CIA Exam Success Stories (and More Sharing from Readers!)


This is a page set up for my dear readers who want to say loud and clear that:

I — PASSed!

Whether you have passed one part of the exams, or you are completely done, drop us a note and share the happy news.

CIA Exam Success Stories from My Readers

Art Yip

You will see Art Yip’s wisdom throughout the comment section of this site. He was once a candidate too!


I want to thank you for putting together a very helpful website for CIA candidates!  The insights you gave helped convince me the worth of getting a CIA after my already having a CPA.  It also helped me to get through the challenging CIA Part 3 Exam.  I only have Part 1 left now to finish up.  Your website has definitely made a helpful impact on my journey!” ~ Art Yip


Hsiung is kind enough to write a 808-word post on tips, strategies and how to mentally prepare. Read his story here>>

cia exam success storiesAsif

Asif is the mentor of our blogger Waqar. He also shares with us how he benefits from his CIA qualification.


Kostas passed his Part 3 exam in his second attempt. This is his detailed sharing on his exam experience, study tips and exam taking strategies.

Other Success Stories

We’ve got a few more sharing in the comment section below (thanks!)

Do you have your story to tell? Please drop a note below!

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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  • Rahim Domah says:

    Hello Staphanie !

    I completed the CIA-ACCA Challenge exams. I just want to share my exams technicues.

    1) First, I have gone through the book – just to read , to have an idea of the contents of the book.

    2) I have read the IIA statndards and the relative Practice Advisories.

    3) Next step, I have prepared summarised notes for each chapter in the book, standards and PA.

    4) I have practice gleim exam questions (1 min per question)

    5) My exams consisted of 125 questions for 2.5 hours. I have done some 4 papers (125 MCQ) in 2.5 hours to ensure concentration and momentum.

    6) On exams day, I have managed my time well and put myself in the shoes of a CAE to be able to answer the MCQ.

    Those who need more info can contact me on r_domah” I will be glad to help.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rahim, I am truly grateful for your sharing! I especially like your point on putting yourself in the shoes of a CAE when answering a question.
      My best wishes to you! Regards, Stephanie

  • t ramabele says:

    Hi Steph

    I’ve just passed the CIA Part 2. I’ve never felt so good in a long time seeing the ‘Pass’ on my results. I’m now aiming for Part 1. Thanks for the mini course.I took a different approach after failing the last time, especially the point that the exam is ‘wide and not deep’ .

    • Stephanie says:

      Great to know! I am really happy to hear this good news! If you pass Part 2, Part 1 is similar in terms of question style and format. I have a good feeling that you can make it on your first try 🙂 Stephanie

      • tramabele says:

        Hi Steph

        I’ve just passed part 1! It was almost the same style as part 2 without relatively long questions,as you mentioned. However, I found it more challenging because there were a few questions that had answer options that seemed 2 of 4 potentially correct. I took 3 months to prepare.I now believe the secret to passing is reviewing everything and not leave anything to chance.
        I am now looking froward to part 3. Thanks again for good course.

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Tramabele, yes you are right! Most people find Part 2 slightly easier. I will have to change my wordings slightly on my Part 2 page. Excellent work and congrats! Part 3 is definitely harder — but you’ll nail it with the same strategy! Stephanie

  • Byron says:

    I just passed part 3 of the CIA exam – first attempt. (I also passed parts 1 and 2 on the first attempt) I used the Gleim Review System on to pass all parts. I took 3 months to study, I went over all of the study units and then had 5 weeks just to study the study units in depth. I spent nearly a full week on financial management.

    The questions in the exam I had never ever seen before and were mostly challenging. I would recommend knowing your theory 100% and doing as many review questions as possible and understand them. I did almost every single question that was available on the Gleim system.

    as above, there weren’t many financial management questions I got 3, two of them were basic and one was a little more than basic, but I used the answer I thought it would be and calculated forward using the answer.

    I was really surprised that I passed as i found the exam really challenging, i had two minutes remaining when I submitted.

