CMA Exams- A Complete Guide for You!

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The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICMAI) holds CMA exams for all three level namely foundation, intermediate and final twice in a year. Once in the month of June and Once in the month of December. A candidate pursuing CMA certification is required to clear all these exams. In this article we will go through the eligibility criteria for sitting in these exams, how to register, the fee structure and exam pattern. 

Table of Content

  1. Who is eligible for CMA exam?
  2. How to apply for CMA exams?
  3. Exams form fees.
  4. CMA exam preparations & pattern
  5. CMA online exam procedure


Who is eligible for CMA Exams?

CMA Foundation

Eligibility Criteria to register for CMA foundation course is as follows:

  • The Candidate should have passed Class 10 or equivalent from a recognized board or institution
  • or, should have passed Senior Secondary School Examination under the 10+2 format from a recognized board or an examination recognized by the Central Government of the country.
  • or, should have passed the National Diploma in Commerce Examination organized by the All India Council for Technical Examination or by any state board of Technical Education, under the authority of the said All India Council.
  • or, should have achieved the Diploma in Rural Service Examination conducted by the National Council of Higher Education.

CMA Intermediate

A student is eligible to appear in CMA intermediate exam only after fulfilling the following conditions:

  1. Successfully passing CMA foundation Course
  2. Successful completion of Oral/Postal coaching
  3. Successful completion of skill training
  4. Successful submission of exam application form on or before exam specified due dates.

CMA Final

A student is eligible to appear in CMA Final exam only after fulfilling the following conditions:

  1. Successful completion of CMA intermediate course (both groups)
  2. Successful completion of Oral/Postal coaching
  3. Successful completion of 15 months Practical Training
  4. Successful Submission of Exam Application Form on or before Exam specified due dates.

How to Apply for CMA Exams

  • When to apply :  Admission for the ICMAI course is open throughout the year. Students desires to appear for June Term Examination should apply before 31st January of that year and for December Term Examination should apply before 31st July of that year.
  • Where to apply: A students can visit ICMAI’s official website and register themselves in the respective course through their admission portal. you will be required to pay a fee and fill out the application form. 


CMA Exam form fees

CMA examination are held twice in the months of June and December. After registration, before you can sit for the examination, you are required to fill out an exam form and pay an additional fee. 

The CMA application fee in India is:

  • Foundation Course – Rs.1,200/-
  • Intermediate Course (Single group)- Rs.1,200/-
  • Intermediate Course (Both groups)- Rs.2,400/-
  • Final Course (Single group)- Rs.1,400/-
  • Final Course (Both group)- Rs.2,800/-


CMA Exams Preparations & Pattern

We all know that CMA is a professional course and you can achieve success only if practical approach is adopted. If you are planning for mugging out thoroughly the whole night before the exam won’t work. Try to make proper time table for your studies and ensure that you are implementing the time table. Make such a schedule for preparation that you can easily allocate 2-3 hours to each subject. Keep changing your time table such that you don’t get bored of following same schedule. Make sure that you refer to only those study materials by the institute.

CMA FOUNDATION EXAM PATTERN: The entrance exam for CMA is held twice a year both in the month of June and December. The Foundation Examination for CMA will consist of multiple choice questions (MCQ) and will be conducted in online mode. There are 2 sessions Morning and Afternoon. Morning session contains paper 1 & 2. Afternoon session contains paper 3 & 4.

The Syllabus for Foundation Course is :

  • Paper1- Fundamentals of Economics and Management
  • Paper2 – Fundamentals of Accounting
  • Paper3 – Fundamentals of Laws and Ethics
  • Paper4 – Fundamentals of Business Mathematics & Statistics

CMA INERMEDIATE PATTERN: The exam duration is 3 hours. The candidates appearing in the CMA Inter exam should go through the exam pattern for preparing a definite exam strategy.

The Syllabus for Intermediate Course is:

Group 1:
  • Paper5 – Financial Accounting
  • Paper6 – Law and Ethics
  • Paper7 – Direct Taxation (DTX)
  • Paper8 – Cost Accounting (CA)
Group 2:
  • Paper9 – Operation Management & Strategic management (OMSM)
  • Paper10 – Cost and Management Accounting, Financial Management
  • Paper11 – Indirect Taxation
  • Paper12 – Company Accountant and Audit

CMA FINAL EXAM PATTERN: The exam duration is 3 hours. Number of questions is 120 in each paper.

Syllabus for CMA Final Exam:

Group 3:
  • Paper13 – Corporate Law & Compliance
  • Paper14 – Strategic Financial Management (SFM)
  • Paper15 – Strategic Cost Management- Decision Making
  • Paper16 – Direct Tax Laws and International Taxation
Group 4:
  • Paper17 – Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Paper18 – Indirect Tax Laws and Practice (ITP)
  • Paper19 – Cost and Management Audit (CMAD)
  • Paper20 – Strategic Performance Management and Business Valuation


CMA online exam procedure

ICMAI was already planning to take the CMA exams online by the year 2021 or 2022, but as we know that all of a sudden the wave of covid-19 hit the world in 2020, as a result of which they had to expedited the process and rolled out online testing capability in 2020 itself.

The advantages of online exams according to the institute are:

  • Firstly, we know that online exams have been convenient for students particularly in Covid time.
  • Meanwhile, it also helps in standardization of marking and removal of human error which means the risk of wrong marking by human evaluators and difference in marks allotted by different evaluators will be minimized because majority of the exam is objective type.
  • Timely result – Due to quick declaration of result, a student can save 6 months’ time while going from Foundation to Inter and Inter to Final.
  • The exams are more secured because of double proctoring – human and remote
  • Exam paper remains secret and there’s no chance of paper leaking.
  • The paper will be different for all students.
  • Students can take the exam from their home and save the travel time and additional time spent at the centres.
  • Anyone can take the exam from anywhere even if there are no centres available in their hometown or nearby towns

The paper pattern will be same as the offline exams, only adapted to the online mode. And yes, there will be step marking.


  • Objective type questions as they appear in offline exams like MCQs, match the columns, fill in the blanks and true or false are retained without any change in the online exams. In the Costing paper shared by the officials as an example, the entire Section A worth 25 marks, comprising of the objective type questions, was retained.
  • For practical questions, the steps that you had to solve in the offline exams are made as separate questions with 4 options each in the online mode.
  • Total of 9 marks were allotted to this question. You didn’t know how the marks were split up and how many marks you would get for solving each individual question.
  • In addition, the online version of this question remains almost exactly the same except that it consists of four multiple choice questions worth 2 marks each.

In conclusion, the only difference between offline and online modes is that you get to select your answer from 4 options and at the same time the marks for each smaller question are clearly marked (2 marks each).

Looking For CMA Study Material?

Click now for CMA Foundation material-

CMA Foundation Study Material!

Click now for CMA Inter study material-

CMA Inter Study Material: How to Get Results

Click now for CMA Final study material-

CMA Final Study Material: Everything You Require