How do I Prepare for the Certified Management Accounting Exam?

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  • Written By: Sherri Anderson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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The Certified Management Accounting exam provides accountants with credentials for financial management, covering areas such as cost management, economics, corporate finance and ethics. The certification is awarded by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) to accountants around the world. Some methods to prepare for the exam are optional and some, such as signing up for the test and knowing what to bring on test day, are absolutely necessary — test takers can find requirements at the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) website. The site also offers handbooks, test content descriptions, recommended study material and practice exams to help prepare for the exam.

The very first step to prepare for the Certified Management Accounting exam is to sign up for it. Those considering taking the exam must contact the IMA or visit the website to find the current requirements for joining. The IMA proctors the Certified Management Accounting exam and those wishing to complete the exam must first be registered members of the IMA. An applicant can register for the Certified Management Accounting exam via the IMA's website once the fees are paid and the candidate has proven that he or she meets the education and experience requirements set by the IMA. In addition to this method, a form can be mailed or faxed, or the applicant can call the IMA to register.


The the Certified Management Accounting exam changed in May 2010 from four parts to two. The first part covers financial planning, performance, and control while the second part is entirely about financial decision making. Specific subjects under these two overall parts can be found at the IMA website. The site also provides test takers with exam resource guides and answers to frequently asked questions, such as whether it's better to guess at a question or leave an answer blank.

There are preparation courses offered for the Certified Management Accounting exam as well. One of the most well-known is the course offered by Boston University, which offers self-study courses online as well as on-site exam preparation courses. The courses are administered by the Boston Institute of Finance.

Those preparing for the Certified Management Accounting exam can also utilize people who have taken the exam before them. Successful test takers can tell exam candidates what the environment will be like during the exam and what to bring. Proper preparation and studying should lead to a confident test taker and successful certification.


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