How Long to Study for the CMA Exam: Your Ultimate Guide!

How Long to Study for the CMA Exam

Ready to boost your accounting career by earning your CMA but want to know the time commitment it takes to prepare for success?

Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are in high demand due to their expertise in financial management and strategic business decision-making abilities. Companies worldwide recognize the value of CMAs, and the certification can lead candidates to higher salaries and advanced career opportunities.

I earned my CMA over a decade ago and have helped thousands of people just like you successfully study for their CMA exam.

In this blog, I’ll share my insights into how many hours you really need to study for the exam and how to effectively manage your CMA study time.

Rest assured, the rigorous study schedule is worth it!

How Many Hours Do I Study for the CMA Exam?

You’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of study time to pass the CMA exam. On average, I recommend a total of 240-300 hours for each part of the exam. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for at least 15 hours of study time each week for 16 weeks.

The IMA gives candidates up to 3 years to complete and pass both parts of the exam, which is a good indication of the amount of study time required.

Let’s break it down:

  • Average Learners: Most candidates need around 240-300 hours of study time per exam part.
    • Part 1: 240-300 hours over 16-20 weeks
    • Part 2: 240-300 hours over 16-20 weeks
  • Experienced Professionals: If you already have a strong background in accounting and finance, you might need less time.
    • Part 1: Approximately 200-240 hours
    • Part 2: Approximately 200-240 hours
  • Newcomers: If you feel less confident in your learning speed, you might need more time.
    • Part 1: Up to 300 hours
    • Part 2: Up to 300 hours

How Long Does it Take to Study for the CMA Exam?

Converting study hours into weeks or months helps to create a realistic study plan. Let’s look at the math.

If you’re an average learner needing 240 hours in total and planning to study 15 hours per week, you can calculate your study period as follows:

  • Part 1: 240 hours ÷ 15 hours/week = 16 weeks
  • Part 2: 240 hours ÷ 15 hours/week = 16 weeks

This means you can complete your preparation for both parts in about 32-40 weeks, or roughly eight to ten months.

For example, If you plan to take the CMA Part 1 exam in January 2025, starting your studies by September 2024 would give you ample time to prepare, assuming you maintain a consistent study schedule.

CMA Study Time – Choose CMA Exam Academy

While these estimates can provide a solid foundation, your individual study needs may vary. That’s where CMA Exam Academy’s 16-week Accelerator program comes in. My study plan and best study tips can significantly optimize your study time and efficiency.

Our students spend between 8 to 10 hours per week in our program slashing their study time almost in half compared to candidates who self-study.

Successfully earning your CMA certification is a significant milestone in your career. With the right study plan and support, you can pass the exam and advance your professional journey.

If you’re looking to optimize your CMA preparation, my 16-Week Accelerator program offers a comprehensive, guided study schedule that can fast-track your success.

Ready to get started! Leave any questions below, and I’ll answer them ASAP.

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!

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