I Pass the CIA Exam!

CIA Exam Grading Guide (and Minimum Passing Score)


The CIA exam grading system is similar to the other accounting exams, but there are some unique features that you may find interesting.

How the CIA Exam is Graded


For those who prefer to read the text, here is the grading mechanism:

1. Fully Graded by Computer

Given this exam is 100% consisting of multiple choice questions, candidates can get an unofficial pass / fail score right after the exam.

2. Questions Equally Weighted

Because there are no essays, case studies and other long questions, all questions are equally weighted. Also, there is no penalty for wrong answers.

3. Not All Questions are Counted

There are pre-test questions throughout the exam. They are used to determine if the questions adequately test a candidate’s knowledge in a given topic, and possibly be used in future exams. The pre-test questions are randomly displayed and you have no way to differentiate them from the graded ones.

CIA Exam Grading Based on Scaled Scoring

Under the current system, the passing score is calculated based on its difficulty. In other words, the number of correct questions required to pass the exam can be different from one another.

For example, if a candidate needs to answer 75% of the questions correctly in an exam with “standard difficulty”, he might only need to reach 70% on a set of more difficult questions in order to pass.

All the raw scores are converted into a reporting scale of 250 to 750 points.

CIA Exam Passing Score

Out of the range of 250 to 750, the passing score is 600.


Again, it is not a straight calculation, as in you cannot assume the passing percentage is 600 / 750 = 80%.  All we know is that it’s a scaled scoring system and it’s fair.

Performance Assessment

Once you complete the exam, you will immediately see a pass/fail score on the screen. For successful candidates, there will only be one word of “Pass” on the screen. For those who fail, there will be a numeric score (a number between 250 and 600) so candidates have an idea how far off they are from the passing 600 mark.

IIA does not disclose the actual score to those who pass because they believe candidates with a passing grade are equally qualified for the certification.

How Early Can I Get the Score?

Unofficial results are available immediately after the exam.

You can check the official results in the CCMS system on the IIA website after 24-72 hours. Failing candidates also receive an indication of their performance on each major exam topic area. This will let you know the topics areas on which you performed well and those on which you need improvement.

Hope It Helps!

If you find this site helpful, please consider signing up to my mini-course which is completely free. You can learn more about this mini e-course here.

Further Reading

About the Author Stephanie

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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  • mag says:

    Just completed my exam and scored 590. How far am i away from passing?

  • remon says:

    Just completed my exam with unofficial scored 594 and the result is fail, Is there any opportunity for passing when it is be official

  • idrissa says:

    I took the part 3 o n september 23 and got a failing score of 588 from the testing center.
    but I did not receive an official failing notice from iia. is there a chance that it can be overturn

  • XuanDao says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    I have signed. Thanks for your website.
    I come from Vietnam, and according to my findings. There is just “smart train” center organizes CIA course in Vietnam.
    So, if I study myself, could I pass?
    Please kindly give me some guidance.

    Many thanks

  • Catherine says:


    I just took the first CIA Exam and received an unofficial score of 590. Assuming the official score will be the same I will be re-taking the exam in the future. Does the 180 day time limit to take the exam still apply to my second attempt?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Catherine, bummer… it was pretty close to pass.
      I thought you only need to wait for 90 days? It applies to all the attempts for the same part. Regards, Stephanie

  • Yasser says:

    I just finished my cia part 1 exam. And my unofficial score is 595. Is there any chance to curve the score to 600 in the official result?


  • Mubashir says:

    First prepare Part III of CIA. After this,remaining parts will be easy. Because, student feels difficulty when he looks accounting in Part I & II Exam questions. When prepares Part III, rest become easy.

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks for your sharing. Part 3 covers more topics than Part 1 and 2. So the difficulty is more on wider coverage and not necessarily on more difficult questions. Regards, Stephanie

      • Mubashir says:

        I appeared two times in CIA-I & one time in CIA-II but unsuccessful. Exam questions were lengthy and of mostly accounts based scenarios. If person prepares part III first, then remaining parts become easy. However, I left CIA and started CISA which is one paper based.

