I Pass the CIA Exam!

Diary of a CIA Exam Retaker: Episode 1


cia exam retakerSecil is our latest CIA exam blogger from Istanbul, Turkey. She just passed Part 1 on her second attempt. This is her first post sharing the valuable lesson.

What I Did Wrong?

This is the question that I asked myself many times after I failed Part 1 on July, 2015. I had studied for this exam for 3 months, had felt myself completely ready to pass BUT the result was: FAILED.

I did not give up because I believed it was some kind of “bad luck.” My score was 576, too close to the pass grade and I had the sufficient knowledge about the subjects.

Because I did not want to wait for 90 days to take Part 1 again, I continued to study Part 2 and Part 3. However, the results remained unchanged: I failed with these 2 parts again with the scores 576 and 532.

In this post, I will try to tell you where exactly I took the wrong actions and what should be the right ones. I am saying “right” because finally I PASSED the Part 1 last week. 🙂

First let me explain what CIA means for me.

Why the CIA Certification

CIA has a great importance on my professional life. I am working for three years as an internal auditor in an international banking group and I am planning to continue my whole career within audit related positions. Not only my qualifications will improve with this certificate; but also the promotion opportunities will increase. So I took the study process seriously and started my CIA journey almost one year ago.

A CIA Exam Retaker’s View on Lessons Learned

Now, let me focus on the mistakes:

1. My Favourite Study Method Took Too Long

I cannot study without writing that became a pattern during my high school period. It feels like I need to rewrite important parts in order to understand what I read.

So when I decided to start working for the CIA exam, I read the exam preparation materials and rewrite the important things on my notebook.

The problem was: EVERYTHING was important for me! 🙂

As I continued with this rewriting method, naturally I got chocked on the details and my speed became lower and lower day by day. At the end of my preparation process, I had a wonderful notebook in my hands, but no “big picture” in my mind.

2. Failed to Apply Theory in Practice

I did not synthesize the theory and the practice. I read the subjects on preparation materials and tried to understand them but ignored to ask myself “ok, but how does this work in my organization?”

I mean, all the subjects are audit related in the CIA exam. For example “internal audit charter” is explained in the notes but there is not a real charter example. As an internal auditor I have the opportunity to take a glance at the charter of my own organization but I did not.

Also, as I said I am working in a bank and focusing on the risks about credit related issues of branches only and have no idea about how internal audit departments look like in manufacturing organizations.

I have lots of friends who have auditor positions in organizations facilitated in real sector. Similarly, I have the opportunity to talk with them about their experiences, but I did not.

3. Too Many Excuses!

I alleged excuses to having breaks during my preparation process. I thought like this: “It was a hard day so I am so tired to study this evening.” These breaks lowered my motivation level and efficiency.

To be continued…

Note from Stephanie

Secil, welcome abroad and what a great sharing! I can totally imagine how most of us went through these one way or the other in our own journeys. I am really glad that you passed Part 1. This must be a super boost to your confidence towards getting the CIA certification.

For others who are working hard on the exam like Secil, you might want to check out my study tips page.

Thanks again and I very much look forward to your next post.

About the Author Secil

Secil has been working as an internal auditor in an international bank for 3 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • Lisa says:

    Congrats and thanks for sharing your experience.

    I have Part 1 exam on Monday (March 6, 2017).

    I have been studying from around late July/early August last year.

    Can’t wait to see how effective my studying has been. I pray I pass.

    • Secil Duran says:

      Thank you Lisa, 6 – 7 months will be enough if you have studied effectively. Please be relax for the last 2 – 3 days and continue to make little practices. The first chapters are the most important ones. I will be glad if you share the result. Good luck!! I will also pray for you =)

  • Hakan Mehmet says:

    you catch the biggest point, no need to understand EVERYTHING. Fisrt attemo should be understand big picture as u mentiined..I hope u will pass next parts, too. By the way did u take your exam in Turkish or English?

  • Secil Duran says:

    Thank you Hakan, I took in English.

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