CRMA Exam Changes: CRMA 2021 Updates

If you’re interested in the IIA CRMA certificate, this article gives you a heads up about upcoming CRMA exam changes. After all, the IIA is revising the requirements for the CRMA meaning you need to be prepared.

The CRMA prerequisites and audit-specific experience benchmarks will both be different by mid-2021. Plus, the IIA is introducing a new program window in 2021. The IIA is adjusting the exam fees, too.

The IIA is even altering the format of the exam. By mid-2021, the CMRA exam will have a revised syllabus. Moreover, the exam will have more questions that test a higher level of proficiency than traditional multiple-choice ones. However, candidates will have 30 more minutes to take the exam.

The CRMA Certification

The Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) is one of several credentials offered by the IIA, or the Institute of Internal Auditors. Similarly, other IIA credentials include the Internal Audit Practitioner designation, CIA, CGAP, CFSA, CCSA, and QIAL. Like many professional credentials, you can earn the CRMA certificate with a combination of education, experience, and passing an exam. To learn more about the CRMA, hop over to How to Become a CRMA in 3 Months.

What is a CRMA?

Professionals with a CRMA certification have specialized skills in risk management assurance. Internal auditors who already have the CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) certificate can pursue the CRMA to demonstrate their unique abilities in this niche field.

Changes to the CRMA Exam and Program

In short, the IIA is making the following changes to the CRMA program by mid-2021:

  • Work experience is increasing to 5 years, and 2 of those years must be in internal audits.
  • Additionally, candidates must have an active IIA CIA credential.
  • Candidates must also complete the program within 2 years.
  • As a result, the exam is now 150 minutes in length and includes 125 multiple-choice questions; up to 50% of questions will be “advanced format.”
  • Subsequently, exam questions will test at a higher level of proficiency.
  • The program registration and examination fees have also changed.

Why are the CRMA changes needed?

The CRMA exam is changing for several reasons. First, the business landscape has changed. And that means that risk has changed and expanded, too. Therefore, the exam requirements and content should match the current expectations of a CRMA holder. The changes will ultimately ensure that the exam material is timely and valid.

The IIA didn’t take the CRMA adjustments lightly. In fact, they completed a market study in 2018 and job analysis in 2019. The IIA gathered feedback from CRMA holders and other stakeholders around the globe. In these studies, they asked questions about the skills a risk management assurance professional needs in today’s business world.

The market study actually revealed that professionals had ambiguous perceptions of the CRMA vs. the CIA credential. Plus, stakeholders told the IIA that CRMA candidates needed more business experience. They also thought CRMA holders need more risk management skills.

So, the IIA amended the CRMA program. Most notably, CRMA candidates must be an active CIA holder. Therefore, the CRMA is intended to be a potential career path for internal auditors after they have acquired the CIA credential.

CRMA 2021 Changes

How exactly is the CRMA program shifting in 2021? Here are the details:

CRMA prerequisite requirements

Beginning in mid-2021, you must have the CIA certificate to take the CRMA exam.

In the past, you could take the CRMA exam if you had only passed a portion of the 3-part CIA exam. However, the IIA will change those rules in 2021. So, after you pass all 3 parts of the CIA exam and get your certificate, you can take one additional exam to have the CRMA certificate as well.

CRMA experience requirements

The IIA has increased the level of work experience required for CRMA candidates, too. When the revisions go into effect in mid-2021, you’ll need the following:

  • 5 years of business experience
  • At a minimum, at least 2 of those 5 years must be in internal auditing (or the equivalent)

New CRMA syllabus

The original CRMA exam syllabus tested over four different domains. However, once the CRMA changes are implemented in 2021, the syllabus will have three domains. A summary of the new syllabus is below, but you can read the entire syllabus online from the IIA.

