How to Pass CMA Exam Part 1

  • 2019-08-06
  • In CPA USA
How to Pass CMA Exam Part 1

Part 1 of the CMA exam is titled Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics. You will have a total of four hours to answer 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions. Once you've completed and exited the MCQ section of the exam, you cannot go back to that section. You must be in the essay section to complete the exam. The essay section consists of approximately 10-12 written response or calculation questions based on two scenarios, describing a typical business situation.

Note: You must answer at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions correctly to be eligible to take the essay section. The topics and their percentage allocations that are tested in Part 1 of the CMA exam are as follows:

A. External Financial Reporting Decisions - 15%
B. Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting - 20%
C. Performance Management - 20%
D. Cost Management - 15%
E. Internal Controls - 15%
F. Technology and Analytics - 15%

There aren’t a lot of things to memorise for CMA Exam Part 1, but you do need to have a clear and concise grasp of the many concepts and also be able to distinguish the subtle differences between them. In the MCQ section, you will find that the questions are asked in a number of different ways. There will be straightforward MCQs, MCQs with a negative question stem (including words like “except,” “false,” “not,” and “least” to demonstrate that the correct answer choice is an exception), MCQs with multiple variables (questions having multiple columns of variables and for candidates to select the answer choice comprising all the correct variables), and MCQs with a combination of correct answers ( questions having three to four numbered statements of which the correct answer is one of the choices with different combinations of the statement numbers). There are also two essay questions to which you must respond by answering about 3 to 5 questions. The essays may require you to write a few paragraphs or perform a calculation.

As you answer CMA practice questions, you’ll realise that some of them are too lengthy, but you shouldn't get frustrated. Just take your time to complete the calculations. If you feel that you are running short of time, mark the long questions to solve them later and work on the short ones first. Read the questions slowly and familiarise yourself with how the questions are presented. Once you’ve gotten used to the format and the type of calculations that you must perform, your accuracy rate will go up dramatically. The historical pass rate of the CMA Exam Part 1 is around 35%, and Part 1 has a reputation for being more difficult.

If you work on the practice questions well, understand the underlying concepts, and rework the questions that you got wrong, your chance of success will be very high. Best of luck on your exam!


Hope that the above article about the passing Part 1 of the CMA exam is helpful to you. If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!

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