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Frequently asked questions - CIMA Professional Course

What is CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)?

Founded in 1919, CIMA is a Global Management Accountancy course. CIMA is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants. CIMA helps individuals and businesses to succeed by harnessing the full power of management accounting – not just accounting for the balance sheet, but accounting for business. Together with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), CIMA established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation in 2012 to provide members with a new level of resources and recognition. The CGMA Competency Framework to empower individuals with high-level abilities to help them achieve sustainable success in both business and finance. For more details visit official website: (Source: CIMA Global

Why choose CIMA?

CIMA scores highly in following areas: Recognition: CIMA is comparable to a Top MBA. It specialises in Management and Leadership skills. CIMA members can work in most areas of Accountancy and Finance in India. Indian CAs who want a globally recognised dual qualification can opt for CIMA. Flexibility: No group structure or group passing in CIMA. You can give one paper at a time. But you have to score around 75% (Score of minimum 80) in each CIMA paper to get a permanent pass. All CIMA exams are computer based. MCQ papers can be given on demand, where as case study exam date has to be selected from 3 days given every three months. Exam pattern: CIMA exams are more practical, application and case study based. You do not have to memorise, but apply the concepts in exam. Each paper time varies between 90 mins to 180 mins. There are 3 MCQ papers and one case study based on those MCQ papers, at each of the three levels of CIMA. Exemptions: Multiple exemptions and Fast track routes are avaialble for suitable candidates. Pass percentage: Global passrates between 30% to 70% in each paper of CIMA. Duration: All 16 Papers of CIMA can be passed in 2 to 3 years. Prospects in India: Job openings in MNCs across India, Big Indian corporates for CIMA students, finalists and members. Scope of CIMA increases further if you plan to go abroad.

What is the Eligibility for CIMA Professional course?

Minimum entry requirement for CIMA Professional course in India is HSC (12th Std). You will start from Certificate level and have to pass 16 papers. For Bcom graduates, you start at operational level and have to pass 12 papers. Fast Track route like Gateway exam, is also available for other professional qualification members. If you do not meet this eligibility criteria, then you will have to start at lower level i.e. CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting, which involves passing further 4 papers, before joining CIMA Professional course. Please email CIMA UK at or to confirm your eligibility for the Professional course as CIMA scrutinises each application on case to case basis. You need to scan and send your marksheets to CIMA to enable them to provide you proper advice. Graduates and Post graduates (B.Com, M.Com etc) get direct eligibility as well as some exemptions to CIMA professional course, provided they have scored minimum 50% overall. More details about at following link: (Source: CIMA Global

What is the scope and career options of CIMA in India?

The Scope of CIMA and Career options is determined by the skill sets it provides to the candidates. CIMA qualification is a passport to a new world of opportunity in management accountancy. As a global body for professional accountants, CIMA offers you much more. More than just a good reputation, More than worldwide influence and career progress in any organization, CIMA offers you the world! The CIMA is the only truly global management qualification with members in 180 countries and a global program that tracks the needs of industry and employers around the world. The various MOUs by CIMA are useful in international mobility and career progression of its member. CIMA has focus on professional ethics as part of its exam syllabus. This becomes more important as the profession moves towards strengthened codes of conduct, regulation and legislation - with an increasing focus on professionalism and ethics in accounting. The versatility of the CIMA qualification gives you the power and freedom to choose your own career path in management accountancy, business and finance. It gives you the transferable skills you need, so that in the long-term you can apply for finance roles in any sector, in any business, anywhere in the world. It comprehensively covers the technical and management skills, accountants are expected to master. CIMA qualification exams are not just about theory – the exams are based on practical case studies. CIMA's flexible approach equals freedom. The CIMA qualification has flexible entry requirements, and offers flexible study options, enabling studies to be planned around business needs. The qualification isn't tied into a particular training contract and exemptions for a relevant degree mean fewer exams to sit. The breadth of the CIMA Qualification makes it the perfect platform to launch any business career, and you will have the opportunity to acquire technical skills that employers are now demanding to steer the business through volatile times, without pigeon-holing yourself for the future.

Do CIMA members have signing authority in India?

The focus of CIMA qualification is more on Management Accountancy and not on Audit and Tax.

As an CIMA, you do not have signing authority in India, and hence can not sign audit reports and practice audit by setting up your own firm in India. This signing authority is restricted only to CA India, not even granted to ICWA / CMA or CS. However, There is no restriction to work in any Audit firm including Big4, Accountancy and Finance field in MNCs and other companies in India.

In short, CIMA members can not audit. They can act as reporting accountants.

What is the duration of competing CIMA course?

On an average, it takes between 2 to 3 years to complete the CIMA qualification.

