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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
When selecting your CMA exam dates, you will need to:
This may seem like a lot of steps, but each one naturally leads to the next.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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:
Average study time per CMA exam part
CMA Part 1
CMA Part 2
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.