    My advice would be to study all the study units (Using the full gleim system) but don’t focus too much on calculations.

    Good Luck to everyone

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Byron, thanks for your sharing, and congrats! This is really helpful esp on confirming that we don’t need to pay too much attention on the complex calculations. And yes, we do need to cover the study units! Stephanie

    • Noora says:

      Hi Bryon,
      I just passed part 1 and attempting to schedule for part 2 exam very soon.. could you let me know how does part 2 differ from part 1? shall I use the same process as was used to pass part 1? or part 2 has a different studying methodology?


  • Noora says:

    Hi Steph,

    First of all.. Thanks a lot for setting up this blog as it proved a great help, courage, determination, and momentum for me to pass CIA part 1.. Yes I passed.. This morning I took the exam and it wasn’t difficult as I thought it would be. Below are my exam tips to pass for part 1.

    (Note: I used Gleim Review which was very handy and useful).

    – To understand (rather than memorize) the concepts and the examples given in each study unit. The CIA exam questions are very conceptual, once you understand the concepts then you should not face any difficulty in the real exam.

    – To study each chapter in depth and to do more research in case of ambiguity or unfamiliarity with the topic ( This is especially if you lack experience in the Internal Audit field or if you have minimum experience in Finance/Accounting). The bottom line is that you should be clear with all topics addressed in the syllabus by the IIA.

    – After studying the book and doing additional research .. make notes for each chapter that would encompass all essential and critical details. Note taking is a very efficient and effective method especially when you have many chapters to absorb before the real exam.

    -Solve questions, questions, questions….. Gleim Prep Questions was a critical success factor in passing part 1. This is because Gleim uses the same style and structure of questions that you would see in a CIA exam. Therefore, spend valuable and sufficient amount of time time in solving the prep questions and ultimately trying to understand each and every mistake.. (don’t miss any)..

    – Take breaks from time to time.. don’t rush and cram through the information.

    – Shut down from distractions.. this would be like going to a library and using the silent study
    rooms, scheduling study leaves from your work in order to dedicate 100% of your time to the CIA and not anything else.

    – On the day of the exam have a power breakfast ( classic egg benedict) and coffee.. to keep alert for 2.5 hours

    Hope that I haven’t missed anything out..

    Good luck!!


    • Stephanie says:

      Yay Noora! See, no need to worry too much!
      Really happy for you, Stephanie

      • Noora says:

        Thanks Steph ! Could you let me know if I shall change my study approach for part 2 or shall I follow the same process I did in Part 1?
        How are the questions in Part 2 ? are they the same style of Part 1?
        For Part 2, Do I have to look at other sources for studying or Gleim is sufficient enough to pass?

        Please advise

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Noora, things seem to work great for your Part 1 so I suggest using the same approach and same review providers so you don’t need to spend time learning another study method. But if you feel like getting more practice questions for reassurance along the way, check out exammatrix because it works well as a supplement to other courses. You probably don’t need it, but just in case, here is my pros and cons page:

        • Art Yip says:


          I agree with Stephanie that since things worked great for your Part 1 Exam, use the same approach and review provider. There are some overlaps between Part 1 & 2. QAIP, Risk Concepts, and Fraud Risks will again be tested. When I passed Part 2 a little over a year ago, I felt Gleim practice MCQs helped me the most. I also remembered I almost ran out of time during the exam. So get in the habit of reading the last sentence to any long questions first, and try to stick with answering 1 question per minute during the exam.


  • Sam says:

    Good day, Stephanie,
    Yes, I got certified yesterday!

    I’ve been working on this certification for years. Can’t even remember how many times I failed. I also forgot about it a couple of times. Lost hope and courage, hated the whole idea, and sometimes thought of looking for something else.

    I gave it a shot in 2014, and passed the first part, which was the biggest surprise ever. And then started to push myself, I passed the second part last year. Yesterday, I passed the third part, and received the best email ever that I have EARNED the designation!

    It wasn’t an easy path at all, and kept believing that this thing is a long term investment after I spent a fortune on courses, materials, and exams.

