CMA Sample Questions to Kick Off Your Exam Prep

CMA Sample Questions

If you want to become a CMA, you’ll need to pass the CMA exam. Unless you’ve decided to dive straight into a review course, the starting line is usually taking a Certified Management Accountant practice test.

The first free CMA practice test you ever take will be diagnostic. In other words: how much do you already know? Taking a practice test diagnostically will help you plan how to study for the CMA and create a plan that works for you.

While almost no one will pass a Certified Management Accountant practice test the first time they take it, how you do will give you a great idea of where you’re starting out. You’ll know how much work it will take to get where you want to go, and what areas to focus on.

Of course, your goal will be to pass the CMA Exam, which you’ll only do after you spend a good amount of time studying. To pass both parts of the exam, you’ll need to commit to several months of rigorous, focused study. Most people choose a comprehensive CMA course, textbooks, and even work with a CMA coach or tutor. All of this is great, and it will help you memorize, develop test strategies, and learn how to think correctly to perform well on the test.

Even as you spend time reading and working out strategy, CMA practice tests are going to continue to be key. While the first practice test you take will give you a starting line, taking CMA practice tests throughout the course of your studies will basically function as checkpoints.

Taking a test run periodically throughout your studies will help you answer:

  • How much have you improved?
  • What are you still struggling with?
  • Where are you weak or strong?

Getting this gauge will help individualize your studies, so you can be maximally effective with every minute you spend hitting the books or watching your lessons.

Originally published in 2021, this article was updated and republished on February 8th, 2024.

CMA Exam Parts and Examples

The CMA Exam consists of two parts, each four hours long, each containing 100 multiple-choice questions and two essay questions. I like to refer to the two essay questions as “essay scenarios” because when answering, you’ll be required to present both written and qualitative responses.

In September 2024, the CMA Exam syllabus will be updated. There won’t be any significant additions or deletions in the topics covered, and the information below will account for most changes.

CMA Part 1 Syllabus

Part 1 of the CMA Exam covers six areas related to management accounting:

  • External Financial Reporting Decisions
  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting
  • Performance Management
  • Cost Management
  • Internal Controls
  • Technology and Analytics

To make it to the essay question portion of the CMA exam, you’ll need to earn at least 50% on the multiple-choice section.

CMA Part 1 Example Questions

The Institute of Management Accountants, or IMA, provides sample questions so exam-takers can understand how the questions are formatted.

Here are two sample questions.

Question 1

A company has a fixed overhead volume variance that is $10,000 unfavorable. The most likely cause for this variance is that:

  1. supervisory salaries were more than planned.
  2. supervisory salaries were less than planned.
  3. production was more than planned.
  4. production was less than planned.

Correct answer: D.

A fixed overhead volume variance is dependent on quantity, above or below the planned quantity. An unfavorable volume variance means that production was less than planned.

Question 2

A company’s accounting information system needs to capture the information of the financing cycle, which encompasses all transactions involving:

  1. sales to customers and the collection of cash receipts for those sales.
  2. the purchase and payment of supplies and services it consumes.
  3. the hiring, training, and payment of employees.
  4. the investment of capital, borrowing money, payment of interest, and loan repayments.

Correct answer: D.

The financing cycle encompasses all transactions involving the investment of capital in the company, borrowing money, payment of interest, and loan repayments.

CMA Part 2 Syllabus

The second part of the CMA Exam covers six additional areas related to management accounting. The format is the same as part 1, but the information covered is unique.

Here are the six sections covered in part 2:

  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Business Decision Analysis
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Capital Investment Decisions
  • Professional Ethics

As in part 1, you must earn at least 50% on the multiple-choice questions to continue to the essay scenarios.

CMA Part 2 Example Questions

For part 2 of the CMA exam, the IMA has published example questions to give test-takers an idea of the format and style of the questions.

Here are two sample questions:

Question 1

In analyzing the short-term liquidity of a firm, many analysts prefer to use the quick (or acid test) ratio rather than the current ratio. The primary reason for this preference is that the:

  1. quick ratio excludes accounts receivable.
  2. current ratio includes marketable securities that may be mispriced.
  3. pro-forma cash flow statements focus on cash only.
  4. conversion of inventory into cash is less reliable.

Correct answer: D.

Question 2

At the conclusion of a capital budgeting project, a piece of equipment is expected to be sold for $500,000. At the time of sale, the book value of the equipment would be $400,000. If the income tax rate is 35%, what is the after-tax cash flow from the sale of the machine?

  1. $325,000.
  2. $400,000.
  3. $465,000.
  4. $535,000.

Correct answer: C.

$500,000 – ($500,000 – $400,000) x .35 = $465,000

Free Certified Management Accounting Practice Test [PDF]

To make sure that you’re well-prepared for your CMA exam, I’ve included this free Certified Management Account practice test as a PDF that you can download and practice taking before you tackle the real deal.

Go through the test slowly and methodically, taking note of the format and paying close attention to any weaknesses and strengths that become apparent. Use these results to figure out how you can improve, and where you should be focusing your efforts.

Click here to download

At CMA Exam Academy, we work with thousands of students every year. Part of our approach to test readiness involves offering all our students unlimited access to practice tests and CMA practice questions. Our course (and any good CMA exam review course) includes an exhaustive CMA test question bank, which is also available as a stand-alone resource. Using both the individual, categorized questions themselves and full-length timed CMA practice tests is a winning recipe for success.

