In this blog post we will discuss following topics related to CMA Exam Question:

  • Purpose of CMA Essay Question
  • Structure of Essay Type Question
  • Time Management for CMA Essay Question
  • Familiarize with CMA Essay Question Screen & Navigation
  • Essay Question Tips & Techniques
  • Essay Question Grading

Purpose of CMA Essay Questions 

Following are the main testing objectives of CMA Essay Question:

  • Situation evaluation competency
  • Decision analysis under alternative solutions
  • Logical and technical justification of action proposed

CMA Exam Question test candidate’s real-world problem solving, analysis and recommendation skills. One the other hand, multiple-choice questions are more focused on book knowledge and syllabus.

Structure of Essay Type Questions

CMA exam has two parts and each part consists of two sections:

Section 1: 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in each part
Section 2: Two essay / scenario-based questions in each part 

The essay section contains two scenarios describing typical business situation. Each scenario can have three to six written response or calculation questions.

Time Management for Essay Type Questions

Total duration for each CMA exam part is four hours. Three hours for MCQs and one hour for two scenario questions.

Important: You have to score at least 50% in MCQs to access essays. If you score is less then 50% in MCQs, you will not move on to the essay section.

Please note that if you complete MCQs section before three hours, remaining time will be added in essay section. We recommend 1.5 minutes for each MCQ which will give you sufficient extra time to review MCQs for respond essays.

Important: Please keep in mind, MCQs section cannot be accessed once you entered essay section.

Essay scenario Real Exam Screen and Navigation


  1. Question and Section: Indicates current on-screen question number and section of the exam.
  2. Time Remaining: Current remaining time.
  3. Progress: Current section completion status of questions.
  4. Finish: Click finish once you answered to all of the essays.
  5. Navigation Menu: This menu can be used to quickly move between questions. The numbered buttons change appearance according to their status (see below for more details).
  6. Essay Scenario: This will open essay scenario as a PDF (see below for more details).
  7. Answer Box: Type your response here.
  8. Formatting Tools: Select headings, bold, italicize, underline, left align, center, right align, undo, redo, and/or save your progress.
  9. Essay Question: Displays current question.
  10. Calculator: Basic calculator for simple computations.
  11. Time Value Tables: PDF Time Value Tables
  12. Preferences: Options for adjusting the text and background colors of the exam screens.
  13. Help: Explanation related to exam functionality.
  14. Flag: Mark a question for later review.
  15. Back: Move to the previous question.
  16. Next: Move to the following question.

Essay Navigation Menu Buttons

Current: Green arrow shaped button indicate the question you are currently viewing.

CMA Essay question_navigation_current_question


Complete: Dark gray rectangle indicate that you have selected an answer.

CMA Essay question_navigation_question_completed


Incomplete: Green rectangle indicate that no answer is selected yet.

CMA Essay question_navigation_incomplete_question


Flagged: A green rectangle with flag indicate that you have not answered and have marked for review.

CMA Essay question_navigation_flagged_question


Essay Scenario Screen

Clicking Essay Scenario will open in a separate screen, to the left of the screen displaying the Answer Box indicating following:

  1. Zoom: For zoom in and zoom out.
  2. Navigate: Move next page or previous page.
  3. Scroll: Scroll up and down.
  4. Grab: Click and activate grab function to move essay question using mouse.
  5. View Page Thumbnails: Activate thumbnails of all pages of the essay scenario.
  6. View Table of Contents: Open links to the Essay Scenario as well as all of the Time Value Tables.

CMA Essay Question Tips & Techniques

There can be two types of questions within essay section of CMA exam.

  • Calculation Type Questions
  • Written Response Question
  • Read the scenario carefully.
  • Read the question and requirements related to scenario.
  • Outline the answer and related information on a piece of scratch paper.
  • For calculation type questions, show your working step by step.
  • For written response questions be specific and to the point.
  • Use bullet points where ever necessary.
  • Do not spend too much time in formatting.
  • Answer all the question before expiry of time.

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