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Contact Us : 800.874.5346        International: +1 352.375.0772

What are the CMA exam dates?

The CMA exam is offered in three two-month testing periods each year: January-February, May-June, and September-October. The deadline to register for a given CMA exam window is on the 15th of the latter month in that window. You can then schedule your CMA exam date for any time within that window.

When are the CMA exam testing windows?

Between selecting a CMA testing window, choosing which exam part to take first, and scheduling your testing appointment, locking in your CMA exam date can be stressful. Let us walk you through the process of choosing a testing window, registering for your chosen window, and booking your CMA exam testing appointment.

First, here’s a look at the three testing windows and their registration deadlines:

Testing Window 1:

January – February

Registration Deadline:

February 15th

Testing Window 2:

May – June

Registration Deadline:

June 15th

Testing Window 3:

September – October

Registration Deadline:

October 15th

Setting your CMA exam date is a two-step process. First, you have to register for the window you want to sit for your exam in and pay the relevant CMA exam fees. After you’ve registered, you can schedule an appointment for a specific day with the testing provider, Prometric.

What part of the CMA exam should I schedule first?

You can take the two parts of the CMA exam in any order, but we typically recommend candidates take Part 1 first. Part 1 can provide you with the foundational knowledge required to study for Part 2. This will help you maximize your study time and learn all of the exam content efficiently. However, there are two exceptions in which it may be beneficial to take Part 2 first.

Working Professionals

If you’ve been working in the fields of corporate finance, financial planning, commercial or investment banking, or money management for at least a few years, your experience may give you a head start on Part 2 topics.


If you’re a junior in a university accounting program, your fall and spring semester courses can really help you get ready for Part 2, so we recommend you sit for Part 2 during the summer before your senior year.

Everyone Else

For early-career professionals or those making a career change into accounting, Part 1 can help you prep for Part 2. We recommend taking Part 1 first to put yourself on the most charted path to passing the CMA exam.

Anyone can pass with adequate preparation, so taking the part that requires the least study time or the one that you’ll find it easiest to set aside time for will make your first time testing much easier. After you pass one part, you’ll have the confidence you need to keep going. 

The ICMA releases Content Specification Outlines that cover what’s tested on the CMA exam and can help you decide which part best corresponds to your experience or which interests you the most.

How do I schedule an appointment for the CMA exam?

When selecting your CMA exam dates, you will need to:

  1. Register for a CMA testing window
  2. Pay the CMA exam fees
  3. Select a Prometric testing center
  4. Schedule the CMA exam appointment
  5. Confirm your appointment

This may seem like a lot of steps, but each one naturally leads to the next. 

Rescheduling or canceling your CMA exam dates

Life happens, and you may not be able to take your exam on the date you originally scheduled it for. The good news is you have options if you need to cancel or reschedule your CMA exam date.

Rescheduling or canceling within the same testing window

If you’re canceling or rescheduling your appointment to a different date within the same testing window, you can do this by notifying Prometric. The easiest way is to use the Reschedule/Cancel option on the Prometric website Opens in new window. Have your confirmation number on hand and follow all steps as prompted to ensure your change or cancellation goes through.

If you reschedule or cancel your exam date at least 31 days in advance, there’s no fee. If you reschedule or cancel 3 to 30 days in advance, the fee is $50. Less than 3 days, and unfortunately the full testing fee will be forfeited.

Rescheduling to the next testing window

You can request to transfer your CMA exam date to the next testing window for a $75 fee. You must submit your request to IMA Member Services at Opens in new window at least 5 days before your scheduled testing appointment. If you have an exam appointment, you must cancel it before ICMA can process your request to transfer. If you reschedule your appointment 3 to 30 days before your existing appointment, Prometric will charge you a $50 fee.

CMA study plan

You shouldn’t pick an exam date at random and hope it will work. It’s important to make sure you plan ahead to give yourself enough time to study. You also don’t want to set your CMA exam date so far ahead in the future that you’re not motivated to put in at least 12 hours per week. (That’s the minimum we recommend for most candidates so you don’t forget what you learned at the beginning before you make it to the end).

A CMA study strategy is essential no matter what stage of the process you’re in. To help you create your CMA study plan, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • How familiar am I with the CMA exam material?
  • When was the last time I studied for an exam or took an accounting course?
  • How much available time do I have to study each week?
  • Do I have a deadline to become a CMA by?
  • How long can I concentrate in one sitting?

Average study time per CMA exam part  

CMA Part 1

170 hours

CMA Part 2

130 hours

Your study strategy should be tailored to meet your needs so that you can pass each part on your first try. Two of the most common approaches are the deadline-based study plan and hours-based study plan. You can also use a review course that has a built-in adaptive study planner!