    I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the printout yesterday, with no details except “PASS”

    Thanks for everything

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sam, wonderful news! it is definitely something that you need to work hard to earn it (Earn is definitely the right word). My very best wishes to you. Go celebrate today! Cheers, Stephanie

  • Justin says:

    Thanks to Stephanie, Art, and others. I have successfully completed part three of the CIA exam today! I can say I have a testimonial of passing all three exams on the first attempt. The tips and advice here are invaluable and have been instrumental in my success! Thank you all!

  • Rao says:

    Hello All, Thanks for all the valuable information. I cleared Part 1 in my first attempt. Studied for 2 months. Studied Gleim Review Course. But in the exam, got only 5 % questions from 800 odd questions from Gleim Question Bank. But the thorough reading of theory helped me crack the exam. I started studying CIA part 2, to my surprise questions from part 2 appeared in CIA part 1 exam. It is a great feeling to clear CIA. Thanks guys for your inputs.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rao, congrats! Yes I have read other readers with similar experience. The Gleim team explained that Part 1 and 2 share some of the concepts (afterall, they are both covering core internal audit) with different focus or perspective. So you are moving onto Part 3? Best of luck to you!

  • Mitsuro Takeyama says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    Today I finally passed CIA Part3 on my 2nd try, and it was the final of all the three part for me!
    Your site is really helpful for me, especially this article:

    I took the exam in my native language, Japanese.
    I thought that it was the best choice for me due to my language skill, however there were some wrong translation in the questionnaire.
    So I recommend non-native test-taker also to refer to English original description sometimes, to click ” English” button.

    Thank you Stephanie, for your support!


  • JC says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    After two years of starting my CIA journey, I’m proud to share that I passed Part 3 this weekend. I’m officially a Certified Internal Auditor. After passing Part 1 and Part 2 on my first attempt, I was quite disappointed when I failed Part 3 a few months ago. In spite of this setback, I was determined to keep studying and not giving up. I’m glad I made this decision as it paid off at the end. Part 3 was pretty challenging to say the least, but with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude, I was able to prepare well and succeed at the end. It is definitely achievable, no matter how daunting or difficult it may seem. The best part of my experience was the sense of relief and freedom I got after passing the exam. I’m now able to enjoy life again and spend more quality time with my family. Also, the certification will now allow me to advance in my career and be considered for a promotion at work. I could not be happier:-)

    My next goal is to pass the CRMA.


    • Stephanie says:

      JC, this is awesome news! I can imagine seeing you beaming with joy and relief after Part 3. I am sure your family is equally happy and relieved as well. You all deserve it! All the best and congrats in advance on your promotion 😉 Stephanie

  • Ruma says:

    Stephanie, thank you so much for this very helpful website. I have been following the stories of other aspirants, success stories and exam tips. I am pleased to inform that I cleared CIA level 1 today in 1st attempt. I used Gleim Premium as well as IIA’s CIA Learning System. I found both of them very useful. While IIA’s CIA learning system is very detailed, Gleim helps you grasp the key points and I especially found their vast question bank very useful. I will be ordering both the courses for 2nd level as well. Thank you again for the guidance and tips!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ruma, sorry to reply late but it’s wonderful to know of your Part 1 success. Keep the great momentum for your Part 2! Stephanie

      • Ruma Malhotra says:

        Hi Stephanie,

        I cleared level 2 CIA exam yesterday and again, your website was a huge help. Taking a break of couple of weeks before starting preparation for level 3 which I hear is the hardest. The course contest for level 3 is three times that of level 2. Do you think it is doable in 3 months?

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Ruma, congrats! For rough estimate, it takes double the time for Part 1/2. On whether you can go through the studying within 3 months, it really depends on your background, and the amount of studying hours you have each week. To get a better estimation you can download my study planner, play around with the studying hours and get a better estimate. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Waqar says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I score 506 in CIA part 1 two days ago. I have gone through Gleim materials (2013) and Hock also. somehow I have also practiced from CIA learning system. I was very disappointed about the result.

