Diary of a CIA Exam Retaker: Episode 2

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secil-cia-exam-blogger-circleSecil is our latest CIA exam blogger from Istanbul, Turkey. She just passed Part 1 after failing it once. This is her second post sharing the valuable lesson.

In my previous post I told you about three mistakes have caused me failed from Part 1. They were:

  • Wrong study method;
  • Failure to apply theory to practice; and
  • Alleging too many excuses to have breaks in study process.

Now let me explain the other three.

4. Failed to successfully implement the “active reading” strategy

You may have heard of the term “active reading” but may not be sure about how you could success it. The common active reading strategies can be explained in three: highlighting, read & think aloud and questioning.

I have been using Gleim materials for my preparation. It contains seven study units for Part 1 and each unit is composed of approximately 20 pages of outline.

In my first attempt, of course I read them all but failed to do it “actively”; whereas in my second attempt I kept in mind the strategies and treated the text with a quizzical point of view.

For example: when I saw the explanation of “primary roles of CAE”, I highlighted and asked questions like: “very well but how about the roles CAE must/should not have?”. With this method, I became aware of the exceptional cases.

This is especially the case with the units mentioned in the CIA syllabus as “will be tested by proficiency level”, this tactic really worked.

5. Didn’t focus on learning from my mistakes

Gleim online system has around 100 questions for each study unit. They suggested to prepare 20-question quizzes each time to test your proficiency.

At the end of each unit, although I should have concentrated on the causes of my incorrect answers, I only focused on the number of my trues and falses and attempted to take a new quiz in order to increase my success rate. I felt highly demotivated as I continued to choose the wrong answer.

6. I had no study partner in my first attempt

While preparing for CIA exam, having a study partner is critical. I was totally alone in my first attempt. Later I found two friends in my workplace and I still have them while preparing for Part 2 now. 🙂

Sitting together, analyzing the subjects, trying to solve the sample questions… None of these is a must, but having someone who can understand you when you are complaining about your hard study or talking about CIA generally is sufficient to keep you motivated. Of course it will be better if you meet, plan and study together. J

See you in the next post!

Note from Stephanie

Secil, your observation is spot on when it comes to the main reasons of a failure. Your point on active studying is all about effectiveness — there are often readers who got frustrated in failing after hours and hours of studying. This is likely a big reason.

Not learning from failure is also very common. We talk about it all the time, but then, as you said, we intuitively pay too much attention on getting X percent of practice questions right, rather than whether we actually learn from the exercise. The percentage will never improve if we don’t allocate sufficient time to review the questions again and understand our mistakes. In fact, I would read the answer to the correct questions as well just to make sure we get the correct answer for the correct reason.

Having a study partner really helps, for sure! It is much easier if one works in internal audit, if not, try to contact the local chapter of IIA and see if there are fellow members in your situation.

I will end my long comments today with this series of exam study tips from my CPA exam site: we cover active learning there (Tips #4 and #7) together with other tips on studying:

Exam Study Tips: 15 Ideas from our Brain Power Series

About the Author Secil

Secil has been working as an internal auditor in an international bank for 3 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • Lynnel says:

    Hello, Secil welcome! I am loving your posts and relate to your strategy, active reading. Looking forward for your next post and good luck on Part 2! 😊

  • Bonani says:

    How did you managed to study the sampling chapter. im having a difficult in understanding it . im taking exams in May. please advice

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