CMA Exam Results – Interpret Your Score

CMA Exam Results

Once you’ve taken the CMA exam, the nail-biting may not quite be over. The average length of time it takes to receive results is over a month. Over the course of those weeks, you’ll simply have to wait to know if you’re ready to progress with work experience and other steps to becoming certified.

In the meantime, it’s worthwhile to brush up on your understanding of how the CMA exam is scored. This will ensure that the second your results are in, you know what you’re looking at and what it means.

Read on to get all of the info you need to understand your CMA exam results.

What’s the Highest Score on the CMA Exam?

CMA Exam Results and Score

To pass the CMA exam, you must score at least 360 out of 500, or 70% overall between the multiple-choice questions and the essays. The scores are scaled to ensure fairness and consistency for all candidates. If you fail the CMA exam, you can examine your performance in each topic area using a performance report from Prometric.

Average CMA Pass Rates

The latest CMA pass rates as reported by the IMA are:

  • 45% for Part One (a 10% increase from previous years)
  • 45% for Part Two (a 5% decrease from previous years)

An average of 4,000 CMA certifications are granted in the U.S. each year.

How is the CMA Score Calculated?

CMA Exam Results and Score

Your work on the CMA exam is weighted equally. That being said, there are different versions of the exam. These vary in difficulty. That is why a raw scoring system is implemented.

In other words, if you receive a more difficult version of the test, 65% may be passing. In a different, easier form, 70% may be passing. Percentages are not as important as your final aggregate number.

What you need to know is:

  1. The exam is graded positively, with no penalties for incorrect answers.
  2. You need to get at least 50% on the multiple-choice questions to proceed to the essays.
  3. You need an overall passing score between the two sections.

Here’s the breakdown of how the CMA score is calculated and how your numbers are crunched:

  • 75% of your grade = multiple-choice questions
    90 of the 100 multiple-choice questions are graded. This is because 10 are presented to create future tests and don’t impact your exam score. How you answer the remaining 90 impacts 75% of your score.
  • 25% of your grade = two essays
    The other 25% of your grade is composed of the two essay sections.

Let’s dive deeper into how each of these two categories impacts your final CMA score.

Important facts about CMA multiple-choice questions

  • All MCQs are equally weighted, meaning whether it’s simple or complex, it counts the same.
  • Incorrect answers do not cause penalties, so your grade doesn’t decrease if you answer wrong.
  • You have to get 50% of the MCQs correct to move onto the essays. If you didn’t get to the essays, you have your answer.

Important facts about CMA essay questions

  • You get points for each correct part of your answer.
  • You don’t lose points for incorrect answers.
  • As you show your work, numerical or equation errors will only be penalized one time.
  • You get zero points for a blank question. Writing something is better than nothing.

CMA Scoring Process

CMA Exam Results and Score

Multiple-choice questions are graded by a computer. This is done according to an algorithm and is an objective process. Unanswered questions are zero as are wrong answers, so it’s worth taking a shot and answering everything.

Essay questions are graded by statisticians with the Prometric center. While these testers follow a scientific process for scoring your answers, it’s important to note that they can interpret your effort in a human way. This means that they can see the logic behind your answers and gauge the level of knowledge you brought to the question.

Knowing this may incentivize test-takers to respond in a different way. Your score will reflect both the accuracy of your content and how well it is organized and articulated.

Go here to read more about the test in the CMA handbook.

When Are CMA Scores Released?

CMA Exam Results and Score

Test results are released a few weeks after your test date. Here is a projection of when you might expect to receive your score:

Test Month, 2022

Score Release Dates (Predicted)


March 15


April 12


June 11


July 12


August 11


September 13


October 12


November 11


December 13

Note: if your CMA exam date is impacted by COVID-19, this could also impact your score release.

What if I Failed the CMA Exam?

CMA Exam Results and Score

There is one way to know immediately that you failed the CMA exam. If you answer less than 50% of the multiple-choice questions wrong, you will not be allowed to proceed to the essay portion of the test.

However, if you do but still receive less than a total of 360 points, you will have failed. First, don’t feel too bad: you’re in good company. Remember that only about 35% of candidates passed part one last year.

If you fail, with your CMA exam results, you will receive a performance report. This can be immensely helpful. The performance report will provide you with a descriptive level that tells you how you did. You will receive feedback that tells you whether you were:

  1. Satisfactory
  2. Marginal
  3. Unsatisfactory

These are listed from best (closest to passing) to worst (low score). The report will indicate your performance in each content area, giving you the perfect guide for your next round of study.

CMA Exam Academy Resources

cma exam academy

Whether or not you passed, CMA Exam Academy has plenty of resources to help you out. If you need coaching to try again, we got you. If you are ready to move on to certification, I can give you info about the next steps.

Just want to get pumped about becoming a CMA? Discover your salary potential as a Certified Management Accountant.


Nathan Liao

Hi, I’m Nathan Liao (aka the CMA Coach)! In the past 8 years, over 37,000 CMA candidates came knocking at my door seeking guidance. And just like them, I’m here to show you how you can pass the CMA exam on your first attempt without wasting money or time. Click here to learn more about me and the awesome team behind CMA Exam Academy.

29 Comments on “CMA Exam Results – Interpret Your Score”

  1. Hi

    I scored 350 in part 2. Failed sadly

    Do you think I should ask for a re-grade? Do you know students who who scored 350 like me and were given a push to 360 when they asked to be reassessed?

    Should I leave it and give exam again or ask for a re-grade thinking I can get lucky ?

