I Pass the CIA Exam!

CIA vs CPA: Deciding Between the CIA Certification and the CPA Certification

cia vs cpa

You may not know this, but auditors have options as to which internal audit certification they can use to advance their careers. Specifically, both the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification can serve as an auditor certification. Therefore, you need to learn more about these certifications to determine which one is better for achieving your career goals. So, let’s debate the CIA vs CPA to help you decide between them.

CPA vs CIA: Comparison Chart

Focus & Recognition
Focus General audit and accounting Internal audit
Overall recognition
Industry recognition
Exam Requirements
Entry barrier
Bachelor’s degree
150 credit hours
Accounting concentration
Minimum number of accounting courses
Exam Details
Exam availability 4 testing windows Throughout the year
Total testing time for all exam parts 16 6.5
Number of exam parts/sections 4 3
Average pass rate 50% 41%
Estimated expenses (US$) $2,000-3,000 $1,000 – 2,000

CIA vs CPA: What Is the CIA?

To know if the CIA certification is right for you, you need to know what the CIA is.

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) created the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. Now, the CIA is the only globally recognized internal audit certification, and this certification demonstrates that internal auditors have the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies to effectively perform any audit, anywhere.

With the CIA behind your name, you prove that you have:

  • Credibility and trust
  • Expertise in the understanding and application of the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing
  • Knowledge of organizational governance
  • A commitment to the internal auditing profession
  • Readiness for career advancement
  • A place among a distinguished class of internal auditors

CIA vs CPA: What Is the CPA?

If you want to determine whether the CPA certification is worth your pursuit, you must learn what the CPA is.

The CPA is the Certified Public Accountant license that the boards of accountancy in each of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions award to accountants. The state boards hold CPA candidates to very high standards because CPAs are accounting experts entrusted to protect the public interest. In order to verify their ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the position, CPA candidates must meet a strict set of requirements specific to their state board before receiving the license.

So, because meeting the CPA requirements involves demonstrating high levels of knowledge and competence, CPAs are an elite group of greatly respected accounting professionals. The CPA is the gold standard in accounting certifications and equips accountants for a vast number of career positions and possibilities.

CIA vs CPA: CIA Careers

CIAs usually work in the internal audit departments of government agencies, financial institutions, or corporations. And within these departments, a CIA is responsible to analyze financial records objectively so as to discover any deficiencies in internal controls.

And instead of just working with financial statements like regular auditors, CIAs supply a wide range of services to help a company handle risk and safeguard assets. So, the scope of a CIA’s audit of financial reports extends beyond just checking for accuracy to include working with company leadership to establish systems for the prevention of loss, fraud, theft, and damaged goods. For these reasons, CIAs have many more obligations than non-certified internal auditors.

CIAs distinguish themselves from CPAs with their more focused set of skills. These skills enable CIAs to fulfill internal audit jobs and duties such as:

  • Reviewing an organization’s business procedures
  • Evaluating the efficacy of current risk management procedures
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant laws
  • Protecting against fraud and theft committed against the organization
  • Recommending improvements to internal controls and governance processes

Furthermore, a CIA’s expertise in internal auditing allows them to work in the following industries:

  • Private commercial entities
  • Public commercial entities
  • Public accounting firms
  • Governmental agencies

CIA vs CPA: CPA Careers

CPAs have the skills and certification sway to pursue all kinds of career paths in the accounting and finance industries. Due to the demanding requirements of knowledge and ethics they’ve met and continue to meet to sustain their certified status, CPAs can hold a host of jobs such as auditors, accounting consultants, business advisers, decision makers, tax accountants, and more.

CPAs are qualified to operate in these and many other industries:

  • Assurance services
  • Taxation services
  • Consulting services
  • Information Technology (IT) services
  • Litigation services
  • Business valuation
  • Environmental accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • International accounting
  • Financial planning
  • Government
  • Education
  • Non-profit organizations

What’s more, CPAs are plenty capable of serving as company management and holding executive positions such as:

  • Chief Accounting Officer
  • Accounting Vice President
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Director of Financial Operations
  • Assistant Director of Finance
  • Assistant Director of Financial Operations
  • Controller

CIA vs CPA: CIA Salary

When you earn the CIA certification, you can enjoy a career that is not only financially stable but also financially lucrative.

The IIA reports that CIAs earn an average of $38,000 (40%) more than non-certified internal auditors. Additionally, Indeed, Glassdoor, Payscale, and other job sites verify that the CIA salary ranges from $69,000-$84,000.

The 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide also provides some CIA salary insight by presenting annual salary information for internal auditors in corporate accounting and in financial services. From Robert Half, we learn that the CIA certification allows internal auditors in corporate accounting to earn anywhere from $16,750-$157,250 more than non-certified internal auditors annually, depending on their position and years of experience. What’s more, CIAs in finance and accounting can make $25,250-$81,250 more a year than regular internal auditors.

And unsurprisingly, with increased experience comes increased earning potential, as CIAs in high positions such as Chief Audit Executive or Internal Audit Director can make anywhere from a quarter to a half a million dollars annually.

CIA vs CPA: CPA Salary

Of course, you’ll also enjoy elevated earning potential with the CPA certification thanks to the CPA salary.

The average U.S. accountant’s salary is $69,350, but CPAs make about 10-15% more than unlicensed accountants.

According to ThisWaytoCPA, CPAs offering tax services in public accounting can make $39,500-$74,250 with less than 1 year of experience, $47,750-$91,500 with 1-3 years of experience, and $60,500-$113,000 in a senior position. CPAs who work in the audit/assurance department of a public accounting firm can make $39,500-$74,250 with less than 1 year of experience, $43,500-$82,740 with 1-3 years of experience, and $53,250-$101,500 in a senior position.

Certified Public Accountants who find positions in corporate accounting can make even more. When working as a budget analyst, CPAs can make $42,250-$80,750 with less than 1 year of experience, $55,000-$104,750 with 1-3 years of experience, and $67,750-$128,750 in a senior position. When operating as a tax accountant, CPAs can earn $43,000-$82,250 with less than 1 year of experience, $58,500-$101,000 with 1-3 years of experience, and $72,000-$126,750 in a senior position.

According to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide, CPAs can also make the following figures in positions like these, depending on the size of the company and your experience level.

Public Accounting

  • Staff Accountant: $68,000
  • Senior: $84,250
  • Manager: $122,500
  • Director: $158,750

Corporate Accounting

  • Tax Accountant: $83,000
  • Senior: $102,250
  • Manager: $126,250
  • Controller: $138,250
  • Certified Financial Officer: $236,500


  • Internal Auditor: $83,000
  • Senior Auditor: $102,250
  • Manager: $132,250
  • Chief Audit Executive: $210,500

As if these CPA salary figures weren’t enough to entice you, you should also know that many companies financially support their employees on their CPA journeys and award bonuses for becoming a CPA. Moreover, CPAs can charge more for their services solely because they have those 3 letters behind their name.

CIA vs CPA: CIA Designation Requirements

As with most professional accounting certifications, earning the CIA involves meeting a specific set of requirements. In order to receive the CIA certificate, candidates must satisfy the following IIA-established CIA requirements:


  • You must have an associate’s degree or higher to get into the CIA program.
  • IIA-accepted associate’s degree equivalents include a Foundation Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, and Higher National Diploma.
  • The IIA expects to receive the following documents as proof of your education:
    • Copy of your degree or official transcripts
    • A letter from your university confirming your degree
    • A letter from an evaluation services agency confirming your degree level
  • The IIA may also grant entry into the CIA program to candidates who possess 7 years of verified experience in internal audit or its equivalent.

Character reference

  • You must demonstrate high moral and professional character.
  • A CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA, or your supervisor must sign the Character reference form as proof of your good character.

Work experience

  • The work experience requirement you must meet varies depending on the level of education you’ve achieved.
  • If you have a master’s degree or equivalent, you must have 12 months of internal auditing experience or its equivalent.
  • With a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, you must acquire 24 months of internal auditing experience or its equivalent.
  • Finally, candidates with an associate’s degree, A-Level Certificate, or an equivalent must accumulate 60 months of internal auditing experience or its equivalent.

Proof of Identification

  • You must present a current copy of either your official passport or your national identity card.


  • You must pass all 3 parts of the CIA exam.
  • You must finish the entire CIA exam within 4 years of the date you received approval into the CIA program.

CIA vs CPA: CPA Qualification Requirements

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant involves meeting the CPA requirements, but these requirements are not universal.

While the IIA establishes the CIA requirements, no one national governing body makes the rules for the CPA certification in the U.S. Instead, the boards of accountancy of the individual states/territories regulate accounting and dictate the CPA licensure for that area.

Therefore, the CPA requirements vary from one jurisdiction to the next. However, due to the unifying efforts of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the state CPA requirements do share general areas of overlap.

Consequently, the basic requirements for the CPA license are:


  • Earn a 4-year bachelor’s degree and 150 credit hours of general education


  • Pass the entire Uniform CPA Examination


  • Acquire at least 1 year of relevant accounting experience

So, all CPA candidates must meet some version of these requirements. But many states also mandate one additional requirement:


  • Pass the state’s ethics examination

CIA vs CPA: CIA Exam

One of the most imposing CIA requirements is the CIA exam. CIA candidates must pass all 3 parts of this exam in order to become a CIA, so there’s no way around it.

The 3 CIA exam parts, their content areas, and coverage percentages are:

CIA Exam Content

1: Essentials of Internal Auditing

2: Practice of Internal Auditing

3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)

I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)

I. Business Acumen (35%)

II. Independence and Objectivity (15%)

II. Planning the Engagement (20%) II. Informational Security (25%)

III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)

III. Performing the Engagement (40%)

III. Information Technology (20%)

IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)

IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)

IV. Financial Management (20%)

V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)

VI. Fraud Risks (10%)

Furthermore, the number of questions, types of questions, and total testing time for each CIA exam part are as follows:

CIA Exam Details

Exam Part


Number of Questions

Types of Questions

Part 1

2 ½ hours 125


Part 2

2 hours



Part 3

2 hours 100


A passing CIA exam score is a 600 on a scale of 250-750. And currently, the overall CIA exam pass rate is 42%.

The IIA has fully computerized the CIA certification exam and made it available at over 500 Pearson Vu testing centers around the world. Additionally, you can take the CIA exam in one of 19 different languages including Arabic, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Czech, English, Estonian, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish. 

CIA vs CPA: CPA Exam

The CPA Exam is just as imposing as the CIA exam (if not more so) and just as essential to the CPA certification process. You have to pass all 4 sections of the CPA Exam in order to become a CPA, and because the CPA Exam has more sections and topics, you must know more about accounting to do so.

The 4 CPA Exam sections, their content areas, and coverage percentages include:

CPA Exam Content

Auditing and Attestation (AUD)

Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)

Regulation (REG)

I. Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and General Principles (15-25%)

I. Corporate Governance (17-27%) I. Conceptual Framework, Standard-Setting, and Financial Reporting (25-35%)

I. Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures (10-20%)

II. Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response (20-30%)

II. Economic Concepts and Analysis (17-27%) II. Select Financial Statement Accounts (30-40%)

II. Business Law (10-20%)

III. Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence (30-40%)

III. Financial Management (11-21%) III. Select Transactions (20-30%)

III. Federal Taxation of Property Transactions (12-22%)

IV. Forming Conclusions and Reporting (15-25%)

IV. Information Technology (15-25%) IV. State and Local Governments (5-15%)

IV. Federal Taxation of Individuals (15-25%)

V. Operations Management (15-25%)

V. Federal Taxation of Entities (28-38%)

Not only does the CPA Exam cover a lot of accounting content, but it also does so at varying levels of depth. In order to ensure that the CPA Exam fulfills its purpose of proving you have the knowledge necessary for the CPA position, the exam tests you at 4 different skill levels.

