Investments & Wealth Institute Exam Standards: Development and Scoring

IWI certification exams are grounded in sound research and best practices, conducted and scored impartially—and relevant to the work you do in the real world.

Certify with confidence.

Who Develops IWI certification exams?

As the certifying body for the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®), and Retirement Management Advisor® (RMA®) certifications, Investments & Wealth Institute is committed to providing examinations that reflect the real capabilities and value that certificants have achieved.

The complex certification exam development and scoring process relies on the dedication and intelligent guidance of subject matter experts (SMEs), researchers, independent testing agencies, and certification program administrators and staff. These experts help ensure our exams are:

  • Comprehensive

  • Relevant

  • Valid

  • Reliable

Certification Commissions

9-20 volunteer members including:

  • Certificate holders

  • Financial advisory professionals

  • Academics and subject matter experts

Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO)

Respected experts in educational research and evaluation who assist in development, administration, scoring, and analysis of IWI exams.

Independent Testing Agencies

For administration and delivery of exams, IWI contracts with Pearson VUE (in-person exams) and Measure Learning (online exams).

Certification Exam Item Writers and Reviewers

These volunteer contributors form two task force committees that provide expert, valid test questions, carefully vetted and validated.

How Are IWI Exam Objectives and Topics Determined?

Certification Commissions meet regularly to review and update the knowledge, skills, activities, and tasks that financial advisors, investment consultants, wealth management analysts, and retirement planning specialists must be able to perform.

Job Task Analysis

Every 5 years, the commissions conduct a detailed Job Task Analysis to identify major changes in the work activities covered by the certifications.

  1. Commission volunteers write knowledge, skill, and tasks statements (KSAs).

  2. KSAs are put before the industry at large through a survey.

  3. Responses directly inform which categories are included on the exams and the percentage of questions selected for each category

Learn how the Job Task Analysis informs IWI’s Body of Knowledge

How Are IWI Tests Written?

CIMA®, CPWA®, and RMA® certification examination item writers are volunteers who bring specialized expertise in their area of financial advising.

Item development

Item writers receive question-writing training and:

  • Develop test questions (items) according to test plan specifications

  • Validate them by using standard textbooks appropriate for each credential

Item review and validation

A Certification Exam Review Task Force provides a reliable check and balance system for exam reliability. Task force members meet in an extended session to:

  • Rigorously review and vet exam questions

  • Evaluate correctness, appropriateness, biases, and clarity