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CIA Exam Dates, Expirations, and Extensions: Making Your CIA Exam Schedule

If you’re ready to take the CIA exam, you need to know when you can do it, how long you have to do it, and what happens if you can’t get it done on time. Discovering the CIA exam dates helps you make the CIA exam schedule you need to pass, and you can use this information to do just that.

Why CIA Exam Dates Matter

As a CIA candidate, you should be able to relate to this scenario:

An email appears in your inbox. Subject Line: CIA Application Approval. Sender: Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Congratulations, your application has been accepted! You’re officially on your way to becoming a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Now, your to-do grows a little longer. You need to:

Of course, you also need to finish each of these steps before time runs out.

And though the IIA provides CIA candidates with a generous amount of time and scheduling flexibility with which to take the CIA exam, time will still run out eventually. What’s more, within the time you have, you need to account for both studying and test-taking. So, you can’t ignore the deadlines.

If you do, your eligibility window will close, and you’ll have to start over. And starting over involves paying all the fees again in full.

No one wants to get into this situation. So, to avoid it, use this information about CIA exam dates, expirations, and extensions to make the best CIA exam choices for you.

What the CIA Exam Dates Are

Some major accounting certification exams, like the CPA and the CMA, are only available to take during testing windows. But conveniently, the IIA has not established any CIA exam windows. Consequently, the CIA exam also does not have any unavailable periods like the CPA Exam blackout months.

Furthermore, testing for some accounting certification exams, such as the CFA, only happens on specific dates during the year. But once again, the IIA has no set dates for the CIA exam. So, you can search the web for “CIA exam dates 2020” and “CIA exam schedule 2020” or something similar and not find a universal calendar of CIA exam dates because such a calendar doesn’t exist.

Instead of forcing candidates to sit for the exam within a testing window or on select dates, the IIA allows for continuous CIA exam testing year-round. So, you can sit for the CIA exam whenever you want. To make your own CIA exam date, you must simply choose your preferred testing center and schedule a testing appointment at one of the available times.

Important CIA Exam Times for Your CIA Exam Schedule

So, the power to schedule the CIA exam is in your hands. You aren’t tethered by a CIA test schedule or some CIA exam timetable 2019. However, as mentioned, you still have to pay attention to the clock for several reasons. You must heed these CIA exam times as you create your CIA exam schedule.

3-Year Program Eligibility Period

As you may recall, you have 3 years to complete all of the CIA requirements. The countdown begins once the IIA accepts your application into the CIA program and you officially become a candidate for the Certified Internal Auditor certification.

Most candidates are aware of this 3-year eligibility window. Yet, I still have readers frantically ask for help because they forgot about this rule until a month before the deadline.

Frankly, even though you have to fulfill all the other CIA requirements during this time as well, the IIA is still quite generous to allow such a long period to pass 3 exam parts. CPA exam candidates only have 18 months to pass 4 exam sections, so the CIA schedule is quite a bit more lenient.

However, because the CIA eligibility period is so long, many candidates put the exam aside until the end. And you don’t want to see the eligibility window close because if you don’t pass the entire exam within 3 years, you’ll have to go back to square one. Consequently, you’ll have to re-apply to the IIA, re-pay all required fees in full, and re-take all 3 exam parts. Therefore, I can understand the last-minute panic you’d feel if your eligibility window for CIA exam time was narrowing.

180-Day Exam Eligibility Window

Another important period of CIA exam time to keep in mind is your 180-day exam eligibility window. Yes, you have 180 days from the date you register for your CIA exam to schedule and sit for the exam. After you complete the exam registration process, the IIA will email you your authorization to test. With this authorization, you can contact Pearson VUE, the administrator of the CIA exam, to schedule your testing appointment.

However, you do technically have to wait 48 hours after receiving your authorization to test to reach out to Pearson VUE. But once those 48 hours have passed, you should call Pearson VUE or visit their website as soon as possible so you can get the best CIA exam date and testing time for you. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to have as many good testing appointment options.

30-Day Retake Restriction

If you happen to fail any part of the CIA exam (which is not uncommon according to the CIA exam pass rates), you will have to retake it. But you can’t retake your failed part right away. Instead, you have to wait about 2 months because the IIA has implemented a 30-day waiting period for retakes. This period begins on the date you failed that CIA exam part. And once you register for the failed exam part again, you still have just 180 days to schedule and sit for this exam part.

Now, you can register for the failed exam part again and schedule your retake CIA exam date before the 30 days are over. But, if you do this, once you receive your new authorization to test and visit the Pearson VUE website again to schedule your testing appointment, you’ll see that the only CIA exam dates available to you will be 30 days after the date of your failed exam part. So, you will only have 30 days left, during which you can sit for the exam part before your 180 days of exam eligibility end.