CPA Exam Skill Levels

  • Evaluation (highest): The examination or assessment of problems and use of judgments to draw conclusions.
  • Analysis: The examination and study of the interrelationships of separate areas in order to identify causes and find evidence to support inferences.
  • Application: The use or demonstration of knowledge, concepts, or techniques.
  • Remembering and Understanding (lowest): The perception and comprehension of the significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained.

The CPA Exam also uses 3 different types of questions to assess candidates at these skill levels.

The weight of the different question types on each CPA Exam section varies. For AUD, FAR, and REG, the MCQs contribute 50% of your total score, while the TBSs account for the other 50%. On BEC, the MCQs give you 50%, the TBSs provide 35%, and the WCs supply the other 15%.

So, the number and types of questions, the percentage of difficulty levels, and total testing time for each exam section are as follows:

CPA Exam Details




Question Types


62 66




4 8




Difficulty Levels




20-30% 25-35%




50-60% 50-60%


Remembering & Understanding


15-25% 10-20% 25-35%

Total testing time for all 4 CPA Exam sections is 4 hours. Furthermore, for all 4 sections, a CPA Exam passing score is 75 on a scale of 0-99. Currently, the average CPA Exam pass rate is 50%.

The AICPA has computerized the entire CPA Exam and allowed candidates to take it at Prometric testing centers around America and around the world. Along with hundreds of U.S. testing centers, Prometric administers the international CPA Exam in 10 different countries including Bahrain, Brazil, England, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and the United Arab Emirates.

CPA vs CIA: Cost of the CPA Certification

Though the CPA certification is well worth the investment, the process of earning it is not cheap.

While CPA Exam fees vary from state to state, most jurisdictions follow NASBA’s fee schedule of $208.40 per exam section. Candidates must also pay an application fee of anywhere from $30-$200, and if you fail an exam section, you may also have to pay a registration fee of a similar amount.

Taking the ethics exam (which most states require) will cost you another $150-$190, and finally, funding your official CPA license can set you back another $50-$300. International students will also have to account for travel and accommodation costs and foreign credential evaluations, if not a few other expenses as well.

CPA Review

Last but certainly not least in price or necessity is a CPA review course. You’ll need a complete course with an assortment of study materials, support systems, and guarantees in order to pass the exam, and the most popular CPA review courses cost anywhere from $1,000-$3,000+. The biggest name is CPA review, Becker CPA, has courses that cost upwards of $3,000, but Becker also has the value and reputation to go with the price. And thankfully, you can save big Becker and all your other best CPA Exam prep options when you use CPA review discounts.

So, all told, you should expect to spend at least $3,000 on the CPA certification. After you’ve earned the license, you’ll also have to pay for continuing professional education (CPE) every year, which can cost anywhere from $20-$125 a credit. Though, your employer might foot the bill for some of that.

CPA vs CIA: Cost of the CIA Certification

The cost of the CIA exam includes the application and exam registration fees, which total $1,315 for non-IIA members. If you pay the $250 for IIA membership (which is not necessary for entering the CIA program), you’ll enjoy lower CIA exam fees that come to $1,105.

CIA Review

When you factor in the cost of a CIA review course, which is essential for exam success, you’ll find that passing the CIA exam requires a budget of a little less than $2,000. Gleim CIA Review is the most popular and widely used CIA review course, and the complete 3-part course can cost $759. This price comes in at the high end of the CIA exam prep spectrum of ~$300-$750. But, you can save big on Gleim and all the other great CIA review courses and stay well within your $2,000 budget when you use my CIA discounts.

Maintaining the CIA designation also involves earning CPE, but again, you may get reimbursed for this annual expense by your employer.

CPA vs CIA: Time Commitment for the CPA Certification

Not only is the CPA Exam more complicated and more demanding than the CIA exam, but the CPA Exam also allows less time to pass than the CIA exam does.

Once you pass your first CPA Exam sections, you have a rolling 18-month period to pass the remaining 3 sections. If you don’t accomplish this task, you will lose credit for the first section you passed, and the start of your 18 months will move back to the date of your earliest passed section.

Then, you must pass both the section you lost credit for and the other exam sections you haven’t passed yet within this new time period. This process will continue until you pass all 4 exam sections within the stipulations of the 18-month window.

Furthermore, while the CPA Exam is available for the majority of the year, you can only take it during these 4 annual testing windows:

  • January 1-March 10
  • April 1-June 10
  • July 1-September 10
  • October 1-December 10

However, as you’ll have less time to pass the exam, you may be able to get your CPA license a bit faster.

CPA Certification Timeline

If you address the different requirements one at a time, earning the CPA certificate can take anywhere from 7-9 years. This time frame includes 5 years to earn 150 credit hours, 1½ years to pass the CPA Exam, and 1-2 years to accumulate accounting experience.

But if you pass the CPA Exam during the summer after you graduate and before you start your first job, or if you take the CPA Exam while working full-time, you can cut the process down to 6-7 years. However, you can only earn the CPA this quickly if you pass each exam section the first time. For each section you fail, you push your end date back by a few months or so.

CPA vs CIA: Time Commitment for the CIA Certification

As mentioned, you have 4 years to pass all 3 parts of the CIA exam once the IIA has approved your application.

And, another convenient CIA exam perk is the lack of testing windows or blackout dates. Such scheduling flexibility means you can sit for the CIA exam at any time of the year. So, if you study for each CIA exam part for 10-15 hours a week and pass each part on your first attempt, you can complete the entire exam in as few as 3-7 months.

CIA Certification Timeline

If you pass the CIA exam as you’re completing your education or accumulating your experience, finishing all the CIA requirements can still take 6-8 years depending on your education level. The more education you have, the less experience you need.

So, if you spend 2 years getting an associate’s degree, you’ll need to acquire 5 years of experience. With a 4-year bachelor’s degree, you need just 2 years of experience. Finally, getting a master’s degree, which can take 2-3 years to earn, will reduce your experience requirement down to just 1 year.

So, earning the CIA certification can take anywhere from 6-8 years.

CPA vs CIA: Benefits of the CPA Certificate

Now that you know about the differences between the CPA certificate and the CIA certificate, you can start to determine which internal audit certification is better for you by considering the specific benefits. The advantages of the CPA certificate in particular include:

1. Elevated Prestige and Recognition

Most everyone in the industry agrees that the CPA is the accounting qualification to go for. The CPA certification has the longest history, and the AICPA has the most members. What’s more, the CPA qualification looks good behind the names of accountants in all disciplines.

2. High Standards

While the CPA’s regard is high, its barrier of entry is also high. The detailed list of the strict state board requirements certainly presents a challenge to CPA candidates. However, the requirements also establish the CPA as a badge of honor testifying to high levels of skill and capability. Therefore, the CPA’s high standards make the certification all the more valuable to employers.

3. More Versatility

Since the business community views the CPA as the gold standard for general accounting, a Certified Public Accountant can work in a host of companies and venture down various career paths.

For example, positions in public accounting, management accounting, governmental accounting, taxation, financial advisory, compliance, consulting, and more are all open to CPAs.  And because of all the value the certification holds, CPAs are usually the first choice to fill new openings and opportunities.

So, the CPA license is harder to get and remains relevant to a broad range of industries. Therefore, the CPA certification is more reputable overall.

CPA vs CIA: Benefits of the CIA Certificate

So, the CPA qualification is super desirable, but is it the only good option for internal auditors? Definitely not. See for yourself by considering the merits of the CIA qualification.

1. The Standard in the Internal Audit Industry

If you are an internal auditor, getting the qualification specifically dedicated to the profession makes the most sense. And the Certified Internal Auditor is the only global designation in the field of internal auditing and compliance. Furthermore, more companies are expecting their Chief Audit Executive (CAE) to hold the IIA’s CIA certification. Therefore, the CIA certificate is your ticket to the heights of the internal audit industry.

2. Entrance into a Great Niche

With corporate scandals and security threats on the rise in recent years, the demand for compliance professionals is ever-increasing. Consequently, the field of internal audit and compliance is a safe and stable place to put down vocational roots. While internal auditor and compliance officer jobs may not be the most thrilling, they are definitely some of the most secure. Therefore, they’re solid sources of steady income.

3. An Easier Certification to Earn

The CIA certification is not only worth every bit of effort you put into it, but it also doesn’t even require that much effort.

As you recall, the scope of the CIA exam targets internal audit exclusively, while the CPA Exam sets its sights on a wider array of topics. The CIA exam also has fewer parts and takes less total testing time.

Furthermore, the IIA asks for a lower level of higher education and a less specific degree than the state boards of accountancy. And while these organizations call for a comparable amount of pertinent experience, only CPAs can verify the work of CPA candidates, whereas holders of other IIA certificates and supervisors with or without the CIA can confirm the work of CIA candidates.

Therefore, with its singular focus, the CIA certification is just as highly respected in the internal audit industry and is easier to get.

CPA vs CIA: Benefits of Pursuing Both Certifications

So, if either certification can help you get a good internal auditing job, can both certifications help you get a great internal auditing job?

Yes. If you aspire to be a senior member in the internal audit department, you should aim to acquire both qualifications. One of my readers explains why:

“Get both, then you won’t be turned down for any IA job. I had to have the CIA to become an auditor II and the CPA to become a supervisor. Now, I am one of the few people in the office with both, so nothing is holding me back from getting promoted further and becoming a supervisor and more at other places.”

Should I Aim for Both If I Want to Switch Jobs?

The desire to switch jobs could give you even more incentive to secure both certifications.

If you are a proven performer and/or if you already have the CIA certificate, your current company may overlook the fact that you don’t have the CPA when considering you for a promotion. However, if you plan on changing companies or distinguishing yourself for the leadership track, getting the CPA can make a big difference. You’ll look twice as attractive with the CPA and will increase your chances of landing the promotion or interview.

So, together, the CPA and CIA certificates will help you truly stand out among your peers and make you even more desirable to large organizations or clients seeking a wealth of services.

Which Qualification Should I Get If I Can Only Get One?

Many people do think it is not necessary to have both unless your employer requires it. And honestly, having the CPA can negate the need for the CIA. However, if you earn the CIA certificate first, your employer may still want you to get the CPA. My friends and colleagues in the field have had this experience, so it seems to be the general attitude about earning the CIA vs CPA.

CIA vs CPA: Video Summary

CIA vs CPA: The Decision

If you’re ready to commit to the CIA certification process, check out my free CIA e-course or sign up directly below:

Please rate this

About the Author Stephanie

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

follow me on:
  • Gunner says:

    Don’t underestimate the CIA certification. The exams are definitely not easy. And yes, it is a great niche certification.

  • Art Yip says:


    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!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Art, that’s great to know! If you have any questions along the way, please let me know and I’ll try my best to help. All the best to your Part 3! Stephanie

      • Art Yip says:


        I think you mean Part 1! I just passed the CIA Part 3 exam earlier this week! I had wanted to thank you for playing a part in helping me pass the challenging Part 3! Your website had great insights as to why candidates found Part 3 so difficult to pass. I only have Part 1 left to finish up!

        • Stephanie says:

          Oh yes, Part 1 😉 If you pass Part 3 I can’t see Part 1 being an obstacle for you. Waiting for the good news. Stephanie

          • Art Yip says:


            I just took and passed the CIA Part 1 Exam! Since that was my last part, I am now all done with the CIA Exams! I want you to know your website has been very informative and instrumental in helping me get through the CIA Exams. I especially appreciate your analysis of the differences in each of the 3 exam parts. I also want to thank you for your piece on “How about CIA and CPA”, it encouraged me to pursue the CIA even though I already have a CPA. I now have both certificates!


