Lessons from the CMA Exam Pass Rate

Before you let these low pass rates scare you away, let me explain some other important details about the CMA exam. These things impact the pass rates and it is important to how you view them. Let’s explore.

1. Diversified Pool of Candidates

First, while the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) welcomes CMA candidates from all over the world, the exam format is U.S.-centric. Candidates outside of the U.S. may not be familiar with the terminology in the multiple-choice questions, and if their native language is not English, scoring well on the essays can be quite challenging. We outlined some ways this impacts the pass rate above.

2. Low Barrier of Entry

Second, the IMA lets candidates with just about any type of bachelor’s degree take the CMA exam. It is not specific to accounting degree holders. In contrast, CPA Exam candidates must take a substantial number of accounting and business courses.

The low barrier of entry attracts candidates who just want to give the exam a try. These casual takers do not invest sufficient time, money, or effort into properly preparing for the exam. You don’t have to be one of them and add to the statistic of lower pass rates. That’s why we are going over it now.


Now that you know more about CMA exam pass rates, you can prepare for taking the exam yourself and passing on the first try.


·        If you have a good command of English, and/or

·        If you work hard and complete lots of practice questions to get familiar with the style of the multiple-choice questions,

your chance of passing the CMA exam is much higher than the average CMA exam pass rate. Don’t let the numbers intimidate you. When you study and prepare yourself properly, you can be in the percentage who pass. Below is a video that helps you summarize the information above. It’s also helpful for people who learn better through visuals vs. the written word.
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