Fail CIA Exam? 3 Ways to Regain Your Momentum Today


fail cia examFailing the CIA exam can be one of the most frustrating experience. You spent hours preparing for the exam and now you are back to zero.

On the day of my exam, I was wondering why I failed. What went wrong? I was thinking all day and sat for more than 3 hours answering those questions. I felt that all my plans vanished in one failure.


Lynnel is our blogger from the Philippines. She didn’t pass Part 1 the first time, but after she took the time to reflect on her weak areas, and worked out a great plan, she passed Part 1 and Part 2 on the same day, and Part 3 on her first try!

Don’t get despair with one set back. Let’s get systematic and go through the most common issues experienced by candidates:

3 Most Common Reasons of Failure

Comparing the numerous successful and not-so-successful stories of CPA, CMA and CIA exams for the last 4 years, I conclude that there are 3 typical reasons why people fail to pass these professional exams.

1. Insufficient Preparation Time

Most candidates are internal auditors and many underestimate the difficulty of the exam, as they assume that their experience is more than enough to nail the questions.

The CIA exam covers a very broad topic. Sometimes your work may not cover everything that an internal auditor should know. Also, the exams do have theoretical questions and you’ve got to read the books to get prepared.

Therefore, it is crucial to set aside enough time for review and especially the practice questions.

Running out of studying time is a very common issue among Part 3 candidates.

2. Insufficient Efforts

We discuss the quantity of study time above. The quality of study is equally important.

For example, you plan to study for an hour in the morning. Did you start the review right away, or did you check email and facebook first, and wasted half of the precious hour? This is a question that only you can answer.

If it is internal factor (laziness and lack of motivation), give yourself a choice: Would you rather study when you feel like it, and end up retaking the exam multiple times… or put in 100% effort, do it right and once and for all?

If it is external factor (can’t concentrate because of kids at home, too much traveling), you may need to get organized and find alternative arrangement to ensure a good study environment in the next few months. Your family may need to handle extra responsibilities. Tell them why you want to pass the exam, and what it means to you and the family. Once you loop them in, they are most likely willing to help.

3. CIA Exam Review Course Not Suiting Your Learning Style

Quite a lot of readers blame the review courses right away. Please don’t do that. Jumping into this conclusion and hastily getting another review course may not solve the issue if the primary reason of failure is due to the reasons above.

Another possibility: did you make full use of your existing review materials? For example, did you complete the practice questions? Did you rework on the ones you did wrong previously and make sure you got them right for the right reason?

If you believe the review materials do not fit your learning style, or that it is insufficient to get you prepared, it is a good reason to consider supplementary or additional review courses.

I have a page on the pros and cons of major CIA review course providers. You are also welcome to email me for specific recommendation based on your background, budget and study style.

Passed Part 1 and Part 2 in a Breeze, but Fail CIA Part 3?

The IIA does not disclose CIA exam pass rates by parts and I don’t have data to back up my claim, but I believe a lot more candidates fail Part 3 of the CIA exam. I explain why Part 3 could be tough even for experienced internal auditors.

Our blogger Annette was a strong performer in her Big 4 firm, and she passed Part 1 and 2 on her first try. Guess how many times she took for the last hurdle?

I am ecstatic! After so many tries I finally passed Part 3. This is the 6/7 th try (1 try was still old 4 Part system), but that does not matter anymore – I passed.


7 times! This is an extreme case, but it shows Part 3 could be a very different animal.

Now, How Can I Retake the Exam?

Once your exam results are reflected in your CCMS record, you can re-register for the exam and schedule your new test appointment. There is a 90-day waiting period, which means that the earliest available dates will be three months away.

There is also a time limit of when you must take the exam part after the registration. You have to take it within 180 days or else you need to register again.

There is no limit to the number of times a candidate can retake a failed exam, and retakers do not need to pay the application fee as long as all exam parts can be completed within 4 years.

