CIA Exam Part 1: How to Pass CIA Part 1

cia exam part 1

The CIA exam has 3 parts that you must pass. So, at some point, whether the beginning or end of your CIA exam experience, you’ll need to take CIA exam Part 1. And before you do, you should learn all about the syllabus, format, difficulty, and best passing strategies for this part. You’ll find all that information and more right here.

Content: CIA Part 1 Syllabus

To pass CIA exam Part 1, you must know all about the content this part covers. The title of CIA Part 1 is Essentials of Internal Auditing, so this part addresses the basics of the profession.

What’s more, you need to know that on January 1, 2019, the IIA changed the syllabus for each CIA exam part. In order to better test candidates on the knowledge and skills necessary for today’s internal auditor, the IIA updated the CIA exam in early 2019 according to the results of their 2017 global job-analysis survey. Part of the exam modifications involved redistributing the content between each part to minimize overlap, and in the process, the number of content areas in Part 1 doubled from 3 to 6.

2019 CIA Part 1 Syllabus

Essentials of Internal Auditing

Content Area

Coverage Percentage

I. Foundations of Internal Auditing


II. Independence and Objectivity


III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care


IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program


V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control


VI. Fraud Risks


As you can see, this exam part addresses critical components of internal auditing so that it aligns well with the IIA’s International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF). The IIA explains that CIA Part 1 tests candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities relating to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. Specifically, Part 1 of the CIA exam deals with the Attribute Standards (series 1000, 1100, 1200, and 1300) and Performance Standard 2100.

To ensure that candidates have an adequate understanding of the crucial concepts, the CIA exam syllabi communicate the cognitive level, or depth of knowledge, that candidates must have for each exam topic area. The 2 cognitive levels at which the exam tests candidates are:

  • Basic Level: Candidates retrieve relevant knowledge from memory and/or demonstrate basic comprehension of concepts or processes.
  • Proficient Level: Candidates apply concepts, processes, or procedures; analyze, evaluate, and make judgments based on criteria; and/or put elements or material together to formulate conclusions and recommendations.

Part 1 of the CIA exam has 14 topics that candidates must know at the Basic level and 16 topics that candidates must know at the Proficient level.

Pass Rate: CIA Exam Part 1 Pass Rate

Unfortunately, the IIA does not release pass rates for each CIA exam part specifically. Instead, they simply provide the overall CIA exam pass rate. So, the most recent CIA pass rate comes from 2018, at which point, the percentage was 43%. As you can see, this is the highest CIA exam pass rate of the last 5 years.


Passing Score: How to Pass CIA Part 1

As the CIA exam is fully computerized, a computer grades the exam and converts all raw CIA exam Part 1 scores into a reporting scale of 250-750 points. Then passing score on that scale is set at 600. The CIA Part 1 exam passing score is the same as the CIA passing score for the other exam parts.

Fees: The Cost of the CIA Part 1 Exam

The fees for each CIA exam part are as follows:









Part 1




Part 2




Part 3




As you can see in this chart, the CIA Part 1 exam fees are higher than the fees for the other exam parts. Therefore, you can save money on the CIA exam process by passing Part 1 (and the other exam parts) the first time.

Furthermore, the cost of taking the CIA Part 1 exam is lower for IIA members than non-IIA members. So, to save even more money on CIA exam fees, you should become a member of the IIA. But to save the most money on CIA exam fees, you should take the CIA exam as a student.

Format: CIA Part 1 Exam Questions

The format of CIA Part 1 differs from that of CIA exam Part 2 and CIA exam Part 3.

Each CIA exam part includes multiple-choice questions (MCQs) only. However, Part 2 and Part 3 have 100 MCQs each, whereas Part 1 has 125 MCQs.

Number of CIA Exam Questions

Part 1125
Part 2100
Part 3100

Additionally, total testing time for both Part 2 and Part 3 is 120 minutes. But because Part 1 has more questions, you get more time to finish it. So, the total testing time for Part 1 is 150 minutes.

Conveniently, the proportional increase in the number of questions and total testing time that takes place between Part 1 and Parts 2 and 3 means that you have the same average amount of time to complete each question: 1.2 minutes.

Finally, the CIA exam focuses on concepts at a general and introductory level. For this reason, questions are straightforward, and computational questions are rare.

Difficulty: CIA Exam Part 1 Difficulty

Because the IIA does not release CIA exam pass rates for each part, we don’t have an objective measurement of CIA exam Part 1 difficulty.

But, if you currently work in internal audit, CIA exam Part 1 could be the easiest exam part for you. As it covers the basics of internal audit, you most likely interact with a lot of this information on the job.

However, you must not underestimate Part 1, as it requires you to be very familiar with the IIA’s standardized methodologies, some of which you may not use on a daily basis.

In fact, if you learned a lot of your craft on the job, you’ve probably developed your own methodology for carrying out audits. In that case, you must review the IIA’s standards, so you can ensure that your methodologies align, or so you can learn the IIA’s methodologies specifically.

If you’re not an internal auditor at the moment, you may have even less history with the concepts tested on CIA exam Part 1. In that case, you must be ready to commit a bit more study time to Part 1.