The time taken will depend on number of papers you give, say every 3 months, based on whether you are a full time student or working professional.

In fast track route like Gateway route, the last 5 papers can be completed in around one and half years for working professionals.

What are the subjects or papers in CIMA course (course structure)?

There are three levels in CIMA Professional qualification: Operational Level, Management level, Mnagaement level and Strategic level. All levels are based on three pillars of Enterprise, Performance and FInancial. Certificate level have addional 4 papers, below Operational level. So, there are maximum 16 papers, with 12 papers in the Professional course. CIMA updates its syllabus on periodic basis. Only one syllabus stucture is applicable at a particular point of time. CIMA recently updated the syllabus for Nov 2019 exams onwards. More details can be found at below link: (Source: CIMA Global

How many papers can be given in one exam attempt? and Where?

CIMA Professional qualification has three level in its qualification structure: Operational (Lowest), Management, and Strategic (Highest).

CIMA requires to complete each level of qualification in order only. So Management Level has to be completed fully to move on to Strategic level.

Within each level, the 3 MCQ papers can be given in any order. After passing the MCQ papers at particular level, you will be eligible to appear for the Case study exam of that level. Case study exam cannot be appeared without passing all 3 MCQ papers below it.

If you are exempt for any MCQ paper, that paper need not be given, to be eligible for case study exam.

Objective Tests are 90 minutes long, computer based and available on demand at over 5,000 Pearson VUE assessment centres worldwide. Case Study exams are 3 hours long and available in four windows throughout the year, also computer-based and available at over 5,000 Pearson VUE assessment centres worldwide. On completion of the CIMA Professional Qualification, you will be awarded the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation.

(Source: CIMA Global

How often are the CIMA exams conducted?

The MCQ exams of CIMA are on demand. You can select the date, time and centres as per your requirements.

The Case study exams of CIMA are conducted every 3 months i.e. in February, May, August and November. You have to select one date, time and centres from the 3 days in which the case study exam is conducted.

Operational case study is generally in 1st week, Management case study is in the 2nd week and Strategic case study is in the 3rd week of the respective month. The 3 days to select from are generally Wednesday, Thrusday and Friday.

Exams are available at over 5,000 Pearson VUE assessment centres worldwide.

Latest time table at following link:


What is PER or articleship or internship or experience requirement of CIMA?

There is a mandatory practical experience requirement (PER) of 3 years to become full member of CIMA. This can be pursued before, during or after completing the CIMA exam.

For a student is working in India, he or she would need to have the work experience certified by an CIMA or an Indian CA (ICAI member) or by IFAC recognised professional like ICWA, CMA, CPA USA.

The experience for CIMA membership can be obtained in any areas of Accountancy and Finance as listed in CIMA requirements. It can be obtained in a company (preferably MNCs) or in an audit firm. There is no restriction that experience has to be in audit firm, like in Indian CA course.

CIMA membership or practical experience assessment interviews are conducted periodically in India. Please contact CIMA office for more details on this.

More details of PER can be found at below official link of CIMA:

What are the pass rates and scores of CIMA exams?

CIMA Global pass rates for individual papers generally range between 15% to 80%. The MCQ exam pass rates are higher compared to the Case Study exam. You need to pass in each paper, to get a permanant pass in that paper. Latest pass rates can be found at below link: A scaled score is given to reflect Pass or Fail. In Case study exam, you need to obtain a minimum score of 80 out of 150 to pass. In MCQs, you need to obtain score of 100 out of 150 to pass. These minimum overall scores are subject to obtaining minimum thresholds in competency of CIMA. Please note that Minimum competence required refers to 'Someone would make a job offer, if you were to pass that particular paper'.
More details about scaled scores at below link:

What are the exemptions available for other courses or degrees?

CIMA provides exemptions in particular papers based on your other qualifications obtained.

12th (HSC) or CA Foundation / CPT - No exemptions. Have to appear for all 16 papers of CIMA Professional course.

BCom / BBA / BAF / BBI / BMS – Certificate level papers are exempt.

CA IPCC / Inter / PCC - Case to case basis

MBA Finance - Gateway route

Fully qualified CA India or ICWA member or ACCA member – Either the Gateway route or directly Strategic Case study paper, depending on the year of passing.

The above is just an indicative list, the exemptions will be granted at sole discretion of CIMA after scrutinising individual applications submitted.

CIMA Exemption calculator:

What is the overall budget requirement for completing CIMA course?

