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What’s the CMA Examination like?



The CMA started out being a 5-part exam many years ago. Then they condensed it to a 4-part exam probably somewhere around the 1980’s I believe to a 2-part exam; part one, part two.

The information contained in these parts is mutually exclusive, so we’re going to start part two, and it really doesn’t matter if you start with part one or part two. There’s no benefit, there’s no advantage. It’s just you have to call them something. You can call them part one, part two, A, B; there’s always going to be a sequence. So you can take it in any order that you like.

Now they test, and we’ll get to that in a minute, different bodies of knowledge. They’re both identical as far as the format; they’re four hours long, contain three hours of multiple choice with one section dedicated to essays. There’s 100 questions on the exam. You’re going to have, as I said, three hours. So you’ll have to average approximately a minute and a half per question. Now multiple choice with four answers given for each question. You have to achieve a score high enough on the multiple choice.

So essentially, you have to get 75% of those correct in order to advance to the essay portion. In most cases, that happens. I think I’ve heard of some folks that might have timed out or just were very, very ill-prepared that didn’t advance to the next level. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will pass because again, you can still do poorly on the essay component and not pass the exam. The essay component is made of two essay questions.

I have subparts that can range anywhere from three per question, all the way up to say six or eight. So you can have anywhere from six to a total of maybe 16 sub-questions that you have to answer within an hour period. The bottom line though, it is a very rigorous, very robust exam. It is going to test our knowledge. You’re not going to have a whole lot of time to sit back and just kind of wonder about questions; you do have to know the information.

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