Are you preparing the first part of the Certified Internal Auditor exam? Here is an overview of the syllabus, exam content, format and level of difficulty of CIA Exam Part 1.
This is the longest exam section among the three, with 125 questions to be completed in 2.5 hours. All questions are multiple-choice. This means that you have 1.2 minutes for each question.
The examiners focus on concepts at a general and introductory level. Because of this, questions are straightforward. Computational questions are rare.
There will be a major syllabus change in the CIA effective January 2019. The following is the current version valid for the rest of 2018.
Yes to some degree. It matches the most with CPA Audit section, which focuses more on general (and external) audit, they share most of the underlying concepts and audit procedures.
CMA Part 1 exam also has a section on internal control. The concepts and question styles are also similar.
I have a mega tips page (links at the bottom of this post), but here are the most important action items for your Part 1 success:
In terms of CIA exam part 1 difficulty, the IIA does not disclose CIA exam pass rates, but most readers told me that they find Part 1 relatively straightforward. It is all about the foundations of internal audit that these professionals should have known by heart.
Having said that, to do well in conceptual questions, you must be able to tell the subtle differences between key definitions and terms.
I have quite a few candidates who can narrow down the answer choices to two, but always pick the wrong one at the end.
My suggestion is to go through these tricky questions very slowly. Apply the two answer choices as if they are two scenarios in real business situation. Go through the concepts you learn and decide which one intuitively makes more sense. You may take a long time to complete questions this way, but it is very useful practice to get that “intuition” you need for the real exam.
You may also want to get familiar with the fact patterns and test-taking strategies of multiple choice questions. Working on lots of practice questions and keep in mind any systematic errors you may have (e.g. wrong answers in certain topics, or certain type of questions) will help a lot in passing this exam on your first try.
Numerous research have proved that writing your own notes utilize your different senses and force yourself to go through the concepts in your brain. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it works.
I read Parts 1 and 2 twice. On the first one was the scheduled one and on the second one was when I summarize it. I read the section first and write the highlights of the section on a notebook. It would take some time but I believe the benefit of retaining what I have read and written is worth it. The notes I prepared will be used 3 days before my exam, I will read it for another time to refresh and get an overview of what I studied.
Lynnel is our blogger who took Part 1 twice, but she passed Part 2 and 3 on her first try after figuring out the best way to tackle the CIA exam.
Whether you are about to start your CIA journey or have hiccups in taking Part 1, we are here to help. This is the best time to take our mini-course — click here for details or sign up directly below:
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.
Latest CIA Exam Syllabus (plus Great Questions from Readers)18 Apr, 2018
Ultimate CIA Exam Preparation Guide: 38 Tips for Passing Success12 Apr, 2018
CIA Exam Part 3 Overview + Quick Fixes to Your Study Strategy06 Apr, 2018
IIA CIA Exam Changes: Major Syllabus Revision in 2019
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