In India, Generally it would cost around Indian Rs. 5 to 6 lakhs to complete the whole CIMA course (16 papers) over the 2 to 3 year period of the course. This budget includes CIMA registration, Exam fees, Annual subscriptions, Coaching fees at Vaidya Tutorials and cost of books and additional material as may be recommended by tutors. If you study via fast track routes, natuarally the cost will be much less, depending upon the number of papers you have to appear. You do not have to spend this whole budget upfront, it will be on paper by paper basis, as you progress through the CIMA course. You will be in position to recover this cost in around six months to one year of practical experience in India. If you work abroad, the recovery will naturally be much faster.

What is Salary structure for CIMA students in India

Part qualified CIMA student in India can earn around Rs. 3.5 lakhs to 5 lakhs per annum, during the course of his articleship. A fully qualified CIMA member (Passed all papers + 3 years practical / articleship experience) can earn around 6 lakhs per annum in India. The salary increases substantially with experience and many job openings are available in India, even for CFO / Director Finance level. The salary paid will differ from individual to individual. It will be dependent upon multiple factors: 1) How many papers of CIMA you have passed. 2) Whether you have any prior experience in accounting and finance. 3) Your communication and negotiation skills. 4) How you performed in Interviews. 5) How good you are at work. Generally, CIMA students, affiliates and members receive salary in line with or better than Industry average for Finance professions. Salary can vary according to company policy and location in India.

What if I am not eligible for CIMA Professional Course?

CIMA can be started at any level and at any time of your career. If you do not meet the minimum eligibility requirements of CIMA Professional course, you can start at the Certificate in Business Accounting level, where you will have to pass additional 4 papers below the 12 papers of CIMA professional course. More details can be found at below official link of CIMA:

Is Vaidya Tutorials, a Registered Tution provider ?

Yes. Vaidya Tutorials is a Registered Tuition provider of CIMA in India. Vaidya Tutorials is a sole proprietorship business of Mr Gaurav Vaidya. As a Fellow member of ACCA (ACCA member in good standing for more than 5 years), CIMA member and a Triple Chartered Professional (FCCA ACMA CGMA) into full time coaching business, I aim to ensure that you receive the best quality comprehensive coaching for each paper of CIMA. It is being reflected in above average pass rates at Vaidya Tutorials versus global average. Also the reviews given by past students is testimony to the quality and success of teaching.

What is the CIMA Case study exam and Preseen material?

The Case Study exams are used to test a variety of skills including research and analysis, how to present information, persuasion and communication skills. The move to more Case Study exams has been deliberate to test a wider range of skills and integrated learning across the syllabus. Case Study exams reflect a real life business scenario, comprising a series of time bound tasks set for students to complete based on pre-seen material.​ Preseen material of around 25 pages includes all details of an compan including industry, corporate strcture, the business model of company, products of company, financial reports, news items, risk register, competitor information etc.. Pre-seen material released to students: 6 weeks prior to the exam window of May and Nov. (Student contact ID and password is required). On the day of exam, additional unseen material and reuquitements are given along with preseen material. Same preseen material is used for May and Aug attempt , and Nov and Feb attempt. Format: computer based or CBE - you have to type in to software similar to word document. Exam at each level i.e. Strategic (SCS), Management (MCS) and Operational (OCS). Gateway exam is Management level exam. Each exam covers part of the syllabus of three MCQ papers at that level, which is detailed in exam blueprints. Availability: four windows each year (Feb, May, Aug, Nov) at any of the 5,000 Pearson VUE centres around the world. Length: 3 hours total split as follows: for SCS - 1 hour session x 3 continuous sessions for MCS and OCS - 45 min session x 4 continuous sessions Please note you cannot go back to the prior session, once time is expired. Marking: human marked Results: available 5 weeks after the close of the exam window​ (Source: CIMA Global website)

New!! Details of CIMA Remote OnVue Online Testing from home or work place

Certificate of Business Accounting and Professional Qualification objective test exams will commence remote OnVUE testing from your home on 4 May 2020. Using Pearson’s OnVUE system you will be able to take your exams from home. You can test at home. Wherever you test, you should be in a walled room, with a closed door and without distractions. No one else is permitted in the room with you while you are testing. For Full details, please visit (Source: CIMA Global

CGMA qualification which CIMA members get automatically?

Chartered Global Management Accountant™ (CGMA®) is the global designation for management accountants. It’s powered by the resources and expertise of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and CIMA, two of the world’s leading accounting organisations. As a CIMA member, you automatically qualify for the designation and can use the letters CGMA after your name. More details at following link: (Source: CIMA Global

CIMA Job profiles or Roles of CIMA members

The CIMA qualification is designed to bring together management accounting, financial accounting and business, so you’ll have the practical skills employers need. That way, you’ll be qualified to work in a wide range of roles from finance to consultancy, IT to senior management positions. More details at following link: Source: CIMA Global website