The pass rates for the CMA exam have been declining for the past several exam windows, and the September/October exams continued this trend. In my experience, it is not uncommon for pass rates to fluctuate higher and lower over time. These fluctuations are not always connected to the difficulty of the exam, so it is not necessarily the case that the CMA exam has gotten more difficult. Some of the factors that can cause a decline in pass rates not related to the difficulty of the exam are:
- Less experienced or less qualified individuals taking the exam. When an exam has a higher pass rate, more people think that they can pass the exam. So, individuals with less experience and less education may start taking the exam. For exams based in English, pass rates can also be affected by the level of English skills that candidates have.
- Relaxed or lazy preparation by candidates. Again, if candidates perceive that an exam has a high pass rate, they may assume that the exam is easy enough that they do not need to prepare diligently. Also, many individuals overestimate their level of knowledge, and simply do not study enough.
- Materials that do not stay current with the exam over time. Just as candidates may relax when there is a higher pass rate, some publishers and providers may stop focusing on maintaining the materials. Publishers may continue to sell the same materials without taking into account any changes (even small ones) to the syllabus, testing, or the types of candidates studying for the exams.
The good news is that with proper planning, good materials, diligent studying, and expert support from your materials provider you can be prepared to pass the CMA exam on your first attempt. This is why HOCK provides a detailed study plan, comprehensive updated textbooks, complete videos, a variety of study tools for different learning styles, support from CMA exam experts, and the only “You Pass Or We Pay” Guarantee on the market. HOCK is your partner in passing the CMA exam, no matter what the pass rate is; we guarantee it!
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Brian Hock, CMA, CIA