    Now i am thinking to purchase Gleim Premium for CIA part 1. Please guide me what to do and how to pass in first attempt. Thanks.

  • Hasan Ahmed says:

    Hi Everyone

    I recently passed my part 3 of CIA and now thankfully hold the CIA title.

    First of all this blog by Stephanie came in quite handy, anyone pursuing their CIA should go through the relevant sections to get an idea what they might be facing in the exams. She has even put short videos here about the course for each paper. Further, comments and advice left by people also are very helpful.

    Now for passing the Part 3 paper. Let me say it is a beast considering the first two papers as the course itself is quite lengthy. I am also a Management Accountant (ACMA), and this paper revised almost all the subjects that I had studied in the final stages of my earlier degree.

    I used the Gleam Study Pack for all three papers and as Stephanie has mentioned in one of her videos, if you are from an an accounting and finance background Gleim is sufficient otherwise you would have to consult other material. I also had the IIA’s Study Material and questions bank but I believe Gleim gave me more confidence.

    The biggest challenge for me was to revise that long course before the exam. I did prepare my short notes after completing each chapter which also helped me greatly. Another worry was attempting the numerical questions within 1.2 minute (for each question) but there weren’t that many numerical questions and required only a few calculations.

    I could feel the emphasis on IT Audit, Organisational Structures. Leadership Styles, Strategic Decisions during the exam.

    If you are using Gleim, I would also suggest to go their web page and also go through the success stories mentioned there as well, you would not only find some good tips but also confidence.



    • ruma malhotra says:

      Congratulations Hasan on your achievement! I am planning to take CIA pat 3 in 2 weeks. I have gone through Gleim material twice and taken the tests. In these last 2 weeks I am planning to just go over my notes, the questions that I got wrong as well as the GTAGs and practice guides mentioned on this blog. Anything else that I should focus on or just can’t miss reading? Any suggestions and guidance?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Hasan, congrats and I am so glad this site has been a tangible help for you. Your analysis on the review course and the syllabus is also really helpful. All the best! Stephanie

  • Ruma says:

    Hello everyone,

    I passed my CIA level 3 exam today. Finally I am a Certified Internal Auditor!!!! For Level 1 and 2, I studied with both Gleim and IIA materials. But for level 3, I used only Gleim. I wanted to do it in 3 months and could barely cover Gleim materials. The width and depth of level 3 syllabus is monstrous compared to level 1 and 2. But this blog helped me find the areas to focus on. As many people have mentioned, you get heavily tested on IT. I felt like every other question was IT based (especially General and Application controls). Definitely study the GTAGs and PAs on IT controls. I had quite a few questions on CSR and ISO 31000. Definitely read PAs on these as well. Other areas of focus were leadership styles and strategic decisions.

    I think Gleim along with GTAGs and PAs mentioned here on this blog are more than enough for level 3. All the best everyone!

    • Rao says:

      Congrats Ruma,

      What was the percentage of questions from practical chapters like finance, accounts and costing. Please advice as I am taking my exam next month.

      • Ruma says:

        I had very few from Finance and accounting…may be 2 or 3 and again 2-3 questions were costing related. But again these were very smile basic questions…nothing with complicated calculations. All the best for your exam!

    • dreamcatcher says:

      Ruma… happy to hear that.. good news!! With regards to IT, do we need to know the technicality just like the knowledge of an IT specialist/auditor? For example, Gleim uses very technical terms and explains some IT topics very technically which seems to be beyond the auditor’s core or scope. If yes, then this means that I need to search more about those technical terms. If not, then I will just depend on the book and suggested supplementary guidance without going deep into the technicality.

  • Rao says:

    Hello Friends,

    Can anyone guide me about the depth of questions on topics like GTAG, PAs and PGs. Will it be of awareness level or proficiency level? Your comments will be appreciated!!

  • Waqar says:

    Can anyone help in passing CIA part 1 exam.. I need tips and guidance in this regard. This will be my 2nd attempt. Thanks

    • Hasan says:

      Dude this isn’t a spoon feeding website
      Go through blog
      Take hints

    • Ruma says:


      Are you using Gleim or IIA course material?

