How tough is the CMA (USA) exam for a CA Intermediate student?

How tough is the CMA (USA) exam for a CA Intermediate student?

Before getting to know how tough is CMA(USA), let us first get to know the differences between the two qualifications/examinations:

  • CA Inter has 8 papers divided into two groups with each group having four papers. Whereas in CMA(USA), you have two papers divided into 11 sections (5 sections in Part 1 and 6 sections in Part 2)
  • You need to score 40% in each paper and 50% in aggregate to be declared as pass in CA, whereas in CMA(USA), you need to score 360 out of 500 marks to be declared pass.
  • There is just one day gap between two papers in CA exams. In CMA, however, you can schedule your exam dates as per your convenience. To put it differently, you can one paper in January first week and the other paper in February last week.
  • This gives you around 1½ months’ time for preparation for the other part.
    CA has a descriptive (majorly) exam pattern. On the other hand, CMA(USA) has an MCQ exam patter with 2 essay type descriptive questions.
  • Dates for CA exam is scheduled by ICAI, whereas every candidate has the option to choose their own dates for appearing for exam.
  • CA exams are conducted 2 times a year whereas CMA(USA) exams are conducted 3 times in a year in the month of Jan/Feb, Apr/May, Sept/Oct.

Which is easier CA or CMA(USA)?

Since you got some basic idea about both the courses, let us get into the similarities between the two. CA Intermediate and CMA (USA) has quite a lot of common syllabus and topics discussed below:

Costing: The costing subject covered in Intermediate and few topics covered later in CA Final is very similar to what we have in CMA. The topics such as following is covered in various sections of CMA:

Cost and Management Accounting/ Strategic Cost Management & Performance Evaluation

Intermediate TopicsFinal Topics
Marginal CostingTransfer Pricing
Absorption CostingMake or Buy Decision
Joint Product and By ProductCVP Analysis
Process CostingStandard Costing
Budgets – Fixed and Flexible BudgetLearning Curve
Material CostingSimulation
Standard CostingPERT
Contract CostingABC

Financial Management/Strategic Financial Management

Intermediate TopicsFinal Topics
Capital Structure DecisionMergers and Acquisition
Working Capital ManagementInternational Financial Management
Time Value of MoneyRisk Management
Cash BudgetLeases – Operating and Finance Lease
Cost of CapitalPortfolio Management
Capital BudgetingDerivative Analysis and Valuation

It also has quite a lot of common topics from Auditing and Accountancy including IFRS.

Since I have explained herein the similarity and common topics between CA and CMA(USA), you would now be better placed to understand the difficulty level.

In addition to the above, I would also like to mention that if you like and enjoy studying Costing and Financial Management subject, I am sure that you would enjoy the CMA(USA) journey.

Also ensure that you join CMA(USA) institutes where the faculty is not just CMA(USA) but also a CA, since he will not be able to correlate between what you already know and what you additionally need to know.

And lastly for those pursuing CA, look forward to add CMA(USA) as an additional international qualification but not as substitutional qualification.

For certain success, join MI Classes and leave the rest on us to see that your journey to success remains smooth and certain for MI Classes is the best coaching center for US CMA in India.


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