          • Stephanie says:

            Wonderful news Art!! It’s always so encouraging to hear from successful candidates like you. All the best to your career!
            Best wishes, Stephanie

          • Stephanie says:

            By the way, Art, if you have tips for Part 3, I would love to hear from you. I’ve got so many requests on that… Cheers, Stephanie

    • sherry says:

      Hi art, I have failed paper 1 4 times… the most recent score is 559. It is v depressing n I left 3 yrs to complete all 3 papers. How do u manage to pass paper 1

      • Art Yip says:


        Sorry to hear. If you’ve been taking Part 1 the last 4 times, a change will do you good. Since you have to wait 90 days before a retake anyway, I recommend moving on to Part 2. There are some overlaps between Part 1 & 2. QAIP, Risk, and Fraud will again be tested in Part 2. Since you’ve already studied Part 1, you’ll already be familiar with those topics, which will give you a jump start. Also studying the other new topics in Part 2 will give you the renewed motivation. You didn’t say what review materials you’re using but I recommend using the IIA’s CIA Learning System to learn the concepts, then supplement with Gleim’s online test prep questions. When you go through the practice questions, analyze why an answer is correct or incorrect. Make passing Part 2 a strong goal. If you reach that goal, it will then give you the confidence to go back to retake Part 1. Let me know if you have any other questions.

        • Stephanie says:

          Always great advice Art. Sherry, I agree that a change would be good, esp Part 2 is somewhat related to Part 1. Best of luck and let us know how it goes! Stephanie

        • Daisy says:

          Hi Art
          I am gonna take part 1 at the end of this week. I focus on Gleim book and questionaires. I do have the IIA’s CIA learning system book but I haven’t read it much. Would you recommend me to read both Gleim and IIA books? And by reading both books, can we be 100% sure that we know all the concepts mentioned in CIA Part 1 exam?

          Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

          • Art Yip says:


            You don’t really need to read both books. I read the IIA’s CIA Learning System and only used the Gleim book as a reference. You might want to do the same in reverse. Since you’ve read the Gleim book, just use the IIA’s CIA Learning System as a reference. There are candidates that have passed Part 1 & 2 using only Gleim. As long as you understand the concepts being tested well, you should be in good shape. Make sure you know the IPPF Mandatory Guidance very well. They test that heavily in Part 1.


          • Daisy says:

            Hi Art,

            Thanks for your comments. I felt that I was not ready yet for the exam so I rescheduled it to next week.

            Today I read the IIA’s Learning system book a bit more extensively and found out that in Section II (Internal control and risk), there’s overwhelming info on control frameworks (COSO, CoCO, ISO 31000, Cardburry, ERM, etc.). Those contents are quite ambiguous and difficult to remember for me. On the contrary, Gleim’s book gives very brief contents on those matters. Could you tell me to what extent should I study? Should just use the content on Gleim book or should I try to study extensively as in IIA book on that part?
            To be honest I don’t know if asking (and providing answer) to this question will violate IIA confidentiality or not, so you might not answer if you think it’s not proper. Sorry Stephanie if I did something wrong.

            Many thanks

          • Art Yip says:


            You have not violated any IIA confidentiality. You’re simply asking for depth in studying a particular section which to me qualifies as asking for tips on study strategy. The IIA confidentiality refers to the non-disclosure of any CIA exam questions. Don’t need to worry too much on reconciling the 2 textbooks. Since you have about a week till the exam, I recommend to focus on your weak areas. Also, keep in mind that the CIA exam is a conceptual exam, so try not to approach it by memorization. Aim to understand the concepts, and to be able to apply them to a new set of questions that will appear on the real exam. All the best to you!


        • Daisy says:


          Thanks for your advice. They’re very valuable. Seeing so many people failing Part 1 for many times makes me worried a little bit, but I’ll try my best.


          • Art Yip says:


            I heard you passed Part 1, congratulations! I felt Gleim practice MCQs were most helpful for Part 2, and be sure to manage your time during the exam. When I took it over a year ago, I almost ran out of time during the exam. Get in the habit of reading the first sentence to any long questions first, and stick with 1 question per minute time line. Keep up the momentum!


          • Stephanie says:

            Awesome news Daisy! Congrats and thanks for letting us know 🙂

        • atef says:

          My dear

          I Totally agreed with you…

    • Daisy says:

      Hi Art,

      I find the IT topic in part 3 extremely difficult and hard to understand. I can never score above 75% in Gleim test questions. Do you have any tip?


      • Art Yip says:


        Do you have the IIA’s CIA Learning System for Part 3? I feel they teach and explain IT very well. If you don’t have it, I would suggest looking up a particular IT topic where you need help or clarification from the Practice Guide-GTAG (Global Technology Audit Guide). They are free to IIA members on the IIA website. Getting a good grip on IT is very important as IT will be tested around 20% of the Part 3 exam!


  • Art Yip says:

    Part 3 is a combination of the old Part 3 & 4. So the material is essentially from 2 parts tested in 1 sitting. IIA has also shifted Risk & Governance tested at the Proficiency level to Part 3. I noticed that Risk, Governance and IT questions in the real exam are harder than the ones in the IIA’s Learning System or Gleim. Whereas, the Accounting/Finance questions in the real exam are easier than the ones in IIA or Gleim. So adjust your studies accordingly. I feel the IIA Learning System teaches IT, and the old Part 4 materials (Org Structure, Mgmt/Leadership) very well. I also think reading the IIA’s IPPF Practice Guide helped me to take on the difficulty level of Risk and Governance questions in the real exam. I recommend candidates double their study time for this part compared to Part 1 or 2. I agree with Stephanie that the difficulty level of Part 3 rivals any CPA exam part! If any candidates have any questions that I can answer, I’d be glad to help!

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you so much! I am going to quote this on my Part 3 page 🙂 Stephanie

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Art,

      I failed the CIA Pt.3 exam again just this past weekend. I utilized the Gleim materials to the fullest, scoring 80-90% on practice tests consistently, and I *thought* I knew all of the information in the book backwards, forwards, inside and out. I noticed at least four questions from the actual exam that had no mention in the Gleim book, nor was it tested in any of the study questions/practice exams. How does one even begin to tackle something like this? It is quite discouraging and makes me feel as though something is wrong with my learning capabilities. I’ve been in the profession for 9 years and really enjoy it. I want to knock this exam out to prove my competence, because regardless of experience some employers believe passing a test trumps years of actual practice. Any comments, suggestions, or recommendations are greatly appreciated!!

      • Art Yip says:


        I’m sorry to hear. If you can let me know how far off you are from passing, and where your exam result shows you need improvement, I can help you better. I know you had agreed to the exam’s non-disclosure requirement. Don’t give me the specifics but can you tell me what general topics those 4 questions related to (Accounting, IT, Risk)? I look forward to hearing from you so I can better help you!

        • Stephanie says:

          Thanks a lot Art.
          Lauren, sorry to hear that… I also want to a little bit more and see how we can help. Stephanie

          • Lauren says:

            Hi there, just wanted to pop in to say that tonight I PASSED part 3 of the CIA exam. Art’s advice was spot on! The IIA’s study system was much easier to read than Gleim, and much more comprehensive (in my opinion). Gleim was superior with the accounting/finance review, as I noticed the examples were more straightforward. Also, reading the supplemental information was very helpful in driving certain concepts home with regard to governance and risk. Thanks so much for your help!

          • Stephanie says:

            Wonderful news indeed Lauren. Awesome to know Art is spot on! I have expanded my Part 3 page based on Art’s advice. Regards, Stephanie

        • Lauren says:

          Hi Art,

          Thanks so much for your reply. Here is my breakdown –

          Sept. 2014 Attempt:
          Governance: competent
          Risk Mgmt: moderate improvement
          Org Structure: competent
          Communication: significant improvement
          Mgmt/Leadership: moderate improvement
          IT/Bus. Cont: moderate improvement
          Financial Mgmt: competent
          Global Bus. Env: moderate improvement

          May 2015 Attempt:
          Governance: competent
          Risk Mgmt: significant improvement
          Org Structure: competent
          Communication: competent
          Management/Leadership: moderate improvement
          IT/Bus. Cont: moderate improvement
          Financial Mgmt: significant improvement
          Global Bus. Env: moderate improvement

          • Art Yip says:

            Hi Lauren,

            Thanks for sharing your exam results. The IIA’s CIA Learning System teaches IT/Bus Cont, and Mgmt/Leadership concepts very well. I know it’s quite expensive but I think it’ll help you. It’s easy to read, and should round off your preparation. I’ve noticed the Risk Mgmt questions in the real exam are generally harder than the practice ones (including IIA’s Learninig System). On that, I recommend reading the IPPF Practice Guide on Risk Mgmt to offset this imbalance. I’m thinking you’re usually OK on Financial Mgmt since you got a competent on that in your first exam. If you can help it, try not to take too long before your next retake. Also, use your real exam experience to help yourself. Try to figure out where you made mistakes and learn from them. Even if the questions on the next exam are different, you can still apply the concepts you’ve learned. It’s good that you’re determined to show you can do this, use that as your motivation! Stay focused and determined, if you can do that, you’ve already won half the battle!

      • Art Yip says:


        That is awesome news! Congratulations on passing Part 3, that is a great accomplishment! Revel in it! The right preparation makes a big difference! I’m glad I was able to help!

    • Annette says:


      I failed my CIA part 3 for the second time a month ago (1st time scored 596 and 2time I scored 575). I was using the Gleim materials and I am so disappointed as I was scoring high while preparing the exam and I have been studying for such a long time and I thought I was ready to pass. I did not pass and I even scored less than my first time. This had a huge impact on my carrer as I would need to wait one more year for my promotion. The exam was very hard this time and a lot of concepts not covered or not properly covered in Gleim have been tested (balance scorecard, CMM, etc.) I am so confused now. I didn’t even want to talk about this exam for the whole month. I also asked a rescore to the IIA and some clarification about the content of the exam but after a month I did not get a concrete answer. they are still waiting for an answer from the content specialists. Now I want to start study again but I am not sure if I should use Gleim again or use a different provider. What do you suggest?

      • Art Yip says:


        If cost is not an issue to you, I recommend getting the CIA’s IIA Learning System for Part 3. It teaches areas such as IT, Org Structure, Mgmt/Leadership very well. Gleim has a great test prep questions software so continue to use that to supplement your study. If you had trouble with Risk Mgmt or Governance, make sure you get the IPPF Practice Guide to those topics to further your study. I’ve noticed the real exam questions are harder in those 2 areas than the practice questions from either Gleim or IIA. Do not neglect any sections as even seemingly easy questions can get tricky! Use your previous exam experiences to help yourself. Try to figure out where you made your mistakes and learn from them. Even if the questions on the next exam are different, you can still apply the concepts you’ve learned. Let me know if you have any other questions!

        • Annette says:

          Thank you so much for your response.

          I was actually thinking to get the IIA but I don’t even want to have too much stuff to study and getting more and more confused. Also it is a bit pricey. Not sure what to do.

          Where can I find the IPPF Practice Guide you are referring to?

          • Art Yip says:


            The IPPF Practice Guides are available on the IIA Website free to IIA members. You’ll see it under the Standards and Guidance tab. FYI – getting the IIA’s Learning System will not confuse you, it’ll only help. What I did was I used the IIA’s Learning System as the main study material, then supplemented by using the Gleim Test prep questions, and reading the practice guides to Risk Mgmt and Governance. That worked great for me. Part 3 is a tough exam but it’s not impossible with adequate preparation. Let me know should you have any other questions.


