The IIA has decided to disclose the CIA exam pass rate on an annual basis:
|IIA-run Exams||2014 Pass Rates||2015 Pass Rates||2016 Pass Rates|
Note: These are global pass rates. This means scores are reflective of all exams delivered in all countries, in all languages for exams delivered via computer based testing (CBT). Source: IIA website
In the past, when the data was not disclosed, the most quoted CIA exam pass rate was 45% (although the percentage may come from one unverified source). According to Hock International’s previous estimate, the pass rate was around 50%.
The actual 2016 CIA exam pass rate is even lower.
It may be a surprise to many that the CIA exam passing rate is lower than to that of the CPA exam (45-55%) and the CFA exam (43% for Level 1), given the general impression that the CIA exam should be easier.
One reason is the the CPA exam has a much high entry barrier: those who are allowed to sit for the exam must have an education equivalent to an accounting major, and that he or she must have 4-5 years of higher education.
In addition, the CMA exam is similar to the CIA exam in that there is a substantial number of non-US candidates. The administrator of the CMA exam discloses pass rates by region, and you will see that the level differs considerably by region. In particular, the non-English speaking regions have the lowest performance in both Part 1 and Part 2.
US CMA Exam Pass Rate Trend
The regional difference in CIA exam performance is likely smaller due to the fact that:
Having said that, I have readers complaining that the translation is not done properly. It is a US-based exam and we should expect the format and writing style to be pretty much American.
If English is not your first language, bear in mind that the overall pass rate may not be a good indicator in your situation.
The CIA certification is the most well-recognized among the IIA offering. It is also the most versatile and the one most suitable for internal audit generalists.
If you don’t have current plans to further specialize within internal audit, or that you aspire to become a senior IA professionals with strategic and management roles, the CIA certification is the one to go for.
Because of this, I wouldn’t pick a certification based on historical pass rates. We should make the decision based on the needs of our long term career.
The respective eligibility requirements also lead to a difference in pass rates. For example, the CRSA exam requires candidate to at least pass the Part 1 exam. This rule limits the CRSA exam candidates to serious takers who have a good foundation in internal audit. As a result, the CRSA exam pass rate is naturally higher than that of the CIA exam.
Let’s focus on doing our best in the exam preparation. Here’s what you can do:
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.
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.
Latest CIA Exam Syllabus (plus Great Questions from Readers)18 Apr, 2018
Ultimate CIA Exam Preparation Guide: 38 Tips for Passing Success12 Apr, 2018
CIA Exam Part 3 Overview + Quick Fixes to Your Study Strategy06 Apr, 2018
IIA CIA Exam Changes: Major Syllabus Revision in 2019
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.