So, if you want more scheduling options for retaking your failed exam section, you should wait to register for the failed exam part again until 30 days after the date of failure. If you wait until the end of this period, you can schedule your exam appointment for any time within your 180-day exam eligibility window.

Scheduling Another CIA Exam Part

And if you feel ready, you can also schedule and sit for a different CIA exam part during the 30-day waiting period. For example, if you failed CIA exam Part 1, you could still take CIA exam Part 2 within those 30 days.

So, is skipping ahead like this a wise decision? I think so. And I have 2 reasons for saying this:

  1. If you move forward to another CIA exam part, then you won’t want to lose your study momentum. Unfortunately, once you put studying aside, getting back into it is more difficult. So, staying in the study game is usually better.
  2. Depending on the exam parts you’ve taken, moving on to another part can actually help you pass the part you failed. For example, Part 1 and Part 2 have some CIA exam content overlap. Therefore, these 2 parts complement each other. So, studying for Part 2 can better prepare you for retaking Part 1.

30-Day CIA Exam Scheduling Restriction

You can schedule several exam parts on the same day, but you cannot schedule the same part again within 30 days. This restriction is essentially the same rule as the above. 

Scheduling Your CIA Exam

Now that you have these guidelines for your CIA exam schedule, you can make your CIA exam testing appointments confidently. The IIA has made the exam scheduling process easy for candidates, so you don’t have any reason to be anxious about this task.

As mentioned, the IIA has partnered with Pearson VUE to administer the CIA exam. Pearson VUE is an international company that administers tests on behalf of numerous organizations and institutes.

Again, you can schedule your CIA exam testing appointments 48 hours after you receive your authorization to test from the IIA. If you need a reminder of when this will happen, you can learn more about the CIA application and CIA exam registration process.

You’ll use your authorization to test to make your exam appointment with Pearson VUE. You can communicate with Pearson VUE by calling the toll-free customer service phone number for your location or by visiting their website.

Because the IIA has computerized the CIA exam, the CIA exam scheduling process is pretty convenient. For example, you can:

1. Take the exam on any (week)day

You can schedule your CIA exam for any test date with an open seat at your preferred Pearson VUE testing center. And, these details about Pearson VUE testing centers can help you narrow down your CIA exam date:

  • Testing centers are open Monday through Friday.
  • Some large testing centers are also open on Saturdays.
  • Friday and Saturday appointments tend to fill up first along with dates toward the end of the month.
  • The CIA exam has no blackout dates.

Pearson VUE gives test takers plenty of options with exam dates. However, you should be aware that the company administers tests for many different certifications. So, on your exam date, you may see doctors, nurses, and other professionals at the site. Consequently, dates can fill up quickly. And, Pearson VUE does not accept walk-ins. Therefore, I recommend scheduling your exam date sooner rather than later so that you get your preferred time slot.

CIA exam is now offered online, too

The CIA exam is now being offered online, too. This option started during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the online option is still available, at least for now. That is, we don’t know how long candidates will be able to take the CIA exam online. But still, the registration process is the same. And you still need to book a testing appointment via the Pearson VUE website.

2. Take the exam in your local city/country

 Pearson VUE operates hundreds of testing centers across the globe. Therefore, you should be able to find a testing center near you. To see where the closest Pearson VUE testing center is, simply visit their website. There, you’ll see the option to find a test center. Then, you can get specific by typing in a city or address. The website will then populate a list of the testing centers in that area.

You can pick the testing site you prefer from this list and copy down the information. Then, you can use this information to schedule your testing appointment using the link found in your authorization to test email.

When you schedule your testing appointment, you’ll also be able to specify the language you would like to take the CIA exam in. Currently, the CIA exam is available in 19 languages: Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, English, Estonian, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish. However, as the IIA updates the different language versions of the exam for the latest IIA CIA exam changes, some of these languages will no longer be available. Specifically, by the end of 2019, candidates won’t be able to take the CIA exam in Czech, Estonian, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, or Polish. The update schedule for the languages versions that will remain is:

  • French and Spanish: June 1, 2019
  • German and Turkish: July 1, 2019
  • Arabic and Russian: August 1, 2019
  • Korean and Portuguese: September 1, 2019
  • Chinese Traditional and Japanese: October 1, 2019
  • Chinese Simplified and Thai: 2020

3. Receive results immediately after finishing the exam

As you may recall, the CIA exam contains only multiple-choice questions. So, the combination of this format and the computerization of the exam allows the computer to calculate your scores immediately after you complete the exam and give you an unofficial score report before you leave your desk. This convenience spares you from having to wait (and agonize) over your score for the next few weeks.

