Passing CMA Exam Part 2: Authentic Guide to Cracking the CMA Exam

CMA Exam Part 2

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is one of the highest levels of certification in management accounting that is awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants, USA.
The CMA USA course is globally recognized, and is an advanced-level credential appropriate for accountants and financial professionals in the business.�
The CMA exam is available in 2 parts and in order to gain this certification, it is essential for one to qualify for both these exams.�
Part 1 or CMA Part 2 exam can be taken in any order but one will only qualify for the next exam if they clear the first examination they opted to take.�
Essentially, you can take whichever part first, pass it and attempt the next one in order to hold the certification. To be able to clear the CMA USA exam at one go, you can enroll in NorthStar Academy�s comprehensive CMAUSA program under the guidance of the God of Costing, M.Irfat.�
The CMA Exam Part 2 is computer-based. Each of the exams will be of 4 hours each with 100 MCQs as well as two 30-minute essays. Therefore, 3 hours for MCQs and 1 hour for essay type questions.
In this article, we will discuss the components, syllabus and materials that are pertinent to the second part of the Certified Management Accountant USA examination.

CMA Exam Part 2 : Syllabus

Part two of the CMA Exam Part 2 is called Strategic Financial Decision Making. This part has six sections under it and each of these sections have a certain weightage that is applied in the overall score of the exam.�

These six subjects with their respective percentage weightage are;
  • Financial Statement Analysis (20%),
  • Corporate Finance (20%),
  • Decision Analysis (25%),
  • Risk Management (10%),
  • Investment Decisions (10%) and
  • Professional Ethics (15%).

The Institute of Management Accountant (IMA)

The Institute of Management Accountants or the IMA is responsible for the CMA Exam Part 2 and offers the information covered by each exam part in the Content Specification Outlines or CSOs. The CSOs are fundamentally there to:
  • Lay the foundation for the development of each CMA exam part,
  • Ensure each CMA part has consistent coverage,
  • Communicate the details of the exam content to interested parties,
  • Help candidates prepare for the exam, and
  • Equip review providers with information for their courses.
Along with the foundation and knowledge scope that the CSO offers for appearing candidates they also assign a coverage level to each exam topic, that range from introductory knowledge of each of the subjects to a thorough understanding of the subject matter under the part. The three levels of coverage are:
  • Coverage Level A: Requiring the skill levels of knowledge and comprehension.
  • Coverage Level B: Requiring the skill levels of knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis.
  • Coverage Level C: Requiring the skill levels of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
�Additionally, one must note that the coverage levels build on each other, so Level C may contain the requirements of Level A and Level B. Therefore, it is crucial for candidates appearing for the exam to be very well versed with the range of topics under each subject.

CMA exam tips

The CMA Handbook by the Institute of Management Accountants

This Free CMA USA handbook summarises the various topics and areas that each part includes in the exam. This handbook is a must for candidates appearing for the examination. It is helpful for one to be able to plot their focuses and know the overall syllabus in detail.
The following is a list of topics under each of the six sections in CMA Part 2 exam:

A. Financial Statement Analysis

  1. Basic financial statement analysis
    • Common size financial statements
    • Common base year financial statements
  2. Financial ratios
    • Liquidity
    • Leverage
    • Activity
    • Profitability
    • Market
  3. Profitability analysis
    • Income measurement analysis
    • Revenue analysis
    • Cost of sales analysis
    • Expense analysis
    • Variation analysis
  4. Special issues
    • Impact of foreign operations
    • Effects of changing prices and inflation
    • Impact of changes in accounting treatment
    • Accounting and economic concepts of value and income
    • Earnings quality

The coverage of this section is similar to that of Section A in Part 1, which discusses financial accounting, but the focus is more on analysis and comparison using key financial data and ratios. In addition to this, one must note that special issues such as foreign currency fluctuations, fair value accounting, and US GAAP vs IFRS are also a part of this subject.

B. Corporate Finance

  1. Risk and return
    • Calculating return
    • Types of risk
    • Relationship between risk and return
  2. Long-term financial management
    • Term structure of interest rates
    • Types of financial instruments
    • Cost of capital
    • Valuation of financial instruments
  3. Raising capital
    • Financial markets and regulation
    • Market efficiency
    • Financial institutions
    • Initial and secondary public offerings
    • Dividend policy and share repurchases
    • Lease financing
  4. Working capital management
    • Working capital terminology
    • Cash management
    • Marketable securities management
    • Accounts receivable management
    • Inventory management
    • Types of short-term credit
    • Short-term credit management
  5. Corporate restructuring
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Other forms of restructuring
  6. International finance
    • Fixed, flexible, and floating exchange rates
    • Managing transaction exposure
    • Financing international trade
To score well in this section, one must understand short-term and long-term financial management as well as the benefits and limitations of major financial instruments. In this section one can see a mix of conceptual and computational questions.