Next reading: 5 strategies for CIA exam retakers

Here is a Special Mini Course for Retakers

This is a different course from the one you can sign up in other pages – specially created for retakers:

For your Further Reading

Here are Lynnel and Annette’s stories, as well as a post that summarizes lessons learned from CIA exam retakers who ultimately pass this exam:

About the Author Stephanie

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

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  • Ali says:

    Hi, I really like this article. I read it twice!

    I worked as an internal auditor for a short time. I am now in the U.S studying MBA. I have been preparing for CIA part 1 for a long time. I have used Gliem materials and found it really useful. However, I always had the difficulty in answering Controls and Risk questions – 2nd section- of the test.

    I found the test fees are not cheap, at leat for me as a student. I did my savings and worked part time to make that amount. Finally, I did it and sat for the test.

    The disastrous thing is I did not pass the test. I did well on the 1ts and 3rd except 2nd section. my score is 510 and I needed to score at least 600 to pass. I left the test center crying. I am so disappointed and I don’t know where to restart.


    • Stephanie says:

      Oh Ali, I can feel your pain… it’s so frustrating isn’t it. But glad you are facing this positively, and that you are right on target on your weaker area (2nd section). So this time around you just need to work hard on this section!

      How are you scoring on this 2nd section in Gleim? Did you think you understand the concepts? or concepts are fine but questions are just too tricky? Stephanie

    • Marinello Elisabeth Florence Lucie says:

      Je ne comprends bien que le français.

    • Ali says:

      Hi all actually my english language not good it’s pree-intermediate. Do you think i will pase the exam if I study cia by glim with my level language endless part1

  • Ali says:

    Hi Stephenie,

    Thanks for your reply. I have tried hard to fully understand 2nd section materials. However, my problem is with questions asking about the appropriate controls and responsibilities among departments. my scores for all sections on Gliem is around 90% except Control and Risk section I scored 65%.
    Do you think I can improve in this area by practicing more questions, or looking for other materilas such as different textbooks?

    Thank You

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello, let’s try to work on some questions and see if understand the concepts. If yes, then that’s good stick with Gleim; if not then find a way to figure out the concepts with a textbook or other materials. IIA learning system has explanations but it’s expensive to just use it for one section… Regards, Stephanie

      • Bettyna says:

        Hello Stephanie,

        I was studying for my CIA part 1 using PRC and then Wiley.. i failed the exam with a score of 501.. I am really disappointed.
        Do you recommend me using Gleim?

        • Stephanie says:

          That must be frustrating Bettyna. It could be a combination of factors so I can’t really answer this general question for you. Do you feel like any of the above apply?

  • marcelle says:

    Passed parts 1&2 but failed part 3 for the 2nd time less than an hour ago. Frustrated is the midst PC word i can think to use. Had wiley and the iia materials. Any advice?

    • Stephanie says:

      Totally understand Marcelle… do you think it’s missing the content (as if you don’t get some of the concepts), or you thought you did well but somehow you failed? If it is the second reason, we could work on the technique in answering multiple choice questions.

      I am going to write something on this for specifically for the CIA exam, but i have a big section on multiple choice study tips + multiple choice test taking tips that you may find useful:

      Stay strong!

  • Mike says:

    I just took the CIA exam part 1 (passed 3 and 2). I score 595 and wonder how the hell the system can allow someone to fail by less than 1 question. I compute 1 question to equal 6 points. Something got to be off with the system. And also the unofficial result list all 3 area of the the part 1 as needing moderate improvement. what the hell!!!! very frustrated right now.

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh that’s SO close… I usually don’t recommend it but maybe it makes sense to request a review. Let us know how it goes! Stephanie

      • T says:

        Any word on how this worked out? I just received the same score and would like to know if it makes sense to request a review.

