CMA Exam Changes in 2020

CMA 2020 Exam Changes

Big news in the CMA world — the CMA exam is changing as of January 1, 2020.

That’s right, the ICMA has been working hard to update and improve the CMA exam and will be rolling out the changes at the end of 2019.

Curious about how that affects you if you’re currently studying to take the CMA exam? Read on for all the details.

Why is the CMA Exam Changing?


When the CMA exam was first designed, it’s goal was to test candidates on the information and tools they would need in the current role of management accounting. As the role of CMAs evolved over the years, so too has the exam.

One of the most notable changes in CMA roles has been a reliance on software and technology, specifically in regards to tasks involving number-crunching. The importance of Certified Management Accountants now is more focused on their ability to analyze and report on these numbers.

Simply put, strategic analysis and advising has become more central to the roles of current CMA’s so the new CMA exam will reflect these changes.

What Will Change In 2020

Changes to CMA Exam in 2020

There are going to be several changes to both Part 1 and Part 2 of the CMA exam. Here is a breakdown of the CMA exam changes by part.

CMA Exam Part 1 Changes


Going into 2020, Part 1 will have a new section; Domain F: Technology and Analytics. This section will now make up 15% of the exam coverage and tackle 52 Learning Outcome Statements (LOS).

In order to make room for this new addition, other domains were reduced in size to accommodate this. Domain B: Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting went from 30% to 20%, and Domain D: Cost Management went from 20%t o 15% of the total exam coverage.

Given these changes, it can be concluded that the ICMA is placing greater importance on a CMAs analytical skills and tasks like critical decision making and data reporting will define the CMA more prominently.

Another notable change is that the section on Internal Auditing will be removed. While it is important for CMAs to understand Internal Controls, the ICMA clearly believes that they should be more involved in the management of controls rather than auditing.

Part 1 of the CMA exam will now be known as Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics and be broken down into the following 6 competencies:

  • Cost Management – 15%
  • Internal Controls – 15%
  • Technology and Analytics – 15%
  • External Financial Reporting Decisions – 15%
  • Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting – 20%
  • Performance Management – 20%

CMA Exam Changes Details

CMA Exam Part 2 Changes


Similar to Part 1, Part 2 will now have new content, while some topics will be deleted.

Domain F: Professional Ethics will increase in coverage because of the addition of new content. This domain will now test candidates on new LOSs including groupthink, diversity of thought, ethical leadership and traits of ethical leaders, as well as facilitating payments.

These new inclusions will add 5% more coverage to Domain F increasing it from 10% to 15%.

Though Domain C: Decision Analysis will not have any new LOSs, it will increase in coverage by 5% giving it 25% coverage overall.

To make room for the new LOSs and of course, to focus on the more pertinent skills of CMAs, some content was deleted.

Domain A: Financial Statement Analysis will no longer test on off-balance sheet financing and has been reduced to 20% coverage.

Domain B: Corporate Finance cut out several sections; bankruptcy, tax implications of transfer pricing and the distinction between liquidation and reorganization.

There were no changes to Domain D or E in terms of content, however domain D now makes up 10% coverage rather than 15%.
As stated earlier, the biggest changes were to Domain F as it added several new LOSs and removed sections on “methods to monitor ethical compliance” and “requirements of SOX Section 406 – Code of Ethics for Senior Financial Officers.”

Part 2 of the CMA Exam will now be referred to as Strategic Financial Management and cover the following 6 competencies:

  • Risk Management – 10%
  • Investment Decisions – 10%
  • Professional Ethics – 15%
  • Financial Statement Analysis – 20%
  • Corporate Finance – 20%
  • Decision Analysis – 25%

CMA Exam What Are The Changes

What is Not Changing in 2020?

What is Not Changing about the CMA Exam in 2020

With all the new Learning Outcome Statements, it may seem a bit overwhelming, but there is good news.

Key components of the CMA exam will NOT be changing at all. For example, the CMA exam difficulty, fees, and registration will remain the same. The passing score will be the same, so essentially the structure of the exam will not be impacted, just the content.

The Certified Management Accountant requirements and steps to complete before you can finalize your certification, are also remaining the same.

Take the Exam Before the Changes

Take the CMA Exam before it changes

If you have already been preparing to take the CMA exam I highly recommend you try to pass it before the changes come into effect on January 1, 2020. Here is a list of the CMA exam dates.

The content changes are quite significant and will require you to re-adjust your studying. If you’ve already put in the hours to prepare for sections that will be deleted you will have wasted your time. It is better to test yourself on the knowledge you have already acquired than to try and learn even more new topics.

Most importantly, these changes may cause you to put extra stress on yourself and that can affect your confidence going into the exam.

The good news is you have plenty of time to double down and study in time to earn your CMA certification by the end of 2019’s cma exam testing windows.

CMA Exam Academy’s comprehensive study plan can help you prepare in time to make the final testing window which is September 1 through October 31. In fact, it is designed to help you pass the CMA exam in as little as 6 months. Learn more here.

Avoiding learning new material is obviously one perk of taking the CMA exam before 2020. If you don’t feel like you have enough time to pass both parts one and two before this year is up then I have even more good news for you.

If you have passed one part of the exam you will receive credit for this part of the exam for up to three years. This means you will have 3 years time to complete the second part and then you only need to worry about learning the new material for one Part of the exam, rather than both parts. Simply put, you are not required to take both new versions of the exam if you have already passed one part from the old version.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of buckling down and passing the CMA exam in 2019 is that you will enjoy the perks of having your CMA certification that much sooner!