          • Annette says:

            Right! each exam is different. I just started reviewing the first unit of the IIA Learning system. The number of quizzes are not as many as Gleim. I have seen only 12 questions for the first unit. I will def. need to compensate by using Gleim test prep.
            I hope the concept in the materials will be easy to read and understand.

            Is the content in the book the same as the one in the e-book?

          • Art Yip says:


            I didn’t use the e-book but I would imagine it’s the same. You will enjoy reading the concepts in the IIA materials. I found it much easier to read and understand than Gleim. All the best to you, let me know how your exam turns out! You have 2 of the best review materials out there!

        • Annette says:


          That helps!!

          Is the IIA Learning system more difficult than Gleim? is a big amount of study materials? I am concerned as with my job I don’t really have so much time to study and I want to make sure it’s reasonable and doable.


          • Art Yip says:


            I would not say it’s more difficult than Gleim just somewhat different. There will be overlaps. I like that they make topics such as IT, Org Structure, and Mgmt/Leadership more clear. If time is a factor, you could just focus on the areas where you needed improvement. Their Financial Mgmt section is huge but if you’re comfortable in that area, just skim through it. 596 and 575 are decent scores, if you can just improve your weak areas a bit, I think you’re there! Keep in mind that if you want different (passing) results, you’ll have to change your study approach/strategy from before.


          • Art Yip says:


            Thanks for sharing your exam results. I’m sorry to hear you went from Competent on Risk Mgmt & Governance to Significant Improvement. That shows how each exam is different. I think the IIA is really emphasizing Risk Mgmt, Governance, and IT lately. I’m very glad you got the IIA Learning System Part 3. The IIA Learning system will help you with IT for sure, not to mention the slight help you’ll need in Org Structure, Mgmt/Leadership and Global. Make sure you read the Practice Guides to Risk Management and Governance as well. I think you’ll be fine for your next exam, just stay focused and determined. If you can do that, you’ve already won half the battle!

    • Diane says:

      I agree Art with the difficulty of Part 3 being comparable to the CPA exam, especially FAR and BEC which were the 2 that I could not pass and finally just gave up on. I moved to an IA position and love it here. I get to do all sorts of things and not just audit or accounting related so it’s a better fit for me.

  • Huy says:

    I just took part 3 today and failed by 1 question I think, got 588 and I believe its 600 to pass. I am totally devastated now as I was close to passing. I was having the most trouble with the Governance part on the exam and I used Gleim to study – I feel like Gleim doesnt cover enough relating to governance topic. Also, the exam says I need significant improvement on Global Issues and Econ chapters (19 +20) which I felt I dont get enough out of the gleim materials. Any recommendations you would give?

    • Art Yip says:

      IIA uses a scaled scoring so it’s hard to say if you only missed by 1 question. It could be 2 or 3. However, 588 sounds quite close to passing. I recommend reading the IPPF Practice Guide to get ready for the Governance section tested in Part 3. I think Gleim covers Econ/Global adequately. Make sure you grasp the concepts in that section better before your retake.

  • KD says:

    I plan to take the CIA Exam Part 3 on June 19th, 2015. I’ve spent over 60 hours studying, however what i read and practiced weeks ago, I’m unable to recall the information. If I don’t pass part 3, I lose my other parts that i passed earlier. I’m feeling not confident. Any suggestions on what i can do in the next few days to improve my chances to pass this test?

    • Art Yip says:

      I just read on the IIA website this week that IIA is offering a one time 1 year extension to candidates that have not completed passing all parts of the CIA Exam within the 4 year requirement. It’s costly – $250 but in your case, you may want to seriously consider it. Part 3 is a very difficult exam. If you’re not ready, it’s not worth the risk of losing the other parts you’ve passed. Unfortunately, there will be another charge if you were to postpone your Part 3 Exam also. See the related link regarding this extention at https://na.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Candidate-Eligibility-Extension.aspx

      • KD says:

        Unfortunately, I’ll most likely will have to take the exam. My employer may not pay for this and I can’t afford the fees. I know the exam will be hard, and at this point, it’s my reality, and I’ve accepted that I may not be licensed. The funny thing is when you audit, you expect clear, transparent information to assure people understand their roles and their purpose to meeting some objective, yet the CIA exam part three questions are not clear and strait forward. If you are going to take the exam and you’re right out of college, you have a better chance to pass, than an experienced auditor that has influenced and added value to an organization. My goal is to take the exam, and then focus on my family. I have a 50% chance to pass. I’ve purchased both IIA and Gleim and tried to hone in the concepts. I have gone thru all the questions within the last three months. Unfortunately the questions that I practiced no longer look familiar. I have the next 60 hours available to ignite an understanding. So, if i use the SWOT analysis, my strengths are Risk Management, my weakness is Managerial Accounting, IT, and Structural Analysis. The inherent risk is high of me not passing with a moderate impact to my career’s survival. My response will be to devote the next 60 to 70 hours to fire my neurons. I’ll update my progress. Wish me luck

  • Art Yip says:


    At least you have 2 of the best prep materials. My suggestions for your last week of prep, focus on improving understanding IT and Structural Analysis. IIA Learning System teaches those 2 areas very well. Don’t worry too much over Managerial Accounting, just understand the basic concepts. Go over your practice questions on the ones you answered wrong and see what caused you to select the wrong answer. Take the practice exams in Gleim and IIA Learning System a few times to get used to answering questions from different topics. Go over the pertinent areas in the text and flash cards. During the exam, try to stay within the 1 minute per question timeline. I wish you all the best.

    • KD says:

      Thank you Art. I do like the IIA material, and the questions from Gleim. Because the bandwith of information really depends on your ability to remember. Memory is paramount, so I like your idea of the flash cards. I think i have experienced sensory overload, so its kind of ironic that we also have a communications piece on the test that emphazises the six elements in a communication process that includes the encoder to obtain feedback from the receiver to assure their message was succesful, yet the Exam questions have alot of noise. lol. I appreciat your advice, and the odds are stacked against me, so i will have to develop a strategic plan for the next 60 hours. I know that i cannot study strait, I so i will study two hours and break then repeat. . Let’s hope the the IIA and Gleim material prepares me to pass….stayed tuned. The studying begins…. Again, thank you for your words,…

  • AHMAD says:

    Dear all,
    thank you for all this stuff, i am going to sit for CIA part 3 exam at 2nd august 2015, already passed part 1 & 2.
    preparing now a days. analysis and all other recommendations i have noted, hopefully this will will be useful to me.


    Mr. Ahmad

  • YL says:

    Hi Stephanie, Art, Where exactly can I find this IPPF Practice Guide that covers risk management and governance for the CIA Part 3 exam?
    Are you referring to this ?

    – (Practice Guide) Assessing Organizational Governance in the Public Sector – Download PDF


  • YL says:

    Also, reading the above comments, how possible do you think it is to pass the CIA part 3 exam relying only on Gleim materials?
    Is the IIA’s Learning System definitely needed to pass?

  • Art Yip says:


    If you meant Assessing Organizational Governance in “Private” Sector, that was the one I used to prep for Governance. There’s another Practice Guide called Assessing Risk Management ISO 31000 that I thought was very helpful in preparing for the Risk Management portion of the exam.

    Whether if it’s possible to pass relying only on Gleim really depends on the person’s educational background or experience level. IIA’s Learning System teaches IT, Org Structure, Management and Global very well. If you feel confident in those areas, then you may not need the IIA’s Learning System. There are candidates that have passed Part 3 using Gleim alone.

    • YL says:

      Thanks so much for your reply, Art!
      What’s the difference between the Public and Private Sector ones?
      Hmm.. I think I should use the IIA learning System for those topics then. Do you think Gleim covers the other topics well? i.e. Financial, communication.

  • Art Yip says:


    You’re welcome. I don’t see any “Public” sector on the IIA website, just “Private”. I would say Gleim does a decent job covering Financial and Communication. IIA’s Learning Sytem teaches concepts in those topics I mentioned very well. It will only help increase your chances of passing. Keep in mind that the CIA Exam is a conceptual exam, meaning they test to see if you can apply what you’ve learned.

  • Nora says:


    I need some advices on should I take the CIA exam? A little bit about my background, I graduated from college in May 2014. After that, I sit for the CPA exam and was able to pass all 4 sections by December 2014. After 1 year working in payroll, I am going back to school, I am going to Master of Accountancy program in Fall 2015. I talked to my advisor at Master program and he told me to consider the CIA exam. I did some research and people say that I should take CIA exam if I want to go to internal audit. I am really not sure if in the future I will go to internal audit field. My short term goal is to work for big 4 in external audit after master’s graduation. I am considering CIA because I have a lot of free time during the summer and I think of CIA exam as a way to improve my accounting knowledge. However, I am still debating the cost and benefit of the CIA exam in the long term. Therefore, I would like to ask some advices from you.

    Thank you so much!!!!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nora,
      I would actually suggest you to hold… as you said, you are not sure whether your career is heading to internal audit at this stage. CPA is good enough for you to get into internal audit. CIA is not useful if you do NOT go into internal audit.

      These certifications are always a nice-to-have, of course, but in my opinion you can do a lot of other things in life that is more fulfilling. It could be some interesting classes (job related or not), develop a passion in a hobby, helping at a non-profit.

      My 2 cents. Hope it helps!

  • sinra says:

    Hi, I am Sinra from Cambodia, I am currently pursing ACCA and it almost done.

    I am working in the internal audit department and considering to get one more professional qualification. CIA or CFA.

    I am currently seeking to obtain more information about these two qualifications before entering.

    May our dear professional friends here could let me know how long should we normally take to prepare for each CIA exam levels for self-study? As I know, there are three levels for CIA and we have to pass them all to get the exam.

    Thanks you so much for your help.


    • Art Yip says:


      It usually takes around 2-3 months for each part, depending on your background and experience. Part 3 is huge and could take up to 4 months! When you are scoring close to 90% in your practice questions, that’s when you can tell you’re ready for the exam!

  • Kasey says:

    When preparing for Part 3, how much time do you spend on the questions requiring you to solve the question using calculations? Versus spending time studying the information to understand the questions? Some of the gleim prep questions can take 5-10 minutes to solve, and i am not sure it is worth my time to spend on that much of my practice time on calculations that are a very small part of the actual exam.

    Also, when preparing, how often do you go back and review the previous units already studied? i find if I don’t look at the previous units at least every 2-3 days, I tend to forget the finer points of the reading material.

  • Art Yip says:


    Financial Mangement is tested at a basic level in Part 3. No need to spend too much time practicing the calculations. You just need a basic understanding of the theory behind the questions.

    A good strategy is after you’ve gone through all the chapters in your book, create sets of 20 questions in the questions software package for “all topics”. Do this at least several times a day until your exam date. This will keep yourself up to date on all the topics, and show where you’re weak areas are. You can then refer to the text on questions you have missed. This features comes in the Gleim test bank and I would imagine in most other review courses as well.

    • Ksey says:

      Thanks Art for the quick reply. I passed Part 1,2 and 4 in 2012 and failed Part 3. Finally got my courage up to retake Part 3, which of course now includes Part 4. So relearning almost all of the material.

      My takeaway last time was feeling overwhelmed by the Gleim practice calculations. I started focusing too much on that, and probably hurt myself by started to question my self-esteem and ability.

      Also the IT portion of the exam, and I think someone mentioned this, the Gleim prepares you, but I definitely think additional reading needed to be done to fully prepare. I’m thankful for the advice to pull the the info from the IIA website. Though I plan on doing that level of studying AFTER getting through the Part 3 book.

  • Kasey says:

    What is everyone’s thoughts about studying the units out of order? Units 1-10 and 19-20 I feel confident in, but 11-18 are my weaker areas. I’d like to focus on 11-18 after studying 19-20. Thoughts?

