How the CIA Exam is Scored

What's your Score?

The Certified Internal Auditor® Exam, while computer-based like the CPA and CMA Exams, is scored much differently—and understanding how a passing exam is scored is essential for setting up your study plan.

The Exam’s Basic Structure

First off, the CIA Exam consists of three parts. Even though there are different numbers of multiple-choice questions and different amounts of time for some parts of the exam, it still works out to you having roughly 1 minute and 12 seconds to answer each question on the exam as a whole.

The first part of the CIA exam consists of 125 questions and 2.5 hours of time. Parts 2 and 3 both have 100 questions and 2 hours of time for you to complete the exam. As you run your question drills in prep for the exam, be sure to keep the 1 minute and 12 seconds of time in your mind.

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.

Accounting For Exam Difficulty

In 2013, the Institute of Internal Auditors introduced new grading system that determines the passing score for each exam part based on its difficulty. So while 75 correct answers out of a 100 questions (on Part 2 and Part 3 at least) 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 being that you should organize your study plan to get you well past the minimum 75% threshold, especially on Part 1 of the CIA Exam.

Your Scaled Score

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

Your 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 Wiley CIAexcel Test Bank, be sure to sign up for our free trial here.