Many accounting certifications have a certain eligibility period. In other words, once your application is approved, you must complete the exam within the specified months. For example, CPA exam has a 18 month window, and the CMA program has to be completed in 3 years.
Is there an “expiration date” also for the CIA exam?
The three CIA exam parts must be completed within 4 years of application approval.
If the candidate’s eligibility expires, he loses all exam credits and has to submit a new application again, with fees paid in full.
1. Create a Workable Plan
The IIA is generous to allow a 4-year period to complete the CIA exam parts. Therefore, for most people this shouldn’t be an issue — you don’t want to have an exam dragged on for 4 years anyway.
Having said that, creating a workable plan with buffers in between is important. I suggest that you plan to get all three parts done within 9 months, with one quarter each: 2 months of studying time and 1 month of rest / buffer time in between.
Most of us have family and work commitment. If it takes longer than 2 months to study, you still have 1 extra month to catch up in order to keep up with your schedule. Also, if you fail or postpone one part of the exam, you may still be able to complete within a year given there are 4 quarters in a year.
2. Try Your Best to Pass on Your First Attempt
The IIA never discloses the CIA exam pass rate, but it is generally believed to be around 40-50%. If the CPA exam (with similar pass rate) has any indication, taking a good review course can substantially increase your chance of passing success.
There are review courses with passing guarantee. For example, if you study with Gleim CIA Review System, they will either fully refund your purchase or extend an update if you do not pass on your first try.
This way, you and your review course provider has an aligned interest to pass the exam ASAP.
3. Learn from Others’ Mistakes
I have an article written for retakers detailing the most common reasons of failing the CIA exam. You can take a look and avoid the mistakes that they have made. You will be surprised how many of these are avoidable.
Luckily, the IIA recently launched a “Candidate Eligibility Extension”, which allows one-time extension of 12 months. It costs $250 per applicant. One of our bloggers, Annette, took this offer and passed the last part in this extended period.
Please note that this offer may not be available in your country. Please check with your local IIA representatives for details.
In case you recently failed one part, we have a mini-course dedicated to retakers. It is completely free:
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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