CMA Exam Changes Coming in 2020

cma exam changes

There are some exciting new CMA exam changes coming in 2020.

The ICMA has been working hard to design an exam that best tests the knowledge that CMAs in today’s working world will need in order to succeed.

So how does this affect candidates who are currently studying? Keep reading to find out.

Why Are They Making CMA Exam Changes?

Why is the CMA Exam Changing

The whole purpose of the CMA exam was to test candidates knowledge and understanding of the role they would play in the real world. It goes without saying, that as the job role evolves, so must the exam.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes to the CMA role has been the introduction of software and technology. It has drastically reduced the number of hours you spend number-crunching and allows CMAs more time to focus on their unique skill set of analysis and forecasting.

The new CMA exam will reflect these changes and test you more on strategic analysis and reporting.

What Exactly Is Changing in 2020?

Candidates are going to see many changes to both parts of the CMA exam. Check out all details below.

CMA Exam Changes Part 1

CMA Exam changes Part 1

CMA exam Part 1 will see a new section in 2020; Domain F: Technology and Analytics. This new section will make up 15% of the total exam coverage and touch on 52 Learning Outcome Statements (LOS).

To make space for this new section, some of the other domains were reduced in size. For example, Domain B: Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting decreased from 30% to 20%, and Domain D: Cost Management was reduced from 20% to 15% of the total exam coverage.

In my opinion, these changes show me that the ICMA is focusing more on a CMAs analytics skills such as critical decision making a data reporting.

Another mentionable change is the removal of the Internal Auditing section. Though it is still important to understand Internal Controls, this change makes me think that the ICMA believes CMAs to be more involved in the management of controls instead of the auditing.

The new title of Part 1 of the CMA exam is Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics and is made up of the following 6 competencies:

  • Cost Management – 15%
  • Internal Controls – 15%
  • Technology and Analytics – 15%
  • External Financial Reporting Decisions – 15%
  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting – 20%
  • Performance Management – 20%

CMA Exam Changes Part 1

CMA Exam Changes Part 2

CMA Exam changes Part two

Part 2 of the CMA exam will experience similar changes to part 1 insofar as there is new content and some of the old material will be removed. Let’s break it down.

Domain F: Professional Ethics is increasing its content coverage and will now test candidates on new LOSs including groupthink, diversity of thought, ethical leadership and traits of ethical leaders, as well as facilitating payments.

As a result of these changes, they have increased it’s coverage by 5% raising Domain F from 10% to 15%.

Domain C: Decision Analysis is also increasing in coverage, however there is no new LOSs being added. It rises from 20% coverage to 25% in 2020.

Like I mentioned earlier, some content is expected to be deleted as well. For example, Domain A: Financial Statement Analysis will no longer test on off-balance sheet financing and its overall content coverage was reduced to 20%.

Domain B: Corporate Finance deleted several sections including bankruptcy, tax implications of transfer pricing and the distinction between liquidation and reorganization.

You will not see any changes to Domain D or E in terms of content, but Domain D will only make up 10% coverage now, rather than 15%.

By far the biggest changes you will see in Part 2 is to Domain F. Several new LOSs were added and the following sections were removed: methods to monitor ethical compliance, and requirements of SOX Section 406 – Code of Ethics for Senior Financial Officers.

The new title for Part 2 is Strategic Financial Management and it will be made up of the following 6 competencies:

  • Risk Management – 10%
  • Investment Decisions – 10%
  • Professional Ethics – 15%
  • Financial Statement Analysis – 20%
  • Corporate Finance – 20%
  • Decision Analysis – 25%

CMA Exam Changes Part Two

What Won’t Be Changing in 2020

What isn't changing in the cma exam

First and foremost, I don’t want you to get overwhelmed by these changes because there is good news: several key components of the CMA exam will NOT be changing.

The CMA exam format, fees, eligibility, registration and passing score will all remain the same.

Essentially, the structure of the exam will not be impacted, just the content.

My Tip to You

Take the CMA exam in 2019

If you have already committed to taking the CMA in 2019 then my tip to you would be to complete both Part 1 and Part 2 BEFORE the changes come into effect on January 1,2020.


Simple put, the CMA exam changes are pretty significant and would require you to alter your study plan if you expected to take the exam in 2020. After logging tens of hours studying old content already, it would be a waste of your time.

On top of wasting your time, you might feel more pressure and stress yourself even more because now you would have to learn new material as well. This could put you off your A game and hurt your odds of success.

Like I said, there is good news. It is early enough in the year for you buckle down and crush both parts of the exam in 2019’s CMA exam testing windows.

CMA Exam Academy’s comprehensive study plan is actually designed to help you pass the CMA exam in as little as 8 months, which means it can help you be prepared for the final testing window of 2019 which is September 1 through October 31.

You might be wondering, “What happens if I only get through one part of the CMA exam before 2020?”

If you are worried that you will have to re-take both parts then let me put your mind at ease.

If you pass one part of the CMA exam before the changes you are NOT required to repeat that exam part. You will only have to take the second part that contains the new 2020 material. So, if you take and pass Part 1 in 2019 then you are only responsible for learning the new material for Part 2 in 2020.

Apart from not having to learn new material, another fantastic reason to tackle the CMA exam in 2019 is that you will have your CMA certification that much faster.

Right now is the perfect time to be adding this designation to your resume because we are in high demand and your earning potential is much greater as a CMA than your non-certified peers.

Personally, I am excited for these new changes to the CMA exam because it represents our evolution in the finance and accounting industry. If, however, you are still feeling a little overwhelmed and looking for guidance, be sure to check out the CMA Exam Academy’s coaching course  to help you prepare for the exam.

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to shoot me a message in the comment section below.

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Nathan Liao

Hi, I’m Nathan Liao (aka the CMA Coach)! For the last 10 years, over 82,000 accounting and finance pros came knocking at my door seeking guidance and help. If you’re also aiming to conquer the CMA exam on your very first try—without wasting away time or money—you’ve found your ultimate guide. Dive in deeper to discover more about me and the dedicated team that powers CMA Exam Academy. Click here and let’s embark on this journey together!

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