Creating a deadline-based CMA study plan

Once you’ve selected a CMA exam date, you’ll be able to create a study plan by working backwards from your deadline. Follow the steps below to create a study plan if you already have an exam date picked out.

Steps to create a deadline-based study plan

1. Determine how familiar you are with the CMA material and your study needs based on the answers to the questions provided above.

2. Get a calendar (digital or physical) and mark your exam date on the calendar.

3. Working backwards from your deadline, mark off any days you won’t be able to study.

Think about obligations you may have, holiday plans, or events that you have to attend.

4. Count the number of weeks from the time your studies will start to your deadline.

Refer to the chart above for the average hours spent studying per part. Divide the total number of hours by the number of weeks to get your study hours needed per week. For example, if you have 10 weeks to study for Part 1, you’ll need to study for 17 hours per week. 

Weeks where you have 3 or more days marked off should be counted as half weeks for this calculation. Determining your half weeks is not a one-size-fits-all rule. If you only study on Saturday and Sunday and one of those days is marked off, it might count as a half week. On the other hand, in that same scenario, you could mark off every weekday and still have most of your study hours available. Use your best judgement when determining half weeks.

5. Plan to begin your final review the week before your CMA exam date.

Your final review will be a great time to brush up on topics you haven’t practiced for a while and focus on any topics you’re struggling with. Plan to take a full-length practice exam at the beginning of this week and base your final review on the results of that exam.

6. Based on your calculations, set benchmarks on your calendar. You should have a benchmark every week to check your progress against.
For example, if you’re studying for 15 hours a week and your first three weeks are full weeks, you should be at least 30% done with your studies by the end of the third week. Write down “30% done” for the final day of that week and check your progress when you get there. The last week of final review is included in the average hours chart.

7. Write down important exam deadlines on your calendar.

  • Your scheduled exam date
    • This scenario assumes you have a testing day picked out as you’re working with a deadline. 
  • The beginning and ending of testing windows
    • Testing Window 1: January – February
    • Testing Window 2: May – June
    • Testing Window 3: September – October
  • Testing window registration deadlines
    • Testing Window 1: February 15th
    • Testing Window 2: June 15th
    • Testing Window 3: October 15th
  • CMA exam rescheduling deadlines
    • 31 days before your testing day for free (no rescheduling fee)
    • 3 days before your testing day for a $50 rescheduling fee
    • You may only reschedule a CMA exam within the same testing window.
  • Expected score release day
    • CMA score releases are only estimates. Your CMA score release date will be approximately 6 weeks after the last day of the month you took the CMA exam in.

8. As you make your way through your studies, mark your progress off on the calendar.

If you start to fall behind (missing 2 benchmarks in a row), you may need to adjust the remainder of your study plan. Do not abandon your study plan if you begin to miss benchmarks!

Readjusting your study plan involves the same steps as creating a new study plan, just using your remaining time.

9. As your exam day approaches, look at your recent benchmarks to determine whether you’ll be prepared prior to your CMA exam.

If you’re behind, you can still reschedule your CMA exam if you meet the requirements (at least 3 days before your testing date and rescheduling to a date within the same testing window).

When determining your schedule for the CMA exam, do not plan to cram the days just before your test. Cramming for the CMA exam does not have a good success rate. You’ll need time to process and practice applying the concepts after learning them.


Creating an hours-based CMA study plan

For an hours-based CMA study plan, rather than deciding how many hours per week you need to study based on your CMA exam date, you’ll decide your exam date based on the amount of time you’re able to study per week.

You’ll want to select an exam date and schedule it as a part of this process. This will give you a deadline to work toward and help cement your exam prep as a priority. 

Steps to create an hours-based study plan

1. Use a calendar to mark off the days you won’t be able to study over the next few months.

2. Based on the amount of hours you can study in a week, count out how many weeks it will take to reach the amount of study hours you’ll need.

On average, it takes 170 hours to prepare for Part 1 and 130 hours for Part 2. Weeks where you have days that account for half of your hours or more marked off should be calculated as a half-week.

3. Select a date to take your CMA exam.

You’ll want to select a CMA exam date near the beginning of a testing window so you have plenty of time to reschedule if needed. Remember, you can only reschedule your CMA exam within the same window, and you have to reschedule it early to avoid paying fees.

After you have selected a testing date, you can use steps 5 through 9 from the deadline based approach to flesh out your study plan.

Use an adaptive study planner

You can also skip creating your own study plan and find a course that comes with an adaptive study planner, like ours! To use our study planner all you’ll need to do is follow these steps.

Steps to use an adaptive study planner

1. Choose your start date and when you’d like to pass by.

2. Tell us how many hours you can study each day of the week.

3. Mark off days on the calendar you won’t be able to study.

Based on your answers, Gleim will create a custom study plan just for you and guide you step-by-step through the course so that you’re ready to pass by your selected CMA exam date.