Furthermore, Part 1 encompasses more content areas than the other exam parts. Part 1’s topics are balanced, clear, and uniform. But, due to their quantity, you may find preparing for the first part of the CIA exam to be the biggest challenge in your journey.

Studying: CIA Exam Part 1 Study Time

The amount of time you will need to spend preparing for CIA exam Part 1 depends on your background with internal audit and your familiarity with the exam content. Consequently, studying for Part 1 make take you more or less time than the average CIA candidate. But to give you a point of reference, I have used my insight into the different CIA review courses to estimate study times for CIA exam Part 1.

Candidates who feel pretty familiar with internal auditing from the start can probably plan to study for the minimum amount of study time. Whereas, candidates who know they need additional instruction to fill in knowledge gaps should expect to study for the safe number of hours.

Minimum Safe
 Part 1 30-40 hours55-65 hours
 Part 2 30-40 hours60-70 hours
 Part 3 40-50 hours 85-95 hours

Though CIA exam Part 1 has the most content areas and MCQs, the content is basic enough that you shouldn’t need to study for this exam part for as long as the other exam parts.

Passing Strategy: CIA Part 1 Study Plan

To achieve CIA exam success, you should apply some general study tips to your entire preparation process. However, to do well on CIA Part 1 specifically, you should follow this advice:

1. Prepare to understand the basics

Most of my readers have told me that they find Part 1 to be relatively straightforward. This part is all about the foundations of internal audit that internal auditing professionals should know by heart.

That said, your experience may not cover every topic. And if you’ve been in the industry for decades, you may be rusty in a few areas.

Therefore, you’ll need to revisit topics that you may already know or understand to ensure that your information is up to date and completely aligned with the IIA’s standards.

2. Know the concepts well

Though a good number of Part 1 CIA exam questions will be pretty direct, many may be more conceptual. These questions can be tricky unless your knowledge of the concepts runs deep, because to answer them, you must be able to tell the difference between key terms and definitions.

You may find yourself being able to narrow the answer choices down to 2 but then struggling to pick the right answer in the end.

In this case, I suggest going through these tricky questions very slowly. Start by thinking of the 2 answer choices as if they were 2 scenarios in a real business situation. Then, recall the concepts you’ve learned to decide which one intuitively makes more sense.

Answering questions this way can take a bit more time, but with practice, you’ll develop the intuition you need to handle them properly on the real exam.

3. Analyze fact patterns and develop answering strategies

Because the CIA exam consists solely of multiple-choice questions, you’ll want to increase your familiarity with fact patterns and the best answering strategies for MCQs.

Working through plenty of practice questions and noting any systematic errors you make (e.g., getting the wrong answers for certain topics or certain type of questions) will really help you refine your weak areas and be ready to pass CIA exam Part 1 on your first attempt.

4. Write your own notes

A great deal of research proves that writing your own notes engages your various senses in the learning process and forces you to process the concepts in your brain. Taking notes demands a lot of time and effort, but it works. 

I read Parts 1 and 2 twice. During the second read-through, I summarized the information by reading the section and then writing the important points of that section in a notebook. It took some time, but I believe the benefit of retaining what I read and wrote was worth it. I used the notes I prepared 3 days before my exam. I read through them to refresh my memory and get an overview of what I studied.


Lynnel was one of our bloggers who took Part 1 twice but passed Part 2 and Part 3 on her first try after figuring out the best way to tackle the CIA exam.

Review Courses: CIA Part 1 Study Material

To give yourself the best chance at CIA Part 1 success, you should use CIA exam prep to prepare for it. The best CIA review course for you supplies the resources you need to master the exam content and maximize your confidence so you have no problem passing Part 1 of the CIA exam. You can read my comparison of the most popular CIA review courses or contact me to get personalized advice about your best CIA study options.

You can also take my free CIA e-course to learn everything you need to know about the exam process and how to pass the first time. See what my free course is all about or sign up below!

2019 CIA Part 1 Syllabus

  1. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)
  2. Independence and Objectivity (15%)
  3. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)
  4. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)
  5. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)
  6. Fraud Risks (10%)

Please rate this

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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  • cassandra chavoya says:

    Hello Stephanie, I have no experience as an auditor, I will be receiving my bachelor’s this summer and I am trying to study for the CIA exam taking it one part at a time. What advice do you have for me since I cannot use my work experience as others taking this exam. I read so many different things online of how to study and there are sooo many study materials available, I don’t know how to start or where to start. What advice can you give me? please point me in the right direction.Thank you, I appreciate you.

