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Breaking Down CMA Exam Multiple-Choice Questions

Man thinking about the breakdown of the CMA exam multiple choice questions

You have signed in to the testing center, finished the tutorial, and clicked to begin the multiple-choice section of your CMA exam. Now, you must work your way through 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) within 3 hours. Candidates who are able to navigate and conquer the MCQs with relative ease are those who have both studied the content and worked on their test-taking techniques.

The most trusted way to successfully identify the correct answers for each multiple-choice question on your exam is simply to start studying and absorbing key CMA exam concepts. However, throughout your preparations, you will also want to practice your test-taking strategies.

One strategy that can give you the extra confidence you need before you sit for the exam is to wrap your mind around the science behind the multiple-choice questions. Once you understand how the questions are written using a combination of a stem, distractors, and one correct answer choice, you can then apply that knowledge to your study strategy.

The goal for any CMA exam candidate, of course, is to choose the correct answer out of several possibilities. Therefore, you will need to have a strategy for how to approach each question as well as how to select the best answer choice of those provided.

How to Approach the CMA Exam Multiple-Choice Questions

  • There is always a question stem, which includes the question, the details necessary to answer the question, and extraneous information. Start by reading the actual question, which is usually the last sentence of the stem.
  • This will help you discern what portion of the information provided is required and what is simply a distraction. Then, write down the required information so it is easier to keep it separate from the extraneous information offered in the stem.
  • Once you have read the question, it should require minimal effort to eliminate at least two answer choices for those test takers who have studied the content. However, the CMA exam may ask for you to choose the best answer choice of those provided. Don’t assume because the first one seemed correct that there isn’t a better option. Each answer requires consideration.
  • There are going to be four answer choices, and only one is correct. The remaining choices are distractors. Their name alone should tell you that they are written so that each one seems plausible. For example, computational questions will include distractors that are calculated results from commonly made mistakes.
  • Some MCQs feature negative words, so you will want to be especially careful of these. They will be accompanied by three true answer choices and will expect the exam taker to pick the false answer choice. Knowing to look for these and recalling that you are actually picking the wrong answer will assist in making sure you maximize your score.

Maximize Your CMA Exam Multiple-Choice Questions Score

Remember, the multiple-choice questions on the CMA exam are worth 75% of your overall score, and CMA candidates must answer at least 50% of them correctly in order to advance to the essay section. If a candidate scores below 50% in the MCQ section, the ICMA will not allow the candidate to move on to the essay section.

Multiple-choice test takers need to be deliberate, not only in their approach to eliminating the incorrect choices and selecting the best answer, but also in applying strategies that will enable them to eliminate any guesswork while taking the CMA exam. Find more CMA exam strategies from Gleim CMA, the #1 CMA Exam Prep Course, in our free CMA exam guide.