    • Kasey says:

      oh and i’d like to add, I’ve started restudying again 8/17 and have completed Units 1-7. It isn’t taking as long as I thought it would, because most of the concepts I learned when studying last time. Though I am studying about 3 hours a day – I believe it takes me about 25% more time to complete a section than other people.

      When I studied for parts 1,2 & 4, I would study until I “felt” ready to take the test, would schedule with pearson and then take those 5-7 days leading up to testing to rehash, rework, reread. I’m worried I will never get to a place of personal confidence where i “feel” ready to take part 3. Anyone else every experience this?

    • Art Yip says:


      I don’t think it makes much difference if you study out of order. Units 11-18 are more technical. If you feel you want to focus on improving in those areas after studying other areas first, that’s fine! Your end goals is to pass the exam, the order of topical studying doesn’t really matter!

    • Stephanie says:

      In my opinion it’s totally fine. Sometimes I just don’t feel like studying a particular topic on a particular day 🙂

  • Rehan says:

    Art Yip
    Which areas exactly in the IPPF (governance and risk management) should i concentrate. It has lot of information for reading purpose. Racky

    • Art Yip says:


      I recommend reading any Practice Advisories and Practice Guides that covers Governance and Risk Management. Practice Advisories PA 2110-1 to PA 2120-2 are very helpful. The Practice Guides on Assessing Organizational Governance in the Private Sector, Coordinating Risk Management and Assurance, and Risk Management using ISO 31000 are excellent for preparing for these 2 areas. If you can get familarize and understand the concepts in these readings, it should give you a boost in tackling these 2 seemingly troublesome topics for a lot of candidates.

  • Salman says:


    I am planning to take CIA exams. I am ACCA qualified and have 2 years experience in external audit. I want to move to internal audit and I think CIA would be a best option.
    In your opinion how much time it would take to prepare for all 3 parts separately? Which study mayerial should I use for Part 1 and 2 as in discussion, Art says for part 3 use both IIA Learning material and Gleim exams preparation material.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Salman, I would say, roughly speaking, people with basic audit experience need 50-60 hours for the exam. If you can allocated 10 hours each week for the study, this means 5-6 weeks, plus some buffer time, so around 1.5-2 months. Because of more content and also the diversity of topics, Part 3 takes substantially more time for most candidates, up to double of Part 1 and Part 2. Hope it helps! Stephanie

      • Salman says:

        Thanks Stephanie,
        Which study material is best for all 3 parts and is there any minimum time gap for taking exam of part 2 after passing part 1? Salman

        • Stephanie says:

          Hello Salman,
          There aren’t really a minimum time required in between the parts. As for study material, my general preference is Gleim, but it is more important for you to pick based on your own learning style and background. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Maria says:


    I’m scheduled to write part 3 on the 14th December 2015 and have already studied 3 study units I’m not really sure whether I need to change the exam date or not. Everyone keeps saying Part 3 is difficult. I’m currently unemployed and focussing on Part 3.Any advice…..

  • Morgan says:

    Good Afternoon,

    I am preparing to write Part 3 and have been advised that it tests the IT concepts very heavily. Are you able to recommend any additional readings related to these topics that would supplement IIA and Gleim study materials?


  • Anna says:

    Hello Art,

    Wondering if you could give me some studying advice. I failed part 3 for the 4th time last month. My scores were 525, 572, 564, and 575 this last time. The bizarre thing is my improvement areas are not consistent across my attempts. My most recent attempt yielded the following performance assessment:

    Governance/Business Ethics: need significant improvement
    Risk Management: need significant improvement
    Organizational Structure/Business Processes: need moderate improvement
    Communications: competent
    Management/Leadership: need moderate improvement
    IT/Business Continuity: need moderate improvement
    Financial Management: need moderate improvement
    Global Business Environment: need significant improvement

    I have read your previous responses to other posters. I would like to know if you feel that I need to purchase the IIA materials? I’m a single mom and money is tight so I would like to use the Gleim materials that my employer has paid for. Do you think they will suffice? What should I focus on using? My employer purchased the full review for me. I completed the audio presentations and the practice and test prep questions. I didn’t use the exam prep because I didn’t have enough time last time but I heard they were similar to the test prep questions which I did all 2000+ of.

    Thanks for any help/advice you can give.


    • Art Yip says:


      Your needing improvement areas are not consistent in your attempts because the exams have been all different. It sounds like you’re getting closer though. Since money is an issue, and your most recent needing significant improvement areas are Governance/Business Ethics, Risk Management, and Global Business Environment, I think you can get by without the IIA’s CIA Learning System. I recommend you study the IPPF Practice Advisories, and Practice Guides to Governance and Risk Management. They are free to download from the IIA website to IIA members. Those 2 topics are tested at a Proficiency Level and are harder in the real exam than Gleim’s practice questions. These PAs & PGs will help you improve in understanding the concepts much better to those 2 topics, and will give you the needed equalizer. I believe Gleim does an adequate job of covering Global Business Environment. When you go through the practice MCQs, avoid memorizing the answers. Analyze why an answer is correct or incorrect. Use your previous exam experience to help yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Even if your next exam questions are different, you can still apply the concepts you’ve learned. You’re right that Gleim’s practice exam being the same as their practice questions. However, about 2 weeks before the exam, create 4-5 100 Gleim MCQs to simulate the exam. This will get you used to answering questions from many different topics in one sitting. Go over your mistakes from those mock exams. People tend to make the same ones. During the real exam, try to stick with 1 minute per question. Stay focused and determined, if you can do that, you’ve already won half the battle!


      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks Art, as always! Anna, did you have enough time to complete the exam? If you need to rush, then taking the mock exams can help to train up your time management. Regards, Stephanie

        • Anna says:

          Hello Stephanie,

          I’ve never had an issue with timing before. I think I’m a fast exam writer.

          The only thing I did different this time is I read all the knowledge outlines. It took over a month but apparently it was the boost in technical familiarity that I needed.

          Thanks again, I found your site encouraging.


      • Anna says:

        Hello Art,

        I wanted to drop you a note to say that I finally passed today!


        • Daisy says:

          Hi Anna,

          First of all, congratulations on passing the notorious part 3! I’m right now studying for part 3 too, it would be great if you could share some of your experience.

          By the way, I’m following Gleim material. In the Governance part, there’re few questions on Sarbanes-Oxley Act. I’m wondering if you saw any questions related to that part in the real exam? The reason why I ask this is because SOX is very specific for the US while CIA, from my point of view, tends to be an “international” certification. Hence, I doubt that a topic related to a specific country is tested in the exam.

          Thanks in advance and congrats again!


          • Anna says:

            Hi Daisy,

            I don’t recall if there were SOX questions. But I have written the exam 5 times now and I can tell you that the questions I got each time were quite different.

            One thing that makes this exam different from the other two parts are you have to apply the material versus regurgitating the material. As in its not memorization but understanding of the material that will get you through it.

            The test prep was the most useful because of Gleim’s use of adaptive learning.

            Good luck


        • Art Yip says:


          Congratulations on Passing Part 3! That is great news, and a great accomplishment! Your perseverance paid off! Your reading the outlines this time around shows that understanding the concepts is a big key to passing the exam!


          • Daisy says:


            Thanks a lot for your sharings. It makes sense. Standard time to answer a question is one minute but for many complex calculation questions in Gleim I surely had to spend about 2 minutes or so. It already takes like 1 minute to recall the formula in my mind T_T

        • Daisy says:


          Do you remember approximately how many calculation questions you got during part 3? I’m studying the Accounting & Finance parts right now and I’m overwhelmed by all the ratios. Trying to figure out what would be the best way to memorize all the ratios. There are way too many of them!!!

          Thank you

          • Stephanie says:

            Hi Daisy,
            We’ll wait for Anna’s reply, but each exam can have very different questions. Just be aware of that.
            By the way Gleim’s questions are a lot more complex than what you’ll normally see in the exam. If a handful of questions look too complex, you could skip them in my opinion. Regards, Stephanie

  • meet says:

    Hi all..
    I am CS and CA now planning for CIA.
    do gleim material is sufficient to pass cia?
    It cost me INR 24500 or rather I should refer any other material too….
    As IIA Learning package is very costly for me, as no employer is sponsoring my fees.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Meet, most readers seem to be using Gleim (you can browse through the comments to get an idea). I think it should be all right. Your dedication and the ability to make good use of (any) review materials is another key to success as well. Regards, Stephanie

  • Ganeshkanna says:

    The syllabus of CIA will help to clear CPA auditing module

    • Stephanie says:

      Yes, there are quite a lot of similarities esp in internal control concepts, but CPA audit exam covers beyond internal audit. The type of questions (e.g. the task-based simulations) can also be quite different. Regards, Stephanie

  • Shiko says:

    Hi Art,

    I have found your comments quite helpful. I am getting ready to begin studying for Part 3 and will be following advice previously given in terms of using both IIA as main study materials & Gleim for test prep. I have never attempted Part 3 but heard it was most difficult and so want to give it extra attention. I successfully passed parts 1 & 2 on first attempt as well.

    My main 2 questions now are:
    1. As I review some of the Gleim course outlines, they use the terms ‘Proficiency’ and ‘Awareness’ for their topics. Do you know whether these are really meant to be taken seriously or with a grain of salt? meaning, would awareness means less effort and so less time taken in study and proficiency more time and mastering type effort?

    I used Gleim only for parts 1 and 2 previously and generally didn’t pay attention to those terms. I took all topics as needing to be mastered. However, for Part 3, there are significantly way more topics and so want to be smart about how I use my time as I only have about 10hrs a week max.

    2. I plan on studying about 10 hrs a week for 3 months, would that be generally sufficient or is 4 months better. I know it obviously varies from person to person. What was your time allocation?

    • Art Yip says:


      I’m glad to hear you found my comments helpful. Part 3 is the most diffcult and it is wise that you want to give it more attention. In answer to your questions:

      1. I would most definitely take the terms “Proficiency” or “Awareness” seriously as they are meant to guide you to that respective level of preparation. Governance, Risk Management, and IT topics such as SDLC, App Dev & Change Control are all tested at the “Proficiency” level so plan to know those areas very well.

      2. I didn’t really track my time but I felt it took close to 10 hrs a week for 4 months to feel adequately prepared for it. You’re right that this will vary from person to person. When you find yourself scoring close to 90% in the practice questions (not from memorizing the answers but from understanding the concepts) then you’re ready for the exam.


      • Shiko says:

        Thanks so much for your prompt response Art!

        I just went into Gleim and they have an IIA CIA Exam syllabus that shows only 6 topics as being at proficiency level ie 1 of the Governance topics- Corporate/Organizational governance principles
        – Both of the Governance topics
        – 3 of the 5 topics under Application Development in the IT/Business Continuity.

        So just for emphasis, does that mean concentrate on knowing only those 6 areas very well and all other areas just scheme through? im trying to better understand what they mean by ‘awareness’…is it simply scheming through the material or what?

        – also, if only 6 topics are at proficiency level, does that mean they represent a significant % of questions in the exam? like for example, 70 or 80%?


        • Art Yip says:


          IIA defines “Awareness” level as “the candidate will be responsible for comprehension and recall of information”. So I would still study all the “Awareness” level topics, and definitely do more than just skim through the material. The topics just won’t be tested as deep or in as much detail as the “Proficiency” level ones.

          Those 6 topics tested at the “Proficiency” level will follow the percentage allocation by section in the IIA’s CIA Part 3 Exam Syllabus. For example, Risk Management section is tested at the “Proficiency” level for 10-20 questions, Financial Management section will be tested at the “Awareness” level for 10-20 questions. If you do the mathemtical approximation, it’ll be more like 70% of the entire exam questions will be tested at the “Awareness Level”.

