2020 CMA Exam Changes

Preparing for the Updated 2020 CMA Exam

The CMA exam is changing in 2020! These changes will affect almost every domain in both parts of the exam. We want to help you understand what is being updated and work with you to create the most ideal schedule for taking the exam so you can pass one or both parts before the end of 2019.

Why the Changes?

The CMA exam is meant to reflect the current role of management accounting across industries, and as that role changes, the exam is updated to keep pace. But what does this mean for you?

More and more, CMAs are going to rely on software and machines to perform number-crunching tasks. Due to this technological shift, your role as a CMA will be to perform important analyses and to report on those numbers to management at all levels. In other words, as a CMA, acting as a strategic analyst and advisor will become more central to your accounting responsibilities. Therefore the new content being tested beginning in 2020 will better reflect what CMAs do on a day-to-day basis, including Data Analytics.

What Is NOT Changing?

Though the CMA exam changes coming in 2020 are significant, they will not impact

Basically, the changes affect only the exam content, not the exam structure.

What WILL be Different in 2020?

Both Part 1 and Part 2 of the CMA exam will undergo changes. Here is a summary of the changes to both parts.

Changes to Part 1

  • New Content: Technology and Analytics, Integrated Reporting
  • Deleted Content: Internal Auditing

These are arguably more significant, because Part 1 will include an entirely new section of coverageDomain F: Technology and Analytics. This domain was not previously covered in the exam, but now accounts for 15% of exam coverage (52 LOSs). Other domains’ coverage was reduced in order to make room for this new inclusion. Domain B: Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting has been reduced by 10% (to 20% coverage), and Domain D: Cost Management has been reduced by 5% (to 15% coverage).

Changes to Part 2

  • New Content: Business Ethics, Sustainability and Social Responsibility
  • Deleted Content: Off-Balance Sheet Financing, Bankruptcy, Tax Implications of Transfer Pricing

These will involve some shifts in coverage as well as the addition of some new LOSs. Domain A: Financial Statement Analysis and Domain E: Investment Decisions will both see coverage reduced by 5%, and Domain C: Decision Analysis and Domain F: Professional Ethics will both see coverage increases of 5%. Domain F’s coverage increase is due, in part, to the inclusion of new LOSs on “groupthink,” “diversity of thought,” “ethical leadership and traits of ethical leaders,” and “facilitating payments.”

For a complete breakdown of changes, see our comprehensive CMA Exam Changes guide.

Plan to Pass Before the 2020 Changes

Because the 2020 CMA exam changes are significant you may not want to be among the first candidates to take a new version of the exam. We strongly recommend that you avoid having to deal with the changes at all.

Gleim CMA knows from experience that it is much harder to prepare for a newly-revised exam. The unknowns you face when taking a revised exam can create exam anxiety and undermine your confidence, as you aren’t able to rely on other test takers’ experiences or valuable advice.

If you’re unsure when to take the CMA exam, our advice is to take it as soon as possible. The more time you have, the easier it will be to focus on passing both parts in 2019. There is no reason to wait for the new exam version, but there are several important reasons to start now, and pass both parts in 2019.

  1. You have plenty of time to pass one or both parts before 2020.
    The CMA exam has three large testing windows each year. In 2019, you are able to sit for the exam from January 1 – February 28, from May 1 – June 30, and from September 1 – October 31. A comprehensive review course should help you prepare for and pass both parts in less than a year–or even in as little as six months.
  2. You can avoid having to test on entirely new material.
    This is probably the most obvious advantage, but we’re mentioning it anyway. If you take the CMA exam before it changes, you’re not going to have to worry about studying material that is brand new to the exam (and “untested” on CMA candidates).
  3. If you’ve already passed one part, you won’t lose credit!
    This is important because it means you don’t have to rush to pass both parts of the exam in 2019. Even if you only pass one part before 2020, that is still great! Credit for any part of the exam you’ve already taken remains valid for up to three years. If you pass Part 1 or Part 2 before the exam changes, you don’t have to take the new version of that part even though the exam has changed.
  4. You can enjoy the benefits of becoming a CMA sooner.
    The advantages of earning the CMA certification are many, and the sooner you’re certified, the sooner you will enjoy the advantages of being a Certified Management Accountant.
  5. There is never a “perfect” time to take the exam.
    As a professional who likely juggles many other commitments outside of work and doesn’t have an abundance of time to study, you should make the decision to take and pass the exam now rather than waiting for a “better time.” There are always reasons to procrastinate, but you must commit and follow through in order to achieve your goals!

The Best Order to Take CMA Exam Parts 1 & 2 in 2019

To pass the CMA exam as soon as possible, you should take the exam parts in numerical order—Part 1 then Part 2.

If you think you will only have time to pass one part in 2019, we strongly advise taking Part 1 of the CMA exam first. This is because Part 1 is getting an entirely new section (Domain F: Technology and Analytics) and will have the biggest changes overall. Although Part 2 will be getting some new LOSs in one section, taking Part 1 before the exam changes will save you from having to deal with a completely new topic area.

You should plan to take each part of the exam on different dates, as this will allow you to focus on one part at a time. Additionally, you’ll want to register for each part of the exam about six weeks before you actually sit. See our CMA study schedule guide for additional advice on planning your study schedule.

Get the Best CMA Review and Pass in 2019

Passing both parts of the CMA exam before it changes is absolutely within your reach, and it’s much simpler when you study with Gleim CMA Review! As an industry leader and IMA Strategic Partner, we continuously dedicate ourselves to preparing candidates to pass with confidence, even in the midst of big exam changes.

Even if you aren’t able to take the CMA exam before 2020, don’t worry; Gleim has the experience and expertise to help you pass with confidence! With our Access Until You Pass® guarantee, you can be sure that your exam review materials will be up-to-date even if you begin studying now but don’t pass both parts of the exam until 2020.

If you’re taking on the exam sooner, Gleim CMA Review System has everything you need to pass the current version of the exam before it’s replaced—see for yourself and try our free CMA demo today!