Rescheduling, Canceling, and Extending Your CIA Exam Dates

So, you scheduled your CIA exam date. You also put that date in your calendar and created a CIA exam study plan around it. But that date is approaching soon, and you just don’t feel ready to take the exam. Or, something has come up and you can’t take the exam on that date. Sometimes, life can get in the way and derail even our best-laid plans. I understand. And I also know that, thankfully, the IIA provides candidates in such a situation with options for their CIA exam journey. These options include rescheduling your exam appointment, canceling your exam appointment, and applying for an extension. So, learn more to find out which one will be best for you.

Rescheduling a CIA Exam Date

Rescheduling your CIA exam date is an option, but you must do so in time. If you made your CIA exam appointment but then your plans changed, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 48 hours before your original exam appointment in order to reschedule. Otherwise, the IIA will consider you a “no-show” for your testing appointment and will charge you the full exam fee when you go to re-register for that exam part.

To reschedule your CIA exam date, you can contact Pearson VUE via their customer service line or log into your account through their website. If you choose to reschedule online, you’ll find the link for your CIA exam date under “Upcoming Appointments.” From here, you can follow the instructions provided on the screen to select a new test date. At this point, you will also need to pay the rescheduling fee of $75 directly to Pearson VUE. Then, you can submit your registration again.

You must take these steps for each CIA exam you want to reschedule (if you need to change more than 1 test date).

After you’ve rescheduled, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Pearson Vue with your new exam date. If you do not receive this email, you must reach out to Pearson Vue immediately, especially if your appointment is almost just 48 hours away. You can contact Pearson VUE via email or through the customer service number for your region. I also suggest logging into your Pearson VUE account to ensure your new exam date is in the system.

Canceling a CIA Exam Date

If you don’t know when you will be able to sit for the CIA exam, then rescheduling is not really an option. You may feel that you simply must cancel your CIA exam date altogether and rebook some time in the future.

So, to cancel your exam appointment, you must call Pearson VUE. They don’t allow you to make cancellations via their website. And again, you must cancel at least 48 hours prior to your original exam date. Otherwise, you will have to pay the full exam fee when you reschedule. Finally, you will also have to pay the $75 fee for canceling your appointment, just as you would for rescheduling it.

Requesting a CIA Extension

As mentioned, once you register for a CIA exam part, you have an exam eligibility window of 180 days to schedule and sit for that exam part.

However, if you can’t take the CIA exam during this time, the IIA does allow you to apply for a one-time exam eligibility extension. If you receive this extension, you’ll have an additional 60 days to sit for the exam. To apply, you must visit the IIA website, log into the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS), click “Complete a Form,” and pay the extension fee. This fee is $100 for both IIA members and non-members.

You may be eligible for this extension if you:

  • Have not scheduled an exam part
  • Canceled your original appointment

You are not eligible for the extension if you have reached your program expiration date.

Applying for a CIA Program Extension

What if you’re struggling to finish all of the CIA requirements within your 4-year program eligibility period? Well, thankfully, the IIA has an extension for that as well. The extension applies to candidates who:

  • Have not yet successfully passed their exams
  • Have been accepted into the program but have not yet taken their exams

If you qualify for this extension and receive it, you will have 12 extra months during which to complete the CIA program.

To apply for an extension, go to the IIA website, log into the CCMS, and select and complete the “Program Extension” form. When you submit the form, you will also need to pay a fee of $250 no matter your IIA membership status.

Finally, the program extension is not available to all CIA candidates. In some countries, local representatives manage the IIA offices, and these representatives may or may not follow this initiative. So, please check with your local office to ensure you are eligible.

Hardship Extension

The IIA also accommodates candidates who are experiencing hardship. So, if you are facing extenuating circumstances such as illness, maternity or paternity, a death in the family, civil unrest, a natural disaster, or military service, you can apply for a one-time extension of the exam eligibility window or certification program.

To apply for a hardship extension, visit the IIA website, log into the CCMS, and submit an incident form. The IIA asks that you submit documentation supporting your request.

6 Tips for Sticking to Your CIA Exam Schedule

The best way to avoid timeline panic is to prepare and sit for your CIA exams within the given window. But I know being so productive is easier said than done. For this reason, I highly suggest you plan for both the best and worst case scenarios. So, you can use these tops 6 tips to stay on track for CIA certification.