          I would not ignore any topic that’s tested at the “Awareness Level”. As seemingly easy topical questions can get tricky in Part 3. The point is, make sure you know the “Proficiency Level” topics very well!

          I hope that helps!


          • shiko says:

            Hi Art,

            I know this information has been shared previously but I cannot readily find it. Could you kindly confirm ALL the additional IIA’s Practice Guides/supplemental guides etc from IIA for Governance, Risk Management and IT. Is there any other topic you recommend we use supplemental guides for? Kindly list them with the full name so I can search for them on the IIA site.

            Thanks so much.

        • Art Yip says:


          Under Implementation Guide/Practice Advisories:
          IG 2110 Governance
          2120-1 Assessing the Adequacy of Risk Management Processes

          Under Supplemental Guidance/Practice Guides:
          Assessing Organizational Governance in Private Sector
          Assessing Organizational Governance in Public Sector
          Assessing the Adequacy of Risk Management Using ISO 31000
          Coordinating Risk Management & Assurance
          Evaluating Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainable Development

          I felt IIA’s CIA Learning System teaches IT very well. If you study that section thoroughly including the diagrams in the book, that should be sufficient. I didn’t use any GTAGs. However, if you want to know, GTAG 1, 4 & 17 appears to be helpful.

          All the best to you!

          • shiko says:

            Thanks so much Art!

          • shiko says:

            Hi Art,

            Any tips or thoughts on what topics to focus on specifically when to comes to the 2 areas mentioned below that have been more challenging to me so far, in my studies, as the material/content hasn’t been as easy to grasp and is not my background. From your previous blogs I understand they are not heavily tested but all the same I wondered if you had some tips:

            1. All the Accounting & Financial Management units (Units 14-18 per Gleim). Any tips on what units/topics to focus on?
            2. All the Management/Leadership principles (Units 6 – 10). Any tips on topic/units to put more focus on?


          • Art Yip says:


            The two areas you mentioned are not tested at the Proficiency Level but be mindful that there will be quite a bit of questions on them. For Accounting & Financial Management, make sure you know the basic ratios, and the theory behind the Accounting & Finance topics. Don’t worry about those long Managerial Accounting calculations you see from the Gleim/IIA practice questions. Those are leftover from when the CIA Exam was tested in 4 parts, and Managerial Accounting section was tested at the Proficiency level. They are now tested at the Awareness level only.

            As for Management/Leadership, I recommend to study that section in your IIA’s CIA Learning System text very well. Do as many IIA & Gleim’s practice MCQs on those as you can. The questions from that section can get tricky.

            All the best to you!


  • Ganeshkanna says:

    How far CIA syllabus will be covering. Cpa auditing

  • M Sariya says:


    Just wanted an advice from you’ll, regarding the sequence in which parts need to be studied. I have started with part 2, then will complete part 1 and finally part 3. Is it going to be a problem,since somewhere i read that there is overlapping material in part 2 of part 1. Does this mean it is necessary to study part 1 before appearing part 2


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi M, no worries I have quite a few readers who took Part 2 first with no problem. Part 1 and 2 are complementary but they don’t have a lot of overlap nor that they are necessarily progressive.

  • Karen says:

    Hello, I am scheduled to take the CIA exam part 3 in five weeks. This will be the third time I am taking the exam. I purchased Gleim online, and plan to read the book and practice the questions. It’s been a year since I’ve taken the exam, and my result was 574 with weaknesses noted in Financial Management, Communication, and Management/Leadership Principles. I’m a working mom, so I’m planning my days wisely to get two to three hours of studying. Any recommendations in my approach? My goal is to pass. This is my last part. I like the Gliem material. Please help…

  • Shawn says:

    I have been reading your website and wanted to add my two cents. I passed part 3 today. It was my second attempt. It was difficult. Both times I took the exam, the majority of the questions were related to Governence, Risk Management, and IT and CSR. Both times I only had about 2 questions with equations, and then there were some questions..maybe 2 or 3 that I had no idea what they were asking….I had never heard of the topic or term. There were few questions that were from the study questions. I used Gleim to study…I tried Hock but did not like it so went back to Gleim. I just worked the practice tests over and over. It is impossible to know everything so I tried to make sure I at least knew the topics that were asked in the questions. I also payed close attention to the wording to help me eliminate obvious wrong answers…however, you must know the concepts because the questions are testing that. Good luck everyone.

  • Sylvie says:

    Hey,just passed the CIA part one can I get a job as an Auditor

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sylvie, congrats! You can always start getting a job with or without CIA certificate. You won’t be able to get the actual cert without the experience anyway so you should definitely start looking for one. It could be helpful if you indicate that you passed Part 1 of the CIA exam on your CV/resume. Regards, Stephanie

  • Ivan says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I want to take gleim’s as my guidance, but i have issue on cost. How about wiley exam review? Is it as good as gleim’s?

  • Sharon says:

    Hi, Stephanie,
    Is there any limit period of time to pass all 3 parts of the CIA exams? Is it better to join the IIA before register?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sharon, gotta get it done within 4 years. Pretty generous in my opinion.
      The IIA membership is not mandatory for taking the CIA exam, but the discounts alone makes it worth it 🙂
      There is a fee waiver this month. Think about it!

  • tramabele says:

    Hi Art

    I’m currently studying Financial Management section of part 3 and find Gleim practice questions tricky but yet ‘reasonably’ tricky. However, what is of great concern to me is that I find the questions also lengthy for the time allocated. How is the structure of the questions vs time, in the actual exam? I found the exams for part 1 and 2 suitably structured for the time allocated. Thanks

  • JK says:

    Hello Art,
    It’s JK here and I have a few questions.
    Took Part 3 – CIA exam recently but was not successful at the 1st attempt. I had been successful with all other parts previously on the 1st attempt.
    My score was 546 and the report results summary was: Governance, Organizational Structure & IT/Business Continuity –moderate improvement. All other areas were significant improvement needed.
    Plan to retake exam end of March (after the 90 day wait period). My plan is study about 9- 10 hours weekly for 2.5 to 3 months; I had a similar time commitment in my recent attempt for part 3. I will be using the same Gleim materials and IIA study program as well.
    Specifically can you shed some light on:
    – Tips in regard to what to focus on this time around?
    – Should I spend more time on practicing new test prep questions rather than follow Gleim system where you do a quiz/study chapter/quiz and test prep etc?
    – Should I focus more on significant improvement needed areas? any tips to focus my study?
    – Sort of random question- do you know how many points is each question? Meaning if I missed the pass by 54 points from the 600 pass mark, does that equal 20 or 30 questions that I missed etc?
    – Overall as I took the exam, I was not confident that I had the correct answer and guessed in many instances (complete opposite to how I felt for parts 1 and 2)I have heard that everyone’s exam is different and that IIA has several versions of the same exam; so if maybe I got what seemed like a tougher exam does it follow that maybe next time I would get an easier one or is that just hearsay?


    • Art Yip says:

      Hi JK,

      Keep in mind that Part 3 is a much harder exam than Part 1 or 2. Part 3 is double the material, and is much more technical. They do have different versions of the exam but I don’t think there are easy Part 3 exams! I would not bank on that getting an easier version next time! 54 point sounds like a lot but I don’t think you missed by 20 or 30 questions. Since IIA uses a sliding scale exam scoring, it’s hard to tell exactly how many you missed, but I would think it’s probably closer to 10-12. If you felt that you had to guess in many instances on the exam, that means you didn’t understand the concepts being tested well enough.

      If you’re using Gleim and IIA’s CIA Learning System, you have the right tools. You don’t need more test prep questions. I recommend to utilize the IIA’s CIA Learning System’s flash cards to train yourself to know the terminology, and concepts better. When going over the practice MCQs, avoid memorizing the answer, analyze why an answer is incorrect, or correct. I would definitely focus more on the significant improvement areas. Their diagnostic was meant to guide you for your retake. I would make sure you know Risk Management very well, then Management Leadership, and Financial Management. It’s good that you only got Moderate Improvement on Governance and IT but expect those 2 topics to be tested heavily and deeply again, and most likely with different questions. Did you read and familiarize yourself with the Practice Advisory/Implementation Guide or Practice Guide/Supplemental Guides from the IIA on Risk Management? I think those will help you greatly.

      About 2 weeks before the exam, create 5 100 randomly drawn questions from Gleim to simulate the exam conditions. This will get you used to answering questions from different topics in 1 sitting. Go over the incorrect ones. People tend to make the same mistakes. All the best to you, and keep us posted on how it turns out!


      • ReRe says:

        Hey Art,

        I have been reading your advise you are giving people and I took it into considerations during my studies. I failed part 1 two times. I used only Gleim and I answered all questions until I reach over 85%. I truly believe I understood the concepts etc but unfortunately I failed again.

        I do not know what to do next.

        Do I try IIA materials since I memorize and know all Gleim questions?

        Do I move on with part 2 and buu the Gleim materials Or IIA?

        How do I analyze what I am doing wrong? The first time it was because of lack of time and I missed over 14 questions. This time I was able to answer everything with time remaining

        With no overview of the CIA exam and not knowing what i am doing wrong because I score high on the practice exam. How do I move forward?

        My results in the practice exams show I am Strong in Mandatory quidelines but in the exam shows I need moderate improvement? Why is there such a difference.

        I don’t understand. Where do I go from here? How do I analyze what I am doing wring? Do you know if there is tutoring sessions for Part 1?

        Looking forward for your advise to my questions


        • Atef Abdulaziz says:

          Hi ReRe

          in my view- I passed part 1 and 2.- the questions in the real exam are tricky and indirect for both part. I believe that part 1 more difficult than 2, in practice questions .
          first -you should realize the objective of the questions,
          second-after answer the question you should know the explanation of each answer. gliem is good choice for study and practice questions.
          if you can get Hock or PRC questions bank it is also useful. but is see gliem is enough.
          I recommend you to read and understand Practice advisories carefully along with the standards , I believe that will help you to pass both part.

        • Art Yip says:


          Sorry to hear about your unfavorable Part 1 exam experiences. I recommend moving on to Part 2. There are some overlaps between Part 1 and 2. QAIP, Risk Concepts, and Fraud Risks will again be tested. You’ll at least be familiar with those 3 topics from having studied Part 1. That should give you an advantage. Most candidates find Part 2 slightly easier than Part 1. Since you’re already familiar with Gleim, I suggest to stay with Gleim for now. I remember when I took Part 2 back in Jan of 2015, I found Gleim practice questions to be most helpful. Also as Atef mentioned, read and be very familiar with the IPPF Standards and Practice Advisories to the Part 2 topics. That will help you.

          Keep in mind that the CIA exam is a conceptual exam, meaning they want you to apply what you’ve learned to a new set of questions. When going through practice MCQs, avoid memorizing the answer. Instead, analyze why an answer is correct or incorrect. The Part 2 real exam has some long situational questions. So get in the habit of reading the last sentence of any long questions first. Around 2 weeks before the exam, create 4 100 randomly drawn questions from Gleim to simulate the exam. Go over the ones you got incorrect. People tend to make the same mistakes. During the exam, try to stick to the 1 minute per question timeline. Prepare well, and make it a strong goal to pass Part 2. That will give you the confidence when you go back for your Part 1 retake. I hope that helps!


  • Atef Abdulaziz says:

    forget to say tat I studied two parts together -first set part 2 then 1

  • Ivan Simanjuntak says:

    Just failed on CIA part 1 exam today, scored 571, and score report said that I need moderate improvement in all three areas. I only practiced with Gleim’s.
    I finished all questions with 30 minutes left (because there was no long question). But I found that there were questions that’s not covered in Gleim, like 4-5 questions. The test heavily asked about the International standard that I thought I understand the concepts so well, but the wording style wasn’t the same as Gleim’s practice questions, so I couldn’t eliminate the wrong choices easily like I did in Gleim’s. But I overall, Gleim is a good study material because it help you in understanding the concept of internal auditing.

