[Originally published 06-11-2018]
[Updated on 04-19-2019]
Passing the CMA exam requires you to be very familiar with multiple-choice questions (MCQs). You’ll need to focus much of your study and testing time on MCQs, so we’ve provided you with all the information, examples, and advice you need to prepare for them.
Number and Format of CMA Multiple-Choice Questions
The CMA exam contains two parts:
- Part 1: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance, and Control
- Part 2: Financial Decision Making
Each part of the exam consists of 100 MCQs and 2 essays with multiple questions within each scenario. The MCQs are worth 75% of your total score for each exam part, and you must answer 50% of the MCQs correctly in order to progress to the essays.
The exam will present the MCQs in a random order; the order of the questions won’t reflect the order in which the Content Specification Outlines (CSOs) present the exam topics. You’ll have 4 hours to complete the entire exam, and the ideal breakdown of that time is 2 ½ hours to answer all of the MCQs, 15 minutes to review your answers, and 1 hour and 15 minutes to respond to the essay questions.
CMA Exam Multiple-Choice Question Examples
There are several different types of MCQs. Most CMA exam multiple-choice questions just feature four single-statement answer choices and look like this:
Our candidates have reported that the less traditional MCQs discussed below can be among the most difficult to answer confidently, but you can learn the best way to approach them by accessing this supplemental video from Gleim CMA.
Some of these standard MCQs have a negative stem, which means that the question stem contains words like except, not, false, least, etc. Some examples of negative stem MCQs can be found below.
- Which of the following is not a method of financing international trade?
- All of the following statements in regard to working capital are true except
The ICMA will most likely print the negative words in bold, as we did, but you should always read the question stem carefully and completely just in case. Answering these questions will be counterintuitive because your goal will be to select the wrong answer choice and the remaining answer choices will be correct. Giving the question stem all of your attention will help you detect when the exam’s expectations have switched in this way.
The CMA exam will always give you four answer choices, but occasionally, these answer choices will allow you to specify that two or more true statements apply to the question.
Other MCQs have several variables within each answer choice. The answer choices are presented in columns, and you must select the answer choice that contains the right mix of variables.
Best Practices for CMA Exam Multiple-Choice Questions
To give yourself the best chance at success with CMA exam multiple-choice questions, follow these MCQ tips:
- Work through the MCQ parts systematically. Start the process of answering by reading the actual question, which is usually the last sentence of the stem. Use the question to determine what amount of information in the stem is important and what is non-essential. Write down the important information so it is easier to separate it from everything else in the stem.
- Apply your exam time-management strategy when you answer practice MCQs. If you allot 1.5 minutes per question to complete all 100 MCQs on each exam part, you’ll have 30 minutes that you can either spend reviewing your MCQ answers or carry over into the essay portion of the exam. On the exam, you should use as much of this time to review as you need and then move on to the essays. During your study sessions, you should simply stick to answering each MCQ in 1.5 minutes.
- Make an educated guess.You will inevitably encounter CMA exam MCQs that are ambiguous or unfamiliar to you. When this happens, you can’t let it affect your confidence. Instead, you should make an educated guess by ruling out any easily identifiable distractors, speculating on the rationale behind the question and selecting the best answer or your best guess between two equally appealing options. To make an educated guess, just go with your gut and move on, and if you later elect to use some of your remaining time to review, don’t waste time agonizing over your best guess.
- Learn from your mistakes.You need to answer a lot of practice questions to prepare for the 200 total multiple-choice questions on the CMA exam, and each question you get wrong gives you the opportunity to avoid making the same mistake when it counts. You learn more from your mistakes than you do from getting everything right, so you should review answer explanations as you complete practice questions. Whether you answered correctly or incorrectly, review the answer explanations for all of the answers. The detailed answer explanations included in Gleim CMA Review will help you understand why the original answer you chose is wrong and why the correct answer indicated is right.
Review for CMA Exam Multiple-Choice Questions
You’ll have more chances to learn from your mistakes and get familiar with every type of MCQ on the CMA exam when you review with the biggest and best test bank of questions. Gleim CMA Review offers the largest test bank of questions and essays on the market, and these questions recreate the look, feel, and difficulty levels of the real CMA questions better than any other test bank available. You can see just how well our test bank will prepare you to pass by accessing some of our free CMA questions today!