Of course, knowing these are important but doesn’t mean you can afford to spend endlessly for them. If you want as much variety and the greatest exposure to test concepts and possible test questions, you should look into additional, free CMA practice materials. And we can help with that.

Want a free CMA practice test in person? All CMA Exam Academy students receive a FREE Prometric CMA Test Drive at a nearby test center.

All of the CMA study materials we provide are authored by experts to create the right level of challenge, accurately reflecting what you’ll encounter on the exam. In other words, we understand the underlying logic and concepts that are foundational to the structure and setup of the CMA exam.

With that knowledge, we present concepts to you in a straightforward way, arming you with as many tools and tactics as possible to help you succeed on test day. Our test bank platform includes features to simulate the timed environment model of the real thing.

What’s even more important to your success is that many questions in our test bank are official CMA exam questions, retired from past years’ exams.

All of this means our students enjoy a more than 90% CMA exam pass rate, compared to the global average pass rate of 45%. Taking the time to write practice tests may seem tedious, but it’s the best way to prepare yourself for how hard the CMA exam is.

Read on to learn more about how a Certified Management Accountant practice test can benefit you, along with more free CMA resources to jump-start your journey toward this exciting career.

Certified Management Accountant Practice Test Benefits

Certified Management Accountant Practice Test Benefits

CMA practice tests are important at every stage of your studies. Because the CMA exam is divided into Part 1 and Part 2, covering a broad range of subject matter, it can be tempting to compartmentalize. A practice test grounds you, reminding you that even though you’re working with a lot of material, there is a limited amount you’ll really have to know and apply on test day.

Here are some more benefits to taking CMA practice tests:

Highlighting Your Weaknesses

Taking practice tests at the beginning and throughout your studies is going to shine a spotlight on the stuff you don’t know or aren’t good at. This is super important.

Many candidates have already met the CMA certification requirements, or are in the process. You may be well-versed in a few areas that may relate to your degree or job experience.

But it’s the areas in which you’re naturally weak that you really need to put in some time and effort to improve. A practice test will make it abundantly clear where you need to concentrate your efforts.

Confirming Your Strengths

This may sound paradoxical, but in addition to showing you where you’re weak, a practice test can show you where you’re strong. You may have experience with financial reporting or investment decisions, but a practice test will make it clear whether or not you’ll be able to answer detailed questions under pressure.

It may be that your strengths show up in unexpected areas. As you better learn yourself, you’ll be able to tailor your CMA studies so you spend the right amount of time on the right things.

Practicing the Actual CMA Exam Format

This may sound like a no-brainer, but the CMA exam isn’t just about regurgitating facts or memorization. There are distinct skills that you’re going to spend a lot of time working on.

One of those skills is test-taking. How you perform on the test isn’t always an exact correlation to your knowledge.

You need to be sure that you can do well in a pressurized environment and when asked things in a very specific way. Practice tests help you with that, giving you the opportunity to hone that unique skill so you’re as prepared as possible for the format outlined in IMA’s CMA Handbook.

Illustrating Test Readiness with Certified Management Accountant Practice Tests

I recommend that you study for the CMA exam for 16 weeks per part. At the end of the day, you need to strike while the iron is hot. Some subjects you study will be packed into short-term memory. All of the skills you develop will be most ready at a certain point.

Practice tests can showcase that tipping point, letting you know when you are truly ready to take the CMA exam. Our test bank includes a metric called PassRate, which measures your performance over time to indicate when you’re test-ready.

More Free CMA Resources

More Free CMA Resources and sample questions

Preparing for the CMA exam is an investment. Like any other investment you make in your professional life, it will cost time and money. It’s important that you spend strategically, and not more than you have to.

To make sure our programs are accessible, CMA Exam Academy offers an easy payment plan option. This is aimed to help you take advantage of our study tools and programs, so you can pass the exam and start your CMA career.

Here are some free CMA resources from us that you can check out now:

If you haven’t already, download the multiple-choice questions CMA practice test below.

Click here to download

The CMA Exam Academy Blog is chock-full of awesome advice, tips, and test-taking strategies that are going to help you do well on the test.

My CMA Coach YouTube channel offers tons of helpful videos that include titles like CMA Exam Secrets and a CMA Study Plan for Working Professionals.

Check out my LinkedIn – Nathan Liao, CMA Coach, where I share free infographics on various accounting and finance topics.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan Liao

Hi, I’m Nathan Liao (aka the CMA Coach)! For the last 10 years, over 82,000 accounting and finance pros came knocking at my door seeking guidance and help. If you’re also aiming to conquer the CMA exam on your very first try—without wasting away time or money—you’ve found your ultimate guide. Dive in deeper to discover more about me and the dedicated team that powers CMA Exam Academy. Click here and let’s embark on this journey together!

10 Comments on “CMA Sample Questions to Kick Off Your Exam Prep”

  1. Hi Sir,
    I’m preparing CMA exams for December 2023 Attempt. So i want to download your Free PDF for scoring good marks and better understanding for each concepts. Kindly accept my request.

    1. Sure thing, Swathi. You can get a copy of my Cheat Sheet and also sign up for my free video training for more CMA exam study strategies via this link ?


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