Decoding the Exam Pattern of CMA USA: A Comprehensive Guide


Becoming an accountant is the dream of many commerce background students. Some may wish to pursue a professional course right after the Class 12 board exams, while others may want to switch careers and become an accountant. Are you someone who falls into these categories? If so, the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) USA may be the right answer for you. 
The CMA USA is one of the most highly competent accounting education courses for students and working professionals who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in the field of accounting. It is suitable for those pursuing a full-time college degree or working.
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) offers the CMA USA designation to individuals who successfully clear the CMA certification exam. The CMA certification exam is a finance and accounting course based on a simple yet comprehensive CMA USA syllabus, which anyone can complete in less than a year. In this article, we have discussed everything there is to know about the US CMA certification exam so that you can plan your CMA journey with the help of this guide.

CMA USA: Overview

The CMA USA is one of the most widely sought-after and internationally recognized qualifications in financial management and business accounting, open to anyone interested in pursuing it. It is a comprehensive and popular management accounting certification that provides candidates with a global edge and excellent career benefits. The CMA USA offers a holistic approach to management accounting, equipping professionals with the required knowledge and expertise to practice accounting as a profession and contribute to steering organizations from the top management tier.
Anyone can leverage the benefits of CMA in their professional career to initiate or redirect their path in the field of accounting. The demand for CMA jobs is increasing in India, as well as globally, due to the level of expertise and skills that CMA professionals possess, making them highly employable by top firms and companies worldwide.

Benefits of CMA USA

The benefits of becoming a CMA USA professional are many, apart from boosting your career.
  • International exposure: CMA professionals have opportunities to work in countries across Europe, North America, South America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, with these regions being among the top destinations for them.
  • Higher-paying entry-level job to top management level: CMAs often start with higher-paying entry-level positions and can progress to top management roles in their careers.
  • Versatile work opportunities: CMAs can work at top accounting firms, multinational corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
  • Distance learning course: You can attain the CMA USA certification through a distance learning course, which allows you to complete the program within one year.
According to a survey by the IMA, certified CMA USA professionals have a higher earning potentialabout 58% more than those who don't have the certification. Thus, having the CMA USA certification also increases your chances of landing a higher salary job while still being a fresher and boosts your salary with more experience over the years.
Passing the CMA USA exam held by the IMA is the only way to obtain the CMA USA certification, which offers numerous advantages to those who become certified. Before moving on to the CMA USA syllabus and CMA USA exam pattern, you must know the eligibility requirements for taking the CMA USA exam.

CMA USA Eligibility

The CMA USA certification can be pursued by anyone, irrespective of their educational background, provided that they fulfill certain eligibility criteria as specified by the IMA.
The eligibility criteria include:
  • A bachelor's degree in any discipline from a reputed university/institution.
  • 200 hours (roughly 2 years) of work experience.
Candidates who don't have the required work experience are allowed to fulfill this criterion within 7 years after acquiring the US CMA certification.

CMA USA Syllabus

The CMA USA syllabus, based on the CMA USA exam pattern, has been broadly categorized into two parts. The CMA USA subjects for the two parts are given below for your reference.
Part-I: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics, which has the following subtopics:
  • Technology and Analytics (15%)
  • Performance Management (20%)
  • Internal Controls (15%)
  • External Financial Reporting (15%)
  • Budgeting, Planning, and Forecasting (20%)
  • Cost Management (15%)
Part-II: Strategic Financial Management, which contains the following subtopics:
  • Corporate Finance (20%)
  • Investment Decisions (10%)
  • Decision Analysis (25%)
  • Professional Ethics (15%)
  • Financial Statement Analysis (20%)
  • Risk Management (10%)