It’ll automatically adjust as you work through the course, even if you miss a couple days, work ahead, or decide you’d rather study a different topic for a while. Your performance on each topic is tracked separately, and it’s all viewable through the dashboard.

We’ll let you know when you’re ready to earn your passing score!


CMA study tips

Once you have a study plan, it’s important to stick to it so that you’ll be prepared by your CMA exam date! The last thing you want to have to do is reschedule your exam. We’ve outlined our best study tips to help you stay on track!

Stick to your study schedule

Be sure to regularly check in on your study progress and compare it to your plan. If you’re falling behind, try to figure out why that is and adjust your plan accordingly. It isn’t a problem to adjust your schedule to account for needing longer to learn a tricky topic or having less time to study in a week than you’d thought.

The most important part is that you keep a plan and hold yourself to it. It’s much better to adjust your plan than it is to abandon it completely.

Review material after you’ve “completed” it

Don’t try to cram leading up to your CMA exam date. You’ll need to genuinely understand the topics in order to pass, and the best way to do that is to routinely review topics as you progress through your studies. This will take a topic from memorized to mastered and ensure that you have no trouble recalling material on exam day.

Reward yourself as you complete benchmarks

Give yourself a reward as you meet milestones in your studies. Whether it’s a special meal or a night out, it’ll help you stay motivated. Write down your rewards on your study calendar so you have something to look forward to.

Practice using exam-emulating software

Being comfortable with the look and feel of the CMA exam will help relieve exam-day stress. In addition, knowing how the exam interface works will keep you from wasting valuable time when you sit for the exam.

Take short breaks during your study sessions

Sitting down for 8 hours of studying is demanding, and it doesn’t work all that well long-term.

It’s much more manageable to break that studying up into smaller portions throughout your day. Study for an hour, take a short break (15-30 minutes), and then take a quiz on the topic you were studying. Then go back for another hour of study/review.

Breaking your studies into two-hour blocks will actually improve your long-term memory of topics. So even if you need to fit 8 hours of studies into one day, be sure to take breaks every few hours!

Find out where you study the best, but...

We can almost guarantee your testing environment won’t match your study environment exactly. The temperature will most likely be different (probably colder) than your home or office, the chair will become less comfortable during the 4 hours you’re there, and there will be other differences—possible distractions—you can’t replicate.

So how should you prepare for test day? The most important thing is to complete your course, so most of your time should be spent studying wherever, and however, you study best. Then you want make sure you’re as comfortable as possible in the testing center, so when you take practice exams, you’re practicing in the most realistic conditions possible. But to prepare for those things you cant prepare for, spend some time studying outside of your comfort zone. Use a different chair, change the thermostat, or study in a coffee shop or library instead of at home.

It may seem silly, but getting used to focusing in different situations will help you eliminate one more hurdle on the road to passing the CMA exam.

Staying motivated

Staying motivated is one of the most important parts of earning your CMA certification, so it’s important that you know which benefits you’re specifically looking for. This is the best way to keep your preparations in perspective and ensure your path to the CMA certification is a smooth one.

Passing the CMA exam takes a considerable investment, both financially and in opportunity costs, but the benefits of becoming a CMA are undeniable. Between the higher earning potential, upward mobility, increased job satisfaction, and recognition, there are plenty of reasons to become a Certified Management Accountant.

What is the best way to study for the CMA exam?

Take 30 minute, 20-question quizzes as the foundation of your CMA exam studies. Use these quizzes to focus on your weak areas, but don’t ignore topics you’re familiar with.

Learn how to study for the exam, what to expect on exam day, and more!

Frequently Asked Questions
About CMA Exam Dates

Should I schedule the CMA exam early?

After joining the CMA program, some candidates register for their CMA exam dates immediately. We recommend scheduling early to most candidates because having a due date can provide motivation throughout your studies. You’ll also be more likely to get your preferred exam day, time, and testing location if you register early. This can reduce your stress and decrease your travel time on exam day.

However, if you underestimate your study time or something comes up, you’ll need to reschedule your exam and potentially pay fees to do so. If you overestimate your study time, you may need to spend extra time refreshing so you don’t forget topics from your studies.

Should I wait to schedule the CMA exam?

Like early registration, waiting to schedule the CMA exam has its pros and cons. You know you’ll be prepared on exam day and will potentially save money by avoiding rescheduling. You also won’t be distracted by a stressful deadline while you’re studying. But, it can be tempting to procrastinate if you don’t have a deadline. Additionally, you may be less likely to get your preferred exam day, time, and testing location, which can cause undue stress. And if your studies end between testing windows, you may need to wait before the CMA exam is available again.