CMA Exam Tips for the Upcoming Testing Window

CMA Exam Tips for the Upcoming Testing Window

The next CMA exam testing window is approaching fast! Are you ready? If not, don’t worry, I have killer CMA exam tips in this blog post.

But first…

Which CMA Exam Window Is Right for You?

It’s so awesome to see how much the CMA designation has grown in prestige over the years. A shout-out to all candidates taking the CMA exam in the upcoming testing window in the USA, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Japan, Mongolia, Spain, UK, Russia, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, and other countries around the globe.

The exam is 4 hours long split into two sections. The first section is 3 hours long and includes 100 multiple-choice questions, and the second section, which includes 2 CMA essay scenarios, is 1 hour long.

Because you are taking the exam very soon, I would like to share with you the best CMA exam tips that helped me pass the exam on my first try. My goal is to help you get the same results I did.

How to Score the Most Points

Before we dive into exam tips for MCQs and Essays, I’d like to first show you how to score the most points during your exam by following the strategies mentioned in this video:

CMA Exam Tips for Multiple-Choice Questions

  1. Stay positive and don’t be afraid of the exam. Having a positive mindset does help a lot.
  2. You can jump between questions and answer the ones that are the easiest to you, and later come back to the ones that are tough. Be careful not to jump to the essay section if you haven’t answered all questions in this section. If you do that, you won’t be able to come back to this section.
  3. If you jump between questions, make sure to write the number down so you remember which ones you skipped.
  4. If you are running out of time and cannot complete all the multiple-choice questions, take your best guess and answer them. NEVER leave a multiple-choice question unanswered.
  5. If you finished before the 3 hours are up, you can either review your answers or move straight to the essay section. If you do the latter, you’ll have more time to answer the essay questions.

A multiple-choice question looks like this:

CMA Exam Tips for Essay Questions/Scenarios

  1. If you show your work and assumptions, you can earn partial credits.
  2. Expect 3 to 6 questions for each essay scenario.
  3. You can scroll between questions and scenarios within the essay section. This will help you assess how much time you’ll need for responses.
  4. Pay close attention to verbs. If it says compare or contrast, don’t spend your time defining something. Only do what is asked on the question.
  5. Read the entire questions to understand all requirements.
  6. Focus on the use of standard English, organization and clarity.
  7. Graders are looking for effective writing skills.
  8. Be brief and to the point. Bullet points are OK.
  9. Don’t leave questions blank. If short on time, at least write an outline of your main points.
  10. Graders are looking to give you points, not take them away. Make it easy for the graders to give you points by showing your work.
  11. Be sure to use all the time available to you.

The Essay section looks like this:

CMA Essay Sample Screenshot

What are you struggling with in your preparation for the CMA exam? How can I help? Leave a comment at the bottom and share that with me.

I look forward to helping you out so that you too may become a Certified Management Accountant.

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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!

29 Comments on “CMA Exam Tips for the Upcoming Testing Window”

  1. Pingback: What To Do If You Fail The CMA Exam

  2. Pingback: Accounting Degree Admission Requirements - Complete Guide

  3. 8/24/2018

    Just wanted to know a little about the results of the CMA review graph you have. I am simply a guy looking for the best study material and found conflicting results from this site ( I am leaning toward your program and willing to pay the over $1,000 but have a friend looking for good material as well so we both pass the CMA together.

    1. Hi Todd,

      Could you please let me know what conflicting results you’re referring to? I’ll gladly clarify them for you.


    1. Hi Al-tayeb Badawi,

      I’ve written some blogs regarding the useful tips for the CMA exam. Please check this link and click “CMA Exam Preparation”.

      Thanks and Regards,

  4. Hi Nathan

    Is there a way to contact you?
    I’m planning to take a course provided by CMA academy, can you provide any contact details that’s would provide me with some response to my question?

  5. Im appearing for my exam in the last week of next month. I have done Hock software once and scored an average of 60% in almost all the sections.
    I want to know what is the best possible way to study here on with limited time to my exam day

    1. Hi Viona, keep taking mock exam until your score is above 80%. Focus on sections first then once you score at least 80% in all of them individually, go for a full mock exam until your score is 80%+

  6. Dear Nathan,

    I dont have accounting basics and currently working in administration department. But i want to excel in my life and thinking about doing cma. Since i dont have background of accounting and also my field is not relevant so need your advice should i go for cma and will it be helpful in changing my career?

    1. Hello Ahmer,

      If you are looking for a career move into accounting, the CMA is a great way to get your foot in the door and excel. Many people with no relevant degree make the move and are able to pass the exam with the right study method.


  7. hello Mr Nathan
    I want to get the cma
    but I’m studying accounting now in the college
    what you advise me to do in this time ?

  8. Hi nathan ,
    I had taken the CMA part 1 exam in the February 2014 window but was not able to clear retaking the part 1 again in june with part 2 with some days interval between both the exams. can please give me some suggestions for cracking the exam.It would be a great help for me.
    Thanks in advance !



  9. Hi Nathan,
    I am not sure which calculator to buy to practice for my CMA study. Could you please advise me on this?



  10. Hi Nathan,
    I have just found you from facebook, Give me useful tips for passing CMA exams.


    1. Hi Arslan,

      Thanks for your comment. I wrote excellent tips for passing the exam in the article above. If you follow them, you will have a much greater chance at passing the exam. When is your exam date?

  11. Hello

    Thank u for helping us

    1.I am having a problem with getting previous cma questions .

    2.Iam studying for part one using hock 2009 edition is it a good book?

    Many regards

    1. Ahmad,

      Did you purchase a test bank from Hock since you are using their textbooks? Or how are you trying to obtain retired CMA exam questions?

  12. Hi Nathan,

    Like several others, I too would like to thank you for investing time and effort into creating a platform to guide us to sit for the CMA: super job!

    I had a question: I wanted to sit for the Part 2 of the CMA in Jan/Feb, but so far I have only gone as far as SU 3. Because of my long hours at work, I usually don’t have energy left end of the day to hit the books. What would you advice – to stick with Jan/Feb window or move it to May/June?

    Many thanks.

    P.S: in case I don’t visit back, can a response be shared by email too?

  13. What is a change to change 340 points Fail into Pass by requesting re-grading? Is 340 to low to hope?

    1. If you believe that you should have scored higher and passed the exam, it’s always a good idea to request a re-grading of your exam. It’s hard to predict the outcome but it’s a good option to go for.

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