Your guide to upcoming CMA exam changes, the timeline for the new exam, tips for current candidates, and more.
Based on recent surveys and analysis, ICMA is changing the CMA exam with minor updates and additions. The changes will ensure that the CMA exam equips CMAs with the skills and knowledge that accounting and finance professionals need in their jobs. These changes also ensure that the CMA certification remains relevant and valuable to the profession.
The updated CMA exam will include new topics in both Parts 1 and 2. The table to the right lists the new topics being added.
The new CMA exam will go into effect beginning September 1, 2024. Registration is already open, so you can go to IMA’s page Opens in new window to register now to sit for the new exam in the September/October 2024 testing window.
|New CMA Exam Content
|Financial trend analysis
|Other costing systems
|Testing methods of internal controls
|Control deficiency remediation
|Types of business fraud
Although the upcoming changes are minor, we typically recommend that current CMA candidates try to pass before the exam changes. The unknowns you face when taking a revised exam can create anxiety and undermine your confidence, as you aren’t able to rely on other test takers’ experiences. To pass before the exam changes, you must sit in the January/February 2024 or May/June 2024 testing windows.
Be sure to consider your personal circumstances. If you can’t realistically make time to prepare, there’s no reason to rush to sit for an exam you won’t pass. The upcoming 2024 changes are relatively minor, and you’ll retain credit for any part you pass before the exam changes as long as you still pass both parts within your 3-year program window.
We’ve outlined key considerations below to help you decide when to take the CMA exam.
The CMA exam is meant to reflect the current role of management accountants across industries, and as that role changes, the exam is updated to keep pace. Roughly every five to seven years IMA conducts studies on the role of the CMA in the accounting industry and surveys CFOs, controllers, and other professionals about the knowledge and skills a CMA needs to be effective and successful. The degree of exam changes depends on the results of these studies and surveys.
In general, most changes to the CMA exam add or remove topics or revise existing sections or content. These changes may involve placing greater or lesser emphasis on certain topics or sections, affecting what portion of the exam tests on those topics/sections. Sometimes there are changes to the exam format itself. Over time (1997-present) format changes have reduced the number of parts the exam is broken into, as well as the duration of the exam itself. The exam has also evolved to include essays on all parts of the exam, as more value has been placed on accountants’ written communication skills.