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Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) Review & Study Guide

Essential Test Prep Tips to Help You Pass the CMAA Exam the First Time

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To help current and aspiring Medical Assistants achieve their goals, we recently compiled a series of test-prep tips and study guides for some of the top Medical Assistant certifications to help you advance your MA career.

This study guide will focus on the CMAA credential, which stands for Certified Medical Administrative Assistant.

The CCMA exam is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), an organization that has awarded more than 750,000 certifications to healthcare students and professionals. Having a nationally accredited certification like the CMAA can help you stand out. Certification may also be required or preferred for certain job opportunities in the profession.

If you are considering CCMA certification, we created this guide to offer you a roadmap to success while preparing for the exam.

How to Pass the CMAA (NHA) Certification Exam

Our comprehensive CMAA study plan will cover the following questions and topics:

  1. What is the CMAA exam?
  2. How do you pass the CMAA?
  3. What is on the CMAA exam?
  4. Is the CMAA exam hard to pass?
  5. The CMAA exam requirements.
  6. CMAA exam sample quiz.
  7. General tips and test strategies for passing the CMAA
  8. Information on CMAA test results.

But first, let’s begin with a brief refresher…

What Is the CMAA Exam?

The CMAA exam is a Medical Assisting certification developed by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) to qualify health practitioners to become Certified Medical Administrative Assistants.

CMAAs play a critical role in our healthcare system by ensuring the smooth and effective operations of any medical office or clinic.

How to Apply for the CMAA Exam

Applicants who meet one of the NHA’s eligibility requirements must complete the following steps to apply for the CMAA Exam:

Step 1.

Set up your NHA account.

Step 2:

Apply for your exam and pay registration fees (if applicable).

Step 3:

Prepare for your exam.

You can learn more about each of these steps here.

CMAA Requirements

What Are the Requirements to Take the CMAA Exam?

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Applicants must meet these CMAA requirements from the NHA:

  • Successfully completed a Medical Assisting program that included Medical Administrative Assistant training within the last five years.
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED/high school equivalent.

What Is on the CMAA Exam?

Certification doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. The NHA offers a free, detailed test plan to help you study. They also provide additional study materials, but those may require a fee.

Here are the various subjects and sub-topics that are covered by the CMAA exam:

  1. Scheduling / 19 Scored Items
    • Evaluate different types of patient scheduling
    • Determine scheduling needs of the facility, as well as new and established patients
    • Follow protocol for no-show, missed, cancelled, or follow-up appointments
    • Arrange for diagnostic testing and procedures
    • Confirm future appointments
  1. Patient Intake / 18 Scored Items
    • Confirm demographic information with patient
    • Verify insurance information
    • Ensure forms are updated or completed
    • Prepare encounter form
    • Prepare daily charts
  1. Office Logistics / 12 Scored Items
    • File medical records
    • Perform financial procedures
    • Evaluate mail deliveries
  1. Compliance / 16 Scored Items
    • Follow HIPAA guidelines
    • Follow OSHA guidelines
    • Follow the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines
  1. Patient Education / 11 Scored Items
    • Explain the Patients’ Bill of Rights
    • Explain the patients’ insurance responsibilities
    • Explain pre and post instructions for testing and procedures
  1. General Office Policies and Procedures / 15 Scored Items
    • Perform office opening and closing procedures
    • Greet patients upon arrival
    • Apply telephone etiquette
    • Create correspondences
    • Demonstrate basic computer skills
  1. Basic Medical Terminology / 19 Scored Items
    • Use medical terminology to communicate with patients and physicians.
    • Recognize abbreviations and acronyms used to complete administrative duties
    • Use word parts (i.e., prefixes, roots, suffixes) to define medical terminology

How to Prepare for the CMAA Exam?

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To help you prepare for the CMAA exam, let’s begin by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the exam itself.

Where can you take the CMAA exam?

Testing will take place at your school or at a PSI Testing Center near you. You will need to present valid identification and complete the test in one session.

How much time do you have to complete the CMAA exam?

You’ll have two hours and 10 minutes to complete the CMAA exam.

How many questions are on the CMAA exam?

The CMAA exam consists of 110 questions and 20 pretest items.

What is the passing score for the CMAA exam?

Like the NHA’s CCMA exam, a candidate must achieve a scaled score of 390/500 or higher to pass the CMAA exam.

How much does it cost to take the CMAA exam?

The CMAA exam costs about $117. You can learn more on the NHA website.

How do you get your CMAA exam results?

According to the NHA, “You will receive an email notification when your results are available within the certification portal. For confidentiality, the notification email will not include your exam score. Once your exam results are available, you can view them by logging into your certification portal account and clicking the Results tab.”

