CMA Test Questions Explained
Exams can be stressful. When you’re under a time crunch and there’s a ton of material to cover, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Particularly with CMA multiple choice questions.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t love exams that are designed with multiple choice questions. Sometimes being able to see potential answers makes you second guess yourself and you end up choosing the wrong answer.
Unfortunately, if you plan on earning your Certified Management Accounting certification, you cannot avoid them. Each part of the exam is comprised of 100 CMA multiple choice questions and you have to get at least 50% of them correct to even move on to the essay questions.
Don’t worry though. I’ve got a few helpful tips and suggestions to help you navigate the MCQ portion of the exam.
CMA Exam Format
The CMA exam is made up of 100 multiple choice questions, as well as an essay section. Candidates are given 2 essay scenarios with 4 to 6 questions in each scenario, but in order to make it to the essay section they must first get at least 50% on the MCQ portion.
All CMA questions are computer based. For MCQ this means selecting the correct answer and the essay section is written using a word document program similar to Notepad.
For each MCQ you will be given a question and 4 options to choose from. It goes without saying that you must read the question carefully before selecting your answer, but there are a few more things you can do to boost your chances of passing the exam.
Taking a CMA Practice Exam
One of the best ways to prepare for the CMA exam is to take a practice test, containing realistic CMA sample
questions. (In many cases, these may be pulled from prior versions of the test from previous years.)
This can help you get a much better feel for what CMA test questions are like, and where your strengths and weaknesses currently lie. You can often find a full free CMA practice test that you can take, or smaller sets of CMA sample questions.
You can also find copies of CMA past papers with answers, helping you see how other people passed the test. (This can be especially helpful for essay questions.)
One of the best ways to access materials like these is to take a review course. (Check out my Best CMA Review Course Comparison Guide for more info on how to do this.)
Strategies for Crushing CMA Multiple Choice Questions
Here are a few tips and strategies you can use when doing exam prep and on the big day.
Analyze Every Question
One of the biggest mistakes candidates make when working through practice questions is that they don’t take the time to read the question properly. In order to answer questions effectively you will need to break it down into important information and non-essential details.
If it’s easier, write down the important information so you can use it to help you separate out the answer choices.
Watch the Clock
Three hours may seem like a lot of time to answer 100 CMA multiple choice questions, but it will fly by quickly.
It’s imperative that you put your time management skills to use so you don’t run out of time.
Aim for 90 seconds per question and don’t get hung up on questions that you feel totally stumped on. If you stick to this time frame you should have 30 minutes at the end of your exam to review your answers or go back and complete questions you missed before.
There is no better way to practice your time management skills than by using free cma test banks or a solid CMA review course and timing yourself.
The key is to not get hung up on complicated questions. You do have the ability to skip ahead so answer the easier ones first and then go back through the entire section and tackle the harder ones.
Remember, all questions carry the same weight in points so you want to answer as many as possible before losing precious time. Trying to figure out one tough question may mean potentially missing out on the opportunity to answer easier ones where you could have easily earned the point.
Be Mindful of Negatives
There is nothing more aggravating than negatively phrased sentences. More than any other question, ones featuring negative words make you second guess yourself.
You will absolutely find cma multiple choice questions like these on the exam. Three of the answers will be truer than the fourth, but the featured negative word will make it stand out more.
Here is an example of a negatively worded MCQ:
- Which of the following is not true in regards to working capital?method of financing international trade?
- All of the following examples of financing international trade are true except…
Being aware of this will help you avoid falling for this sneaky tactic.
There Is Only One Right Answer
Speaking of answers that are “truer”, it is equally important to remember that there is always only ONE correct answer.
While some answers may appear to be true, there will only ever be one that is a completely true statement. Weed away answer selections that are not wholly true and this will help you make the right choice.
Make An Educated Guess
As I said earlier, you will never get negative points for choosing the wrong answer. If you find that you are running out of time, do your best to make an educated guess on all remaining questions.
More than anything, don’t let unfamiliar questions affect your confidence. You will without a doubt come across questions that you don’t recognize or ones that feel completely foreign to you.
For example, the ICMA includes 10 “test” questions in each exam that are not scored. These are completely new questions and the reason they are not scored is because the ICMA wants to gather information on whether or not it is actually a good question. If results come back positively, these not scored test questions will be added to future exams as actual marked questions.
Like I said above, don’t get stuck on difficult questions. Skip ahead and answer as many “easy” ones as possible and then come back and tackle harder ones. Make your best guess and move on.
By letting questions like these shatter your confidence, it will affect the rest of your exam performance.
CMA Exam Parts
Part 1 covers financial reporting, planning, performance, and control. Part 2 covers financial decision making.
Earning your certified management accounting (CMA) certification – or any professional certification for that matter, is meant to be difficult. You have to work hard to learn the material and be able to apply it in real situations in your CMA career.
If you are planning a career in financial accounting and strategic management then becoming a CMA may be the right path. Just remember it will require a lot of studying, but I promise you it is worth it.
Hopefully my MCQ strategies and exam hacks can help you crush it. If you have any more questions on the multiple choice or essay section, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comment section below.