        • Stephanie says:

          Frankly the likelihood of a change is score is very, very low. As you may notice in the comment section, quite a lot of my readers got 590 and up. It’s actually not a rare case to get a score just below the passing mark… Regards, Stephanie

    • milos says:

      One question is not equal to 6 points. Possible range is from 250 to 750 points. Than you can conclude that one question carries 5,55 points (500 points in game, divided by 90 questions). But that is maximum which is not always the case. They adjust the bottom line (expressed as number of correct answers) for the passing the exam with the difficulty of the exam. How can they do that? 600 points not always carry the same number of corrected answers, or in other words – one question carries different number of points in different exams. It fluctuates from exam to exam. 500 points is the maximum points that can be in the game, and sometimes it is less when the exam is assessed as easier. If it is easier, valuation per question is smaller and you need higher number of correct answers to reach number 600.
      In your case, your exam is assessed with valuation of 5,48 points per question….and if you guessed 63 correct answers this is app. 595,24 points, therefore you just needed 1 correct answer to be over 600 points and pass it. That`s mine opinion.

      • Stephanie says:

        Yeah it is likely not a straight calculation but I don’t have the inside scope on how the calculation works exactly… let’s focus on doing our best job in preparation and aim for a comfortable pass.

  • marcelle says:

    I feel your pain Mike. You can request that a human review your exam.

    How the ! $&* did you pass part 3??????

  • Alex says:

    Been using gleim materials and first time i got 560, second time 574 and third time 559. Now getting frustrated. Can i read the two parts at ago?

  • nada says:

    i failed part 1 yesterday 🙁 got 545 and the result list all 3 area of the the part 1 as needing moderate improvement. im planning to take the exam again after 3 month.

  • Amin says:

    I failed the exam yesterday ): ,I got 562, My weakness was in section 2 . Can I Take the exam again with in one month ? or they ask me to take it after period of time ?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Amin, sorry to hear that… but good you can focus on Section 2. I am afraid you need to wait for 3 months to retake this part though. Regards, Stephanie

  • BN says:

    I just finished the exam, Part 1. Failed with a 590, extremely disappointed. I spent much of my time using mostly just Gleim MC. Can I take part 2 of the CIA exam without having passed part 1?

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh BN, so many readers got 590 this round!! It is terribly frustrating I know. You can take Part 2 first, but I suggest that you don’t wait too long to retake Part 1 because you don’t want to forget about the concepts and re-learn it right. Just a tiny bit more luck and more focus on your weaker areas would do the work. Stephanie

  • Adam says:

    Wrote the Part 3 exam twice three months apart -first 582 next 581. The second time I honestly felt more prepared and confident. I asked for a review and all I got was sorry, we checked and the system was scoring correctly. Not sure how to prepare for the 3rd sit.

    • Stephanie says:

      It is pretty frustrating Adam… how did you do on the practice questions? Did you focus on the weaker areas? Trying to find a solution for you. Stephanie

  • shwrry says:

    My recent attempt for papaer 1 was 624. The score report indicated that I need to improve “managing audit activity” . How far I am away from passing this paper?

  • shwrry says:

    E sore was 524. :(((

    • Stephanie says:

      I see, that makes more sense at least on the score. I wonder whether the post above helps you analyze any ways of improvement? How did you do on the practice questions and did you rework on the previously wrong questions? The most effective way to push up your score is to work hard on your weakest areas, because once you overcome one or more of those parts, you gain a lot more points. So what’s why reworking on the previously incorrect questions and make sure you understand those concepts are key.

      This page has more tips for your studying and preparation:

  • Khalil says:

    i wrote CIA part1 nd get 580. i used recommended Gleim study materials nd i feel that some of the aspects in the exam were not covered in Gleim. i found some of the new concept nd i can only conclude that Gleim is on covering basics for some topic. i did practice tests until i reach stage were i reach above 85% on my scores. No im not sure what to use to prepare for retake. i feel that i did well to cover all contents covered in Gleim learning system.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Khalil,
      Thanks for your feedback. It’s also hard to tell for me… as you seem to have prepared well. There is always an option to get another set of practice questions as supplement, but I have to say no provider can cover everything that can possibly appear in the exams. Did you find out which area you are weaker at? Maybe you can start from there. Regards, Stephanie

      • Khalil says:

        I need moderate improvement in all three areas. I am preparing for part 2 now using the CIA learning system nd Gleim. Two study materials…..its advisable to do so?