Certified Management Accountants are in high demand and enjoying higher salaries than their non-certified counterparts. Now is THE time to add this designation to your resume.

It is critical that CMAs have the right skills and knowledge base to do their jobs and these CMA exam changes reflect that goal. As Jeff Thomson, the CEO of the IMA, put it:

“At IMA, we are excited to lead the industry in identifying and publishing critical competencies for the finance and accounting profession […] This work was fully vetted and validated by industry professionals to ensure accuracy and relevancy.”

While the idea of the exam changing may stress you out, just remember that the goal is to best prepare you for your role as CMA in today’s world. The more prepared you are, the greater you will thrive in your new position.

I am excited to see what these CMA exam changes bring. If you are looking for guidance or coaching then I highly recommend checking out my flagship review course, CMA Exam Academy.

With a comprehensive study plan, one-on-one coaching and unparalleled mentorship, I can help you pass the cma exam on your first try.

Learn more about CMA Exam Academy here!

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to hit me up in the comment section below.


More from Nathan

How to Become a CMA in Just Over 6 Months
Why You Should Try CMA Exam Academy vs Other CMA Review Courses
Certified Management Accountant Course

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!

20 Comments on “CMA Exam Changes in 2020”

  1. HI,

    Can you please explain the procedure to apply for CMA . I would like to start up the course this 2020.
    I want the course details and fee structure and within how many months will it take to complete.

    sorry for the inconvenience, i have no support for the guidance.

    1. Hi Vimala,

      Check out here the roadmap to becoming a CMA.

      The first step is to enroll in a CMA review course – if you want to be guided step-by-step through your entire journey and get unlimited coaching support, then I recommend my review course. It provides all the study tools you need to guarantee your exam success.

      By following the weekly program inside my coaching course, you’ll take 4 months to complete each part.

      If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

      Thank you,

    1. Oh, I can only offer coaching support for the US CMA exam, I’m sorry. I’m not familiar with the content of the Indian CMA exam.

  2. Hi
    i have gliem 2016 text books. are they sufficient to cover the old material? and maybe the mew material i can find youtube videos or tutorials.

    However my test bank will be the new one

  3. HI Nathan,

    I plan to take 2020 CMA Textbooks for taking my test in Feb 2020. Will the hard copies be updated for the latest changes in the textbook if I purchase now or will i have to wait further.



    1. Hi Vishnu,

      Our textbooks have already been updated to reflect the 2020 exam changes. You can order the new edition here.

      If you have any other questions, please let me know.


  4. Hi,
    I will be appearing in CMA examination going to be held in June 2020. When i Registered me as an foundation student it shown me that I a registered for the syllabus of 2016.
    Is it well or not.

    1. Hi Prajjwal,

      It sounds like you’re taking the Indian version of the CMA exam. Can you confirm that?

      The US CMA doesn’t have a foundation level.

  5. HI

    I want to take the exam on 5/2020 but I have Hawk 2014 book. Is it permissible to study it?

  6. Hi Nathan,

    I plan to take exam in 2020 and don’t want to study anything that will be removed from exam. Is your current material for 2020?


    1. Hi Saleta, Thanks for dropping a comment here. I believe we already addressed your concerns via email and saw you enroll in the Academy. I look forward to coaching you to exam success in 2020!

  7. Hi Nathan,

    Do you think it is possible to pass both parts of the CMA in the Sept – Oct testing window if I enrolled in your program starting next week? It would be roughly 15 weeks of studying for both parts if exams were scheduled last week of October.

    Thank you,

    1. Hey Ian,

      It’s possible if you can devote a full-time schedule to the courses. Otherwise, I strongly advice you to study one part at a time. The global pass rates are pretty low as it is, that adding another part to the same exam window may decrease your chances of passing.

      The long way is to take one exam per window, but it’ll be worth it in the end. You can take one part in October if you start now, and the second part in January. You’d be done by the beginning of the new year 🙂

  8. Hello, I would like to start now before the changes occur. If I start part 1 now (meaning next week) and take part 1 exam I believe in June and soon after start part 2 and take part 2 exam in September, do you think that’ll be possible? I’m basing my dates on your 12 weeks program. Also, with the new changes and in your opinion which do you think is more challenging the 2019 or the 2020 version?

    1. Hi Ashia,

      If you start by next week you’ll cut it very close but it’s possible. Aside from the 12 weeks I would add another week for final review. It’s totally doable though if you follow the weekly plan we have in the course. Part 1 at the end of June and Part 2 in October is a good plan and attainable.

      My suggestion is to try to pass both parts in 2019. Not because it’s easier, but because we have a history of exam retired questions to practice with. It gives us a good idea of how questions are formulated. For the 2020 exam, no one knows how the questions will look like for the updated sections/topics. We’ll do our best to create questions that may be similar to what you’ll see in your 2020 exam, but we won’t know for sure until later in 2020.

      Please let me know if you have any questions. If you’d like to enroll and study with me, please follow this link:

      Thanks, Nathan

  9. Hi,
    I’d like to start preparing the 2020 Exam directly with the new program. If I buy materials now, would they be adapted for the 2020 Exam? Or if not, would I need to pay again in case they are not updated yet?
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Polina, For as long as your access lasts, you’ll always have access to the most up-to-date material. If you buy materials now, you’ll have access to the updated material for the 2020 exam at no cost 🙂 Thank you, Nathan

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