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You’ve waited two weeks to get your CMA Exam score but, when you finally open your Performance Report email, your heart sinks to see a number so, so close to 360 (the minimum passing score) but not quite there. Alas, you’re one of the more than 50% of CMA candidates who’ve failed the exam. Here’s what you need to do now …

First, Sign Up To Retake The Exam Right Away

Don’t wait. Don’t collect your thoughts. Don’t take a break. Right away, ensure the you can and do sign up for the earliest date possible. Depending on when you took the exam, you might even be eligible to take the exam again with in the same two-month testing window.

Yes, you will have to pay the exam fee again. Register for the next earliest exam date here.

Closely Review Your Performance Report

Candidates who do not pass the  exam will receive a report that indicates their performance on each of the key topic areas (5 on Part 1; 6 on Part 2)  in the multiple-choice section as well as their overall performance on the essay section.

There are three performance ratings: Satisfactory, Marginal, and Unsatisfactory.

Use these to identify which areas were your weak points on the exam. The areas of “marginal” performance are the low-hanging fruit that you can you  use to boost your score over the minimum 360 in the next go-round.

Here’s some quick advice on how to interpret your CMA Exam score. 

Develop A New Study Plan

As mentioned, you’ll want to focus the bulk of your attention on the areas of “marginal” performance — especially if you were within a few points of passing. You can use this to help design your new study plan or to create new question drills.

If you found that the essay was your undoing, you should consider spending much more time on completing sample essays.

You may also want to work on your time management skills to ensure you have plenty of time left after the Multiple-Choice Question section to focus on producing the best essay possible.

Learn From Your Mistakes

One thing you can do when building your study plan is to revisit IMA’s Learning Outcome Statements for each topic section where you scored poorly. You’ll quickly be able to spot which ones you may not fully grasp or may have overlooked the first time round.

You can also take an honest assessment of just how thorough and focused your study sessions were before you failed. Were you distracted? Did you not have a focused plan? What can you do to improve your study environment this second (or third) time around?

Don’t Neglect What You’ve Already Learned

Lastly, don’t pretend that just because you got several “satisfactory” marks on your Performance Report that you can just skip those topics/areas entirely. You should at the very least include them in your notes review and absolutely make them part of your practice exams and question drills.

No matter what, don’t get discouraged. If you can pick yourself up and quickly get back to work on studying your weak areas, you’re sure to do better on the next CMA Exam.

Good luck!