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Certified Management Accountant (CMA) - FAQ


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Do the HOCK CMA textbooks follow the IMA's Learning Outcome Statements (LOS)?

Yes, our study materials not only follow the IMA's LOS, but they are organized and identified by the same section headings.

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What percentage of HOCK students pass the CMA exam on their first try?

Candidates who study with HOCK pass the CMA exam on their first attempt approximately 70-75% of the time. This includes all candidates who study with HOCK, including those who have previously studied with another review provider and failed. The pass rate for the CMA exams in total is approximately 52%.

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Should I take CMA Part 1 first, then Part 2, and so on?

The only restriction is that you must take Part 4 after passing Parts 1, 2 and 3. This is necessary because Part 4 contains comprehensive questions covering Parts 1, 2 and 3, in addition to some new material.

We recommend that people take them in exam Part order because there are some concepts covered on the Part 2 exam that are used in the Part 3 exam. Part 1 is also much shorter than Part 2, and is helpful for gaining some exam experience prior to tackling the large amount of material in Part 2.

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If I fail an exam, how long do I need to wait before re-taking it?

If you fail a particular exam part, you may retake that part up to 2 times (for a total of 3 tries) during the following 12-month period, beginning with the date you first sat for that exam part. You can take a different exam part at any time during the 12-month period.

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What is the registration procedure for the CMA exam, and when and where are the exams given?

The exams are available only by computer format and they are taken at a Prometric testing center. Except for Part 4 (see below) of the New Format CMA exam, you can take the exams throughout the year. You can register and pay for each exam on the IMA website. After processing your registration, the ICMA will mail you an authorization letter and number. If you want the authorization number sent to your email address instead, you must ask for that.

The authorization letter gives the time period during which you may take the exam, which is a 120-day period starting with the date of authorization. You will use your authorization number to schedule your exam with your nearest Prometric testing center. You will find the address and telephone number of the nearest location on the Prometric website. Just click on "Locate a Test Site" on the homepage. You can schedule your exam online at the Prometric site, or contact your local center directly. You will then go to the Prometric testing center on the scheduled day and take your exam on the computer.

Part 4: You can also take Part 4 of the new format exam at a Prometric testing center on a computer, but only during the second month of every quarter, i.e., February, May, August, and November

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When and how will I know if I passed?

For all the exams in the old format and for those in the new format except for Part 4, you will receive your results immediately upon closing out the exam. Your result (passed or failed) and your score will come up on the screen. If you have failed, you will receive a performance report by mail identifying the sections where you performed well and poorly. You can also buy a more detailed report from the IMA that breaks your performance down into the individual topics within each section.

For Part 4 of the new format, you will not receive your results immediately. Since it is a written response exam, it will be graded and the results mailed to you approximately 30 days after the end of each testing period.

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Do all of the questions on the CMA exam carry the same weight?

Yes, all of the questions carry the same weight in determining if you pass or fail the exam. This means that a long, computational question is worth the same as a short, definitional one. This means that you should not spend a long time on any one question because the time that you spend on that one question could be better spent answering 2 or 3 smaller questions.

If you encounter a long or difficult question, we recommend that you guess an answer, then mark the question and go on. If you have time at the end of the exam, you can come back to this question and spend more time on it.

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Do all of the questions on the CMA exam count towards determining if I pass or fail the exam?

No. On each exam there are 5 randomly-placed questions that are "evaluation" questions. These questions are not counted and do not affect your result. These questions are placed on the exam in order for the ICMA to test the question for inclusion in future exams.

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How are the CMA exams graded?

The exams are graded according to a "scaled score." The highest possible score is 700, and the lowest possible score (equivalent to zero) is 200. A passing score is 500.

The questions for each exam are drawn from a database of questions, which means that no two exams will be the same. Because some exams are naturally slightly harder or easier than others, the difficulty of the questions is assessed as a whole. For an exam with more difficult questions, it takes a lower number of correct answers to attain a score of 500. For an exam with easier questions, it takes a greater number of correct answers to attain a score of 500.

Therefore, it is impossible to say what percentage of questions must be answered correctly to pass. However, 70% is usually considered the target because you will usually pass the exam if you get 70% of the questions correct.

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How many exams are there and how long is each exam?

New candidates for CMA certification must successfully complete four exam parts:

  • Part 1 – Business Analysis, a 3-hour exam consisting of 110 multiple-choice questions;
  • Part 2 – Management Accounting and Reporting, a 4-hour exam consisting of 140 multiple-choice questions;
  • Part 3 – Strategic Management, a 3-hour exam consisting of 110 multiple-choice questions; and
  • Part 4 – Business Applications, a 3-hour exam consisting of 4-7 essays and/or problems.

Part 4 consists of written response questions. The written response might be an essay, or it might be working out the answer to a problem or preparing a financial statement. The written response questions could consist of any number of separate activities. Partial credit is given for correct work, even if the correct answer does not result.

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