.
 Duration No. of Questions Avg Time
Multiple Choice 3 hours 100 1.8 minutes
Essay 1 hour 2 30 minutes


c) The exam is held three examination windows in a year namely Jan & Feb/May & June/ Sept & Oct.

d) What is the total marks & the minimum marks to pass- The total marks per paper is 500, and minimum passing is 362 marks and minimum 72%. 

How much time do I have to pass both exam parts?

All CMA candidates 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. 

What if I don’t complete the exam in three years?

You will lose any previous passed scores and will need to register for the exam again.

When do I receive my exam Performance Report?

Performance Reports are sent via e-mail from Prometric to all candidates who take an exam part. The performance reports are emailed approximately 14 days after exam results are posted to the candidate’s profile. 
Candidates who do not pass the exam will receive a report that indicates their performance on each of the key topic areas in the multiple-choice section as well as their overall performance on the essay section of the exam.

How can I check for my exam results/certification status?

On the IMA website, click “My Profile” and then “My Certifications.” There you will find your exam status and transcript, information on your work experience and education, and more.

What is the passing score for the CMA exam?

The minimum passing score is 360 for both parts of the exam. The exam score range is 0-500.

Can I retake the exam?

An exam part may be taken only once in a testing window. You can sit for as many testing windows as you need in your three-year period. All retakes require a new exam registration (not CMA entrance), along with payment of appropriate fees: $415 for professionals, $311 for Students/Academic members.

Can I get an extension and switch my exam testing window?

No, exam extensions are not granted.  You must take the exam in the test window that you are registered for.

 Am I eligible for a CMA Scholarship?

The CMA Scholarship opportunity can be offered to up to 10 students per school per year who are interested in pursuing CMA certification. This includes both undergraduate and graduate students in accredited accounting or business programs. Multiple faculty members can submit nominations, but the limit is 10 per school, per academic year. Learn more here.

Do I need an accounting background to enroll in the CMA program?

Accounting background is helpful but not required. The candidates come from a variety of bachelor degree programs and industries, including (but not limited to) engineering, business administration, economics, and finance.

What is required to earn CMA Certification?

    • Active membership in IMA (Institute of Management Accountants)
    • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college/university or a related professional certification
    • Two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management, which can be completed after passing the exam, but are required as a final step to certification
    • Passing Parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam.

For further details, please refer to the CMA Handbook.

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