THE CGMA PROGRAM FOR AICPA MEMBERS
Skip to main content
Powered By AICPA CIMA AICPA CIMA

Program

Eligibility

Exam

Apply for the Designation

The CGMA Program is a learning journey, and while on it, you’ll learn the skills it takes to become a more strategic, confident and insightful leader.

It guides you to developing the management attributes needed to influence groups and guide business decisions within your organization, all while progressing toward the end-goal of obtaining the CGMA designation.

You’ve got the insight. Now make an impact.



The CGMA Program: Learning Pathway bundle is the one-click solution that includes all the learning resources you need to progress through the Program, plus the cost of one exam sitting. It’s an end-to-end experience that not only fulfills your yearly CPE requirements, but also firmly moves you along the pathway toward earning the CGMA designation.


The learning pathway bundle components include:

  • CGMA Strategic Management Accounting Self-study
    Starting with a top view of the enterprise, this set of self-study courses guide you on a path from the development of an organizational strategy to the challenges of implementation (37 courses, over 50 hours of CPE).
  • CGMA Strategic Management Accounting: Video Summary
    This is a high-level complement to the self-study courses above. Key program areas including enterprise strategy development and implementation, corporate financial strategy, and governance and risk management are explained in this module.
  • CGMA Exam — Video Review Course
    Through assigned tasks, graded responses, and suggested solutions, this course equips you with the resources and a strategy for passing the CGMA case study exam.
  • Harvard ManageMentor
    As an added bonus, this purchase affords you free access to Harvard ManageMentor, a collection of skill-building resources that combine the latest in thinking and proven practices.
  • CGMA Exam Voucher
    Exam fees also are included in the bundle. You will be assigned a voucher code to use when registering for the exam with Pearson VUE.

To register or learn more, visit AICPAStore.com/CGMAProgram.

The CGMA exam is an integrated, comprehensive strategic case ctudy that assesses the competencies required in today's business environment. Candidates are required to apply theoretical and practical knowledge to a real-world scenario in order to demonstrate their ability to guide business decisions. Learn more below.

Exam format | CGMA for a day | Exam tutorial | Results and grading| Past Exams & Answers


Exam format

The CGMA exam is a computerized case study examination that tests your readiness to apply management accounting knowledge in real-world business situations. It assesses theoretical knowledge, but, more importantly, tests your ability to apply that knowledge in an open-ended format.


You will be given a data set and industry information about a hypothetical organization seven weeks in advance of your testing date. This advance, or “pre-seen,” material will be available to download up until the last day of the exam window.


During the three-hour exam, you will be presented with three to five tasks related to the business case. Along with the tasks, new information may be provided that will change the business scenario and will require you to adapt your answer. Each task must be answered fully in the allotted time, which will be displayed on the screen.

Learn about the unique case study format in this video overview.


Download the CGMA Program Handbook for more information:

Back to top


CGMA for a Day
Experience the unique format of the exam, and live a day in the life of a CGMA designation holder before you register. "CGMA for a Day" is an immersive, interactive tool that puts you in the management accounting hot seat and provides a high-level feel for the format of the CGMA exam. This simulation allows you to familiarize yourself with the tasks within the exam and complete them in about a half-hour.

 

See if you have what it takes at CGMAforaDay.org.

Back to top


Exam tutorial

The exam tutorial demonstrates the full functionality of the exam. It explains how to answer the various questions/item types, and how to navigate through the exam. The exam tutorial is available in several formats on the Pearson VUE web page.

Back to top


Results and grading

Exams are graded by vetted management accounting experts. Results will be sent within approximately five weeks of taking the exam. A demonstration of how examiners will grade the case study will be available before the first exam window.

Back to top


Past Exams & Answers

Explore past exams to understand the types of tasks you will be asked to respond to during the exam. You can also view sample answers, how the exams are graded in the Marking Guidance documents, and common trends amongst responses in the Examiner’s Report.

Back to top

How to register | Exam deadlines and fees | Testing centres |Special accommodations


How to register

 

To start the exam registration process, either click the button below to complete the online form or call AICPA at the number below.

Back to top


Exam deadlines and fees

The CGMA exam fee is $325, payable at the time of scheduling and registration.


The CGMA exam will be available four times a year during five-day testing windows. You must register before the registration deadline for each testing window, as outlined below. Exams can only be booked for the next available window or the one immediately succeeding. Please refer to the below registration windows schedule:

 

Registration
Windows

Registration
Deadlines

Testing
Windows

 May 11 - November 7, 2016    
 November 7, 2016
 November 22-26, 2016
August 10, 2016 – February 6, 2017 February 6, 2017  February 21 – 25, 2016 
 November 11, 2016 – May 8, 2017  May 8, 2017    
May 23 – 27, 2017
 February 2 – August 7, 2017
August 7, 2017  August 22 – 26, 2017 
May 5 – November 6, 2017   November 6, 2017
 November 21 – 25, 2017


Exams cannot be rescheduled once the registration window has closed.


The exam fee is fully refundable up until the registration deadline for the testing window. Once this deadline has passed, the exam fee is non-refundable.

Back to top


Testing centres

The CGMA exam is administered by Pearson VUE, which has more than 5,100 testing centres worldwide, including more than 2,000 in the United States. During the registration process, you can select the location that is most convenient for you.


You must present two forms of identification at the testing centre on the day of your exam.


One of the following is required as a primary form of identification:

  • Current valid passport (recommended)
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Government-issued identification card

You will also be required to present a second form of identification with your full name and signature (e.g., a signed debit or credit card). No other forms of identification will be accepted.


View this brief video about what to expect at the testing centre the day of the exam.

Back to top


Special accommodations

If you have a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act and would like to request special testing accommodations, please mention your request when you call to register. Click here for more information regarding special testing accommodations and required documentation.

Back to top

Competency Building | Exam Strategy | Practice | CGMA Exam Handbook


The CGMA exam is a unique, strategic case study that assesses theoretical knowledge, and— more importantly—tests your ability to apply that knowledge in an open-ended format. To properly prepare for the CGMA exam, there are three phases of learning: competency building, exam strategy and practice. Assess your level of knowledge in each of these phases and plan your learning accordingly. The components of each phase are as follows:

Competency Building

Strategic Management Accounting
This course is comprised of 37 modules of on-line self-study that provide more than 50 CPE credit hours. Topics include enterprise strategy, corporate financial strategy, and governance and risk management. It is an essential resource for CGMA exam candidates.

Strategic Management Accounting Video Summaries

This course is a series of pre-recorded videos that provide an overview of the major components in the Strategic Management Accounting self-study course. The purchase price also includes access to live Q&A sessions with the instructors in the videos prior to the CGMA exam.

Harvard ManageMentor
Harvard ManageMentor is an online skill-building tool that combines the latest in thinking and proven practices from Harvard Business Publishing’s world-class experts. It offers a rich variety of relevant, practical content on 44 of the most important business, leadership and management topics. In addition to being a useful resource for exam candidates, CGMA members continue to have access as a lifelong learning benefit.
Back to top




Exam Strategy

CGMA Exam Preparation Review Courses
The AICPA offers both Live and Virtual Review Courses to help you prepare for the CGMA exam:
  • The Live Exam Preparation Review Courses are typically offered before every testing window and are moderated by Adrian D. Sims, MBA/MCIM, one of the leading instructors for the CGMA exam. The moderator reviews the themes and issues that will be covered in the upcoming exam, teaches the skills and competencies needed to provide compelling responses and instructs on test-taking tactics and strategies. Candidates who complete the course are eligible for 18 hours of CPE. Highly recommended for CGMA exam candidates.
  • The Virtual Exam Preparation Course leads you through a structured methodology for how to prepare for and pass the CGMA exam. It includes three mock exams that are individually graded—an essential tool for CGMA exam candidates. The virtual course is not eligible for CPE.

CGMA Exam – Case Study Guide
This printed guide is designed to provide you with an understanding of the CGMA exam using proven study techniques and examples from the practice exam. It is most useful when used in conjunction with the free practice exam.
Back to top




Practice
All practice resources are complimentary and can be accessed at any time.

Practice exam
A free practice exam is available to help you gain familiarity with the key features, format and types of questions that will be asked on the case study exam. You may take the practice exam as many times as you wish.

Past Exams & Answers
These are actual exam questions and answers from past sittings that include pre-seen materials, exam questions, scoring guides, sample answers and remarks from the examiner. The past exams and answers are an essential tool to help you prepare for the CGMA exam.

Pre-seen Materials
The pre-seen materials for the upcoming CGMA exam can be accessed here. This material provides information about a fictitious organization based upon a real life business or industry and is the basis of the exam.
Back to top




CGMA Exam Handbook
To learn more about the CGMA Body of Knowledge, format of the exam, study tips and how it is graded, download the CGMA Exam Handbook here.



The CGMA exam is graded based on the four knowledge areas of the CGMA Competency Framework plus integration of that knowledge in the case study. Each of the knowledge areas account for 21-23% of the total score, and integration counts for about the remaining 9%.


Back to top

Exam information | Preparation| Exam scheduling | Designation requirements | Exam results


Exam information
Q. What makes this exam unique?
A. The CGMA exam is a comprehensive strategic case study that assesses the management accounting skills and competencies required by today’s businesses, as defined by the CGMA Competency Framework. The Framework was developed and validated through extensive employer research and reflects the real needs of the market.


In this case study format, you will have to combine and synthesize knowledge and learning across multiple subjects. The exam tests your readiness to deliver insights and recommendations in real-world business situations. It tests theoretical knowledge, but, more importantly, it tests your ability to apply that knowledge to demonstrate competence in guiding business decisions.

The computerized format will test competencies in a way that takes advantage of improvements in technology and reflects changes in the workplace. The approach allows for testing of a wide range of knowledge and skills including research and analysis, how to present information and communication.


Q: What can I expect to happen during the exam? What is the format of the exam?
A. The exam is based on real-world case studies, requiring you to answer open-ended questions. You are given a data set and industry information about a hypothetical organization seven weeks in advance of the exam (example: a toy company with operations in the United States and four other countries).

The current case study (referred to as the "pre-seen materials") will also be accessible electronically during the exam. No outside materials, such as printed pages or notes, are allowed in the testing centre. During the three-hour exam, you will be presented with three to five tasks related to the business case. Along with the tasks, new information may be provided that will change the business scenario and will require you to adapt your answer. Each task must be answered fully in the allotted time, which will be displayed on the screen.


Q. When can members take the exam?
A. The CGMA exam is offered during four test windows per year, approximately three months apart. Please refer to the Register section  for testing windows and registration deadlines.


Q. How does it differ from the CPA Exam?
A. The CGMA exam differs from the CPA Exam in both purpose and format. The CPA Exam tests the knowledge and skills required to become a newly licensed U.S. CPA. The CGMA exam tests the broad range of skills and competencies that employers require of management accountants, as specified in the CGMA Competency Framework.


The format of the exams is also different. The CGMA exam is one integrated, overarching case study. The Uniform CPA Exam is a four section, 14-hour test consisting of multiple-choice questions, short cases called task-based simulations, and essay responses, all of which directly test content specified in the Uniform CPA Examination Content Specification Outline (CSO). The CGMA exam requires candidates to incorporate, analyse and synthesize the knowledge, skills and competencies found in the CGMA Competency Framework into long form, written answers.


Q: How does it differ from previous CIMA exams?
A: CIMA has changed the way it assesses the competencies laid out in the updated 2015 Professional Qualification Syllabus (based on the CGMA Competency Framework), taking advantage of improvements in technology, and its role in educating the younger generation, and reflecting changes in the workplace. It has pioneered a new assessment process that includes a combination of computerized assessments and case studies to examine its syllabus. Each subject will be assessed not only by an objective test, but also by an integrated case study which combines the knowledge and learning across the three pillars at each level of the syllabus.


Q. Is the exam computer-based? Do you go to a testing site?
A. Yes, it is computerized, and you must take the exam at a testing centre. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE, which has more than 5,100 test centres worldwide, including more than 2,000 in the United States. You will have the option to choose a convenient exam location when you register.


Q. Is the CGMA exam offered globally?
A. Yes. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE, which has over 5,000 test centres in 178 countries.


Q. Is the exam the same in each country?
A. The specific case study and the pre-seen material will be the same globally for a given testing window, but test forms (the actual tasks and additional information provided during the exam) will vary.


Q. In which languages will the exam be offered?
A. The CGMA exam is currently only offered in English. The exam materials and tasks are composed in British English, but there is no penalty for writing your responses in American English, or other English dialects.

Back to top


Preparation
Q: How can I prepare for the exam?
A. Pre-seen materials will be available to download seven weeks before the start of the exam window. These materials will be available during the exam and will consist of:

  • A business scenario with background information
  • Multiple documents with information relevant to the business problem

If you register for the exam less than seven weeks before your test date, the pre-seen material will be available for download immediately.


You also have access to the practice exam and the exam tutorial.


Q. What constitutes a good answer?
A. A strong response demonstrates mastery of each of the four competencies: core accounting skills, business skills, leadership, and people skills. To pass, you must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Effectively communicate to different groups of primary stakeholders
  • Research and synthesize large amounts of data efficiently
  • Make decisions and provide recommendations at a strategic level
  • Generate insight from business data, giving appropriate consideration to risks and financial aspects, and
  • Understand complex, global business situations

Back to top


Exam scheduling
Q: Can an exam sitting be rescheduled?
A: Yes. You may reschedule an exam booking any time the exam window is open (prior to the registration deadline, which is two weeks before the exam window). There is no limit to how many times you may reschedule an exam.


Q: Can an exam sitting be cancelled?
A: You may cancel a booked exam without penalty up until the registration deadline two weeks before your scheduled exam. Exam fees are non-refundable after the registration deadline.


Q: Can the exam be re-taken?
A: You may re-take the exam as many times as necessary in order to pass. However, the exam can be taken only one time per exam window (i.e., four times per year). You must receive completed exam scores before re-registering to take the exam again. The same exam fees apply each time you take the exam. If you do not show up for a booked exam sitting, the exam fee is non-refundable.

Back to top


Designation requirements
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. Any AICPA member is eligible to take the exam, but you must also meet an experience requirement to become a CGMA designation holder. You are likely to perform better on the exam with some experience, but do not need to meet an experience requirement before taking the exam.


Q. Are passing candidates retested?
A. Passing candidates don’t have to retake the exam. To maintain the designation, dues and AICPA regular membership requirements must be kept up to date.


Q. What are dues for the CGMA designation?
A. Annual dues for the designation are $170 for AICPA members and $120 for AICPA members who are also members of their state society.

Back to top


Exam results
Q. How is the exam scored?
A. Exams are graded by management accounting experts vetted by CIMA. Results are to be released to test takers approximately four weeks after taking the exam.
Q. What is a passing grade?
A. A passing grade requires two achievements:
  • Earn at least 80 of the available 150 points, and
  • Earn either a moderate or strong rating on each of 4 competencies plus integration skills.  The 4 competencies are:
    - Technical Skills
    - Business Skills
    - People Skills
    - Leadership Skills

Q. If I do not pass the exam, can I take it again?

A. Yes, but only once per testing window. If needed, you could take the test four times per year, once in each quarter.

Back to top


Designation Eligibility

To qualify for the CGMA designation through the AICPA, you must be a regular member of the AICPA, pass the CGMA exam and have a minimum of three years relevant, work-based, practical management accounting experience.


Eligible AICPA members must attest they meet the experience requirements when applying to obtain the CGMA designation:

  • Minimum 36 months of relevant management accounting experience, as defined by the CGMA Competency Framework.
    • Range of experience across at least four (4) competencies in the Technical and Business Skills knowledge areas, with a minimum of one (1) per area.
    • Depth of experience with a minimum of 18 months at the Intermediate (or higher) proficiency level as defined in the CGMA Competency Framework.
  • Demonstrated work-based experience in competencies from the Leadership or People Skills knowledge areas.

For detailed descriptions of qualifying competencies, please refer to the complete CGMA Competency Framework.




Cost of the Designation

For AICPA members who have passed the CGMA exam and meet the practical experience requirements, the final step in becoming a CGMA designation holder is to submit the application and pay the respective designation fee.


Annual dues are $170.

AICPA members who also carry a state society membership receive a yearly discount of $50, making annual dues with a state society membership $120.




Maintaining the Designation

To maintain your CGMA designation, you must remain a member of the AICPA in good standing and pay the annual fee for the designation.


Continuing professional education (CPE) is required for CPAs to maintain their professional competence and provide quality professional services.  You are responsible for complying with all applicable CPE requirements, rules and regulations of state boards of accountancy, as well as those of the AICPA. 


There are no additional requirements for CGMA designation holders.  Learn more about the relevance and value of continuing professional development here.




Applying for the Designation

If you’ve passed the CGMA exam and meet the practical experience requirements, the final step in becoming a CGMA designation holder is to submit your application and pay the respective designation fee. 

Please visit the designation application page for more information and to apply today.