  • Pevez says:

    HI Stephanie,
    My approach is a little different.
    I have started by going through the questions & answering them.
    Is this a good approach?
    Also, if i am able to answer all the 900+ questions (or understand them) for Part 1, do i need to go through the syllabus or shall i go ahead and sit for the exam directly.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Pevez,
      I have quite a few readers who are able to do what you described. I think this is an excellent method and works really well if you have sufficient background in Internal Audit. So stick with it, and make sure you read the explanation thoroughly because you are using the practice questions not only as testing yourself, but a learning tool as well. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Nelly says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have been doing auditing and compliance work for the past 5 days and I believe getting certified as a CIA will boost my career. However, I have a finance background. Is this still okay? Another question I need to know is that when do I officially get to be certified as CIA? After the part 1 exam? Or I need to take all three to earn the certificate? Thank you for your advice.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nelly, that’s good to know. You need to pass all three parts AND fulfill the experience requirement to call yourself a CIA. It helps a lot in your Part 1 and Part 2 now that you work in audit and compliance. Your previous experience in Finance is also really helpful in Part 3. Best of luck! Stephanie

  • Oli says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Do you know what is the min. percentage of correct answers in order to pass the exam?
    Thank you.

  • Amit says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    please advice me, I read twice the gleim module but while preparing for questions from hock online test i am facing it difficult to apply the concept.

    thanks in advance for your help.

  • M Flowers says:

    I failed Part 1 twice. The first score was 539 and the second was 576. I was really confident the second time around. I studied on my own and used both the Gleim test prep book and the Wiley test bank questions. I’m really discouraged and cannot afford to keep taking the exams only to fail. (It’s expensive.)

    Should I just move on to Parts 2 and 3 and then go back to Part 1? My goal is to earn the designation by the end of this year.

    • Art Yip says:

      M Flowers,

      I’m sorry to hear. Since you have to wait out the 90 days anyway, I recommend moving on to Part 2. There’s some overlap between Part 1 & 2. QAIP, Risk Concepts, and Fraud Risk will again be tested. You will have a jump start on those topics since you’ve already studied those. Make it a strong goal to pass Part 2, then it will give you the confidence to come back for the Part 1 retake. For what it’s worth, most candidates find Part 2 a little easier than Part 1. Do as much Gleim practice MCQs as you can for Part 2. Learn the concepts by analyzing why an answer is correct or incorrect. Stick with the one minute per question timeline during the exam, and you should be fine.


      • M Flowers says:

        Thank you so much for the advice, Mr. Yip! I will begin studying for Part 2.

      • Stephanie says:

        Yup, most readers seem to agree that Part 2 is slightly easier, and more importantly there is some overlap with Part 1 so it helps to keep things fresh (for your next Part 1 attempt). Stay strong! Stephanie

  • M Flowers says:

    Thank you for the encouragement, Stephanie!

  • Amit Kumar says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Please grace me with your valuable advice for my future. I have two questions which are as follows-

    1) Today i had appeared for the CIA Part 1 exams but unfortunately score 521 marks. I had completed the CIA Gleim question which are part of text book along with Hock question bank & CIA Question bank where in my results are above 90%.
    while appearing in the exams it was noted that gleim text book, cia question bank & hock question are straight forward however real examination question contain very twist language of question & answer so it becomes difficult to complete each question in allotted time & to understand the correct answer.

    So first please let me know where i was wrong & how to correct now.

    2) My second question is Now i have 3 months & i am in job so please tell me should i start prepare for the second part of cia or should i again concentrate on the part 1 exam.

    Thanks in advance for your help

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Amit,
      Thanks for your sharing. I used to ask people to wait and retake Part 1 first, but now we more or less come into conclusion that Part 2 is very relevant and slightly easier (in terms of more straightforward), you can consider taking Part 2 if you have the time. The study materials in Part 1 and 2 is quite different by complementary so it helps one another.

      Having said that, if you don’t think you can retain more than 1 part of study materials, or that you are too busy in the job anyway, then you can wait and retake part 1 first.

  • Hi Stephanie,

    i advise you to create new topic ” How I Fail CIA” to see pitfalls & common mistakes

    other thing is i finished Gleim material but i feel i am not ready yet to enter exam
    please advice me the next step


  • Rere says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I notice for part one it states for the first section Proficency level and the next section awareness level. In my Gliem handbook, it explained what it meant but I still do not understand. Can you elaborate what proficency and awareness level means? I really need a broad explaination.

    • Stephanie says:

      It’s probably better if I know exactly where you are referring to, but generally awareness means you should understand and “be aware of” the general concepts, and for proficiency you should be competent in that area and really know the ins-and-outs. This is a really broad, general explanation and you can apply to your specific study units. Regards, Stephanie

  • Aleks says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Many thanks for such an informative website – it provides everything you need to know in one place!

    I took Part I today and successfully passed the exam (unofficial score). I’m based in Japan, and official results here are sent to your address, I hope I get those soon.

    For my preparation I used Gleim and I found it to be just perfect. The material covers everything you need to know for the exam – still not sure why some candidates claim opposite – and test preparation has a large number of questions. The best thing about test preparation is that it shows you how to think like auditors (at least that’s how I felt) – each answer is explained in detail which helps you understand why something was correct/incorrect.

    I would like to highlight that you should not expect the same questions on the actual exam, what Gleim does is to make sure that all concepts are fully covered so that you can apply those during the exam (that’s my own understanding, I’m happy to discuss about this 🙂

    If anyone has questions, just let me know.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Aleks, excellent news! I totally agree that good test preparation = showing you how to think like auditors. Also, we should not expect the same questions on the actual exam. This is very true and I hope all candidates understand this point.