    • Rao says:

      Hello Waqar,

      I am not aware about your educational and professional background, because prior audit and accounts knowledge will help in the level of preparation. From my personal experience, I studied CIA part 1 and 2 for two months each and cleared. I only studied Gleim book and review questions for three times. First reading for a basic understanding, second for indepth understanding of concepts and finally for revision. This approach has helped me clear the exams. Hope it helps you.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Waqar, please check out this page:

      And let us know if you have specific questions. Thanks and good luck on your next try! Stephanie

  • Waqar says:

    Thanks Stephaine and Rao for your guidance and Kind words. I am Master in Economics and Finance.

    I have studied from Gleim 2013 edition. Can you please guide me if I purchase Gleim CIA Part 1 premium stuff- latest edition? Is it useful?


  • Rao says:

    I would suggest you go for the latest edition and also all three parts as a bundle if I remember correctly there is a price discount if we take all parts in one instance. Follow any material, but conceptual reading, understanding is very important. Please remember that you only get 4-5 questions in the exam from the entire Gleim questions bank. So you need to have conceptual clarity and presence of mind during the exam. All the best!!

  • Rahul says:

    I am a CA from India having 5 yrs of experience in Internal Audit.

    I am panning to pursue CIA certification. I have bought the GLEIM books for self-study.
    I would like to know, how much preparation time is required for clearing Part 1 & 2.
    Would 1.5 months of dedicated studying be sufficient?
    I have quit my job & thus I can give my 100% to CIA exam preparations for the next 1.5 months.

    I have made the following plan:

    Read the study material of Part 1 & 2 – 1 Jan’18 to 19 Jan’18

    Review & Practice Test of Part 1 – 20 Jan’18 to 30 Jan’18
    Part 1 Test – 31 Jan’18

    Review & Practice Test of Part 2 – 1 Feb’18 to 11 Feb’18
    Part 2 Test – 12 Feb’18

    Is this a feasible plan according to your experience?

  • Rao says:

    Finally, the week of my CIA part 3 exam is here!!!, Focused preparation has helped me clear Part1, 2 and CRMA, now the time for the final surge. I have put in utmost efforts, eagerly waiting for 7th Jan, 2018 the exam day. I cleared the Gleim Pratice exam and IIA Practice exam!! Most of my friends could not clear in their first attempt, I am aware it is a difficult one but will give my best shot. All the information from here has helped a lot, wish me best of luck friends!!!

  • Rao says:

    Hello Friends,

    I cleared the CIA last part 3, happy to pass!!. This website has helped me a lot. After preparing in depth I thought the exam will be a breeze or at least a manageable one but was mistaken. I studied Gleim theory 3 times, Gleim questions 2 times, Gleim videos. But to my surprise, most of the questions were never heard of, I felt that 85% questions were a level above. I was initially tensed during the exam, remembering the efforts put in and may not lead to a favorable result. Slowly I gathered my balance, took each question at a time. Finally at the close of the exam, felt confident.

    Few tips:

    1) Dont leave anything mentioned in this website listed for preparation, I prepared the PA, PG and all, but left the GTAG 17 and GAIT, atleast 15 questions came from IT guidance.
    2) Read, understand and assimilate the concepts. Give repeated readings on the Gleim.
    3) strictly read all the supplementary topics mentioned here.
    4) Write gleim and IIA practice exams.

    Once again thanks friends!!! Next on CFE and CISA

    • dreamcatcher says:

      Hi Rao,

      Congrats!! But, the GAIT is not mentioned part of the suggested guidance to read/study from. I am confused? I thought only GTAG 1,4, and 17 with regards to IT are essential to pass the exam.


  • dinky says:

    Hi Stephanie and Friends

    I have cleared CIA part 1 last week.I have studied Gleim materials for it. I wanted to know what materials are good for part 2 so that I can purchase the same. Also what all should I refer

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