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Khalil, I got confused myself with 2 sets of materials… Everyone’s learning style is different, but if you feel overwhelmed or confused with two, I suggest you have one as your primary study material and the other as supplement (that is, to read when you cannot understand a section based on the primary material). But for practice questions you can use both. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Godwin says:

    I passed CIA Part 1 1st attempt in June. I was using Gleim study materials and my score in Gleim was ranging between 98% & 100%. Though I passed I felt some of the questions I answered in the exam are not covered in Gleim textbooks. However, I really liked the technic used by Gleim when writing their review kit i.e asking a bit of questions after studying certain concepts. Now for part 2 I am using CIA Learning system. Its quite informative but boring to read. Maybe its because I was used to using Gleim. I will comment on the review kit once I start using their online system.

  • Agshin Isayev says:

    Dear, Today I tried to pass CIA part 1 but unfortunately failed again. It is my 4th attempt. 🙁 same score range 4 times 🙁 only very few incorrect questions took me away from success.

    Now I am going to prepare myself to Part 2 and again return back to Part 1 after 3 month.
    The question : I purchased CIA part1 learning materials in 2013 which is already expired. If I will decide to purchase it again , the content will be same as current one which I already studied or 2015 version of learning materials will be different and I can see new test questions ?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Agshin,
      Sorry to hear that… but I am glad you are still trying hard! On your question, there has been a major update in 2013. Assuming you have the new 2013 version, the changes are not significant.

      How did you do on the practice questions? The learning materials is helpful but maybe you can try supplementing with other practice questions (not the full course, but only the questions). Gleim is the most popular, but exammatrix has a pretty good technology in feeding you questions from your weaker area. You may want to take a look here:
      Regards, Stephanie

      • Agshin Isayev says:

        Dear, I think you are right. if 2015 version no differrence with 2013 then no value to purchase it. Actually I did all CIA materials 100 % plus Gleim materials same. But this time I need to try something different.

        I know one thing which I follow: ” IT IS NOT OVER UNTIL I WIN “

        • Marcelle says:

          Hi. I used the IIA materials and passed parts 1 & 2 and failed part 3 twice before I switched to examatrix. Examatrix is a caat and has been very challenging. I plan on taking the test in September and will keep you posted. Good luck

          • Stephanie says:

            Thanks for sharing Marcelle! Glad to know readers who are using Exammatrix. I also believe it’s more challenging, especially given the way they feed you questions in your weaker areas. Pretty good for retakers. Regards, Stephanie

        • Stephanie says:

          Keep up with the good work Agshin! Stephanie

          • Agshin says:


            How do you think if only Gleim materials will be enough to prepare myself for CIA part1 and part 2 exams ?

            Thanks in advance,

          • Stephanie says:

            Hi Agshin,
            The providers never cover all exam questions; they do for most and for the rest you’ll need to try your best based on your general knowledge in internal audit. If you look at it this way, Gleim is enough. In my opinion, it’s doing a pretty good job when compared to others. Regards, Stephanie

  • Marcelle says:

    Agshin, hello. I used the IIA materials for parts 1&2. I recall seeing either in this site or LinkedIn that others used Gleim and passed.

  • Agshin says:

    Thanks for cmments, Actually I am not going to purchase both of learning systems because of it is coming expensive.

    I also agree with you that sometimes questions not covering study material. In this case I liked the style of Gleim.

  • Massimiliano says:

    I took CIA part 1 exam. I score 595 (un-official results). 1 question below the pass rate!!!!
    I would like to request a review of the score.
    Who should i contact? Can you suggest me an email contact? What should i write in the e-mail? Can you give any suggestion?

  • Marcelle says:

    Massimiliano, I feel your pain. Log in to your IIA CCMS account and create a New Incident requesting that your exam be reviewed by a person

    • Stephanie says:

      Aw so so so close! Great suggestion Marcelle. Best of luck Massimiliano! Stephanie

      • Gokhan says:

        I wonder whether Massimiliano received a positive reply about score review from IAA. Because, I also have scored 594 from part 2 this morning.

        • Stephanie says:

          Gokhan, that’s a bummer. Honestly, not likely, but you can certainly give it a try.

