This is a certification exam developed and used by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). A passing completion will earn you the credentials of CMA.
Who is Eligible?
There are three ways to be eligible to sit for the CMA. You must meet the qualifications of at least one.
- Be a currently enrolled student with less than 30 days before graduation or a recent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program (within the last 12 months)
- Be a graduate of CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program more than 12 months before
- Has successfully completed the CMA and is applying to recertify
There is a fee of $125 for current students or recent graduates. Those who are non-recent graduates or recertificants have fees based on AAMA membership. Those with membership will pay $125, while non-members will pay $250.
Each applicant is given a 90-day window to schedule and take the exam. During the application process, you will choose when this period begins.
When and Where is it Taken?
You will be emailed with notification of your approval and when you can begin scheduling your exam. This will include scheduling permit instructions no later than 20 days before your 90-day window begins. You will want to print and save this scheduling permit, as you will need it on test day.
The exam is scheduled through a Prometric testing center of your choice. Most Prometric sites are open five to six days a week for 8-10 hours a day.
A full list of available sessions will be provided during registration. Space is limited and filled on a first come, first served basis so be sure to schedule as soon as possible.
Special accommodations are available upon request for those with disabilities. Supporting documentation will be required during application to ensure approval.
If you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, you may do so online through your FTCE account at least 24 hours before your original exam session is scheduled. After this, no changes can be made and you will be counted as a no-show on test day, forfeiting all fees.
What Should I Bring?
Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your exam is scheduled to begin. This will give you enough time to check-in completely and be ready. Those who arrive late will not be allowed to test and will have to reschedule, forfeiting all fees.
Along with the above-mentioned Scheduling Permit, you will need to bring valid government-issued photo identification with you, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID or state ID. If your ID contains missing or incorrect information, you will need to submit another ID or will not be allowed to enter.
Personal items are not permitted in the testing area and must be stored in a designated locker for the duration of your exam. These items include:
- Electronic devices such as calculators or cell phones
- Food and drinks
- Paper or study materials
- Wallets, purses, or bags
What is Covered?
This computer-based exam consists of about 200 multiple-choice questions. 20 are classified as pretest questions and will not count towards your score. These are not identified as such and will be scattered throughout the exam.
The exam is split into four 40-minute segments, with an optional 20-minute break between each.
Below is a brief description of each section and the number of questions included.
General (50 questions)
Medial ethics, professionalism, communication, psychology, medical terminology, laws, and regulations, quality assurance and safety
Administrative (45 questions)
Medical business practices, finances, medical records and reception, scheduling appointments
Clinical (85 questions)
Anatomy, physiology, infection control, documentation of care, nutrition, pharmacology, diagnostic testing, patient preparation, emergency/first aid, collecting specimen
How is it Scored?
You will receive your unofficial score pass/fail notification at the completion of your exam. Your official score report will be mailed within three weeks as long as you have fulfilled all of your application requirements. This report will also be available online through your AAMA account.
Scores are based on the total number of correct answers you have (raw score) and are converted to scaled score based on a group of candidates taking the exam for the first time. You must receive a score of at least 430 to be considered passing at this time.
Passing candidates will receive a wall certificate and wallet card about nine weeks after your score report is mailed. Up to three retake attempts are available if you do not pass the exam. You may apply for a retake as soon as necessary.
How Can I Prepare for the Certified Medical Assistant Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!