How to identify the best CIA review courses?
Some based on brand. Others based on price, number of products, apps, freebies, gimmicks…
The fact is, there is no absolute best.
Let Me Find the Best CIA Review Course for You!
I don’t believe in people who say their CIA study materials are the absolute best, because different courses suit candidates with different background and learning style. I am however confident that you will find one that suit you the best here.
|Test Prep Software|
|# Practice Questions||3,060+||n/a||2,919|
|Customer Service||Personal counselor||Tech support||Tech support|
|Access Time-limit||18 months|
or until you pass*
|12 or 24 months||Unlimited|
|Pricing (3-parts)||$759 / $902 (w coupon)||$895||$549|
|Pricing (single-part)||$279 / $339||$325||$299|
* Apply to Gleim Premium only, and conditions apply. The price above reflects that for premium version.
Detailed CIA Review Courses Comparison
Gleim CIA Review
Gleim is among the most established and popular CIA exam review courses. If you browse around my site, you’ll notice that most readers use Gleim, mostly as their core study materials, or as supplements to the CIA Learning System.
In fact, 3 of our 4 CIA exam bloggers choose Gleim (on their own) to prepare for the exam; the remaining one started with another provider and switched to Gleim after two weeks.
- Very established; one of the earliest providers of CIA review course (as well as for CPA, CMA and EA).
- The Gleim CIA Review System offers an integrated learning approach with audio-visual presentation, test prep, audio review, text books and an online study tracking system called Gleim online.
- Most comprehensive practice questions that closely simulate the real test experience.
- Free trial with full access to Study Unit One, plus money-back guarantee.
- If you have absolutely no accounting or auditing background either from school or work, it may be tough to follow.
- Gleim arranges a personal counselor for each customer of their CIA review system. However, this counselor is more like a coordinator and a cheerleader. He or she can forward technical questions to the professors but it is not as direct.
If you have some accounting / auditing background and are the type of candidates who learn from practice i.e. doing lots of practice questions, I have no doubt that Gleim is the best for you.
- You can get a more detailed evaluation of Gleim CIA Review here.
CIA Learning System
The CIA Learning System is the official review materials from IIA. It is an integrated review system consisting of textbooks, study planner, analytics and practice questions.
- I feel like the authors really want to teach, versus just want you to pass. This can be kept as a good reference book after the exam.
- The content should match very closely with the syllabus (Please note however that authors do not have any access to the exam questions and therefore there is no advantage of getting these study materials in this regard.)
- There are built-in performance tracking and online study planner
- Most expensive.
- No free trial or money-back guarantee.
- If your main purpose is to pass the CIA exam (vs learning about internal audit through the exam), the CIA Learning System may teach “too much” and not as efficient.
- The practice questions in the test bank are not as complex and comprehensive. I personally prefer tougher practice questions to get me fully prepared for the exam.
- Free demo is of little use when compared to the full-access free trial offered by other providers.
It’s a great learning tool for those who want to take the time and learn about the best practices in internal audit. If you are tight in budget or want the title fast… might want to check out the others.
- You can get a more detailed evaluation of CIA Learning System here.
Founded by Brian Hock, this CMA/CIA review course provider is quite popular outside of the US.
- Great notes that explain the concepts well with classroom recordings.
- Slightly less expensive
- Practice questions are good but coverage is not as wide as Gleim’s.
- At the same time, CIA Learning System has a more comprehensive coverage if this is what you are looking for.
If you need more explanations on the concepts behind the topics covered in the CIA exam, but find CIA Learning System too expensive, Hock could be a good alternative. If you need more practice questions, you can get Gleim or Exammatrix as supplement.
- You can get a more detailed evaluation of Hock CIA Review here.
Other CIA Study Materials
You may also consider these CIA exam preparation materials:
Wiley CIA Review
Wiley is another global brand in the accounting exam preparation industry. They are most welcome in the CPA test prep with the #1 selling Wiley CPA Exam Review (text books), together with the fully guided online version known as the Wiley CPAexcel.
For the Certified Internal Auditor exam, Wiley CIAexcel is also available using a similar platform (the earlier version of CPAexcel). If you would like to get separate products, there are also the study guide, practice question test bank and focus notes that you can get from their official site.
- Product from an excellent, global brand
- Proven study tools that have been working in other exams (CPA and CMA)
- Text book, online practice prep and summary notes only; not a fully integrated and guided review course (i.e. no videos and study planners)
- Not as popular as the “Big 3”. People don’t seem to talk about (or use) Wiley CIA
Exammatrix CIA Review
Exammatrix prides itself on their adaptive learning technology. It is now under the Surgent brand, which is an innovative, up-and-coming provider in the CPA exam prep market.
- The Adaptive Learning Technology feeds students with questions they are weaker at, essentially performing the role of a coach. It is one of the most effective ways to improve scores for retakers.
- The notes is the most basic and I wouldn’t rely on it alone. Exammatrix is pretty much only an online test prep.
Lambers CIA Review
Lambers is another brand name that has been around for almost 50 years. They have products for CPA, CMA and CIA exams.
I believe Mr. Lambers has sold his business years ago, and as a result the current products lack a personal touch they used to have. It feels pretty institutionalized but doesn’t really have the benefits that you may get from a big company.
Other CIA Study Materials
There are also providers such as Fast Forward Academy and Rigos. I feel like I should mention them but they are not on my recommended list.
Given that this is a 100% multiple-choice examination, I would pick a set of materials with the most solid practice questions.
I believe most candidates would agree that Gleim CIA has the best practice questions, together with personal counselor support, reasonable pricing, free trial… all with the Gleim Guarantee. What do you think? Drop a comment below and we can discuss.