1. Use a CIA Review Course

Though the CIA exam is passable, it is still pretty challenging, as the CIA exam difficulty level proves. Therefore, you must not only prioritize your exam preparations, but you must also equip yourself with the best study materials for you.

A CIA review course is a collection of study materials such as textbooks, video lectures, audio lectures, test banks, assistance for experts, and more. And a CIA review course uses these materials to explain the exam content to you, help you develop your knowledge and skills, and support you throughout your entire CIA journey.

Best CIA Review Courses

For these reasons, a CIA review course supplies you with everything you need to pass the CIA exam and thereby greatly increases your chances of doing so. In fact, some review courses come with a passing guarantee. For example, the Gleim CIA Review System will either fully refund your purchase or extend your course access if you do not pass on your first try. This guarantee is smart, as it ensures that you and your review course provider have an aligned interest in helping you pass the CIA exam as fast as possible.

To find the right CIA review course for you, you can learn more about the pros and cons of the popular CIA review courses. What’s more, you can also save big on your preferred CIA exam prep with my CIA review discounts.

2. Sign Up for My Free CIA E-Course

To complement your CIA exam prep, I offer a free course for CIA candidates. This course walks you through the entire CIA certification process. It also tells you how to pass the CIA exam the first time.

The course comes to you in a series of emails over a period of a few days. Consequently, receiving these regular reminders of your desire to earn the CIA keeps you accountable to your goal and helps you maintain your motivation. So, to give yourself the best chance at achieving CIA success, you should sign up for this free CIA course ASAP.

3. Follow a Realistic Study Plan

The IIA gives CIA candidates 3 years to complete 3 exam parts. Therefore, timing shouldn’t be an issue, especially when you consider my recommended CIA exam study times. Furthermore, the goal of earning the CIA is to advance in your career. So, the sooner you secure the CIA, the faster you can enjoy the CIA benefits.

Having said that, your CIA exam study plan must be workable for you and have built-in buffers. I suggest you plan to finish the 3 CIA exam parts within 9 months. So, give each exam part a quarter’s worth of attention by spending 2 months studying and then sitting for the exam in the third month. Then, take off the rest of the month before moving on to the next exam part.

Most of us have family and work commitments. Therefore, if you find that finishing your studies and feeling completely prepared takes longer than 2 months, you’ve already given yourself an extra month in which to catch up so you can stay on schedule. Also, if you fail or need to postpone an exam part, you may still be able to complete all 3 parts in 1 year.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Exam Format

 The CIA exam consists of 3 parts.

Therefore, to be completely ready for each exam part, you need to be extremely well-versed in the CIA exam format and CIA exam syllabus for each part. This information includes the types of questions on the CIA exam, the number of questions in each exam part, the depth of knowledge you need to answer these questions, the topics on which each exam part focuses, total testing time for each part, and more.

You can’t afford to be confused about any of these details because the more you know about the exam, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter on exam day. And when nothing can throw you off your game, you can give your best performance on the CIA exam.

5. Try Different Study Formats

Everyone learns differently. Because of this, CIA review courses often include multiple learning formats. For example, you may be able to watch video lectures, read through online course material, or listen to audio files.

Having these study options allows you to learn in the way that works best for you. Therefore, you need to determine what your learning style is and accommodate it with the appropriate study materials. You may need to experiment to find the study format that works best. Or, you may even need to mix it up with different resources every once in a while to keep your mind fresh and engaged.

Either way, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one kind of study format. If you do, you may end up inhibiting your learning efficiency and, consequently, your exam progress.

6. Stock Up on Study Tips

Your goal for each CIA exam part should be to pass the first time. So, to do this, you need to learn the best approach for passing CIA Part 1 on your first try, CIA Part 2 on your first try, and CIA Part 3 on your first try. You also need to learn how to avoid a CIA exam fail in general, as failing even 1 part makes the CIA process last longer and cost you more money. Finally, you should discover the best steps for optimizing your studies so you don’t waste a single study session. My CIA exam preparation tips will help you refine your study habits and master your time management for fast and failure-free CIA exam success.

More Help with CIA Exam Dates

As we’ve learned, the CIA exam requires time, effort, and concentration. In short, you can’t earn the CIA certification without putting in some work. And you certainly don’t want a missed or forgotten deadline to wipe away your accomplishments.

For this reason, you must stay on top of the IIA exam dates and time frames. And if you happen to need more time, you should apply for an extension sooner rather than later! I can’t overstate the importance of having a backup plan for your CIA study and exam time. Remember, just a little bit of forethought can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

And as I said, my CIA e-course will help you develop your CIA study plan in advance. You don’t have to start the CIA process alone. Just sign up for my course today!

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About the Author Stephanie

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.

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