CMA USA Exam Pattern

To be able to start your CMA USA exam preparation, you must understand the US CMA exam pattern. Both parts of the CMA USA certification exam have to be completed in order to obtain the certification. Study the table below carefully to understand the CMA USA exam pattern.
CMA USA Exam PartExam PatternTime Duration
Part-I: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics100 MCQsTwo 30-minute essays3 hours for MCQs1 hour for essaysTotal 4 hours
Part-II: Strategic Financial Management100 MCQsTwo 30-minute essays3 hours for MCQs1 hour for essaysTotal 4 hours
In the CMA USA exam, candidates may take any exam first; that is, they can take Part-II before the Part-I exam, given that they must clear the first exam they take. The total marks in the CMA USA exam are 500, and the passing criteria for the CMA USA exam is 75% or 360 out of 500.
Candidates can take the CMA USA certification exam during the testing windows mentioned by the IMA, which are as follows:
  • January/February 2023: 1 January to 29 February (candidates can register until 15 February)
  • May/June 2023: 1 May to 30 June (candidates must register by 15 June)
  • September/October 2023: 1 September to 31 October (candidates need to complete their registration before 15 October)
Knowing about the CMA USA syllabus and CMA USA exam pattern is not enough if you don't know how to prepare for the CMA USA certification exam. To ease your worries, you can join the NSA's CMA USA course where you can get all-round support and guidance for CMA USA exam preparation. Here are the details of the CMA course in India to help you get an idea of what you can expect from a CMA training institute.

CMA Course Details

CMA classes at a CMA training institute can be extremely beneficial for CMA USA exam preparation, especially for those who are not from a commerce background. With help from a CMA USA course, you can start with the basics of every topic in the CMA USA syllabus and learn the advanced concepts to have a firm grasp of the CMA US subjects, enabling you to clear the exam in just one attempt. Studying and memorizing things may not be enough for clearing the CMA USA certification exam. Successful candidates unanimously agree that solving multiple-choice questions and taking mock tests are key to scoring well in the exam. Additionally, it will help you become adept at time management and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in your preparation.
With a CMA USA course, you can get study materials, mock tests, simulation tests, live classes, pre-recorded explanatory videos, doubt-clearing sessions, and more. Enrolling in a CMA USA course at a reputed CMA training institute is essential to prepare for the CMA USA exam.
CMA Course Duration
Typically, it may take less than 2 years to complete studying for and clearing the exam. However, with ample dedication and commitment, along with a proper strategy and plan, one can clear the CMA USA certification exam in just 6-9 months.
CMA USA Course Fees
The IMA charges different exam fees for students and working professionals. For students, the IMA charges $1035, and for working professionals, it increases to $1460. However, with a CMA USA course, you can become eligible for discounts on both the course and exam fees. The CMA course fees in India are around Rs. 1.3 Lakhs.


1. What is the paper pattern for the US CMA exam in India?

    The CMA USA exam pattern consists of two parts. Both parts contain 100 MCQs and two essay-type questions with 500 marks.

    2. Is the USA CMA easy to crack in India?

    The CMA USA syllabus can be managed well within a year if one studies with dedication. It is relatively easy to clear the USA CMA exam in India.

    3. What are the passing marks for CMA USA?

    The total marks in the CMA USA exam are 500, out of which a candidate must obtain 360 marks to pass. Additionally, candidates must get 50% in each paper to pass it.

    4. What are the tips for passing the CMA Exam?

    Studying from relevant study sources and practicing MCQs and mock tests are essential to grasp the syllabus well and perform well in the CMA USA exam. Read more strategies here

    5. Can I clear CMA USA without coaching in India?

    It is possible to clear the CMA USA exam without coaching, but it may take a long time as candidates may need to adapt fully to the CMA USA syllabus and exam pattern. Taking up a CMA USA course can help them prepare according to the CMA USA exam pattern to clear the exam in just one attempt.


    The CMA USA certification is an advanced-level finance and accounting course that provides a global edge to certified individuals who wish to pursue a career in management accounting. It offers a rewarding career with excellent growth opportunities and higher salary prospects. Thus, pursuing the CMA USA certification, especially with help from a CMA USA course, can kickstart your career in the world of accounting. NorthStar Academy provides an all-inclusive and comprehensive CMA USA course where you can enroll and unlock many exciting benefits such as relevant study resources, mock tests, simulation tests, placement assistance, doubt-clearing assistance, CMA classes, and more! 
    You can also benefit from the guidance of top mentors like Mr. M Irfat. He has personally guided and successfully helped over 15,000 candidates pass professional certification courses.
    So here's your chance to get started with NorthStar Academy, avail bundle discounts on the course fees, and step into the world of accounting with the CMA USA certification today!
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