      Thanks again for sharing and best of luck on your next part… I assume it’s Part 2? Stephanie

    • Luisa says:

      Hi Aleks,

      many compliments for your exam!

      I am interested in understanding which Gleim books you used for the preparation. Premium CIA review 2017 edition, Traditional CIA review 2017 edition or Book and Test Prep Set 2017 edition? I need to buy it but I would love a recommendation on that.

      Thanks in advance for your support.


      • Aleks says:

        Hi Luisa,

        I used Premium CIA review and it worked well for me – it’s comprehensive and along the way you can also check out their video lectures which are helpful.

        Once you get tired of the material – I think we all reach this point during the prep – I’d recommend reading some audit reports. Most of UN agencies publish those online and it allows you to see how a report is structured, what techniques are used to identify key issues, what information they include in summaries / findings / recommendations.
        Here’s the link for UNICEF reports:

        Best of luck!


  • Amit Kumar says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Please grace me with your valuable advice.

    As you know i was not able to qualify for CIA part 1 exam where i scored 521 marks. now i am again preparing for the exams.

    previously i had prepared from gleim book & hock software question bank. now i am thinking to go for IIA Books which has more detailed as compared to the gleim book along with the question bank of gleim & hock.

    is it good way for preparing for the exams.

  • Yogesh says:

    HI ,

    I wish to start my career as auditor by means of fetching CISA & CIA certifications both. So far i have experience only in operational audits. Please guide from career stand point. I have done my bachelors in commerce & i hail from India. Age 35.

    • Stephanie says:

      Sure Yogesh. Maybe you can do this one certification at a time? Might be easier to start with the CIA exam, given your background. But if you would like to specialize in IT audit early on, the CISA is a good choice. Regards, Stephanie

  • Dev says:

    At the beginning of this page it is mentioned that there will be 150 questions in the exam for 2.50 hours. I got confused when I saw Certification Candidate Handbook of The IIA mentioning there will be 125 questions for 2.5 hours. Would you please change this information to this page? Thanks

  • Gee says:

    Hi, your site is very helpful. I hope you could reply soon. I will be taking the part 1 exam this September. My question is, can I use the 2011 Practice tests, in reviewing? Has there been significant changes for Part 1? My worry is that the materials may already be outdated.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Gee, I am afraid it’s quite a bit outdated. There has been a big change in 2013 when the exam was changed from a 4-part to a 3-part exam. I would definitely get anything after 2013, and preferably the latest version. Regards, Stephanie

  • Tae says:

    Hi Stephanie-

    Just started my CIA Journey this month! With no experience in Internal Audit, preparing using CIA using Gleim seems to be a little tough- especially in situational questions. Would you have any advice for peeps like me? Thanks so much!

    • Aleks says:

      Hi Tae,

      When I started studying for the exam the only experience I had in relation to IA was a monthly report on open issues and action plans for my department which I produced – I had no specific knowledge about IPPF, sampling etc.

      I highly recommend reading “Internal Auditing: Uncover the Myths and Discover the Value” – the book also has a chapter on audit history – why audit was necessary in the beginning and how its role changed over the time. It helped me a great deal in becoming more familiar with core concepts and the overall picture.

      As for situational questions, my understanding is that those train your mind to recognize the right answer – rather than memorizing all of them, focus your attention on understanding why in a particular situation auditors are required to do action A instead of action B. The actual exam will not have same questions but same concepts.

      I hope I answered your question!

      Best of luck!.

      • Tae Kyung Lee says:

        Thanks so much for taking your time and answering my question Aleks!

        Additionally- do you have any study tips on using Gleim? What would be the best way to study?

        • Aleks says:

          Hi Tae,

          The best way to study – I can only share how I study which is not necessarily the best way – I always start with a video, then quickly go through reading material and then focus on questions. Also, I have a watchlist with questions I found to be difficult or those that require more time to solve, I keep it in iCloud so I can read those on my phone as well (on your way to the office / during lunch break etc.)

          I hope this helps.

          • zain says:

            Hi aleks,

            Can you please share your stuff ( video lectures ) with us including your watchlist ??

          • Stephanie says:

            Hi Zain, I am not sure what you mean by sharing, but it has to be legal 😉 meaning it has to be freely available in public.

          • Aleks says:

            Hi Zain, videos are part of Gleim Review System and my watch lists include Gleim’s material, hence I can’t help you on this.

            What I do for questions / definitions I struggle with is dividing them in nouns & verbs.

            For example: control

            control = management / board
            management / board = manage risk / increase the likelihood
            manage risk / increase the likelihood = objectives achieved

            I hope this helps.

          • Tae Kyung Lee says:

            Aleks- thanks so much for your tips on how to study using gleim. Your advice definitely helped me improve in some areas. However, I am still struggling with the units on control frameworks and the control types. Any advice you have on approaching this? Thanks!

      • Stephanie says:

        Yup these are great suggestions as well. Thanks Aleks!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Tae, yes that’s right and totally understandable. Man readers seem to find youtube and Khan Academy good enough to explain some of the “gap” concepts. You might want to try that first — they are all free!

      Once it clicks, then the concepts can be applied to any situations.

  • Nigar says:

    Could you please advice the exam fee for Part1, is it fee per exam or available untill you pass?
    Thank you in advance.

  • Nyok'endala says:

    Last week I wrote the CIA Part 1 exam and unfortunately I did not make it (scored 511),I took two good months to prepare for it.Now, im in a process of retaking the exam,but before I do that I just wanted to know from you Stephanie whether going through some of the overlapping topics in Part 2 would that help or improve my score to pass. During the exam the were terms in certain topics that I was unfamiliar with and right after the exam I went home when I got there, I flipped thepages of the Gleim book Part 2 BAM!! those terms are used and explained in that book.So, my question is, will it be a fruitful attempt to study Gleim book part 1 and part 2( only the overlapping topics) concurrently.e.g if im going through fraud in Part 1,I can just go through it as well in Part 2, concurrently?
    *I will obviously have to improve my grasp of the concepts as well.

    Im from South Africa I apologise for the poor english.

  • Nameer says:

    Thank you Stephanie,

    I took the CIA Part 1 exam last week and passed the exam in my first attempt. I gone through the tips on this site and it helped me on my preparation.

    I peaked up my study on last 3 weeks mainly concentrated on Gleim manual and question answers.

    For those taking the exam, mainly concentrate on the explanation part of the answers, and understand the explanation for the correct and wrong answers.

    I followed the below steps on my preparation:

    1. Gone through the Gleim manual.
    2. Practiced the Gleim questions.
    3. While practicing the questions after reading the explanation of answers,noted the points which I need to concentrate on the manual,
    4. Read the manual again.
    5. Practiced the questions again.
    6. Repeated the same step 3,4,5 one more time.
    7. Practiced all incorrectly (in attempt two & three) answered questions.
    8. Final quick review on my notes and Gelim manual.

  • Alan says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    First and Foremost, thank you for your valuable insight on the CIA course and most importantly giving us info on how to successfully pass the paper. I am in the process in registering for the paper and was about to purchase the GLEIM learning system and realised that the GLEIM text books (or E-Books) is for 2016 and will only last till 31.5.2017.

    My question to Stephanie and to others who are currently pursuing the paper, is that, would the CIA syllabus change much after the new edition arrives? Would I need to buy the newer edition in order to pass the CIA exams if I sit for the test June 2017 onwards?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

  • Emma says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am new to the CIA process and is there any on site class in the Washington DC area? Or where is the best place to start for training?
    I really appreciate for any feedback.

  • Greg says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks a lot for the tips your are giving to help pass the cia exam. I scheduled to take the exam in cia part 1 in march 2017. The pressure I put on myself is very big. Because I am taking the exam in an other country then where I live and English is not my first language. So I read the question and then translate it in my mind to Dutch to understand it better, most of the time I used a dictionary that consume a lot of time. This is the reason why I never take the exam due I fill my cia application since February 2014 and it will expired in February 2018. Do you have some tips of how many study hours I have to make at least to successfully pass the cia part 1 and do you have information after how many days you can take the exam again if you fail for it. And is it possible to take two part on one day? And are the test prep question the same that I can expect at the real exam?

    I am looking forward to your answer and again Thanks a lot.

    Kind Regard,

  • Joleen says:

    IIA now publishes pass rates. I am not sure when they started to do this, but just today on IIA website I seen the pass rates for all several different certificates. For CIA it was only 40% pass rate, lower than all other certificates. Does not mean it is impossible, but studying is key.

    I have not taken the test yet, I am starting to study for CIA 1 now.

  • Lisa says:


    I passed CIA part 1 exam today. I was very challenging and I had to do some educated guess.

    I started my Part 1 journey using Gleim but I realized that I needed more information to aid in my understanding so I bought HOCK material.

    I also read the Standard and the Practice Advisories around 4 to 5 times.

    I did a lot of multiple choice questions – all the Gleim test bank and most of the Hock questions.

    I studied consistently to retain.

    Its very important you know the concepts because they will attempt to trick you by changing a few of the wording, look out for absolute terms (always, will, must etc.), they use least and most a lot so you have to read carefully.

    I had initially planned to study for 3 months, but then I realized that I did not know the concepts well enough and I wasn’t getting the connections right to see the big picture and the flow so my studying took 6 months. It was long but it allowed me to understand and apply the concepts (I have no auditing experience) which resulted in me passing.

    I would advise persons to read part 2 study materials also as questions came from them.

    All the best.

    • Stephanie says:

      Yay! Lisa, I left you a congrats note in another post, but just want to say again excellent work especially when you have no audit experience. Now that you have really built up your knowledge and fundamental concepts, Part 2 should be confident win. Keep up with the good work, Stephanie

  • Emma says:

    Thanks for the info.
    I am planning on studying for the CIA exam as well. I have accounting experience for 5yrs now but no Auditing experience.
    I am a bit nervous but will see how it goes once I started.
    Good luck on the next one.
    You go Girl! ???

  • Thiem says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am going to take CIA course from authorized training center, but they have already started with part 1 (this time I had too many biz trips so I couldn’t attend the class) meaning that I will start this course with part 2, part 3 then come back to part 1. I have three year working as an external auditor, and now I am an internal auditor for about a half year. Would you please advise me that taking part 2,3 before part 1 is okay? the center said that this is okay but I think that this can affect my exam result.

    Thank you so much!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Thiem,
      It happens to quite a few of my readers, so no worries, you will be fine.
      Part 2 is similar to Part 1 in that it covers the IA fundamentals. With 6 months of IA experience, you should be in much better shape than you were before that (although external auditing is pretty helpful too).

      Part 3 is quite different though so i hope you set aside more studying time around that period. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Vaibhav says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have just enrolled into cia exam and looking forward to sit for part 1 exam so i need to know is Gleim CIA 2017 edition book is good enough to crack the CIA exam or do i need to look for some other resources?

    Please advise


    • Lisa says:


      The Gleim edition book good but you need the practice questions/Gleim Test Bank.

      Additionally, You need to know the IIA Practice Advisory and IIA Standards.

      Also IIA Practice Guides on the topics covered in CIA Part syllabus would also be good.

      Practicing is very important and knowing the concepts for application in the exam.

      All the best

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Vaibhav,
      It’s the most popular CIA review course out there, and all my bloggers have been using Gleim (their choice). It isn’t perfect, but the better one out there in my opinion. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Vaibhav says:

    Hi thanks for your reply.

    However i need to know is Wiley CIA books which includes practice MCQ’s are good or should i go for Gleim CIA books? Which one is better?
    Please let me know



    • Stephanie says:

      Hmm, I have a few readers who really like Wiley CIA practice questions, but somehow the majority are using Gleim. I guess I would stick with Gleim but then if you need extra questions and don’t mind paying more, Wiley is a good choice.

  • Vaibhav says:

    Hi .

    Thanks for your reply

    Well i came to know that gleim also provides online test preparation link along with the book, so online test preparation link has got around 750 practice questions for part 1 so does it fulfill the need or is it enough to practice from gleims online link with 750 questions for part 1 or do i need to study more for part 1 from wiley cia books?

    Please let me know

    Many thanks


  • Axel Guillermo says:

    Hi Stephanie, I just got registered myself to take the CIA Exam Part 1 this coming June 2017, as I have read your replies with other, there will be a big changes in the CIA Exam. I am now nervous, would the exam be harder than before? What are the changes here?

  • spiros says:

    I took the CIA Part III exam back in December 2013 and passed. Since I have the CISA, I was exempt from (then) Part 4. Due to bureaucratic issues with the company, I could not take parts I and II till now. Now I need to take Parts I and II. The question is is there an expiration date by which I need to have passed I and II? Do I need to get an extension? If so, how do I go about it ?

    • Karla says:

      Hi Spiros,

      The CIA program expires after 4 years since the date that you postulated as a candidate. You could check your expire date at CCMS to confirm.

  • Saika Malhotra says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I want to know if having a CIA certificate will help me as I am already CISA (Certified Internal Auditor )from ISACA?

    Also I am not from Finance background but from IT industry having a compliance and audit experience of 11 years and 21 years overall in IT industry. Is it mandatory to have finance background 1) as qualification 2) important to clear exams .

    I have inclination to understand finance concepts as it is significant for business. Please provide you guidance.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Saika,
      It’s more accounting and finance. If you aspire to work in a more generalist or strategic role (e.g. senior management down the line), then CIA certification is helpful. If you’d like to be a technical specialist within IT audit, probably not as helpful. Hope this is clear, thanks! Stephanie

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just wanted to say I’ve read a lot of your posts in preparing to take the CIA exam and found it very helpful. I took Part 1 today for the first time and passed.

    I just started working in Internal Audit two years ago. I have read section 1 of the IIA’s material off and on in the past year, but I didn’t really settle in and study seriously until a month ago. I studied about 3-4 hours on weekdays. I read the Gleim materials and the IIA material, and I worked through the Gleim MCQs until I was scoring 80-100% on all of my study sessions and practice tests. I think the Gleim MCQs help the most in preparing. I also like that they have a simulated test environment.

    I’m planning to take Part 2 in two months. I plan to study in the same manner again as it seemed to work well for me. Good luck to everyone!

  • Faiz says:

    Hi guys,

    Can anyone guide me technically how can i apply to repass the cia part 1 exam?

    Thank you in avdance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Faiz, you just need to repeat what you did in the first application, but only to pay for the exam part of the fees.
      FYI you have to wait for 90 days to retake the same part. Some candidates wait and restudy while others give Part 2 a try. Either way works. Good luck! Stephanie

      • Faiz says:

        Dear Stephanie,

        Thank you for your message, Yes i know about the 90 days gap, now i would like to have some tips regarding the review for retaking the exam, i think my previous score 561 was very good, so now i don´t know if i need to just read and read the courses or redo the questions practice? I am not gonna use other materials than the onces i used for my first try. So for those who retook the exam, any tips about how you prepared the second attempt? Thank you

        • Ivan says:

          Just 2 hours ago I took CIA Part I exam for the second time. First, I scored 576, and now 585. I reminded of how confusing the wording of this exam is, sooo sooo tricky. And also I found a question from PART III (after searching on google) on my second attempt.
          For the second attempt I studied with the same material (Gleim). I found some facts that I couldn’t find when I studying for the first exam, so I recommend you to practice again with the same material so you can strengthen your understanding and maybe you can add your knowledge from other study material provider (if you don’t mind to spend more money for this exam)
          I am desperate to finish this exam. I am thinking to leave this pursue of this certification and move to Chartered Accountant instead.

