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My CIA Exam Study Techniques: Lynnel’s Blog

cia exam study techniquesLynnel is our new CIA exam blogger from the Philippines. She writes every Friday.

Hello everyone! I wish you had spent your holidays well and I wish you a happy new year. I’ve been out of town for a few days and went to one of the beaches here in the Philippines. I feel refreshed and determined to start the year right.

Anyway, I mentioned in my previous post that I will share my study techniques in preparation for my CIA exam for parts 1 and 2, which I will be taking on January 18. And yes, it’s just a few weeks away. (I appreciate it if you’ll pray and send a bit of good luck to me.)

For those who haven’t read my first blog post, I mentioned there that I started reviewing May last year, took the first part in September, and failed. I re-started my review in October 2016. The following are my CIA Exam study techniques:

1. Schedule for Review

First, I think it’s important to understand the potential length of your CIA exam study time. I am thankful that Stephanie made a review calendar which helped me the most. I used the calendar in comprehensive mode and studied Monday to Friday from 8 am- 5 pm with an hour of lunch break. I am proud to say that I stick to the schedule and finished it on time.

2. Read and Answer

I studied Parts 1 and 2 as well as Part 3 of Governance, Risk Management, IT, and Accounting (ratios). I read section by section of each chapter and answered each section on test mode afterward.

This technique is effective because I would find out what areas in that section I overlooked and misunderstood. Just in case I encountered incorrect answers, I would read and understand what made the answer incorrect.

I also plan to work on the practice test (125 questions) a few weeks before the exam for an exam simulation.

3. Answer Easy and Short Questions

My mentor’s advice to me was to answer easy and short questions first then flag/skip the long ones. With that, I would manage my time wisely and I could save more time, in the endm thinking about the answer on harder and long ones. In addition to that, it would prevent me from guessing and picking the incorrect answer. Also, I maintain an average of 30-50 seconds per question so I can spare time to review my answers.

4. Summarize

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 in 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 them for another time to refresh and get an overview of what I studied.

Some might ask how my studying is. I could say that I am more prepared than before when I took the exam last September. I’ve been answering a lot of questions and I am in the process of reading Practice Advisories and Practice Guide. By the way, I’ll write my blog post on what I would do few weeks before the exam. Wish me luck and see you in my next post!

Everyone has their own strategy in achieving their goal in becoming a CIA. It may take some time but every single sacrifice would be worth it.”

Note from Stephanie

Great progress! Happy that you are using a very systematic approach to studying this time. Divide and conquer, one step at a time 🙂

Glad you like the study planner! The Gleim team vetted that spreadsheet planner for me, but it’s been a while back. It’s still working well right and everything is up to update?

I can see how you focus the time and effort in “active studying”, that is, actively working on the questions and reviewing the explanations. Saving the hard ones at the end so you’ll have time thinking through them carefully instead of rushing through and reading the answers.

And of course, writing your own summary notes is one of the best ways to retain what you’ve learned.

Lynnel, you are doing everything right, and on time! I have a very good feeling that you’ll pass this time. I am quite good at this — only guessed wrong once among my 10+ bloggers across different exams 😉

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About the Author Lynnel

Lynnel is a recent graduate, with a BSBA Major in Internal Auditing in the Philippines. Lynnel passed Part 1 and 2 on the same day, and Part 3 on her first attempt.

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