  • Moustafa says:

    yesterday,i just passed CIA part 2 ,i only studied gleim &hock ,when i asked about my exam report, they said the exam report is not provided to applicants,the applicants only know if they fail or pass

    • Stephanie says:

      Moustafa, congratulations!
      That’s right, if you pass, there won’t be a score or a report; but if one fails then he would be given a report, aiming to help him understand the relative weakness that he can work on for the next attempt. Regards, Stephanie

  • Jenny says:

    Hi , I sit CIA part 3 and failed with a score of 576. I want to understand how many questions did I get wrong out of 100 questions.
    The pass score is +600 and I still can’t grasp how this translates into 75% pass score.
    My maths showed me to 80% pass score (my method 1 ) and a pass score 70% ( my method 2) based on the grading system (250-750).
    How many questions docI have to get right to get 600?

  • Emmanuel says:

    I got my unofficial CIA exams results and was so close to passing, i got 595.Any chances of getting a pass when i get my official results?

    • Rosy says:

      Hello, i am in the same situation than you!!!! Did you pass again the exam or your final score was enough to succed? Thanks for your response !!

  • Karim says:

    I just completed my CIA part 3 exam and have passed the exam successfully!

    wish you all the best 🙂

  • dinky says:


    Is gliem cia materials and test prep enough for passing out the exam. I am planning to give exam in mid november this year.

  • Sitti says:

    Hi Steph! Do the official results of CIA exam also shows the grade and performance per section for the passer?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sitti, there will be no grade/performance report if you pass. But if failed, then yes you get those for your reference and for an indication on how one can improve in their next attempt. Hope this is clearer? Stephanie

  • moataz says:

    i need to pass CRMA
    [ already study iia material and makeveer but failed

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh I see… we just started to cover CRMA but we will work hard to gather information to help those who need a retake! Please email me at stephanie@ipasstheciaexam.com if you are willing to share your experience, good or bad. Thanks! Stephanie

  • Dan says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Unfortunately I was not able to clear my CIA part 1 exam today.
    🙁 (only short by 5 points , 595). I need to moderately improve on Internal control and Conducting Internal audit engagements.

    Wanted to check if we get detailed report in CCMS showing which are the weak areas and which questions I have answered incorrectly ?or we get the same report which I got as a printout after the exam?

    Also, from my personal experience I would like to share, I am using Gleim , but I found lot of concepts that came during the exam were not covered in the gleim material, even in the test material also. How do I cope with it going forward ? I have already reviewed Lynnel blog and stories however I am still not sure how to move forward ?

    I geniunely completed all the test exam in GLEIM and scored more than 90%? Do you suggest going with some review material (IIA, Hock or Wiley)

    Sorry for long comment, one last query… as I have to wait 3 months window to give my part 1 again, should I give both the part together or give only 1st part.

    Any recommendations or help in above queries will be much appreciated’



    • Stephanie says:

      Oh Dan, that was really close…
      I truly believe that you try your best, and it was just a tiny bit off from the passing grade. I remember Lynnel mentioned some reading downloaded from the IIA site as well (maybe the practice guides?) As to whether another review material is helpful, I am not sure… maybe for the <10% incorrect questions from your Gleim test, make sure you know how to get to the correct answers?

      If you really want to get a supplementary material, I would try Surgent (i.e. Exammatrix). I can’t say they have the best questions, but the adaptive learning system, in which they feed you questions in your weaker areas, can prove to be very useful. You can check out my write up here: https://ipasstheciaexam.com/surgent-cia-review/

      If you are this close you might as well also try Part 2. It depends on your time and whether you are able to commit to the studying.

      Stay strong! I am quite sure you can pass on your next attempt! Stephanie

  • Miri says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    I have failed part one two times with 585 and 595 points respectively. I used Glaim preparation materials and was doing well in both study and testing sessions as my overall average was more than 90%. But at the real exam I saw so different and “strange” questions that I’d never seen information related them in prep materials. I just wonder could these questions be the reason that I failed or not. Because if calculate my score it appears that I’ve answered 95 questions right and still failed the exam.

  • Rebecca McManus says:

    Where do you purchase authorized training guides to train and re train beginning assistants?

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