This page covers tips to use on your CMA exam. If you’re looking for information on making a CMA study plan or tips you can use to make the most of your CMA exam preparation, see our CMA study strategies resource page.
The first obstacle you’re going to face on the CMA exam is the multiple-choice section. Knowing how to answer multiple-choice questions will be key to your CMA exam-day success.
To begin with, it is important to understand the anatomy of a multiple-choice question.
Question – This is the question or scenario you’ll be responding to. The information in multiple-choice questions can be classified as one of two types of—important information and distracting information. Important information is the information you’ll need to know to answer the question. Distracting information is everything else.
Distracting or extraneous information is all of the information within the question that has nothing to do with answering the question. Questions may provide a variety of distracting information.
NOTE: Most questions are straightforward and do not contain any extraneous information, so if you come across a “trick question,” read it again to make sure you’re not just overthinking things.
Correct answer choice – Questions sometimes have multiple answer choices that seem correct, but only one of the answer choices is the best answer.
Incorrect answer choices – Incorrect answer choices often seem correct at first glance or are the result of common calculation errors. These try to distract you from selecting the correct answer, just like the distracting information in the question, so it is important to carefully eliminate each incorrect choice as you work through a question. Incorrect choices are sometimes called “distractors” as they are designed to distract you from the correct answer choice.
As you can see, multiple-choice questions are designed to not have obvious answers (and later tested and vetted) to ensure you truly know the topics tested. Guessing without some familiarity with a topic shouldn’t result in more than one in four questions correct, which isn’t going to earn a passing score. As a result, you need to adequately prepare and carefully consider each question in order to answer successfully.
For that, you can rely on these simple tips:
Each part of the CMA exam has two essay scenarios. The CMA essays describe a scenario and ask several questions that require a written response, a calculation, or both. CMA essays are not graded by a computer. Your CMA essay will be graded by a subject matter expert, and partial credit may be given, so be sure to show your work!
For more information on how the CMA questions will look on the CMA exam, check out this comprehensive guide.
While the CMA essays can seem daunting, they can be conquered with a good study plan and by employing these CMA essay tips:
The CMA exam is a 4-hour exam—3 hours for multiple-choice questions and 1 hour for the essays. Managing your time well is critical to passing the CMA exam. The only information you get during your exam is a clock providing the hours, minutes, and seconds remaining. There will be no guidance for breaks or time allocation within each section.
After all the preparation you’ve put into getting ready in time for your testing window, you’ll want to make sure exam day goes smoothly. To assist, we’re going to provide a few tips and a breakdown of what to expect on exam day.
To see what the CMA exam will look like, check out our cma exam interface page.
You are allowed to bring a calculator to the CMA exam. The following calculators are approved: