Questions? Find the answers to frequently asked questions about the CGMA designation.

Overview | Eligibility and Entry Routes | Price | Learning | Case Study Exams | Information for Employers 

Each level of the CGMA program culminates with a Case Study Exam, a unique assessment designed to test your mastery of the critical competencies. The Case Study Exam will challenge you to apply all your knowledge and skills to deliver insights and make decisions in a real-world business situation. The Case Study Exams are administered by Pearson VUE, which offers more than 5,100 testing centers worldwide, including more than 2,000 in the United States, so you can choose the most convenient location for you. The Case Study Exams are administrated during four test windows per year, approximately three months apart.

You must successfully complete any required learning and assessment before you can take the Case Study Exam.  You can schedule the Case Study Exam through your personal dashboard, but you cannot sit for the Case Study Exam until you have successfully completed any requisite learning and assessments.


You may be encouraged to start the CGMA program with the Case Study Exam, if you possess the requisite education and experience.  If your recommended entry route starts with a Case Study Exam, then you are automatically eligible to sit for the next convenient exam date.  It is strongly recommended that you prepare for the Case Study Exam, and review all the exam preparation materials. You are also encouraged to review the CGMA Finance Leadership Program in preparation for the Case Study Exam.

The CGMA Finance Leadership Program is designed to give you all the knowledge and experience you need to prepare for the Case Study Exam.  The CGMA program uses real-world scenarios, so you can understand and apply concepts, tools and frameworks in a business setting. Business Simulation Assessments also throughout the CGMA program also use hypothetical business scenarios to test your ability to perform tasks related to each Competency Area. Your experience applying new knowledge and skills in these real-world scenarios will help prepare you for the challenges you will encounter in the Case Study Exam.


You can also purchase additional resources, materials and support to prepare for the Case Study Exams. Live, virtual on-line exam preparation courses, offering mock exams with individual feedback, group discussions and personal coaching are available from the AICPA and our learning partners. These additional resources are not included the CGMA program.

Each level of the CGMA program culminates with a Case Study Exam, a rigorous assessment designed to test your mastery of critical knowledge and skills, as defined by the CGMA Competency Framework.

The unique Case Study Exam format features a hypothetical scenario, based on a real-world business situation. The case study is designed to see how the complexities of real life influence decisions.

Analyzing a case study requires you to practice applying your knowledge and your thinking skills to a real situation. A case study analysis requires analyzing, applying knowledge, reasoning and drawing conclusions from a hypothetical scenario, based on a real-world business situation. They are designed to test your ability to deliver insights and make decisions in a real-world situation. The exam tests theoretical knowledge, and, more importantly, it tests your ability to apply that knowledge to demonstrate competence in guiding business decisions. The Case Study Exam will challenge you to deliver insights and make decisions in a real-world business situation.

The computerized format will test competencies using advanced technology and reflections from 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. 

The exam is based on real-world case studies, requiring you to answer open-ended questions. Seven weeks prior to the exam, you will receive a data set and industry information about a hypothetical organization (example: a toy company with operations in the United States and four other countries).

The data set and industry information for the 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 center. 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.

Each of the 3 levels of CGMA exam is offered during four test windows per year, approximately three months apart.

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 exams are integrated, overarching case studies, which require completion of underlying learning and assessments.


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, analyze and synthesize the knowledge, skills and competencies found in the CGMA Competency Framework into long form, written answers.

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 upon 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.

Yes, it is computerized, and you must take the exam at a testing center. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE, which has more than 5,100 test centers worldwide, including more than 2,000 in the United States. You will have the option to choose a convenient exam location when you register.

Yes. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE, which has over 5,000 test centers in 178 countries.

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.

The CGMA Case Study Exams are 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.

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.


We also recommend that you complete exam preparation courses included in the CGMA Program, and consider additional case study preparation courses and mock exams.

A strong response demonstrates mastery of each of the four competencies: technical skills, business skills, leadership skills, 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, considering risks and financial aspects, and
  • Understand complex, global business situations

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.

You may cancel a booked exam without penalty up until the registration deadline two weeks before your scheduled exam. Exam fees or credits are non-refundable after the registration deadline.

You may re-take a Case Study Exam as many times as necessary 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 or credit is non-refundable.

Exams are graded by management accounting experts vetted by CIMA. Results are to be released to test takers approximately six weeks after taking the exam.

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

If you do not pass the Case Study Exam, you may retake the exam.  The Case Study Exams are offered four times per year, once in each quarter. You may only sit for the Case Study Exam once per testing window.

Your CGMA program subscription includes 2 credits for each of the Case Study Exams you are required to pass. In other words, you have an extra credit to retake the Case Study Exam, if you need it.  If you want to take the exam, after using your two exam credits, then you can pay the CGMA exam fee during the exam scheduling process. Please note that your exam credits expire when your program subscription expires.

The global pass rates for the Operational, Management and Strategic Level Case Study Exam are published here.

Pass rates are not broken down by any region, including the US. Breaking down pass rates by region reduces the sample size to a degree that would prevent meaningful representation.