    I am considering to continuing study part 2, but for the test I will retake part 1 first and then part 2.
    So my questions, is studying part 2 will increase my understanding for part 1?
    And also I heard that effective on January 2017 The Standards will become modified, will it affect the exam questions? And is it still relevant to use Gleim’s practice question that I already bought in August 2016 for the test later in 2017?

    Please someone help me to answer these questions. Thank you very much : )

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ivan, sorry to hear that… Art’s reply to ReRe should be relevant to you as well: https://ipasstheciaexam.com/cia-vs-cpa/#comment-71883

    • Rere says:

      Ivan Simanjuntak

      I also studies from Gleim and failed and had the same expierence you mentioned above. I discussed my concerns to the counselor at Gleim and asked the same questions above

      They advise me to move forward and take Part 2 as it contains extra information that is linked to Part 1. So maybe you will grasp a better understanding after reading Part 2.

      Normally if you buy the package that last over a year. Gleim upgrades the material and notify you of all the adjustment via thier website

    • Chris says:


      I used Gleim as well, and had a different outcome. But I did have 2 years of internal auditing experience prior to beginning. With that said, I actually took part 2 first, then took part 1, and finally finished with part 3. I strongly recommend this approach (especially if you have some experience in auditing, as it begins to make more sense once you can relate it to organizations or internal audits previously performed).
      One thing to remember, look at the percentage of the test being covered with each chapter/topic/section and also the level of understanding needed (proficiency or awareness) this can help you identify areas that you should master prior to sitting for any exam.

  • tramabele says:

    Hi Steph and everyone

    I’ve notice something peculiar on the Gliem practice questions for part 3. There are questions that concern the next subunit but which are tested on the subunit preceding that relevant subunit. I’ve come across this situation for at least three times on the 10 study units that I’ve covered.I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that. I fail to understand why Gleim takes this approach.

    • Chris says:

      its to help you think through a problem for a subject matter that you haven’t studied before. In most cases 2 answers can be eliminated quickly using common sense or reason. The next part is trying to figure out which one of the remaining two choices is correct, but for those questions the trick to getting the most out of them is understanding why you picked the answer you did. This will help you with how you solve problems with questions on material that you might not have a strong knowledge base.

      • tramabele says:

        Okay that makes sense somehow Chris because I was able to get most of them correct with pure common sense. But I reckon the exam requires complete knowledge of the subject and very little common sense to pass! Moreover, this approach was not used for part 1 & 2. I guess part 3 is really a ‘whole new ball game’!

      • Stephanie says:

        Chris, thanks and agree. Gleim does do a good job in training us think out of the box.

  • Shekhar says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am working full time in an International organization . I am planning to do Diploma in CPA, may be online. Could you please suggest me any good university where I can pursue online CPA course. I would be very grateful if you could provide me the link.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Shekhar, I am afraid CPA is more like a qualifying exam than a diploma. There isn’t really a course that you can sign up and study. There are commercial preparation course for the exam but it is not considered part of a degree or diploma. You get the license after the exam, after getting the necessary experience.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Having recently passed all three parts of the CIA exam, I felt compelled to comment on your post.
    First, anyone trying to pass the CIA exam, I highly recommend Gleim. The new video lectures are great for reviewing and at the end of each segment they help answer and explain sample multiple choice questions. Very helpful if you’re having difficulty understanding a particular topic.
    As to the CIA vs CPA, which one is dependent upon what you want to do with your career. The CPA designation is viewed as a more prestigious and more versatile. So if you are just beginning your auditing career (and can obtain it) the CPA is the route you’ll want to pursue first. This will allow you to find the field of auditing that you enjoy the most and the ability to focus on that area. If you enjoy making operations more efficient (business flow analysis), identification of control gaps, risk management, and compliance (which is a very broad area), then don’t waste your time with the CPA and focus on the CIA. You will obtain a much better understanding of the aforementioned topics, as well as position yourself to obtaining another specialized designation such as the CRMA.
    As for the degree of difficulty in obtaining either one, I think that the CPA exam may be more difficult (as a whole). But I would easily put part 3 of the CIA exam up against any part of the CPA exam (and remember, the CIA exam is not graded on a curve, so you have to understand and correctly answer at least 80% of it to pass). This could be part of the reason why the pass rate is in the high 30’s to low 40’s percent tile (but that’s my own opinion). Hopefully this helps anyone trying to decide which one to pursue, and in case anyone thinks I’m crazy for the advice, this has been preached to me by a director at Deloitte and a partner at E&Y (both family members). So take it for what you will, I wish all those the best of luck in their own pursue of a designation, and remember whichever you choose (when you pass) is something to be very proud of accomplishing.

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Hi All,

    I appeared for the part 3 exam today. unfortunately couldn’t clear. I would like to put some suggestions for all CIA – Part three aspirants:

    1. Please don’t rely only on Gliem for part three it won’t help.
    2. I used Wiley also but somehow i found it very elaborative which is also not required.
    3. IIA expects how you will actually use your knowledge in real practice. This knowledge can only be gained from practice guides because even if you are a practicing internal auditor, I don’t think you can have the knowledge of all the aspects of auditing.
    4. Please go through all IPPFs if you can learn them end to end do it, to have 100% chance of clearing.
    5. I lacked Focus on 31000, CSR, External service providers, Assurance providers, Fraud, Assets Auditing specially, Governance what else.
    6. Don’r focus too much on calculation part.

    No issues for failing will come back with better preparation after 90 days.

  • Sandipan says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am planning to appear for CIA exams in 2017. I have registered in 2013 but could not succeed and in last one year I was busy with CISA which I recently passed. Now with 6 months left to expire my registration, do you think is it achievable to pass all the 3 parts, if I study 15-20 hours a week. In that case, which part shall I start first. As part 3 is the most difficult one and would take time shall I start with part 3 first? About my background, I have more than 6 years of internal audit experience. For all the 3 parts is it essential to study both Gleim and IIA materials? Please advise.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sandipan,
      It is a challenge but doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. I suggest that you take Part 3 first, precisely because it is the most difficult. If it proves that you can’t make it for Part 3 this time around, then at least you don’t waste time passing Part 1 and 2.

  • tramabele says:


    For Part 3,I have read comments on calculations concerning Financial Management. Please advise whether there are calculations in the exam concerning other sections because I see in Gleim’s practice bank on Managemnt/Leadership there are several statistical/mathematical calculations required e.g. forecasting, regression etc.

    • Art Yip says:


      There are calculations in the exam in the other sections but they are tested at the Awareness level, similar to the Financial Management section. The key is to understand the theory and concept behind it, rather than just memorizing the formula. I hope that helps!


  • Mark says:

    Hello Art,

    I am planning to sit Part 3 in April, however, I only have the Gleim Review System. Is that sufficient to pass the exam? I have seen where you made mention that the IIA’s review system is better for this particular part of the CIA exam. If it is sufficient, can you please suggest the best approach to studying using the Gleim system in conjunction with the practice advisories etc? Thank you.

    • Art Yip says:


      Whether using only Gleim Review System is sufficient to pass will depend on your background, and your areas of strength. If you are strong in Accounting, IT, and generally do well on tests, then Gleim just might be sufficient for you. There are people that have passed Part 3 using only Gleim alone.

      I recommend to read and be very familiar with the Practice Advisories and Practice Guides to the applicable topics such as Risk Management, Governance including CSR, and IT (GTAGs). When going over the practice MCQs in Gleim, avoid memorizing the answer. Instead, analyze why an answer is correct or incorrect. Keep in mind that the questions on the real exam will be different. The key is to be able to apply the concepts you’ve learned to a new set of questions. I wish you all the best!


  • Mk says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this, I just have a question regarding pursing a CPA certification. I’m currently working as an internal auditor in a consulting firm specializing in risk management services, and i’m wondering if i’m eligible to qualify for a CPA certification. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and to qualify for CPA education requirements i need to have a 150 credit hours, but I only have the standard 120 credit hours. Will pursuing a CIA certification help me to compensate the missing 30 credit hours? I thoroughly enjoy my work and i would to invest and grow in this career path, so i really appreciate an advice regarding this matter. Thanks in advance.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mk, I am really glad to know you have passion in your work. It is not common these days. I am afraid the CIA certification cannot be counted towards the requirement, but at the same time you don’t need degree courses to get the extra 30 hours. As long as you have enough accounting and business courses already in your bachelor, you can take any non-degree courses (from an accredited institution e.g. community college) you prefer. More info here: http://ipassthecpaexam.com/cpa-education-requirements/

      • Mk says:

        Thanks a lot for for you reply Stephanie, I really appreciate it. I noticed from the link you shared with me that I need to have 24 credit hours of accounting course to be able to sit for CPA exam. However, my Bachelor’s degree only had 12 accounting credits, so my solution for this is to purse a Master’s degree in Accounting. Unfortunately where I live doesn’t have a purely concentrated Master’s program in Accounting, although there is a Master’s degree in Accounting & Finance. Do you think this will be good enough to at least qualify me to sit for CPA exam?

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Mk, sure it doesn’t need to be strictly accounting. In fact, as long as you have enough accounting classes within whatever master’s degree you have, it’s ok. Accounting + Finance is pretty close. Regards, Stephanie

  • tramabele says:

    Hi everyone

    Just stumbled upon a deleted PA2100-6 being referred to in the Gleim Part 3 test bank. Not to sound political, is it appropriate to use removed portions of the IPPF?

  • Brian says:

    Hi Art,

    I have the Gleim premium CIA review system but I see that you recommend supplementing that with the IIA materials for the IT material. Since I do have full access to the Gleim materials, do you think I should buy the entire IIA Part 3 package (books and online content) or do you think I could get by with the books only?

    • Art Yip says:

      Hi Brian,

      I think buying the entire IIA Part 3 package (books and online content) will greatly benefit you for Part 3. I know it’s expensive but it’s well worth the money. IIA’s CIA Learning System is not just good at teaching you IT, it’s also better at explaining the Org Structure, Management and Leadership topics. Going over their online questions after reading the text will round out your understanding of the concepts. I also found their flash cards (part of the online content) very helpful for the exam. You’ll notice that IIA and Gleim’s online questions overlap a bit. Keep in mind that the questions on the real exam will be different from both providers. You goal is to learn the concepts from going over the practice questions well enough, so that you can apply what you’ve learned to a new set of questions on the real exam. All the best to you!


      • Brian says:

        Hi Art,

        Thanks for your prompt reply! I have a couple of follow up questions. If I were to buy the IIA’s CIA Learning System for Part 3, do you think I can use it as a supplement for the Gleim Part 3 course or should I complete both courses in their entirety? For example, could I use the Gleim system as my primary study course but supplement that with the IIA’s content for Organizational Structure, Management, Leadership, and IT? Or should I use the IIA’s CIA Learning System as my primary course but use Gleim’s practice question library? It sounds like there are pros and cons to both systems when it comes to Part 3 and I’m trying to develop the best study approach. I want to do what is necessary to succeed on exam day but I want to make sure that I’m using my study time efficiently as well.

        • Art Yip says:

          Hey Brian,

          There are pros and cons to both systems for Part 3. I think it’s best to use the IIA’s CIA Learning System as the primary course in entirety. Then supplement with Gleim’s practice questions. The reason is IIA’s CIA Learning System program teaches the concepts very well, but Gleim has very good online practice questions.

