10 Steps to Get CMA Certified in the Very First Attempt

The title of a Certified Management Accountant is highly anticipated and desired in the finance and accounting industry. Earning this highly valued advanced professional certification demands a strong understanding of accounting and financial management skills to earn the esteemed title of Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

The CMA certification is handed by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) after a candidate successfully clears the CMA part 1 and CMA part 2 exams. This certification adds extra stars to your resume, giving you an opportunity to settle for a career that promises higher pay, more benefits, and better job opportunities.

Even with all the benefits it offers, a common myth that surrounds the profession is that becoming a Certified Management Accountant is incredibly difficult. However, by enrolling in an organization or institute that offers the best guidance and materials for the CMA course, earning the CMA certification becomes relatively easier. In addition to this, the aspirants are also advised to follow certain tips and tricks that will help in clearing the CMA exam on the very first attempt.

This article will discuss 10 proven steps that can be effective for clearing the CMA exams easily and confidently in the very first attempt.

But before getting into it, let us first familiarize ourselves with the roles and responsibilities attached to a CMA.

Who is a CMA?

The Certified Management Accountant is a deemed accounting designation that proves one’s proficiency and expertise in financial accounting and strategic management. The day-to-day services of certified management accountants involve looking after company investments, risk management, budgeting, planning, strategizing, and decision making. Additionally, they also prepare data to be used within the company.

Some of the  important tasks performed by a CMA include:

Cost Management

A CMA primarily looks into budget planning, controlling, and management. They design strategies to monitor the expenses of expected costs while the project is still being planned so as to not cross the line with the cost of the management plan. They also design and implement cost management structures to keep the overall budget of the business under control.

Financial Reporting

CMAs fulfil their responsibilities of preparing and managing financial reports. They prepare documents that include financial statements, income statements, balance sheets, statements of cash flows, prospectus, and annual reports.

Performance Management

Analysing and monitoring the performance of the organization in the financial sector is important to enhance employee performance within the workplace. This task is taken up by a CMA after understanding the organisation’s goals and accordingly planning performance measures and targets.


CMAs carries planning and budgeting of annual operations by successfully communicating plans and motivating employees and managers to work for the organization’s goals. While doing so, they also look after the activities and performance of the managers.


The vital decisions pertaining to investments are taken up by a CMA. This is carried out by looking into the number of funds to be deployed in the investment opportunities. In doing so, they also focus on the uncertainty and risks involved in the investment.

Tips and Tricks to Clear the CMA Exam in the Very First Attempt ..

1) Know Your Exams and Choose

The CMA exam comprises two parts. Part I evaluates your knowledge of financial reporting, planning, performance, and control, while Part II examines your skills in financial decision-making. The candidates have the choice of choosing the Part that they would want to sit for first.

2) Enroll in the CMA Course

The most important and effective method of clearing the CMA exams on the very first try is by applying for the CMA course in an established organization or institution. Learning under the guidance and expertise of a professional trainer helps immensely in understanding and mastering important academic areas. It will also provide you with the chance to get all your doubts and queries cleared.

3) Design a Plan

Make a plan that best suits your study style. Every individual has different preferences. While some learn better by reading, others find it easier to learn via watching. So, the very first step should be to realize which of the methods will bring the best results for you.

Once you have successfully discovered your personal style of learning, the next step that follows involves designing a timetable that well-braces your schedule.

4) Pay Attention to Definitions and Important Terms

The best and most effective way to retain all the important topics and concepts in your memory is by highlighting them while studying. You can also make notes in a separate notebook that can be used to revise before the exam.

5) Practice the Multiple Choice Questions

The multiple choice questions in the CMA exams can appear very confusing and are usually the result of why candidates lose marks. Overcoming this is very important to perform well in the exams. This can only be achieved by the rigorous practice of the study materials and previous year’s questions. It builds and nurtures the candidate’s appetite and knowledge of every concept, and helps them answer all the questions confidently during the exam.

6) Master the Essay Section

The most vital component to mastering the essay section in the exam is to have a very strong hold on grammar. This will validate your expertise in writing skills. Apart from this, participants are also advised to mention the key details instead of dilly-dallying on things that hold no relevance to the topic.

7) Participate in Mock Exams

Participating in mock exams generates an environment like that of the exam day. This equips the participants to better manage exam stress. Its primary purpose is to acquaint the candidate with the style and pattern of the questions. The candidates thus able to test and evaluate their understanding of the accounting principles and concepts.

8) Cultivate Educated Guessing

It is nothing new when unexpected questions pop up during exams. In such situations, participants should train and hone the craftsmanship of “educated guessing” during their preparations. One way to do this is by following the process of elimination or relating the question to a similar concept.

9) Get a Study Buddy

Studying in groups gives space for the exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge. It will also boost your sense of morale and enthusiasm. A healthy competition between you and other participants will help you cultivate a sense of accountability for your efforts and help you look at things from different perspectives.

10) Take Breaks

Too much of anything can make you feel exhausted. Therefore, it is always advisable to take short breaks in between. For example, after every 30 minutes, you can take a short break of 5 minutes, where you can walk around and enjoy a change in scenery.

By doing so, your mind will feel energized and refreshed and the concepts will stay in your memory for a longer period of time.

The benefits of a CMA certification are clearly in abundance. The lucrative salaries and the progressive nature of the profession have made it a top choice for candidates. If you are someone who is confused or sceptical about taking up the CMA exam, it is high time for you you stop contemplating and just go for it. Following these tips will definitely prove to be a game changer in clearing your CMA exams with flying colours.

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