So You Failed Part 1 of the CIA® Exam … Now What?

try, fail, repeat, success
It happens. Despite the countless hours spent studying, every year thousands of accountants fail to pass the CIA® exam. So, don’t worry if you did not receive the score you were hoping for on Part 1 of the exam, you’re not alone. With the right attitude and study materials, you’ll be well on your way to receiving that passing mark.

Step 1: Double-Check Your Score

The CIA exam consists of three parts, with 125 multiple-choice questions on Part 1 and 100 questions on Parts 2 and 3. Each question is scored equally, with each correct answer worth one point toward your raw score. The passing mark is “ideally” set at 75% of the scored questions for all three parts. However, your score is presented on a 750-point scale to account for the progressive difficulty of each part. Scoring 600 and above means you passed that part of the CIA Exam.

Anything less than 600 means you did not pass that part of the exam. In general, the pass rate for the CIA Exam is generally in the 40% range, so more than half of the candidates fail a section (or more) of the exam.

Step 2: Sign up to Retake the Exam Right Away

If you did fail part of the CIA Exam, you must wait 90 days before retaking it. However, you can schedule that new exam date once your official score is published online, but it must be at least 90 days out.

There is no limit to the number of times you can retake the CIA exam. To schedule a new test appointment, register online the same way you did for the initial exam.

Depending on your comfort with the material, you may take another exam part during the intervening 90 days, as many candidates schedule their exams in quick succession. You can also choose to postpone that testing date.

Step 3: Learn from Your Mistakes

For the majority of candidates who failed the CIA Exam, it came down to underestimating the difficulty of the exam or not putting in enough study effort the first time. Were you distracted? Did you not have a focused plan? What can you do to improve your study environment this second (or third) time around?

One reason the CIA Exam is so hard is that the majority of internal auditors learn their craft on the job, which means they’ve developed their own methodologies for carrying out audits. The CIA Exam requires candidates to know and understand the standardized methodologies of the Institute of Internal Auditors, so even the best auditors can find the exam challenging.

The next time around, you need to develop a clear study plan and stick to it — and ensure you only go by the IIA syllabus materials. Remove distractions and really devote yourself to your study plan.

Step up Your Study Materials

For many people, this means taking a more comprehensive approach to their studies, adding study text review in addition to practice questions and online review.

See what your study sessions have been missing when you sign up for a free 48-hour trial of Wiley’s online CIA Test Bank. It includes over 5,300 multiple-choice questions and covers all three parts of the CIA Exam.

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