Handwriting What's your Score? with marker on visual screen.The Certified Internal Auditor® Exam, while computer-based like the CPA and CMA Exams, is scored much differently—and understanding how it’s scored is essential for setting up your study plan. This blog should help you figure out how your CIA exam score is calculated. 

The Exam’s Basic Structure

First off, the CIA Exam consists of three parts. In the first part, you’ll have to 2 hours and 30 minutes to answer 125 questions. That breaks down to 1 minute and 41 seconds of time—on average—for each multiple-choice question. Time management becomes even more important on Parts 2 and 3 of the CIA exam, as both 2 hours in length and consist of 100 questions. That means you only get 1 minute and 12 seconds per question on these parts of the exam.

Here’s the thing: The exam is NOT adaptive, meaning the difficulty of the questions does not change based on your prior answers. Each CIA exam question is scored equally and carries equal weight—and there is no penalty for incorrect answers.

The passing mark is “ideally” set at 75%, so you need to answer 75 of the 100 questions correctly to pass.

However, the exams become more difficult as you advance to Parts 2 and 3.

How the CIA Exam Score Accounts for Difficulty

In 2013, the Institute of Internal Auditors introduced a new grading system that determines the passing score for each exam part based on its difficulty. So while 75 correct answers out of 100 questions should be your target goal for passing the exam, the actual number of correct questions required to pass is different for each part.

So for questions that are determined to be more difficult, you may only need to answer, say, 70 out of 100 correct to pass.

The point is that you should organize your study plan to get you well past the minimum 75% threshold, especially on Part 1 and Part 2 of the CIA Exam.

CIA Exam Passing Score

Because the exam is 100% computer-based, you’ll receive your unofficial score immediately upon completing the exam.

Your CIA exam score will not be shown as a percentage. Instead, it is converted to a scale score with 600 being set equal to the passing mark (roughly 75% for standard difficulty questions).

Your results will clearly read “PASS” if you scored above 600. If you failed, you’ll see a numeric score on a scale between 250 and 600 so you can understand how close you came to passing.

Now that you have a strong grasp on how the exam is scored, it’s time to get studying! “For access to the UWorld CIA QBank, be sure to sign up for our free trial today!