Domain 1: Internal Audit Roles and Responsibilities – 20%

  1. Roles and competencies
  2. Coordination

Domain 2: Risk Management Governance – 25%

  1. Governance, risk management, and control frameworks
  2. Risk management integration

Domain 3: Risk Management Assurance – 55%

  1. Risk management approach
  2. Assurance processes
  3. Communication

CRMA exam changes: exam format

Moreover, the IIA is making changes to the CRMA exam so it better reflects the skills needed by today’s professionals.

  • The number of questions on the CRMA exam is increasing from 100 to 125.
  • The exam will also include multiple-choice questions with up to 50% “advanced format.”
  • Moreover, advanced format questions could include fill-in-the-blanks, hot spots, matching, and scenario item lists.
  • All questions will now test at the “proficient” level.
  • Additionally, the exam length will increase from 120 minutes to 150 minutes.

Changes to CRMA program windows

In the past, the CRMA program had a 4-year window. That is, once candidates were approved to enter the program, they had 4 years to complete it.

When the new guidelines go into effect in mid-2021, the CRMA program window will be reduced to 2 years. However, remember that CRMA candidates will now be required to have an active CIA certificate. Therefore, with proper study, they should be able to conquer the CRMA exam in 2 years, even as a full-time professional.

What if you start before the changes are implemented?

If you are accepted into the CRMA program before the updates in mid-2021, be aware of your program window dates. Your program window will expire on your existing program expiration date or March 31, 2023, whichever comes first.

CRMA Exam Fees

In addition to changing the CRMA prerequisites and experience requirements, the IIA is adjusting the fees, too. In fact, at least for a limited time, the program application fee is actually going down.

IIA Members Non-IIA Members
Program Application $95 $210
Exam Registration (limited time) $445 $580


When will CRMA 2021 changes start?

Right now, the IIA hasn’t announced an exact date to implement these changes. However, they are aiming for mid-2021.

How to Prep: Gleim CIA Part 1 + Official Study Book

What’s the best way to study for these CMRA exam changes? Well, I recommend a two-part approach:

  • Gleim CIA review course for Part 1 of the CIA exam
  • Combined with the “official” textbook from the IIA Research Foundation

The IIA suggests that CRMA candidates purchase the official CRMA Exam Study Guide. Published by the IIA Research Foundation, it was written by a team of CRMA holders and includes practice questions with solutions. Click here for more information about the book, plus links to purchase it online.

However, most candidates find that they want more depth than the book alone may offer. Therefore, I suggest that you study with Gleim’s review course for Part 1 of the CIA exam. After all, the content on the CRMA exam overlaps with the CIA Part 1 syllabus, especially content related to risk management and controls.

If you study with Gleim, you’ll benefit from the platform’s SmartAdapt technology, an e-learning approach that helps you studier more efficiently. Plus, the Gleim course includes a comprehensive test bank of thousands of questions, all with detailed explanations for both correct and incorrect answers. In addition, the Gleim Instruct videos provide in-depth instruction about complex topics. You don’t have to watch them all, of course, but you’ll profit from viewing the videos related to the CRMA syllabus.

Will the CRMA 2021 Changes Affect You?

If you’re thinking about the CRMA certificate, just keep these updates in mind. In particular, you need to:

  • Have your CIA credential in hand. So, if you haven’t started your CIA journey yet, check out how to become a Certified Internal Auditor.
  • Be ready to get 5 years of business experience, including 2 years in internal auditing or an equivalent setting.
  • Be prepared for the different types of CRMA exam questions, including the new advanced format ones. To save you time, I’ve detailed where to get review materials like CRMA practice questions.

Be Ready for the CRMA 2021 Changes

Once you receive your CRMA certificate, you’ll demonstrate that you understand risk management and important governance processes. The changes to the CRMA program will ensure that the certificate continues to be relevant in today’s market.

And remember, once the CRMA exam changes start in 2021, the first step to getting your CRMA certificate is to become a CIA holder. If you think this career path is right for you, sign up for my free informational course to learn how to become a CIA.

Further Reading

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:

Leave a Comment: