How to Prepare for the CIA Exam: Top 5 CIA Exam Tips for Studying

cia exam preparation tips

If you’ve learned all about the CIA requirements, scheduled your CIA exam appointment, and purchased your CIA review course, then you’re ready to take the next step: starting your exam studies. Whether or not you have prepared for an accounting certification exam before, you can benefit from reading my top 5 CIA exam tips for studying. I’ve collected them from readers, review course providers, and industry experts. They’ll help you increase the efficiency and effectiveness of each CIA study session. So, use these tips to learn how to prepare for the CIA exam today.

How to Prepare for the CIA Exam: Top 5 Best CIA Exam Tips

In this CIA study guide, I’ve provided explanations of how to accomplish my top 5 CIA exam tips. These tips tell you how to:

  1. Study efficiently
  2. Study effectively
  3. Make more study time
  4. Study for multiple-choice questions
  5. Take a multiple-choice question test

1. Prioritize Efficient CIA Exam Preparation

Why should you prioritize studying efficiently for the CIA exam?

Well, once you enter the CIA program, you only have 3 years to pass all 3 CIA exam parts. And once you receive your authorization to test, you only have 180 days to schedule your exam appointment. So, studying efficiently for the CIA exam will help you meet these deadlines and earn the CIA certification faster.

Efficient CIA exam prep involves taking these 5 steps:

1. Understand the exam

Before you delve deeper into the content of the CIA exam, you need to discover the basics. Researching the CIA exam format reveals that the exam has 3 parts:

  1. Essentials of Internal Auditing
  2. Practice of Internal Auditing
  3. Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

Each CIA exam part includes 100-125 multiple-choice questions that you must answer in 120-150 minutes. With this time limit, you have a little more than a minute to complete each question.

The CIA exam passing score is 600 on a scale of 250-700. Since the questions are 100% multiple choice and are equally weighted, we can deduce the passing rate to be 80%. Though that percentage is high, the test is straightforward, so you can pass if you put in the effort.

Again, you need to understand the structure of the CIA exam ASAP so you can see what you’re up against. Knowing more about the exam format before you focus on the topics will make your path to success clearer. And when you know where you’re going, you can get there faster.

2. Use the right study tools

The extent of your background with internal auditing may influence the types of CIA exam study materials that you use. But no matter how much experience you have with internal auditing, you need to purchase a CIA review course. That way, you can get experience with the exam.

Candidates with little auditing experience benefit from the fact that a CIA review course covers all of the exam content. These courses also help you learn that content with resources like video lectures, textbooks, audio lectures, and flashcards. So, don’t have to worry if your job doesn’t involve part of the audit process. Your review course will address it all.

Candidates who have been around the internal audit block will find other big advantages in CIA review courses. Specifically, they’ll appreciate the practice questions and exams. If you’re already familiar with the information tested on the exam, you need to get familiar with how the exam tests that information. To do so, you must answer plenty of practice questions and complete practice exams. You should also work with practice questions and exams that emulate the format and functionality of the CIA exam. That way, won’t be surprised by any of the real CIA exam questions.

Choosing a CIA Review Course

So, how do you find the right CIA review course for you? First, check out my comparison of the most popular CIA review courses on the market. Then, sign up for the free trials of the courses that interest you. Explore the trials for a few days to see which course best meets your learning needs. Then, use my CIA review discounts to save big on your preferred CIA exam prep. And always get the latest edition of the course. Then, you know it will prepare you for the current version of the exam.

3. Make a realistic CIA study plan

Creating a realistic yet effective study plan is crucial to CIA exam success. But sadly, being so prudent and organized sometimes goes against human nature because it takes dedicated time and effort. Sometimes, even though we know a study plan is so important, we still struggle to implement one. But that’s exactly why some of us fail part of the CIA exam.

So, if you want to pass the CIA exam in a timely manner, you must make a study plan. This plan will keep you on track to seeing all of the exam content before you take the test.

How do you make a good study plan? Well, you may be able to rely on your review course for assistance, as many come with interactive study planners. But if you can’t, then start by considering how many CIA exam study hours you’ll need to finish your preparations for one part. Then, assess your weekly agenda to see how many study hours you can clock in one week. You may need to cut back on or completely eliminate non-essential activities for the time being to fit in enough CIA study time.

After you see how much you can study per week, divide that number into your total number of study hours. Then, you can see how many weeks the study process will take. Then, put all of your study times into your calendar and stick to these times as strictly as possible.

4.  Space out your study time

If your CIA study plan will take a few months to finish, that’s totally fine. Research indicates that spacing out your study time (e.g., reviewing 10 hours per week over the course of 2 months) is better than cramming all of your studying into a short period of time (e.g., 8 hours a day for 2 straight weeks).

Studying at your most productive time of the day is also key to study efficiency. Some of us may be more alert at night, while others of us are wide awake in the morning. No one time of day is universally best. So, just find the hour or 2 when your mind is most active. Then, schedule your daily study session during that time.

5. Recreate the real testing environment

You can more easily set yourself up for CIA exam success when you acclimate yourself to the testing environment in advance. And, the best ways to get familiar with the exam experience beforehand is to use an exam-emulating online course. Such a course will look a lot like the real CIA exam, right down to the screen colors and button sizes. Using an online course is also advantageous because the CIA exam is fully computerized.

Once you’re using a course like this, take the emulation one step farther by studying in a quiet, isolated workspace. This place could be in your office after hours, your home office, or a library. Bonus points if the location is also a little cool, as the Pearson VUE testing centers usually are.

2. Practice Effective CIA Exam Preparation

Being efficient means doing something as fast as you can. On the other hand, being effective means doing something as well as you can. As you prepare for the CIA exam, you should also focus on effective studying. That way, you can learn more and perform better in the same amount of time.

To have effective CIA study skills, you must:

1. Eliminate the opportunity to procrastinate

When we find other activities to pre-occupy us instead of the most important or time-sensitive activity, then we’re procrastinating. And if we’re procrastinating, we’re not using our time effectively.

The temptation to procrastinate can be pretty strong when we try to study in a cluttered space or have errands on our to-do list. So, to remove these things from our radar, we need to clean up our study space quickly. Then, we should keep it clean for future use. We should also delegate some of our other responsibilities, if possible.

Clearing your plate of additional tasks and getting more support temporarily gives you less to do. And, if you don’t have anything else to do, you can study effectively.

2. Minimize distractions

Building off the previous point, effective studying involves practicing self-control that prevents us from getting distracted. You may be in a clean, quiet space, but you can still be too close to a major time-suck: your phone. Keeping your phone on-hand may be necessary for staying accessible. But, when you’re studying, it’s really just another source of words and images that keep your eyes off your books. And for that reason, you need to avoid it as much as possible while your studying.

So, to ensure that you don’t miss anything extremely important, tell a friend or family member when you’ll be studying and ask them to only interrupt you in case of an emergency. Then, avoid all other communication by putting your phone far out of reach and even on silent if you can. When you go off the grid in this way for even just an hour, you can concentrate a lot better and really make the most of every minute.

3. Let your long-term goals dictate your choices

As you recall, making a CIA exam study plan is critical for sufficient and successful studying for the CIA exam. And adhering to this study plan will require you to give up some of the temporary pleasures of your life.

As hard as that may be, demonstrating this level of responsibility is more rewarding than indulging yourself with another episode of your favorite TV show or scrolling through social media for a few more minutes (hours). Unlike studying for the CIA exam, prioritizing these mindless activities won’t get you any closer to a promotion, a raise, your dream job, a better life for you and your family, etc.

So, keep the big picture in mind. Then, acknowledge that this picture doesn’t contain the momentary entertainments that are keeping you from studying.

3. Support Sufficient CIA Exam Prep

If you’re still struggling to fit all that essential study time into your week, then you should take these extra steps. They demand a little more discipline, but they’ll also help you secure the CIA certification and enjoy it.

1. Sleep enough but not too much

Now, I would never say you don’t need sleep. In fact, I firmly believe that you need to make getting a healthy amount of sleep every night one of your main goals in life. But at the same time, you don’t need to overdo it, especially when you have something as significant as the CIA exam looming in your life.

So, at least for the period of your life before you pass the exam, you should adhere to an adequate sleeping schedule as religiously as you follow your CIA exam study schedule. Do everything you can to get in bed at the right time so that you aren’t losing sleep and out of bed at the right time so that you aren’t wasting time. I know this routine can be hard for people who love their beauty sleep but remember: it is temporary and totally worthwhile.

2. Make the most of idle time

Sometimes, you have so much going on that you’re constantly going from one thing to the next. With your schedule jam-packed, you may not think you have even an extra minute, but what about that time when you’re moving to the next event? Or that time when you’re not moving, just waiting for the event to start?

When we’re traveling or waiting, we can also be studying thanks to mobile devices and study resources. And when we choose to study during these times, we can guarantee that we’re getting enough study time every day.

So, for example, you can listen to audio lectures while you’re driving to work. You can flip through flashcards when you’re riding the subway or bus. You can even take a quick practice quiz on your phone when you’re sitting in the waiting room.

Thanks to our internet access on our phones and tablets and the variety of study materials popular CIA review courses include, we have many ways to study on the go. And if you have the chance to do so throughout your day, you should take advantage of it, as you’ll then be able to study enough for the CIA exam.

3. Get the help you need

You don’t have to go through the CIA exam process alone. Instead, you can get your friends and family involved so you can receive essential support and encouragement. If you’re married and/or have kids, then you must talk to your spouse and children about what you’re trying to accomplish and what your days need to look like to accomplish it. Because they love you, they should understand and extend the helping hand you’re reaching for.

If things get really hectic, you may need to spread your news outside of the house by telling extended family and coworkers about your situation. When you tell the people you care about, they’ll be thankful that you’re letting them into this part of your life and should, therefore, be respectful of your needs and requests.

4. Involve your family in study time

Families should bear big responsibilities together. So, try to schedule family study time as often as you can. If your kids are in school, study at the table with them as they do their homework. If your spouse has a hobby or project to work on, tackle your different activities at the same time but still together if possible.

When I was preparing for the exam, I brought my daughter to the library almost every Saturday morning so that she could read books beside me while I studied. I also flipped through my flashcards when watching my little son shower. When you get creative, you don’t have to sacrifice being with your family for preparing for the CIA exam.

4. Follow These Essential Multiple-Choice Studying CIA Tips

As mentioned, every part of the CIA exam consists solely of multiple-choice questions (MCQs). This question type has its pros and cons. For example, the simplicity of the exam is convenient, but mastering this question type can be tedious.

What’s more, MCQs can test your knowledge of a wide variety of topics, but they can’t assess the depth of your knowledge. They fail in this way because they’re unable to ask you to analyze a very involved scenario. For this reason, you can expect the CIA exam’s coverage of auditing to be a mile wide and an inch deep.

So, to make sure you’re ready for a high number of questions that will have somewhat low expectations for your knowledge levels but can still overwhelm you with quantity and vague wording on occasion, you need to do 2 things: implement a strategy for retention and improve your accuracy with practice questions. I’ll explain how.

1. Implement a Retention Strategy

Passing the CIA exam involves remembering a lot of information about auditing. You need to accumulate this information over a period of several weeks and then regurgitate it all in just 2 hours. For this reason, you have to take a few specifics steps that will help you retain the information throughout your studies and produce it again on exam day. This process has 3 steps:

Engage your brain while you study

No matter how obvious it sounds, it needs to be said: your brain must be actively involved in your studies every day. So, if you are a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, you have to do more than simply read the same paragraph in the textbook over and over again to retain the information.

Instead, you must get involved by

  • Highlighting the important parts of the book (not just reading paragraphs highlighted by someone else)
  • Taking notes in the margins or a notebook
  • Summarizing the concepts out loud or in a notebook after watching a video lecture, listening to an audio lecture, or reading the textbook
  • Making flashcards as you go through the materials (instead of buying a premade set).

I personally find the process of reading/watching/listening and then writing out the key points to help a lot with retention as opposed to just reading the materials.

And, while these methods will make finishing a chapter or study unit take longer, they will also greatly improve your ability to recall the information weeks later. Therefore, they are all completely worth the extra time and effort.

Focus on key terms and definitions

Every multiple-choice test requires a certain amount of memorization to pass. Examiners love using MCQs to test candidates on fundamental concepts, definitions, and terms, and the CIA exam is no exception. Therefore, you must commit these bits of information to memory and be able to differentiate between them.

Apply exam concepts to real life

No matter what your job involves, if you work in internal auditing, you can use the concepts of the CIA exam on a daily basis. Discovering how these concepts apply to your regular work activities is an excellent way to deepen your retention and your understanding of them. Auditing principles you can put in to practice on the job include cost accounting, variance analysis, or internal control. So, keep an open mind and look for opportunities to practice the skills you need to pass the exam at work every day.

2. Improve Your Accuracy with Practice Questions

Just because the process of answering MCQs is straightforward doesn’t mean the answer is always clear. The CIA exam presents you with 4 answer options, and the correct answer is hidden in plain sight among them.

I say hidden because you have to pick the best answer out of several answer options that may seem correct. The point of the additional answer options is to distract you with their plausibility (in fact, these answer options are technically called “distractors”), and the CIA exam MCQs are good at doing just that. This trickery is part of the reason why the CIA exam pass rates are so low.

So, to make sure you know the real correct answer and don’t let the distractors fool you, you need to take these 7 steps toward improving your CIA MCQ accuracy:

Don’t focus on hot topics

You know the exam covers a lot of information, but you can’t/don’t want to study for it 24/7. So, you may be tempted to consult fellow CIA candidates or the internet to discover what topics the exam asks about the most. But trying to cut corners with the exam information is risky because you have no idea what your version of the CIA exam will focus on.

While the main topics on the CIA exam syllabus are clearly shoe-ins, that doesn’t mean the minor ones are definitely shoe-outs. Therefore, you must know every topic as deeply as the CIA exam syllabus specifies rather than trying to predict which ones will be the most popular. If you manage your time well and stick to your CIA exam study plan, you can learn all of the exam content without having to take shortcuts.

Understand how MCQs work

Preparing for MCQs is not the same process as preparing for other types of test questions. The CIA exam always asks you to choose the best possible answer out of 4 possibilities, so you need a specific strategy for fulfilling the task.

To develop this strategy, consider what makes MCQs easy and what makes MCQs difficult.

CIA Exam MCQs 101

MCQs can be easy because:

  • You know one of the answer choices is correct.
  • The CIA exam has a lot of MCQs, so you can afford to miss a few.
  • MCQs only assess us for our knowledge of the topic, not our creative, analytical, or writing abilities.

On the other hand, MCQs can be difficult because:

  • More than one of the answer options may look correct, and you have to pick the best possible answer.
  • The other answer choices try to distract you by being factually correct but irrelevant.
  • You must answer so many MCQs that your mind may start to get tired and go blank towards the end of the test.

Now that we can see the challenges MCQs present, we know that we must address these challenges with our MCQ strategy. To answer MCQs well, we must strengthen our weak areas with the exam content so that we know the right answer without seeing the answer choices. We must also build up our stamina so that we can answer all of the questions to the best of our ability. Finally, we must practice our time management by taking realistic practice exams so that we can finish within the allotted testing time.

Create a system for tracking incorrect answers

As you’re going through your course’s test bank, you need to come up with a systematic approach for identifying and tracking incorrect answers.

Whenever you answer a question incorrectly or answer it correctly for the wrong reason, write down the reason for your answer choice in a notebook.

Did you not know the concepts? Then write down the concepts you did not know.

Did you not read the fact pattern carefully? Did you misread the question stem? Or misread the answer choices? Make a note of any of these mistakes in your notebook.

Analyze and address your weaknesses

The purpose of tracking your incorrect answers and the reasons you gave them is to improve on these bad habits and eliminate them in time for exam day. So, you must constantly review your notes to discover patterns such as giving the wrong answers for a certain topic, a certain MCQ format, or a certain fact pattern.

With your notes, you can see exactly what your test-taking weaknesses are and begin to address them ASAP. You might need to commit more time to learn a certain concept, or you might need to practice reading more slowly and carefully. No matter what you discover, you’ll be able to fix it with your system.

Some CIA review courses have adaptive technology that will also help you address your weak areas, but when you combine your system with your course’s, you can improve faster and more accurately.

Increase your speed

Once you’re familiar with the fact patterns and question styles of the exam, you can try to answer practice questions faster while still maintaining your accuracy.

If you start to miss a lot of questions again, slow down on questions involving your weak areas. Then, when you think you’ve overcome this weakness, try to speed up again.

This process may feel like taking 2 steps forward, 1 step back at times. But, it’s good to practice your time management throughout your review. Therefore, you should work on your speed regularly.

Practice educated guessing

When you’re answering practice MCQs and maybe even real CIA exam MCQs, you’ll see unfamiliar questions. At these times, you should employ educated guessing.

Educated guessing involves mentally eliminating any obviously wrong answer choices and using whatever you’ve learned before (or even just your instincts) to guess which remaining answer might be correct.

Using educated guessing to answer practice questions allows you to improve this skill over time and via a variety of topics. So, don’t ever skip a question you don’t know. Just do whatever you need to do to come up with what you think is the best answer, whether by process of elimination, recalling information from another question, or inserting the answer options into a real-life scenario. Then, you’ll have one extra skill to call on when you encounter the actual CIA exam.

Also, don’t be afraid to give yourself more opportunities to practice educated guessing by turning on the test mode (instead of study mode) in your question bank. Test mode is a bit stressful, but we practice in it so that we can manage our stress!

Embrace mock exams

Practice or mock exams are essential to your CIA exam preparations because they give you the chance to refine your time management.

As you may recall, you’ll have a little more than 1 minute to answer every CIA exam question. And having time to answer every exam question is the best way to maximize points.

So, as you take mock exams, mark questions you don’t know or don’t feel sure about. Then, as you step up your speed, try to come back to these questions with any extra time you’ve accumulated.

The questions you struggle with will usually be more complicated, so it’s better to quickly guess for 1 complex question and buy time to correctly answer a few easy questions.

5. Apply These Multiple-Choice Question CIA Test Tips

After you’ve used my multiple-choice studying CIA tips every day of your review period, you’ll have the chance to put these MCQ CIA test tips into action on exam day. With these tips, you can avoid silly (yet costly) mistakes and maximize your CIA exam score.

When you follow these tips during the test, you can:

1. Address All of the Questions and Answers

The IIA positively grades the CIA exam. Therefore, even blind guessing gives you a 25% chance of answering correctly and earning the points. For this reason, you should always aim to answer all of the questions on each exam part. To do so, you’ll need to manage your time, read all the answer choices, and never leave a question unanswered.

Manage your time

Managing your time is the most important step toward answering all of the questions. That’s because you get a different amount of total testing time depending on the exam part. Remember, Part 1 has 125 questions, so you get 150 minutes to answer them. Part 2 and Part 3 each have 100 questions and give you 120 minutes to finish.

But the questions on all 3 exam parts can be complex on occasion, so you can’t spend too much time on any one question. Stick to 1.2 minutes per question on all exam parts.

Read all the answer choices before picking an answer

Just because I’m asking you to read all the answer choices doesn’t mean I’m implying that you don’t know your stuff.

When you’re super familiar with the exam content, you should be able to surmise the right answer before reading the answer choices. However, you should still look at all of your options. The first one you see may look right but may not be the best answer.

Therefore, you need to consider B, C, and D as well before you make a hasty selection. You may even have the option to choose “All of the above” or “None of the above.” So, you need to check for that as well.

Don’t leave any question unanswered

The IIA does not penalize you for wrong answers. So, if you find yourself staring at a question for some time, don’t be afraid to just pick something.

Blind guessing is better than leaving a question blank, and you can’t assume that you’ll be able to come back to that question at the end. You can flag it just in case, but you should also answer it. Just in case.

2. Avoid Being Distracted

You’ve heard about the distractors that you’ll see among the answer options of actual CIA exam questions. So, you’ve really got to steel yourself against them on exam day. The correct answer choice will be hidden among the posers. So, you’ve got to be able to identify that answer on exam day.

No matter how many hours you spend studying, fulfilling this task is easier said than done on when the pressure’s on. But, you can have the best chance of making the right call every time when you

  • anticipate the correct answer,
  • find an answer that is correct and on topic,
  • eliminate the partly true answers,
  • watch out for absolute statements and double negatives, and
  • avoid weird responses.

Anticipate the right answer before reading the choices

When all the answer options seem plausible, weeding out the worst and uncovering the correct one is challenging.

Again, with so much efficient and effective studying behind you, you should be able to predict the answer after seeing the question. And during the exam, you should actually take the time to make this prediction. That way, you’re already headed in the right direction before the distractors try to sway you.

Furthermore, if the answer you come up with matches one of the answer choices, you can be confident that your particular response is correct.

Select an answer option that is correct and on topic

Sometimes, a few of the answer choices state accurate information about the topic. But, they do not actually relate to the question. They may make a good point, but they don’t make the point the question wants you to make. So, they can’t be the best answer, as the best answer is both correct and relevant.

When you know such a deceiving answer option is a possibility, you can watch out for it.

Eliminate partly true answers

Just as the CIA exam may present a true but irrelevant answer option, it may also toss in a somewhat but not completely true answer option. Such an option may be only partly true or only true under a narrow set of conditions. But either way, it’s probably not the best answer. In that case, you should move on from that option.

Watch out for absolute statements

Absolutes are extreme, and extreme is usually not the answer in auditing.

Examples of absolute statements include “always,” “every,” “never,” and “none.” And when you see one of these in a potential CIA exam question response, you should consider it a pretty good clue that such response is not the answer you want.

The CIA exam covers real business situations, and real life rarely offers absolutely right or wrong situations.

Be careful about double negatives

It’s not just the answer options that can trip you up on the CIA exam. The question stem may also confuse you by including negatives, double negatives, and 2-part statements. Thankfully, double negatives are fairly rare on this exam, but you can’t assume you won’t see them nonetheless.

In my opinion, the CIA exam question stems generally aren’t trying to trick you. I say this because the word “not” does appear in bold. But you still need to pay close attention to such words because they reverse the meaning of the sentence.

So, you may see a question stem ending with a phrase like, “all of these except.” At this point, the correct answer suddenly becomes the answer you thought would be wrong until you finished reading the stem. For this reason, I advise you to be careful with these words.

Avoid weird or funny responses

To take this step, you basically just need to use common sense. If the answer choice is really somewhat silly or just doesn’t make any kind of sense in a real-life situation, it is most likely wrong.

3. Increase Your Odds of Guessing Right

In cases where you aren’t sure which answer is right, you may need to make an educated guess. To give yourself the best chance at success with this method, you can

  • look for grammatical clues,
  • pick the answer with the most information, and
  • turn each answer option into a true or false question.

Look for grammatical clues

Occasionally, paying attention to the grammar of the question stem can give you a bit of an advantage. For example, if the question stem ends with “an” instead of “a,” then you know that the correct answer begins with a vowel. Plural and singular verbs can also indicate which form the correct answer choice should be in. This tactic may not always reveal the correct answer. But, you should still look for opportunities to use it because you just never know.

Pick the answer with the most information

Specificity can sometimes serve as another hint about the correct answer. So, if one answer choice repeats a keyword found in the question stem, you’ve probably found your answer. Or, if one answer option contains a long and specific description, it is also likely the right choice. Therefore, you should keep your eye out for answer options that say a lot.

Use the true or false technique

When a few answer options have the potential to be correct, you can create true or false questions to see how they hold up. If any part of the answer choice is false, then the entire answer is incorrect.

4. Develop and Follow Your Best Instincts

With years of experience and weeks of studying in your mental repertoire, you can trust yourself to know a thing or two about auditing. Furthermore, self-doubt is one of the things you shouldn’t take into the testing center. So, leave it at the door and carry only the greatest confidence with you to the exam.

While the CIA exam questions are often conceptual, they also involve real business situations. So, if you’re running out of time and techniques to answer a tough exam question, use your confidence to

  • avoid over-analyzing the answer options,
  • second-guess yourself when necessary,
  • eliminate an answer option that feels wrong, and
  • ignore superstition to come around to the right answer.

Usually, taking these steps to follow your instincts can help you score some major CIA exam points.

Don’t over-analyze your options

Just because an answer option seems straightforward or simple doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Instead, the exam may have just served you one of your dream questions.

You’re well prepared for this exam, so you can’t necessarily dismiss the obvious choice. Tricks and traps usually aren’t there. So, believe that you know what you’re doing. Then, don’t waste time trying to talk yourself out of the right answer!

Know when to second-guess yourself

On the other hand, you don’t want to go with your gut on every question. Contrary to popular belief, your first guess is not often as correct as your second guess. In fact, studies show that you are more likely to change your original answer from the wrong answer to the right answer as opposed to the other way around.

Multiple-choice questions are all about recognizing what you have already learned. Therefore, if you are well-prepared and read everything properly, you should be able to determine the correct answer. But, if you truly are guessing, then you should guess again before you move on.

Eliminate the answer choice that doesn’t “feel” right

Now, you may come across an answer option that you don’t think is right, but you can’t recall why. Like someone who can’t remember the name of a person they know, you know there’s a reason you don’t like this answer option. It just won’t materialize in your mind.

In this case, you should try to imagine each answer option as the correct answer. If you do this and the questionable answer choice still just doesn’t feel right, you should just throw it out. You’re most likely in this scenario because you are familiar with the concept. But, you just don’t have a firm grasp on it. Therefore, you should put enough stock in your feelings to discount that answer option.

Ignore superstition

The CIA exam is fully computerized. So, the system pulls a set of questions from a pool and presents them to you in random order.

Knowing this, you shouldn’t bother spending your time in search of patterns in your answers. Any repetition is coincidental, so don’t worry if you selected answer “C” 4 times in a row.

CIA Exam Prep Video

Some Final CIA Exam Help

I know all of these CIA tips can be overwhelming. But, you can keep them straight by categorizing them under each of your ultimate exam day goals. To have the best chance at success, your aim on exam day is simply to:

  • Complete the exam part on time
  • Select the best answer based on your knowledge
  • Employ your testing techniques if you need to guess the answer

When you keep all of my advice about studying and testing efficiently and effectively within the perspective of these 3 clear and simple goals, passing the CIA exam becomes a lot more manageable.

The road to CIA certification is also easier to follow when you take my free CIA e-course. This course covers the CIA process and tells you how to pass the exam on your first attempt. So, learn more today or sign up now!

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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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  • Crystal Turner says:

    I really appreciate your mini course. Passed both parts 1 and 2 the first try. Have taken part 3 twice and have not be successful. Score a 594 on March 28, 2015, so I plan on retaking on June 27, 2015. 🙂

    Thanks for the tips. Especially the one about concentrating on the 40% you didn’t get right. Therefore, your focus should be on the remaining 40% of the questions — those you did wrong previously. If you manage to get half of the wrong questions right the next time around, you will be hitting 80%.

    Would you happen to know whether it is true or not that if I scored 594 that I missed it by one question?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Crystal, that’s the attitude! Yes if you keep lower the number of wrong answers, you will pass. For sure.
      I don’t think the scoring is based on straight calculation… so I can’t really comment on that. But yes I think it’s pretty close. This means you should be able to nail it with just a bit more work on the practice questions! Regards Stephanie

    • Mary says:


      What study materials did you use to pass parts 1 & 2? Are you using different study material for part 3?


      • Crystal says:


        I used Gleim for all three parts. Gleim was more than adequate for parts 1 & 2. I took part 3 and missed it by one question. So I just purchased the IIA learning system for part 3 only to supplement the material I have from gleim. So my strategy is to use the gleim and IIA learning system for part 3. Will let you know how it goes.


      • Noora says:

        Hi Crystal,
        Glad that you have passed 1 and 2. Good luck in 3, am sure this time you’ll pass. I am really concerned with Gleim. I feel that the info. in the book is insufficient in which I had to research online to understand each and every concept very well. So currently I’ll be using gleim and the net information( practice guides online and reliable sources). My exam is the 29th of Feb ( 1 week from now). Hope I can pass part 1 .

  • t ramabele says:

    Very motivating tips indeed!It has really rejuvenated my drive. I can describe the CIA exam to me as a “near exam yet so far”.This is because I have written the exam 3 times with a variance not more than 2% between all of the exams with a min score of 569 (71%) on new part 1 and the max score of 582 (73%) on part 2.
    I got the least score when I was most comfortable of a pass.
    I used gleim and a bit of wiley practice questions on about 800 questions per exam however I found the exam to be too wide. I mostly read the Standards and Practice Advisories and didnt use Practice Guides.Was it my downfall? Please help,anyone.

    • Stephanie says:

      Argh, that was so close every time! Did you make sure you rework the ones you did wrong previously? This is the one tip I would pick from my list. I worked on them twice, in fact, to make sure I got them right for the right reason. Hope it helps! Stephanie

      • t ramabele says:

        Yes Steph, I reworked them twice but maybe I did not use enough additional literature because I think using additional books help in fully understanding the concepts.As I asked, do you recommend usage of Practice Guides in addition to Standards and Practice Advisories? The exam seems to have that additional gap even though I was scoring average 80-90% in practice questions.

        • Art Yip says:

          t ramabele,

          I don’t think it was your downfall that you didn’t use practice guides when you took Part 1 & 2 Exams. When I passed Part 1 & 2 recently, I did not use any practice guides. Your scores shows you’re almost there. I believe if you can improve your grasp of the concepts just a little more, you’re there! When you go through your practice questions, analyze why an answer is correct or incorrect. Also, learn from your previous exam experiences. Try to figure out where you may have made mistakes in answering questions, and apply that to your next exam retake! Even if your next exam questions are different, you can still apply the concepts you’ve learned. I recommend to focus on Part 2 next since you scored the highest on that part, and also because Part 2 is generally a little easier than Part 1.

  • yilma says:

    hi, I have been reading on and off part I for about couple of months. sometimes i get distracted and have to stay away from reading. does any body know if most questions are conceptual or application. i did pass other certifications before, but wanted to add this to my credential duet to the fact that this is international than the ones i did.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Yilma, if by “application” you mean calculations, then no, there’s virtually no calculations in Part 1. But if you are talking about pure conceptual (as in definition) vs how the concepts can be applied in business situation, it’s harder to tell. I would say expect both in all parts of the exam. Best of luck! You should be able to tell from the practice test prep you have. Stephanie

  • Huyen Nguyen says:

    Great help!

  • Muhammad says:

    I Scored 589 & 580 respective in two attempts of CIA part Internal test score is around 90% what should I do.

  • Sal says:


    I have no IA experience, but wanted to get into the industry. Therefore I wanted to learn more about internal auditing…so I thought I should consider studying for the exams, and go for a certification. I did notice you mentioned parts 1 & 2 should be good (or little easier) for individuals who are in the field. What would you recommend an individual like myself to attempt first out of the 3 parts? I have a fair bit of knowledge with finance and a bit of accounting.

    Thank You!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sal,
      Non-audit professionals pass this exam as well, so don’t worry. But I would say, try to put yourself in an internal auditor’s perspective. If you work in finance and a bit of accounting, you might have a chance to work closely or at least have some interaction with internal auditors. It really helps to understand what they actually do on a daily basis, and why do they need to test this and analyze that, or ask certain questions. It is of course somewhat theoretical, but in general the exam is relevant to real working experience.

      If you don’t have a chance to work with internal auditors, understanding the work of external auditors help too, since the analysis is very similar. It’s just that they represent a different set of “client”. Hope it helps!

  • Whitney Rogers says:

    2 Questions

    1. Do you think studying (handmade) flashcards and only purchases the Gleim test banks will be enough to pass the exam?
    2. Have you ever heard anyone using or looked into the free flashcards CRAM has?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Whitney,
      If you have a good grasp of IA concepts (you can check out the detailed syllabus on the IIA website), then yes, I think it is possible to prepare well with flashcards and test banks alone. But this is quite a big “if”, as it’s hard to know whether you have covered everything.

      I am quite sure people make good use of free resources online, but most probably use them as supplements.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Elya says:

    Hi Stephanie, thank you for your articles. I find them very thorough and useful. I passed part 1 and 2 on first try, now I am preparing for the last one. I covered most of Gleim book and practice questions. I understand all material and get pretty good results on practice questions (80-85%). However I feel uncomfortable because everyone including you says the third part is the most difficult and Gleim materials are not enough. I feel that I am missing something important.

    What do you recommend for the third part, maybe some additional materials besides Gleim? I also have heard that question style is different in the third part. Can you comment on that? Did you get question not covered in studying materials at all? Maybe some additional tips for part 3. Thank you in advance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Sure Elya, and thanks for your kind words on my site. There are some really useful tips from Art Yip who is active on the comment section on this page:

      If you are looking for specific supplement, I like Exammatrix because its proprietary technology feeds questions based on your weaker areas. It isn’t a very well known provider but I really like their approach. So far comments from readers have been positive. You can find out more about their offering here:

      • Elya says:

        Hi Stephanie, thank you! I passed part 3 today.
        I have a question. When did you receive email that you certified? Was it at the same day you passed the third part? Do I need to do something else in order to be certified?

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Elya,
          Congratulations! That’s great to know!
          Your score will become official once The IIA publishes the score to CCMS. This normally takes a few days, and you will be
          notified by a system-generated email once it is available. In other words, celebrate for a few days and you will get your confirmed result 🙂 Stephanie

          • Elya says:

            I forgot to upload some forms as required for the certification. I applied for the program in 2013 and thought that at that time I uploaded all forms, however I missed some. But now everything is ok, I uploaded all required forms and waiting for the certification email from IIA .

            First of all I would like to thank you, Stephanie, for organizing this web-site. I found here a lot of useful materials, advices, tips, feedback and experience from other exam takers. I wish you success, you are doing great job.

            Here are my tips for part 3:
            1) Do not be discouraged by unknown questions. Be prepared psychologically that most of questions will be different from those you practiced with. On my exam I had maybe 4-5 questions which were the same with practice questions. As long as you understand the concepts you would be able to answer all questions on the exam.
            2) Read practice advisories, practice guides about governance, risk management (especially ISO 31000) and corporate social responsibility (surprisingly, I had some questions on CSR), COSO framework. I read those guides twice and it helped me a lot. These articles are general but it will give you understanding about the governance and risk management structure and key elements, relationships between stakeholders etc.
            3) Do not neglect any part from materials. On different forums I read that there are no many questions from finance, no need to spend time on ratios etc. However on my exam I had more than average finance questions. Fortunately I spent enough time on ratios and memorized all finance formulas so I was able to solve finance tasks on the exam. Especially if you do not have financial background or experience, spend some time to read and understand the materials and memorize all important formulas.
            4) Save some time for review, it will give you confidence that you did not make some silly mistakes in calculations and you understood the question right (key words such as NOT, except, excluding etc.). On my exam I found 2 or 3 such mistakes during the review.

            I wish everyone luck with passing all parts.

            P.S.: I spent 3 months preparing for part 3 (2 hours during weekdays after work and 4 hours every weekend, total around 150-160 hours)

          • Stephanie says:

            Awesome sharing Elya, thanks so much!
            I will study your tips more closely and add them on my Part 3 page 🙂

        • Art Yip says:


          Congratulations on getting your CIA and for passing the notoriously difficult Part 3! Good to hear your exam experience and giving out helpful tips as well! Your Part 3 exam experience shows the key to passing is a matter of understanding the concepts and being able to apply them. It’s also a reminder that each exam could be different so candidates need to be ready for anything under the syllabus!

        • Noora says:

          Congrats Elya.
          I am sitting for Part 1 one week from now. I am really concerned about passing it. The material in the book is understandable. however I am not scoring well in the prep test of Gleim. I think one of the reasons is because I lack experience in the IA field. Could you please advise some tips on passing part 1? Did you only depend on Gleim book.


          • Daisy says:

            Hello Noora, did you pass part 1? I’m gonna take part 1 end of this week and I’m worried too. I use only Gleim material and I read Practice Advisories + Practise guide. I would love to hear experiences from you.


          • Stephanie says:

            Hi Daisy, Noora took the exam on Feb 29 and passed. She only uses Gleim I believe. You can read about her experience and tips from the success story page here, in the comment section:

          • Daisy says:

            Hi Spephanie,

            Thank you. I passed Part 1 today as well. I used Gleim book and IIA’s CIA Learning system + I did extensive reading of IPPF. Additionally, I did about 1000 Gleim questions. I personally think the IIA book is not necessary if you already have Gleim. I’m looking forward to hear sucessful stories on how to best prepare for Part 2. Right now I have Gleim book + questions in hand. Do you think that’s enough?


        • Raphael says:

          Hello Elya,

          Please, what materials did you use specifically for your exams? Gleim materials?

  • Erum Naz says:

    I have read your article and it was of great help!! I am working as an internal auditor and have studied through GLEIM, I have read the complete book of Part 1 and these days am working on mock exams…. Is there anything else I should add up to my list??

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Erum,
      Thanks for your note. You are good to go! Part 1 should be easy to handle for internal audit professionals. Work on your weaker areas if you have any. If not, have a good rest and bring your confidence on the exam day. Best of luck! Stephanie

    • Rania says:

      Hi Stephanie , I will set for part 1 exam three weeks form now , I have studied PRC material and questions and test prep. for Gleim and Hock , but I want to know if the new updates to the internal audit framework will be tested on March exams or not ??

      • Stephanie says:

        Hi Rania, I actually don’t know the specific, but from what I know from Gleim, there hasn’t been much changes this year (meaning 2016) so I guess overall you should be ok. Maybe you can ask the personal counselor for specific advice, or email Hock and ask the same thing. Cheers, Stephanie

      • maureen says:

        Thanks a lot…I will work on it…
        don’t stop sharing ideas…I am planning on trying to take this exams for the first time, when I am ready, finances included…..
        I never tried yet…

  • Laid says:

    I’m planning to retake the Part 1 Exam and you have noted that if there’s already an experience in the industry, I should be more working on practice questions. Do Gleim has a product of practice questions alone?

  • Stephanie says:

    Wow Hsiung, this is epic! I have to turn this into a separate post and a showcase piece 🙂
    Thanks so much for your generous sharing. Stephanie

  • Daniel says:

    Thanks Stephaine for organizing this platform i have found it very rich and i have been going through it, i benefited a lot.I want to start my journey to be a CIA and i have just finished my 1st Accounting Degree and i don’t have any experience in internal auditing.Which material may you recommend me to use for part 1 and 2 ( Wiley materials or Gliem materials)?Also how much does it cost to complete each Part(Part 1,2 and 3)?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Daniel, thanks for your note! I have more info on the cost here:

      And on which materials to use, Gleim is more popular and if you have at least some auditing classes and know the fundamentals e.g. internal control, then it shouldn’t be a big issue without the experience. It does help to have practical experience, but students manage to pass this exam. Just try to imagine yourself as an internal auditor and what you would do in the situation as shown in the question.

      If it doesn’t click, ask an internal audit friend to walk you through his/her typical day. This would help a lot as well.

      Regards, Stephanie

  • ZERAH says:

    Part 3 can be extremely challenging given the volume of knowledge to grasp and some particularly difficult concepts. If you are not from an accounting background you should spend at least 100 hours on Advanced fin, managerial acounting stuff and IT. Also I think people underestimate the difficulty level of CIA, specially Part1 and 2 because official score aren’t published and people tend to draw parallels with CPA BEC sections. My conclusion : you can do well on all parts given a lot of personal work and rehearsal from real exam question banks -personnally used both GLEIM and IIA.

  • Gabor says:

    Hi Stephanie , I bought the CIA Learning System and passed the practice exams with 95%. Last week my real CIA I. exam result was with 585. I was shocked with so many questions. The results of the CIA Learning System practice exams provided me false confidence. Now I want to be more effective. I searched for more CIA exam test bank questions. I found the following CIA I. part test banks: Wiley CIAExcel Test Bank with 770 questions for 110 USD and Gleim for 299 USD but the whole Part I pack. Do you think that Wiley Test Bank would be the right choice?

  • mae says:

    is there any computations involve in both part of the exam? or it is more on theories

  • yaya says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I failed the part 1 , and I’m wondering if I can prepare and pass the part 2 before retaking the part 1 ? I used Wiley material for the part 1. Do you think that Gleim only is a sufficient material for passing the part 1 and part 2 ?


  • mya says:

    Please im new at this and want to write the exam. Can i write just Part1 alone or i have to write all 3 at once.

  • Yanny says:

    Hi all experienced candidates. I have been having some trouble even just going through the registration process. I have uploaded some documents on the upload portal but did not receive any acknowledgement or confirmation after or via my online portal. I’m wondering if I need to get an approval from CIA in order to proceed with taking part 1 exam?

    I have a few other questions
    1) all parts of the exam has to be sequentially taken? If so, what’s the minimum period in order for candidates to take the part 2 exam after passing part 1 exam?
    2) will candidate know the score for part 1 exam right after the examination?
    3) how long is the minimum time (e.g. weeks/ months) to prepare if all 3-parts of the exam being passed on the 1st attempt (if lucky enough)? just getting a rough idea of the “duration” required.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Yanny, did you get an email confirmation? (or did you check your spam folder)
      Anyway, for technical question on registration, it is best to check with IIA directly.

      On your other questions:
      1. No you can take them in any order you like. Our readers have tried all sorts of combination.
      2. Yes (nice isn’t it). They said it is an unofficial score, but I haven’t heard of a case that the official is different from that.
      3. Technically you can sit for the exam within the same testing window. I’ve heard of people spending a couple of weeks on Part 1 and 2… there isn’t a “minimum time” — theoretically you don’t even to study and take those exams, you know.
      For more realistic estimation, I have a page here:

      • Ryan says:

        Hi Stephanie,

        Is it still the case where you haven’t heard of a case that has a different result between an unofficial and official score? It’s been 9 days since I received an unofficial pass and my score is still not showing in CCMS. I am getting worried they could potentially reverse the score. I am definitely regretting telling my manager at work that I passed after receiving the unofficial score.

  • Fahad says:

    Hello Stephaine,

    I am an MBA with and Engineering background, but wish to pursue an audit carrier; therefore, I am willing to attain CIA certification.

    Could you tell me some Kick-start techniques of successfully acing this examination so that I can step into an Audit world.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Fahad, I would focus on understanding the examples of each chapter, and then go through the practice questions in detail. Start slowly to make sure you understand the concepts behind each question (versus going through them quickly). If there are concepts that are hard to understand, try to google them, or check out youtube or Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Vijay says:

    Tomorrow I have CIA Part 1 Exam. Prepared well and hope I will have positive note. My target is 99.99% except if I get above 80 which is more than enough to celebrate. Thank you for your tips. I need more strategy as often multiple choice questions need extra attention.

    Thank you.

  • Qothelo Qothelo says:

    I am planning to take CIA Part 2 very soon..what advice would the team give me? I wanna pass it first time. I have a problem mostly with questions with long statements and i have a problem with questions that needs calculations.

  • OKSANA says:

    Dear Stephanie, thank you very much for your very useful tips. I have Hock Materials. Do you think, I have to switch to Gleim ? Thanks a lot !

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi! If you get the latest version of Hock, that’s good enough. People do pass with Hock 🙂 The only thing is that if you want extra practices, you may consider getting the test prep from Gleim (only the practice questions, not the whole set)

      • Oksana Netyksha says:

        Stephanie, thank you very much for your answer !!! 🙂

        • Oksana Netyksha says:

          Dear Stephanie, I have already asked you a couple of days ago about HOCK vs Gleam materials. You’ve advised me Gleam Questions Book (because I already have HOCK Text Books and I am learning these papers at the moment). I’ve contacted Gleim and they said that there is a package only (Text book and Questions Book). Maybe, you can advice me where can I buy ONLY Questions Book ? Thank you very much ! Regards, Oksana

          • Stephanie says:

            Hello Oksana, sorry what I meant is the practice question + e-book package. Honestly the e-book doesn’t cost much. The value is all in the practice questions. So that’s the most affordable option if you are to choose Gleim.

  • Emad says:

    I want to ask you , if i have to learn and study part 1 and part 2 to before i exam part 1 .
    because i told there is questions form part 2 in part 1 exam .

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Emad, not really. Knowledge in Part 1 helps Part 2 performance (and vice versa) because they are all core internal audit concepts — the more you know, the better you perform in any internal audit exam. But each part is designed to be taken separately. If you still worry about it, I suggest that you take the default order — starting from Part 1. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Moses B. Bangura says:

    I am currently an IIA member and would like to take the CIA Part I early in 2017. Would you be able to assist in providing sample multiple questions and answers for candidate’s practices whilst reading and preparing for the exams? If so I would appreciate if you can make that facility available to me. Thank you.

  • Rishika says:

    I am taking the exam for CIA level 1 in the last week of Dec. How important are the practice questions to pass? I have seen all paid versions of practice questions on Gleim and other websites. Does anyone know any website which gives free access to these questions? Or paying up is the only option?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rishika, I don’t know of any free practice questions. It takes time, effort and resources to create those questions and answers. I doubt if people will provide these for free…

  • Emma says:

    I’m planning to take the CIA exam and I just want to know whether I can schedule exam on weekends or it’s only on weekdays?
    I tried to locate the VUE test center and see but I won’t be able to see until I get candidate’s ID.

  • Santosh says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am an experienced professional with MBA with 17 years of experience in operations, accounts, finance. Out 17 years spent 10 years in financial services.
    As i do not have relevant experience in internal audit and preparing for exams CIA Part 1 in may-17. I sincerely wish to complete CIA within this year.

    Please let me know if Gleim books part1 is enough to clear all the concepts.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Santosh, Gleim is usually pretty all right, especially for Part 1. But given you don’t have internal audit experience, you might try to mentally walk through the process, and fill in the blanks (if there is) by reading supplementary materials on internal audit. Sometimes Youtube will do the work. Good luck!

  • sumee says:

    Just want to share my experience:

    I only passed my Part 1 on second attempt (I relied only on Gleim on the first attempt)

    After learning from mistake, I found that Practice Guides are very useful. Just read and understand. Do not have to memorise it.

    On all the questions in Gleim, understand reasons behind of each A,B,C,D. Why is it correct and why is it wrong. After getting to know the concept behind, you are able to score well in actual exam (do expect that questions does not come out exactly like what provided in Gleim)

    Hope it helps!

    Happy new year everyone!

  • Marina says:

    Hi Stephanie, how can i prepare for CIA exam without buying materials. I cant find any materials for free, its seems me this exam completely commercial. I think people should Have a choice: Buy adapted books or additional materials or study with public educational books. I try to understand on which legislation or knowledge exam is based and select materials for preparing . I want to have alternative. Unfortunately i cant afford such expensive materials, that why i ask such question.
    PS I’m working as an external auditor and i want to improve my knowledge and become more professional. Thanks in advance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Marina, unfortunately the review material is part of the investment. Take an example where the materials are provided for free (e.g. the CFA exam) but their exam fees are way more expensive. They just include the curriculum as part of the fee.pre

      It is possible that you can borrow some review materials in the library, or that you can get a hand-me-down from friends. Other than that, I would at least get the online practice questions. If you really think this is totally commercially driven, please don’t feel like taking it. If your firm has pushed for this certification, they will likely pay for it; if not, then at least for this firm it is not as necessary. Don’t feel like you don’t have a choice. You do 🙂 Regards, Stephanie

  • Jake says:

    Hi Stephanie, I bought the Gliem materials to prepare for Part 1 CIA exam. I have found the questions to be very good. But I looked at the Wiley textbook on google books and it is much much bigger than the Gliem one and seems to go more in depth. Do you recommend the Wiley book over Gliem? I found some questions in the Gliem tests weren’t covered by the actual textbook. Thank you

    • Jake says:

      For example, Part 1 section 2 of the textbook does not even cover types of controls and management control techniques. Am I missing something? Cheers

      • Stephanie says:

        Hi Jake,
        It’s true that the Wiley text book covers 100% of the syllabus (their selling point). Gleim deliberately chooses not to do that because they just want candidates to efficiently pass without spending a ton of time. So that’s why from time to time, you’ll hear people saying Gleim doesn’t cover this question and the other… because they don’t. But based on their experience they cover all heavily tested area and sufficiently enough that most people can comfortably pass the exam with their materials.

        So there is always a debate — but for me, given Gleim’s better question bank, I would still go for Gleim. I ran a survey among my readers last year and Gleim does get a slightly better rating than Wiley among my readers.

  • Santosh Desai says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    Wish to inform you that had scored 456, was not able to clear the first attempt of CIA Part1, my source of materil were Gliem and external references.
    In this attempt got to know that sampling methods, audit work, audit sampling, audit working papers, and few important audit strategic questions appeared which are not exclusively covered in Gliem study material.

    – Please advise if there is any bettter source for the above topics ( sampling methods, audit work, audit sampling, audit working papers).

    – Also advise if there are good source of question bank for solving the MCQ’s at a stretch as i believe solving different kinds of MCQs might lead to a good numbers in the exam.

    Thanks in advance.


  • Abayomi says:

    Dear Santosh im indeed very sorry about your score but you need to seriously and honestly ask yourself if you were actually ready for the exam before going for it! If i am to ask you a candid question, it would be what was your average scores in the practice tests you took. if less than 80% then you were certainly not ready.
    However i would advise you get the practice guides & IPPF 2017 and read, please make sure you have a good grasp and understanding cos your understanding will guide you incase you meet surprises in the exam.

    All in best in your future endeavours.

  • Shveta says:


    I’ve just got to know about this course and intend to pursue it. Could anyone please guide me on the starting steps.
    Whether I need to enroll in the CIA portal as a starting point or there is an option to appear for a few mock / sample tests to check if I would be able to do it.

    Any help would be highly appreciated


  • Dreamcatcher says:

    Hi All,

    I am taking part 3 in a month. I have zero experience in IA. Anyhow, since a month I am studying for 12 hours a day and using IIA book + Gleim + all suggested supplemental materials + additional research from Google for areas which I am not really familiar with.

    Please let me know if I am suffering from paranoia disorder and that what I am currently doing will make me fail or whether I should proceed with the aforementioned plan.
    I realized that Gleim is so deficient in some study units which is why I am referring to IIA and additional google research.


    • Stephanie says:

      It sounds like you are well prepared Dreamcatcher. Rest is important too, so make sure you have enough sleep. You will be fine 🙂 Cheers, Stephanie

  • Kaveri Martolia says:


    I have 7+ years of post MBA experience in internal audit and have worked in a big 4 as well. I am planning to pursue CIA but I have few doubts regarding the IIA membership and CIA exam.

    1) Is it necessary to give the CIA exam in the same region/location/chapter for which you have the IIA membership? Can someone give all exams from a different region, even though he/she has a membership of some other?
    2) Why the IIA membership and CIA exam cost is different region wise?
    3) Are there any free study materials for CIA available on the IIA site for the members? Do one has to buy the online study materials for all the parts from the IIA site?

    Thank you

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello, thanks for your questions.
      1. It doesn’t matter – you can pick the testing center most convenient for you at the time.
      2. I believe the local chapters have certain independence which explain the difference, but I can’t represent IIA and this is only my guess.
      3. There are free supplementary materials for IIA members to download. They are not full review courses though. I would definitely get a set to increase the chance of passing in one go. More info here:

  • Syed ahmed says:

    Hello Stephaniephanie

    I am working in HSBC EDPI in payments opertions and compliance investigations, intrested in pursuing cia certification i wantto know am i eligible to apply for certification please advise.


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