How Hard is the CMA Exam? Understanding CMA Exam Difficulty

A lot of people are curiously related to the level of difficulty associated with the CMA exam. Above all, in case the pass rates are any indication, it’s safe to say that the majority of candidates find it exclusively tough.

The CMA exam can be difficult for various reasons. But it isn’t merely a case of difficulty, as much as students tend to lack accurate guidance. There is an abundance of quality CMA study material you can utilize and plenty of all-inclusive CMA prep courses. But a huge chunk of passing the exam is having a solid study plan, confidence, and nice time management. With enough effort and accurate preparation, the CMA examination difficulty will not faze you or hamper your skill to pass.

How hard is the CMA Examination?


The CMA examination is very difficult and it will examine your intellectual limits. The industry average CMA pass rate for both sections is just 45%, meaning less than half of the people taking the test will pass. The CMA examination is notorious for its rigor and toughness, and in case you want to pass, you are required to prepare.

Therefore, how hard is the CMA examination? To glance at it objectively, there are 3 methods to consider the CMA exam difficulty, so let’s crush it down.

Top 3 Reasons Contributing To the CMA Examination Difficulty



In contrast with some other financial and accounting examinations, such as the CPA and CFA, the scope of material included is much narrower.

As you understand, the CMA exam is comprised of 2 sections. Section 1 focuses on financial accounting, consisting of planning, budgeting, forecasting, and also performance and cost management. Section 2 includes financial statement reasoning, corporate finance, decision reasoning, risk management, investment decisions, and professional ethics and behaviors.

In case you were to compare the CMA exam curriculum to that of a CPA, you would notice that not just is the CPA exam broken up into 4 parts, but that it as well covers auditing, business law, and taxation.

Plus, the CMA exam doesn’t dive into a similar amount of detail as some other exams, so this should assist ease some of the burdens you feel when studying.

Passing Rates


Statistics show that just a few dedicated ones are lucky enough to pass the CMA exam. And by some, I mean only 35% for Section 1 and 49% for Section 2.  Not shockingly, those statistics can make writing this exam even tougher.

In case you look deeper into these numbers you can see how the reduced eligibility requirements might affect this. What I mean is that to write the CMA examination, you just require a bachelor’s degree and it can be get from any discipline in any country. This signifies that you don’t have to have any background knowledge in finance/accounting, which might be contributing to the low pass rates. 

In case you however have a background in this area, I believe you already increase your chances of passing on the first attempt!

Exam Composition

As I cited above, the CPA exam is broken down into 4 sections, whereas the CMA exam is just 2. Many people find that because there are only two sections, the amount of information covered in each section contributes to the difficulty. It means that you have to study more subjects for every section in order to improve your chances of passing.

While this very well could contribute to the CMA examination difficulty, there are several methods you can tackle this, like following a specific study plan to ensure you cover each topic with the necessary amount of depth and duration.

CMA Prerequisites 

A course built by the Institute of Management Accountants, or the Certified Management Accounting course (CMA) requires definite qualifications before you get into the course. Here are a few of the eligibility requirements you are required to have before you can apply for the CMA certification.

Students can pursue the US CMA course directly after clearing the 12th grade

To become a certified and qualified CMA professional, you will need a Bachelor’s degree, completion of the CMA exams, and also 2 years of work experience.


Clearing the CMA exam is certainly not a cakewalk, even for accounting students who have an aptitude for imperative planning and time management. This course needs dedication and a disciplined study planner. 

Before you begin with your CMA preparation, it’s perfect to enroll in a coaching institute that helps you train practically according to the industry-relevant case studies.

Wisdom Academy is one of the leading coaching institutes that are well known for its training and delivery for CMA.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a certification awarded by the Institute for Management Accountants, USA. This global certification is open to all students who have done with their 10+2 or the high school equivalent.

 In case you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, look at our Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course.