Top 5 Tips for Taking the CMA Exam


Robert Golder is ICMA’s senior manager of exam development, helping to manage and develop content for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam. As a CMA-certified professional who took the exam recently, Rob offered his top five tips that can help candidates perform well on test day:

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Understanding how questions are presented is as important as understanding the content itself. Be sure to spend ample study time practicing taking exam questions. Familiarity with the way questions are asked will help further boost your confidence and most likely your score as a result.
  2. Avoid pre-test burnout. Plan enough study time to ensure you’ve covered all the learning outcome statements (LOS). This takes planning and self-discipline to allow ample time to fully understand all LOS and question presentation styles (see practice, practice, practice).
  3. Sleep well. It’s common to be anxious the night before the exam, so be sure to include a good night’s sleep in your plans. Remember, our brains process during sleep time.
  4. Read the question FIRST. During the multiple-choice section, reading the question first will help you extract the appropriate information needed from any given scenario (and help you see past any unnecessary information included). During the essay section, you may find you’re able to answer some of the questions before you even read through the scenario, allowing you to score points immediately during the time allotted.
  5. Give it all you got! Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your knowledge during the essay section. If a question asks you to list three items out of a possible five, go ahead and list all five if you know them. This concept applies to other analytical aspects as well. As time permits, offer answers that address the requirement and clearly demonstrate your knowledge in that area (possibly offering alternative solutions that display a more comprehensive knowledge of the LOS being tested).

For more helpful tips, please visit the CMA Candidate Resource Center.