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Faiz,
          I would just work on your relatively weaker areas. There isn’t much use to keep reading the ones you know, but it helps scoring once you increase the accuracy of the weaker topics. Best of luck!

  • Jay Jones says:

    There is hope for Part 1! I have been an internal auditor for the past 3 years and I have worked with other internal auditors that have been auditors for decades. I was very nervous about Part 1 because I know of at least two people who have failed the exam. I purchased Gleim, the questions and the text. I read and answered all 744 questions in the text bank, prayed and passed Part 1 on my first attempt. I am so happy and I do truly feel as if the content provided by Gleim in the book and study questions prepared me to pass this test. I learned about the stem of the question and how to exclude two of the four answers quickly. I did not use any material to supplement what was in the textbook.

    My advice would be to study until you feel comfortable with the entire book. I also practiced the questions until I was in the green in all areas. The study method of answering questions was really helpful. I would agree that the answers have to be read slowly and carefully. To be honest, I had flagged some questions and answered the questions that I knew right away. I had enough time to go back through the flagged questions and through the entire test 1 more time.

    Gleim’s materials are the reason that I was prepared. I prayed for mental stability and calmness because I was nervous as can be. Once I realized that I had done all that I could do to prepare for the test, I knew I could answer any question placed in front of me.

    My motto: Pray, Prepare and Practice-3Ps

    • Emma says:

      Congratulations and job well done. Did you used any other materials beside Gleims? I know it’s different person to person but how long it takes you to finished studying the materials and set for the exsm?
      Appreciate your feedback.

      • Jay says:

        Hello Emma,

        Thank you. The only material I used was Gleim’s textbook (2018 version) along with the online practice questions. I also answered the questions at the end of each section in the book. Whenever I answered incorrectly, I reviewed the topic until I understood what the concept was. The study material gave me an in-depth understanding of all of the topics covered.

        I received the book on September 29th, 2017. I began to read it the next day and made it part of my daily routine to read the topics. Most of the material was information that I was not familiar with but I was determined to learn. The proficiency chapters, I read any where from 2-4 times. The chapters are not long and it is not a difficult read, I just wanted to be familiar. The awareness chapters, I didn’t spend as much time on as I did for the proficiency chapters. I scheduled my test on November 2nd, 2017 for the earliest available date which was on November 16th, 2017; exactly two weeks.

        In the last two weeks, I studied areas that I felt were more difficult such as the different sampling methods. I continued to do the questions and I did a few 125 question run throughs with the online questions. That helped tremendously because I was aware of time but not worried about time. The night before and day of my test I did not study or even concentrate on the materials. I noticed two days before that my nerves were increasing and I just started messing up on simple questions that I knew. So yeah, it’s important to relax and give yourself some breaks in between studying.

        Emma, go forward and pass this test. You can do it!

        • Emma says:

          Jay, Thank you so so much!! I am going to purchase the materials next week. Your feedback means alot to me. I am so afraid to start studying…:) Thanks for you positive feedback.
          Congrats again and good luck for part 2.

          • Emma says:

            If you don’t mind can we please connec if so here is my email: *** DELETED ***. I have a couple questions. Please drop me a line.

            Note to Emma: I hope Jay has got your email. I have to remove your email to protect you from the spammers.

          • Jay says:


            I do apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I do have your email and I will reach out to you later on today to answer any additional questions that you may have.

            I work as an internal auditor and we have a hectic schedule that is keeping me busy right now. I will make some time for you as I would like to try to help or motivate in any way that I can.

            Warm Regards

    • Stephanie says:

      Love your 3Ps Jay. Congrats and keep the strong momentum! 🙂 Stephanie

  • Anastasia says:

    Hi everyone,I failed three months ago 561/600,I wanna retake the exam in Jan, I got a gleim book questions 2014 from a friend,didny purchase the materials due to financial reasons,am a student! anyone can advice me how to study to succeed second time? thanks

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Anastasia,
      I know budget is tight, but the test prep is crucial to pass this exam in my opinion. It tracks your performance and helps identify your weaker areas. If you are to stick with your 2014 book, I suggest that you manually mark the questions you’ve done wrong and try to work on them again. Getting the previously wrong questions right is the most efficient way to score additional points. Good luck! Stephanie

    • Jay says:

      Hello Anastasia,

      I agree with Stephanie on the importance of the test prep. I used the 2018 versions and I can tell you that the material has changed since 2014. There were some changes to the Standards that started to be tested as of 7/1/2017, the 2014 book will not have the changes. But for sake of a tight budget, I would recommend going to website and downloading the Standards, Audit definition, IPPF and The Code of Ethics for free (if you are a member). That content is pretty much identical to what was covered in the book. My test had general questions about the duties of a CAE and also the differences between the assurance and consulting engagements.