          There are more tips on Part 3 Exam that you might find helpful from this page:



          • Brian says:

            Thanks, Art! It’s a lot to think about since there are people who swear by both systems. I’ll probably end up buying the IIA learning system for part 3 but I’ll probably have to work out for myself which combination of materials is optimal for me based on how I feel the prep is going.

          • Stephanie says:

            Sounds good to me Brian. Would love to hear your thoughts after checking them out.

  • Rahul Sharma says:


    Can somebody please help me where i can find the questions faced by internal auditors in real life. Like some questions in exam give you a situation related to conflict of interest or may be related to external business relation etc.

    Rahul Sharma

    • Stephanie says:

      Hmm… interesting suggestion, and good idea. Specifically what kind of questions are you looking for? A challenging situation such as conflict of interest?

      • Rahul says:

        Hi Stephanie,

        To quote few:-

        1. Lets say if your supplier is not delivering up to the mark then what will you do?
        2. Your CEO’s wife is at important position in company which has filled a tender for supplying in your company.
        3. Your fixed assets are not working upto the mark even after getting them repaired from best of the mechanics using latest technology what will you do.
        4. You are a auditor and your company has two departments ordering & dispatching, which document will be least important for you.

        And some other like these only. Now getting concepts from book is easy but people like me who don’t have any practical exposure related to audit how can we answer these questions. Is there any study material which provides us question like this.


        • Stephanie says:

          I guess it’s more of an audit intuition that can only build up with practice — ideally from real working experience but exposing to more practice questions like this would help too. In my opinion I don’t think any text book can “teach” this kind of thing.

  • Rahul says:

    Does any course except Gleim & Wiley like lambers, Hock, Exammatrix provides us such type of questions for practice?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rahul,
      Yes Exammatrix is all about practice questions. Hock and Lambers are more like Gleim / Wiley which is designed as a full course. Regards, Stephanie

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have been through exammatrix questions in trial period but, actually they also don’t have that quality of questions as compared to real exam. Only audit intuition or some experienced internal auditor can help.

    • Stephanie says:

      True… it isn’t ideal and so overall Gleim is still my general recommendation. As you said, just have to train up the audit intuition. It is easier for some than the others. For some of us, going through each practice questions (the good ones) slowly and think it through is better than zooming through thousands of practice questions. For me it’s the way to improve our intuition.

  • tramabele says:

    Hi Stephanie and everyone

    I’ve just passed Part 3 on first attempt on the Friday 24th. I couldn’t believe my CIA mission was accomplished! I found the exam really not challenging than the first two parts. I believe that the secret is just getting the balance with the relevant Practice Guides and Advisories as already been suggested here by Art and others. IT was the most ‘aggressive’ followed by Governance/CSR and Risk Management. The remainder just requires AWARENESS.

    I used Gleim Test Prep, Practice Guides and Practice Advisories and spontaneous googling to brush up comprehension of the concepts. I did not experience difficult formulas, hence, really no need to memorise any formulas, just understand the underlying objective of the formula.

    I would like to thank you Stephanie and everyone on this platform by keeping up the profession’s motto: PROGRESS THROUGH SHARING!
    God bless

    • William says:

      Congrats tramabelle! Any advice on how to focus on studying the PAs and PGs? Do you recommend memorizing key ideas, or just understanding is key?

      Thanks for your advice!

      • tramabele says:

        Hi William

        Understanding, I believe, is key.

        By the way, concerning PGs should also include GTAGs as IT was heavily tested in my exam. I studied the PGs/GTAGs and then brushed up with PAs. After studying PG/GTAGs, the PAs make the concepts ‘hit home’. Position Paper on ERM are also very good at grasping Risk Management.

        I used the following PGs:
        – Assessing Organisational Governance in the Private Sector
        – Assessing Risk Using ISO 31000
        – Evaluating CSR

        GTAGs: 1, 2, 4 , 12 and 17

        PAs : 2110, 2120-1.

        I hope it helps.

    • Art Yip says:


      Congratulations on passing Part 3, and getting your CIA! Those are huge accomplishments! If you didn’t find the exam as challenging as you thought, that means you prepared yourself well! Good to hear you found the Practice Advisories and Practice Guides helpful. Sounds like the areas of focus are still IT, Governance/CSR, and Risk Management!


  • tramabele says:

    Hi Stephanie/Art

    I have read about Annette’s story that she received an e-mail notification 2 hours after uploading the required documentation, after passing all exams.I uploaded the all the required documentation for certification on 11th April 16h00 CAT(Central African Time), but still yet to receive the e-mail notification. Kindly help.

  • tramabele says:

    P.S. I actually sent on 7th April (11th is today i.e error)

  • tramabele says:

    Hi everyone

    Finally certified after submitting all documentation required!!! I am now waiting for the actual certificate to be shipped.

  • Sakhile says:

    Congratulations Tramabele 🙂 🙂

    I’m sure you are thrilled, I would be

    Please do note forget to share your notes. my email address 217044819[@]student.uj.ac.za

    Thanks and Enjoy!

    • tramabele says:

      Hi Sakhile

      I would prefer to communicate only on this platform, not in personal email. What do you specifically have in mind?

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Can somebody suggest any test series related to CIA part three? I have done all Gliem questions again, but i know actual questions will be altogether different from the Gliem questions. Can somebody help please……………..

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rahul, I guess we can’t expect to have the same exact questions appearing in the exam, but the style is similar. Unfortunately for Part 3 it covers so many topics that Gleim doesn’t do a great job covering them all (none of the providers do). So please expect to think on your feet on the exam day… The supplementary materials mentioned in the page below helps quite a bit so make sure you download those as well:

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have a confusion, which i want to clear out. IIA mentions that one has to wait for 90 days at least to reappear the exam, does this ninety days condition applies on any part or if i want to repeat same part then only? Please could you help me in clearing out this confusion.

    For example: If somebody has failed in part 3 then is he suppose to wait 90 days for appearing part 3 only or even if he wants to appear lets say part 1 or part 2, then also is he supposed to wait for 90 days. Please help.

    Your help is always appreciated.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rahul,
      The restriction only applies to the part one took, e.g. if failed part 3, only need to wait for part 3 and can take Part 1/2. Quite a few candidates do take the other parts (especially the case for Part 1 an 2 as they are complimentary)

  • KK says:

    I am having a most difficult time with Part 3. I have studied up to 10 hours per day in some instances staying up until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. trying to learn and absorb the materials. I took the exam and failed — scoring 594.

    I found that some of the conceptual accounting questions asked are not truly covered in Gleim but even with using the approaches I read on this message board, I am still having trouble. Should I continue to focus more so on all of the other areas (i read the GTAGS and other recommended supplements, along with the videos) or focus heavily on the accounting?
    I am fearful that I will not remember the other information. I know that I am not supposed to give up or throw in the towel, but it is so hard not to. I am usually very confident in my ability but this makes me feel quite incompetent and inferior. Any information helps — I am trying so hard to stay strong.

    • Tramabele says:


      594 means you are almost there.As far as I saw the exam and comments from others , Accounting questions are examined on the basic level. I believe you just need a balance of everything covered on the syllabus.Because the syllabus is quite wide unlike part 1 and 2 , questions are generally not really ‘deep’. If you’ve covered the relevant PGs/GTAGs you’ll be fine. Just be confident and relax you’ll be fine.


  • Rahul Sharma says:


    Can somebody provide help in understanding audit process. I’m preparing for part 1 & 2 and as i’m not from auditing field i’m finding it difficult to understand.
    If somebody can provide step by step audit process in detail it would be great.

    Rahul Sharma

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Rahul, we would love to help, but it’s hard to explain in the comment section… it is much better if you grab an introduction of audit text book which typically go through such details. Better yet, if you have a friend who works as an auditor, it is the easiest for him/her to tell you the daily work.

  • Amanda says:

    I passed Part 3 on 3/17/18! I agree with what everyone else has said about Part 3. The questions are high level and not “deep” like they are in Part 2. My exam had a focus on applications of CSR and IT, which is why the practice guides were especially helpful as Gleim didn’t cover these in detail. I am an internal audit consultant with less than 2 years full time experience; I will have 2 full years in May 2018. I have done a lot of SOX compliance work as well as a few internal audits/ corporate compliance, so I have a pretty good understanding of internal controls from my work. This experience definitely helped me to understand audit procedures, frameworks, and types of controls.

  • Runka says:

    I failed CIA part 1 exam with score 585 is that bad? I’m hesitating to take the exam again afraid if I took it I would make same mistakes cause the report showed that I need a moderate improvement in each part of the three.
    I need to know also if it happened before that people who got score of 595 their official results may differs and succeed published on the site
    Thank you

    • Art Yip says:


      585 is not a bad score. Since IIA grades the CIA exams on a scaled scoring, you probably missed anywhere from 2-3 questions. Unfortunately, any score shown on the unofficial results pretty much carries over to the official IIA website. You might want to consider taking Part 2 since you have to wait the 90 days before your Part 1 retake. Most candidates find Part 2 slightly easier than Part 1. There are also some overlaps between Part 1 & 2. Fraud Risk and Risk Concepts will again be tested. Make sure you make it a strong goal to pass Part 2, which will help you build up the confidence for your Part 1 retake.

    • Stephanie says:

      Totally agree with Art. On your second question, honestly a score change for the better has never happened to any of my readers (even those with 595) and I wouldn’t bet on that…

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Hi Runka,

    I’m also a CIA candidate like you and i also failed part – 1 this month with the score of 580 and i failed part-III in Jan, 2017 with the score of 570. Failing exams does make one feels bad, but failure should not dominate you. Till now what i can figure out for CIA exams is no matter how prepared you are but it all depends on your performance while giving the examination. My suggestion to you would be that keep going doesn’t matter you fail once or twice or thrice or you fail with 585, 590 or whatever marks. I believe for clearing IIA exams you need a rock solid determination and persistence because no matter how many times anybody fails, but the day you will clear it you will have it’s rewards. So don’t let yourself down and start working for part-II or part-I as per your wish but keep going one day you will get pass & trust me the mistakes will not be same because questions are not going to be same…….:)

    • Stephanie says:

      Such great attitude! I hope you every success not only in the upcoming CIA exam, but also your career. Please let us know how it goes in your next exam.

      Remember, our blogger Annette finally made it after her 7th attempt. You all can do it! Stephanie

  • Akshat says:

    I would be taking the CIA level three on May 29th. I did pass level 1 and 2 in first attempt and thinking Gliem would suffice took it for level three too. Now reading the comments i am worried that it was a bad choice. Having said that can some of the recent test takers comment on what to concentrate more on. It would be a big help?

    • Art Yip says:


      There are people that have passed Part 3 with only using Gleim. I recommend to focus hard on Governance, CSR, Risk Management, and IT. Those topics are tested heavily and deeply on the Part 3 exam. I also recommend to get very familiar with the IPPF’s Implementation Guidance & Supplemental Guidance on those topics. You can access them from the IIA website. They are free to IIA members. Many candidates that have passed the exam found the Guidances to be very helpful including myself!

    • Stephanie says:

      Don’t worry Akshat, there are lots of readers who passed Part 3 with Gleim alone, including our bloggers. Do check out our Part 3 tips page – there are loads of valuable tips from Art and many other successful candidates: https://ipasstheciaexam.com/cia-exam-part-3/

  • Abinash Srichandan says:

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional credential which works as a license to provide accounting services to Public. CPA license gives commitment to the profession and highlights the potential of leadership quality inside the candidate.

    Know what are the course details and eligibility criteria of CPA USA. Also find out the career benefits of CPA USA and how it will keep you at the yield point of your growth.

    CLICK THE LINK http://bit.ly/2QoHx3Q

  • >