Dealing with Exam Failure: What to Do Next

Failing an exam can be disheartening, but it's crucial to approach the situation with a clear plan for moving forward. Here are some steps to consider:

Wait for the Retake Opportunity

If you fail an exam part, you'll need to wait for 30 days before you can retake it. The IIA permits up to eight attempts for the same exam part within your program eligibility window. To re-register and schedule a new test appointment, follow the same process as your initial registration.

Take a Break

After any exam, whether you pass or fail, it's essential to give yourself a short break. Take a week off from studying and use this time to relax, hang out with friends, and engage in activities you enjoy. During this break, steer clear of anything related to the CIA exam.

Be Kind to Yourself

Accept that setbacks are a part of the journey towards success. Failing an exam is not a reflection of your abilities or potential.

Stay Motivated

Despite the disappointment of failing, maintain a positive attitude and keep your focus on the ultimate goal of passing the CIA exam. Remind yourself why you embarked on this journey and what you hope to achieve through your success. Continue to study and practice diligently.

Analyze Your Performance

When you don't pass an exam, the IIA provides a diagnostic report highlighting your strengths and weaknesses in the different exam domains. This feedback is invaluable for identifying areas in need of improvement. Reflect on your preparation methods and time management during the exam. If you couldn't complete all the questions or review your answers in time, this indicates a need to enhance your time management skills.

  • A score below 500 suggests a need for a more in-depth understanding of the exam topics and more practice.
  • If your score was above 500, focus on the specific challenging areas and practice questions related to them.

Re-evaluate Your Study Plan

Adjust your study plan to address your weaknesses and consider increasing the amount of time you allocate for studying. PRC offers a helpful guide to help you create a customized study strategy.

Seek Help

Don't hesitate to seek assistance when struggling with challenging concepts. Instructors and colleagues can provide valuable insights and assist in developing a personalized study plan.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Familiarity with the exam's content and format is key to success. The more you practice, the higher your chances of passing on your next attempt.

Consider a Review Course

Investing in a review course can solidify your understanding of the material and improve your test-taking skills, ultimately saving you time in your exam preparation.

Decide Your Next Step

When determining whether to retake the failed exam part or switch to a different one, consider your strengths, weaknesses, and the time available. The waiting period between retakes is 30 days, so assess if this duration allows for sufficient preparation. If your initial score was above 550, you may require less preparation for your second attempt. Also, consider whether a change in focus might be beneficial to combat monotony.

Remember, Failing Isn't the End

Failing the CIA exam is an expected part of the journey, and many successful candidates face one or more setbacks before passing. With dedication and hard work, you can overcome this challenge and achieve your goal.