So, you’ve decided you want to sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Exam, and you’re preparing to embark on your study journey – but first you need to decide what order you should sit for the CMA Exam sections in.

As you probably know, the CMA Exam is made up of two parts – with Exam One focusing on Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics. While Exam Two focuses on Strategic Financial Management.

And, while ultimately, CMAs need both areas of expertise, it’s often most efficient to study for the Exam sections one at a time. So, knowing the order you’re planning to sit for them in allows you to study the appropriate topics in order – and also allows you to use your CPA

What does the CMA Exam look like?

 Exam Part One: Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics.Exam Part Two: Strategic Financial Management.
Content100x multiple choice questions
2x 30-minute essay questions
100x multiple choice questions
2x 30-minute essay questions
Exam Topic1. External Financial Reporting Decisions (15%)
2. Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (20%)
3. Performance Management (20%)
4. Cost Management (15%)
5. Internal Controls (15%)
6. Technology and Analytics (15%)
1. Financial Statement Analysis (20%)
2. Corporate Finance (20%)
3. Decision Analysis (25%)
4. Risk Management (10%)
5. Investment Decisions (10%)
6. Professional Ethics (15%)

So, what order is best?

The CMA Exam is unique because there isn’t necessarily a recommended order based on exam content, like there is for the CPA Exam and others – in fact, it really depends on what your personal experience is.

Typically, here at Surgent, we suggest that candidates sit for Exam Two first, because the topics tend to align more closely with the tasks that could be expected in the management accounting or financial management work experience required to get a CMA. But if your experience is rooted more in professional ethics, or corporate finance then it may make sense for you to sit for Exam One first.

Well, what should I do then?

Basically, the order you take the two parts of the exam in is really up to you – the Exam parts don’t need to be taken in a specific order, so as long as both parts are completed within three years, you can achieve your CMA certification. We recommend that CMA candidates use a CMA review course with adaptive technology, like Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Tech to help with this learning curve, this kind of CMA program will help you to make use of your existing knowledge – accelerating you to a passing Exam score.