      The practice questions are extremely crucial to go through and review. You may just have 20-25 questions after each chapter which gives you about 140-175 questions to practice in total. The Gleim online test prep gives approximately 744 (some repeat from the book), the difference is the ways that the topics can be tested. When I sat down at the computer to take Part 1, it was exactly identical to the Gleim online test prep.

      Kind Regards

  • Mohammed says:


    I have just finished my first part 1 exam today and I got 546. Unfortunately, i won’t be able to continoue studying as I will start my PhD in 5 months. However, I strongly encourage everyone to give it a try.

    I just want to mention here that if you have experience in internal auditing, this exam will not be difficult for you. If this experience is combined with a well preparation for the exam, passing the exam would be a peice of cake. However, if you have no experience in internal auditng, as in my case, you should allow more time to familiaraize yourself with concepts and materials and try to not attempt the exam unless you are pretty sure that you are ready to be examined on the same concepts but with totaly different and probably more complicated and unfamiliar questions.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Alan says:

    Hello everyone, currently I am using the earlier version of GLEIM and its question Bank (prior to the changes in Standards etc beginning July 2017). Is most of it relevant and can be used to pass the exam. Are there significant changes to the older version. Unfortunately, currently i cant afford the buy the newer, revised version.

    Do any of you have any suggestion.

    Thank you again for all your help and comments.

    • Jay says:

      Hello Alan,

      I understand, so I have a recommendation. As a member of the IIA there are two versions of the updated Standards that could be used in the preparation for part 1. It’s free! One version is marked up so that you can see the changes and the other version is the regular updated version. There was a good amount of content from the Standards that I was tested on. Hope this helps.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Alan,
      As long as it isn’t too old (e.g. the 2013 version), I think it is okay in your case.
      If you are worried, you can always only get the practice questions to fully cover yourself. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Faiz says:

    Hi guys, i passed (pass) my part 1 yesterday and would like to know how can i see my score online?
    Thank you

  • Thynn says:

    Hello everyone,

    I have registered for CIA exam part 1 and intend to take exam at the end of May 2018. Could you kindly recommend me the study materials I should purchase & practice?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Jay says:

      Hello Thynn,

      I sat and passed CIA part 1 on November 16, 2017. I purchased the Gleim book and the test prep. Those were the only materials I used, no supplements. I was adequately prepared, maybe even over prepared (if that’s possible).

      One key that worked for me was creating a study habit that I could adhere to. I began studying in Sept. 2017 and registered at the end of October 2017. The most convenient date was two weeks away and that is what I selected.

      I can guarantee, if you put in the study time you will pass just as I did. Push any negativity out of your mind and envision yourself passing.

      I also prayed throughout the process.

      Kind Regards,


  • Emma says:

    Hello, I have failed yesterday the CIA Part I scoring 580. I studied the Gleim + Wiley questions. I have done almost 1000 in total. The exam did not include one similar question. I think Gleim and Wiley includes old questions. I found the questions quite tricky with many questions related to fraud. Gleim just overlooks fraud concepts in few pages. I think you need to be proficient in red flags to succeed. Red flags are not obvious and that is the tricky part. Any suggestion on how to improve? Do you know how I can find dumps of more recent questions?

  • Jesus says:

    My name is JV and I am planning on taking the CIA exam Part I next month. I already took Part I last year and did not pass (my score was 550). At the time, I used the Wiley study program.

    After failing to pass the exam, I purchased Gleim. I have been studying over the last couple of months with Gleim. However, recently I purchased the Wiley 2019 version, just to get additional practice questions. I feel very insecure about the upcoming exam. The Wiley governance and fraud questions are completely different to Gleim (which can be good for additional practice, right?), but I feel the it has many topics not covered in GLEIM. I also believe the quality of questions from WILEY is really poor (compared to GLEIM) and that I may be over-studying.

    Do you have any advice? I realize that the in the exam the questions will not be the same, but I wanted to make sure that I am able to apply concepts in the exam.

    I thank you in advance for your response.

    • Meghan D says:


      It does sound like you may be overstudying. If you’re only using a test bank (and not a full course w/ video lectures), you probably only need around 50 hours in total for CIA part 1 studying.

      We find that the Gleim CIA questions better mimic the actual exam and contain better answer explanations, so perhaps you can only use that set unless you identify a weak area where it would warrant using a second test bank.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us through the form on the website.


  • Henry says:

    what is the best question bank for 2019 part 1

  • WSN says:

    I have been following your website before preparing for the CIA exams. For today, I took the CIA part 1 (2019 syllabus) exam and cleared it on my first try with the tips mentioned in your blog post!

    Mastery of the topics and concepts are a must as the blog post correctly stated and part 1 is quite mentally tiring as it was a 150 minutes exam with 125 questions. From my experience in today’s part 1 exam, the questions I got were mostly from domain 1 to 4 and 6. Good exam question techniques helped in clearing the questions confidently with time to check the answers.

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