CIMA Exemptions

Here you will find out about how the exemption process for CIMA works in detail.

How do I apply for exemptions?

There quite a few ways to get exemption. You can get exemptions based on your successful completion of many different relevant qualifications. Each of these must be looked at by CIMA and they will then decide what exemptions you qualify for.

Before you can apply for exemptions, you must first register as a student member of CIMA. After CIMA confirms your exemptions, you must decide if you want them or not. And that’s it! We hope this process will be as smooth as possible for you.

The different ways in which one can qualify for an exemption are as follows:

Accredited degree accelerated route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you are a graduate with a qualification that is listed CIMA’s database of accredited programmes.

Relevant degree accelerated route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you are a graduate of a degree programme that is not on the CIMA database, but is still related to the CIMA syllabus.

AAT accelerated route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you are a student or member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Open University accelerated route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you have completed the Open University Certificate in Accounting.

Masters gateway route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you have an MBA or a Masters Degree in Accounting.

Management accountant gateway route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you are a member or a passed finalist of ICWAI or ICMAB, or if you are a member of ICMAP.

Professional gateway route

You can qualify for an exemption through this route if you are busy studying or have completed a relevant qualification with another professional body.

What is the CIMA exemption policy?

CIMA has a few rules about giving exemptions. They need to have these rules because they have to make sure that only the people who deserve exemptions get them.

These are the rules:CIMA can only tell you if you have been granted an exemption once you are registered as a student.

  • CIMA can only tell you if you have been granted an exemption once you are registered as a student.

The process of registering as a student works like this:

When you want to register for a CIMA course, one of our Student Registrars who is an expert on CIMA will give you a call. They will then talk to you about your decision to study a CIMA course, just to make sure that you understand what the course is about and that it really is the best course for you. Then we will start the process of registering you as a student. As long as you get all the documents to us, we can register you as a student. Once you are registered, we will start the exemption process.

  • You have to give us copies of your transcripts or mark sheets for all the years you studied. You must also give us a graduation certificate or a recent letter that confirms that you completed your course successfully. If you do not give us copies of both these documents, your registration will take longer and it will take longer before we can tell you for which exemptions you qualify. It is a good idea to send copies of your qualifications right away – that way we can apply for your exemptions more quickly.
  • You documents must be in English. If the original documents aren’t in English, you must get a certified translator to translate them into English.
  • CIMA will contact the college where you got your other qualifications to make sure that your qualifications are real.
  • Do NOT send in original documents, only certified copies. CIMA and College SA cannot be held responsible if your documents get lost.
  • Only CIMA (and not College SA) can decide who gets exemptions.
  • You must have fully completed a course to be able to apply for exemption.
  • You must meet CIMA’s requirements before they will award the exemption. Also, you cannot give your exemptions to anyone else.
  • You must have at least 40% and passed each module that is listed to get an exemption.
  • You must have finished your studies at one college to be able to get exemptions. That means that you cannot do half your course with one college and the other half at a different college.
  • You must have finished the last two years of your degree or the last two parts of your professional qualification if you want it to count towards your exemption.
  • You must have finished your qualifications within the last 10 years. But your CBA level exams can also be considered.
  • If your degree is not on the CIMA database but it is related to the CIMA syllabus, you cannot qualify for exemptions.
  • If you have a qualification with another professional body, you will not get an exemption, unless that professional body is accredited with CIMA.
  • CIMA does not give exemptions for work experience.
  • You can’t get exemptions based on subjects or courses that you got exempted from previously. You must have the qualification.
  • You will be charged a fee for every exemption that you accept. The fee depends on the qualification and the exemption, so CIMA will give you that information when they tell you about your exemptions.
  • If CIMA changes the exemption fee, you will pay the old fee if you have already accepted your exemptions before the fee change. If you only accept your exemptions after the fee change, you will pay the new fee.
  • If you sign up for a CIMA course before your exemptions are accepted, you will have to pay any extra fees.
  • If you do not accept the exemption and write the exam for a subject, and you fail that exam, you cannot claim the exemption. You will need to do the subject over again.
  • If you have failed an exam previously, CIMA will not give exemption for that subject. You may get an exemption for that subject only if you did another qualification after you failed the subject.
  • If CIMA does not know about your qualification (for example if you are from another country than the UK), CIMA will ask the advice of the UK NARIC.
  • If UK NARIC can’t give advice about the qualification, CIMA will decide if they will give the exemption for that qualification – it is entirely up to CIMA.
  • You qualification must be at least at the same standard as a diploma in the UK.
  • You cannot get an exemption based on high school qualifications.
  • If your qualification was not accepted for exemption under an earlier CIMA syllabus, it will not be accepted under a new syllabus.

Getting exemptions costs money.

Even though you’re not going to do the module, you’re still going to pay a fee for getting an exemption for that module. It’s like an administration fee. The fees for each module are different, so you can get that information when you apply for the exemption.

CIMA Practical Experience Component

Are you wondering about how to go about getting the practical experience component portion of your CIMA course completed? Here is the information you will need in order to complete the process.

Where to get practical experience?

You must get at least three year’s practical experience. You must find a job in some area of finance and/or management where you can get your practical experience. Then you must work for at least three years, but you can work for longer if you want.

There are three kinds of practical work experience that you can get:

Basic experience

  • Preparing and maintaining accounting records
  • Statutory and regulatory reporting
  • IT desktop skills
  • Systems and procedure development

Core experience

  •  Preparation of management accounts
  • Planning, budgeting and forecasting
  • Management reporting for decision making
  • Product and service costing
  • Information management
  • Project appraisal
  • Project management
  • Working capital content
  • Risk management and business assurance

Supplementary experience

  • Financial strategy
  • Corporate Finance
  • Treasury management
  • Taxation
  • Business evaluation and appraisal
  • Business strategy
  • External relationships

How to record your practical experience?

You need to write a report about all your practical work experience. You must have the following:

  • An assessment of practical experience/membership application form,
  • An employment summary,
  • A detailed record of your experience and
  • A record of skills development.

When you are writing your report, you must keep the following in mind:

  • Who did you report to?
  • How did you do a specific task?
  • How often did you do this task?
  • Why did you need to do this task?
  • Who was your customer or client?
  • What computer software or IT did you use?
  • Were you part of a team? How many people helped you?
  • What was the end product of the task?


CIMA Exemption for ICAP | CIMA Syllabus | CIMA Exemptions for ACCA

Last updated: December 20th, 2016