How long is your CMAA application good for?

Once you have passed the CMAA exam, your certification will be active for two years.

Why should I pick the NHA?

Let’s count the ways! Here are just a few benefits from the NHA:

  • NHA certification exams are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and updated regularly, ensuring that students have the most job-relevant knowledge and skills.
  • Along with exams, the NHA offers bundled interactive prep and study materials. Nine out of 10 Allied Health educational programs have reported that NHA’s preparation resources helped improve exam preparedness and pass rates of their candidates.

CMAA Test Prep

CMAA Sample Quiz Questions

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To help you gauge some of the topics on the exam, we compiled a few sample questions for the CMAA.

(You can find the answers to these questions at the bottom of the article).

  1. Which of the following is not one of the patient’s rights provided by HIPAA?

a) Right to notice of a facility’s privacy practices

b) Right to receive notice of all disclosures of PHI

c) Right to obtain the original medical record

d) Right to have access to, view, and obtain a copy of their PHI

  1. Why is it a usually poor policy to accept third-party checks from patients?

a) This type of check is illegal

b) Third-party checks are not negotiable

c) The check will likely bounce

d) You cannot verify the reliability of the maker

  1. The non-profit organization that assists healthcare facilities by providing accreditation:





  1. The Medical Assistant should collect which of the following when a new patient comes to the office?

a) Patient information sheet

b) Copy of insurance card, front and back

c) Copy of driver’s license

d) All of the above

  1. The process before claims submission that examines claims for accuracy and completeness is to:

a) Correct

b) Audit

c) Revise

d) Reject

  1. The division of the federal government that enforces privacy standards is:



c) OCR

d) OIG

  1. Which standard size letterhead is appropriate for most business correspondence?

a) 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches

b) 7 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

c) 8 1/2 x 11 inches

d) 17 x 22 inches

  1. Acting in anticipation of future problems is:

a) Being aware

b) Being proactive

c) Circumventing

d) Incurring

  1. The medical record should be released only with a:

a) Verbal order from the physician

b) Written order from the physician

c) Written release from the patient

d) Verbal order from the office manager

  1. Which letter style combines efficiency with an attractive page layout?

a) Modified-block

b) Block

c) Simplified

d) None of the above

Retaking the CMAA (NHA) Certification Exam

If you don’t pass the CMAA exam after the first or second attempt, you must wait 30 days before you are able to retake the exam.

Please note: You must pay for each exam retake.

How many times can you fail the CMAA Exam?

If you fail your third attempt, you must wait 12 months to take the exam again. This process and wait time is the same for a fourth attempt. So, take your time and ensure you have prepared yourself. When test day arrives, you can relax knowing you’ve given it your all!

Learn more about this process here.

CMAA Test Strategies

Here are a few tips from the NHA to help you while retaking the exam. Remember to take deep breaths—you’re going to do great!

  • Review your detailed score report: You can find your report by logging into your account and clicking “Results” on the left menu. Then click the button that reads “View Detailed Score Report.”
  • Ask for help: Ask a teacher for some extra help. Be honest — if you don’t understand something, tell them! They are on your team and want you to succeed.
  • Find a study buddy: Two heads are better than one. Partner up with a fellow student for study sessions—you can pool your knowledge and help one another achieve success.
  • See if NHA’s study materials are right for you: Test plans for all NHA exams are freely available and are the blueprint for developing the exams, study guides, and practice assessments. NHA study materials aren’t required to sit for an exam, but they can be helpful!
  • Try to lower stress about the test: Study a little every day and use all the resources you have access to. Get a good night’s rest. Show up early to the test location so you can take some deep breaths.

CMAA Recertification

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) has outlined the following steps for renewal. You must renew your certification on or before your expiration date; there is no penalty for renewing early.

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Select “Renew Certifications” on the left menu.
  3. Select “Complete More CE” to view the library.
  4. Complete 10 continuing education credits.
  5. Pay your recertification fee. Renewing your certification costs $169 every two years, which is about $7 a month.

Enhance Your Medical Assisting Career

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Our goal for this article was to provide you with practical tips on how to pass the CCMA Certification Exam. As the final installment of our MA Certification Series, we hope it has given you the knowledge and confidence to advance your career.

As a CMAA (also called a Medical Office Secretary or Medical Office Assistant), you’ll keep healthcare offices running efficiently and effectively. This is a highly rewarding profession—and not only monetarily. Medical assistants are often the first to greet and help patients and can help set the stage for a patient’s entire experience.

Change your future, today!



Answers: 1)C  2)D  3)C  4)D  5)B  6)C  7)C  8)B  9)C  10)A