C. Decision Analysis

  1. Cost/volume/profit analysis
    • Break Even analysis
    • Profit performance and alternative operating levels
    • Analysis of multiple products
  2. Marginal analysis
    • Sunk costs, opportunity costs, and other related concepts
    • Marginal costs and marginal revenue
    • Special orders and pricing
    • Make vs. Buy
    • Sell or process further
    • Add or drop a segment
    • Capacity considerations
  3. Pricing
    • Pricing methodologies
    • Target costing
    • Elasticity of demand
    • Product life-cycle considerations
    • Market structure considerations
This section will test a candidate on how management accountants are able to provide data and perform analysis for the decision-making process of an organization.

D. Risk Management

  1. . Enterprise risk
    • Types of risk
    • Risk identification and assessment
    • Risk mitigation strategies
    • Managing risk
CMAs as efficient accountants or organizers need to identify, assess, and react to different kinds of risks faced by an organization in order for the organization to achieve its ultimate goal. The CMA exam Part 2 concentrates on the ERM model. Candidates appearing for the exam are most likely to get conceptual questions in this section.

E. Investment Decisions

  1. Capital budgeting process
    • Stages of capital budgeting
    • Incremental cash flows
    • Income tax considerations
    • Evaluating uncertainty
  2. Capital investment analysis methods
    • Net present value
    • Internal rate of return
    • Payback
    • Comparison of investment analysis methods
This section covers how management accountants advise and decide on important matters about investments that are to be made by the organization or even bring out better alternatives.

F. Professional Ethics

  1. Business ethics
    • Moral philosophies and values
    • Ethical decision making
  2. Ethical considerations for management accounting and financial management professionals
    • IMA�s Statement of Ethical Professional Practice
    • Fraud triangle
    • Evaluation and resolution of ethical issues
  3. Ethical considerations for the organization
    • Organizational factors and ethical culture
    • IMA�s Statement on Management Accounting, �Values and Ethics: From Inception to Practice�
    • Ethical leadership
    • Legal compliance
    • Responsibility for ethical conduct
    • Sustainability and social responsibility
The IMA Statement of Ethical Standards is what presides over this section. The principles and standards have been made concise and easy to understand for candidates. Candidates must prepare on how these ethics are applied in real business situations.
Candidates appearing for the exam must note that to clear CMA Part 2 exam is difficult but not impossible. It is hence suggested that they do their research and study very closely on each of the listed topics under each of the six subjects.

Frequently asked Questions


1. What is the exam pattern of CMA Part 2 exam?

The CMA Part 2 exam exam is computer-based with 100 MCQs as well as two 30-minute essays. It is a 2 part exam and both need to be cleared to gain the certification. 

2. What is the CMA handbook?

The CMA handbook is  helpful to plot focus topics and know the overall syllabus in detail.

3. What are the 6 subjects in CMA Part 2 exam?

The 6 subjects in the CMA Part 2 exams are
 Financial Statement Analysis (20%), Corporate Finance (20%), Decision Analysis (25%), Risk Management (10%), Investment Decisions (10%) and Professional Ethics (15%).

4. How to pass the CMA Part 2 exam in first attempt?

All you need to do is search for the best CMA Part 2 exam online coaching institute around your location and research a bit about the institute and enroll for CMA USA coaching and you can easily pass the exam in a single attempt. 

5. How hard is it to self study for CMA Part 2 exam?

While you can self study for CMA Part 2 exam it will result in a lot of wastage of time, efforts and resources. By enrolling in a coaching program, you get to leverage the expertise of mentors, get access to a global cohort as well as comprehensive study material all at one place.

6. How hard is the CMA Exam Part 2?

The CMA USA exam tests the knowledge of students on Finance and Management Accounting. If you are well versed with the CMA USA Syllabus, you can easily score more in both the parts.


CMA Exam Part 2 can be the final step in gaining the highest accounting management certification. It can help you gain global exposure, high salary and most importantly gain expertise in the finance and accounts domain. To clear your exam in one go, NorthStar Academy is the right fit for you. Enroll now in the best finance coaching institute in the country!