What is US CMA?
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a premier Certification Program of the USA, awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA http://www.imanet.org/) of USA. The US CMA is recognized in more than 100 countries including India. CMA certification is the global benchmark for management accountants and financial professionals.
This certification is often considered to be gateway to global career opportunities and we have hundreds of thousands of aspirants appearing for the qualifying exams each year. The global pass rate for the exam is 50% which means that only candidates who display extreme dedication, devotion and determination can make the cut. When it comes to passing the US CMA exam, candidates must be prepared to do both smart and hard work.
Let’s begin by analyzing the exam structure for US CMA:
- The US CMA exam is divided into 2 sections and both the sections of this exam has to be completed in a total of 4 hours.
- Section 1 consists of 100 Multiple Choice Questions. The maximum time allotted to the candidate for completing Section 1 of the exam is 3 hours.
- Section 2 consists of 2 descriptive questions (with about 5 or 6 sub questions in each category) and the normal time allotted to the candidate for answering this section is 1 hour. However, if the candidate can complete Section 1 in less than 3 hours, any time he or she saves, can thus be dedicated towards answering questions in Section 2.
- The qualifying score for US CMA is 360 out of 500 (on a scaled basis).
Skill set’s required to appear for US CMA exam:
As we can see, the exam is predominantly objective in nature and demands 100% accuracy. So, the candidate must have very good conceptual knowledge and a thorough understanding of the subject at hand. There is no scope for guesswork here. Also, CMA aspirants need to have both precision and speed to successfully qualify for the certification.
None of these skills can be acquired overnight. So, candidates who wish to succeed in this endeavor need to have a penchant for hard work and must be consistent with their efforts.
Tips and tricks to successfully prepare for the exams:
Preparation is the key to success and so, you need to ensure that you are well prepared before you appear for the exams. A few tips that can make a world of difference in your preparations are as follows:
- Find the right mentor who is well versed with the US CMA program. A competent mentor should be able to provide proper guidance and training on how to prepare for the exam. They would be able to provide insights based on their experience and expertise.
- This course can be completed in a period of 10 to 12 months, with the right amount of dedication and focus. So take time to create a study plan that works for you. The amount of time you will need to dedicate for the course depends on your study habits, your experience in the field of management accounting, and your knowledge level.
- Simulate the US CMA exams in real time by attempting as many mock papers and practice exams as possible. Mock exams often mirror the actual exam experience, because candidates are attempting similar testing interfaces. It is a good opportunity to practice and gain precision and speed. By attempting more practice tests, you will get to have a strong idea on how to manage your time and also, speed will become your forte.
- Analyze the results of your mock tests properly. This will give you a better insight on your strong and weak areas. To gain expertise in a field, one need to identify the weaknesses, keep track of the progress in that area and relentlessly work on it till discernible improvement can be seen. Initially it is more important to keep track of the errors that the candidate makes rather than the correct responses. The incorrect responses are often linked to an incorrect understanding of the subject and it is necessary that this be identified and rectified at the offset itself.
- Join a student network of US CMA aspirants so that you can brainstorm and discuss doubts. Group studies work because the company of like minded individuals is often a bonus for candidates appearing for competitive exams. It is an avenue for discussing topics and gaining better understanding of concepts.
US CMA is the highest professional certification in Management Accounting in the USA and qualifying for it is an arduous task. According to a 2019 survey by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) of USA, CMAs globally earn 57% more in median salary and 55% more in total compensation than non-CMAs.
There is no gain without pain, so if the right candidate is willing to dedicate time, energy and effort towards preparing for the qualifying exams, they would be able to succeed in reaching their goal.
They need to identify and make use of the best options available to them. They should be willing to dedicate themselves single mindedly toward achieving success so as to give their career aspirations a flying start.