    What would you do in my case wo scored 350

  2. Hello.

    My CMA result came and it shows that I’ve passed the exam. The score it’s showing is exact 360. I am finding it very weird that I’ve got exact 360.
    I wanted to know if I’ve been given a ‘push’ here. Exact 360 seems way too odd, that’s why. What are the chances that maybe I got close to 340-350 and they gave me a push? Would be glad to know your opinion on this.

    1. Hi Shubham,

      Congrats on your exam success!

      It is common for candidates to pass the exam with a score of 360.

      The ICMA doesn’t give candidates a “push” to pass the exam. It’s based on merit only.


  3. I got to the essay but my final scored was 340. A couple questions or essay points away. Darn it.

  4. Hi Nathan,

    Your were right, I did pass the exams. Thanks for the guidance. Stay safe

  5. Hi Everyone!

    I was reading the comments and I noted people asking about the percentage on the top of the screen. It means percentage of completion of both MCQs and Essay. So if you finish the MCQs it won’t be 100% because you still have to answer the essay part. The exam is quite user-friendly, you will know which questions you left unanswered in the MCQs. My advise to watch the tutorial carefully so you can use other features helpful for the exam such as highlight and flagging.

    I took the exam last 28th October and I am also awaiting for my results! Good luck, everyone! What matters is you did your best! 😉

  6. Hi Sir,

    I gave my part 2 in October 04 2021, my essay window got opened. but I was unable to answer more quetions due to mix concepts is there any chance to pass

    1. Hi Mohammed,

      In order to get a CMA exam passing score, you need to perform well in both the MCQ and essay sections.

      You do need to get at least 50% of the MCQ correct in order to move on to the essay portion, but if you score significantly higher on the MCQ section than the essay, you can still receive an overall CMA passing rate.


  7. Hi,
    How do I receive the performance report after not passing a CMA part?

    “If you fail, with your CMA exam results, you will receive a performance report. This can be immensely helpful. The performance report will provide you with a descriptive level that tells you how you did. You will receive feedback that tells you whether you were..”

    1. Hi Khaled,

      According to IMA “Performance Reports are sent via email by Prometric on behalf of ICMA. They are emailed approximately 14 days after exam results become available.”


  8. Great article!
    I am a little confused by the notification process. I took part 1 on 10/31/21, the last day of the testing window.

    I did get to the essay questions, so I know I’ve got a shot at making it.

    Will the performance report come 14 days after the exam window closes (Nov 15th ish) or does it come 14 days after the results are released in December?

    Did I read accurately that you only get a performance report if you did not pass?

    Thank you! Great website!

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Thank you.

      Candidates who do not pass will receive a report that indicates their performance on each of the key topic areas on the exam.

      Scores are released 45 days after the exam closes, so mid December in your case. The performance reports are emailed approximately 14 days after exam results become available.

      Let me know if you have any questions left. Rooting for your success!


  9. I passed part 2 but on this part 1 I took, there is an 89% written on the top part of the monitor before I submitted my MCQs, so my fear was maybe I failed to answer and thick mark 11% of the items. But as I checked one by one, I was able to answer all the MCQs. Was there a glitch? Is the % on the monitor your % of completion?.

    1. Hi Katrina,

      The percentage you saw represents the percentage of the MCQ section completed.

      If you made it to the essay, there’s a good chance you passed. Fingers crossed!

  10. I have just done CMA USA part 2 exam on 17th October 2021. I reached essay window, but I found one essay question was very tough, even though I attempted all the parts. Also, I can’t say that I did mcqs very well. Can you tell me how should expect possibility of my result. Your response will be highly appreciated

    1. Hi Haris,

      If you made it to the essay, there’s a good chance you passed. Fingers crossed!

      The scores are based on the difficulty level of the particular exam form. 75% of your overall score will come from the MCQ section and 25% from the essay section. Trust that you’ve done your best 🙂

      I wrote an article where you can read more about exam passing scores: Understanding the CMA Exam Passing Score

      Let me know if you have any questions left.


  11. I took the CMA part 2 exam and was able to reach the essay portion. I was not able to answer only 1 item in the essay. You I got the result, i shows that I Failed. So it is not a guarantee that finishing both MCQ and essay partion will make you past the exam.

    1. Hi Romeo, it’s not guaranteed but it’s usually a good indicator. When you get your performance report, you’ll see which sections need more attention for the next attempt. Wishing you exam success!

    1. There’s a good chance but it’s hard to know with certainty since we don’t know how well you did in the MCQ section. It’s a good sign that you made it to the end of the exam though.

  12. Hello,
    I scored 270 at CMA part 1 exam and was not allowed to pass to the essay questions. Will you please explain to me what happened and how can it be that I scored 270 and still did not get 50% of the MCQs correct?

    1. Hi Adham,

      The ICMA uses a scaled grading system and there are a few factors such as the difficulty level of the exam form which come into play when they calculate a final score per section and for the entire exam.

      There is no definitive answer to what is the minimum percentage of correct answers needed to pass the exam. It may vary widely depending on the difficulty level of the testing form you get.


  13. Dear sir,
    I was given Cma part 2 exam,in my computer screen shown progress report 88%,I don’t get essay portion, sir I want to know about situation , I will wait reasult or not?

    1. Hi Rathod,

      The progress bar you were seeing was most likely showing the percentage of MCQ you had answered. If you didn’t get to the essay section, unfortunately, that’s an automatic fail.

      You’ll receive a performance report showing how you did in each section two weeks after the exam scores are officially released.

      For next steps to help you prepare for the retake, check out this video.

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

      Thank you,

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