        • Karla says:

          Dear Gokhan,

          How do you suggest for all candidates for CIA part 2 to review with more effort? Actually, I’m studying for that part and I really worried because I had read that many topics are not cover in the providers materials and I have to do my best to go the exam well prepaired.

          I appreciate your comments.



  • Gaetano says:

    I failed part 3 today. I scored 570.
    I managed to pass part 1 & 2 the first time. I am using Gleim.

    I am trying to keep smiling although I screw up my vacation studying.

    I mainly failed on Governance / Business Ethics and Organizational Structure/Business Processes and Risks.

    The questions related to the topics, I failed where very far from what I studied. With Gleim, I scored over 90% in each sections.

    The part 3 is very difficult because we need to focus on every details, words and go beyond the study materials.

    Advices are welcome.

    Should I invest in IIA materials?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Gaetano,
      Sorry to hear that, but you are close to the passing score!
      I have just expanded my Part 3 page with tips for retakers on how to tackle the beast again. I also mentioned which topics the IIA materials are generally more helpful, so you can decide whether those chapters match your weaker areas.

      The discussion can be found towards the end of the page:

  • Kasey says:

    i am retaking Part 3 in the next 4 weeks or so. Did you find the Part 3 exam spent more time on Financial aspects (CH14-18 in Gleim) or on the non-financial chapters of Gleim?

    when studying, I think I have been doing very well, and then I began the financial chapters and my worries and stress are increasing. It is difficult to work through the GLeim m/c questions because so many of them are detailed equation problems that take 5 to 10 minutes to solve. And I do not believe those types of questions are preparing me for the exam.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kasey, in my opinion the Gleim computational questions under financial are a bit overshoot, as we are supposed to be tested on basic concepts. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but if you want to make sure you score very well on that section, those questions will do you good.

      • Gaetano says:

        Hi Kasey,

        As written by Stephanie Gleim’s questions under financial are a bit overshoot.
        The financial questions were not as deep but very wide/complex.

        Below you will find examples that I created to illustrate what you could expect (due to non-disclosed examination).

        A) Which Data do you need to calculate the current ratio:
        I) The equity
        II) The revenue
        III) The Current Asset
        IV) The Current Liabilities

        a) I, II, III & IV
        b) II, III
        c) III, IV
        d) II, III & IV

        B) If the Current Liabilities remain constant and the Current Assets increases. The Current Ratio:

        a) Increase
        b) Decrease
        c) Remain constant
        d) Cannot be determined based on the data provided

        You should be able to complete the questions within the 80 sec but you need a good understanding of the accounting principle (Debit, Credit, Asset, Liabilities, Equity, Profit, Loss, the composition of the ratio and impact…)

        To end, I did not have the feeling that they were a lot of questions requesting calculation. If your result did not tie-back with the proposed answers, that means that your approach is wrong.

        Make sure to pay attention at the wording and eliminate the wrong answers/choices … that’s perhaps why I failed.

        Good luck and keep us posted.

        PS: I am not a native English speaker 😉

        • Kasey says:

          Thanks for your reply! When I posted yesterday, I was in the middle of a meltdown with studying.

          I purchased index cards to make flashcards and essentially wrote notes for the financial chapters. I can explain (almost) all of the financial ratios, but when it comes to solving them, it is just too daunting.

          My biggest gripe with Gleim is the FIFO/LIFO questions. Almost all of them force you to compute COGs or ending inventory. Instead of just asking questions about the concepts.

          It is been a hard decision, but when working the m/c I opt to “skip” the question or memorize the calculated answer to just move on.

          • Gaetano says:

            Every good answers count to get the certification.

            I would not recommend to memorize the calculation. As far as I remember, I got less than 5 questions that were present in Gleim m/c questions.

            Calculation are not too much time consuming during the exam, just need to be able to apply the concept and pay attention at the wording.

            If your result does not tie-back with one of the proposed answer, that means that your calculation is wrong.

            For me calculation questions are the best because they are not subject to interpretation. There is no need to “guess” which is the best / worst / … answers 🙂

          • Stephanie says:

            Gaetano, thanks a lot for sharing. I also like the fact that answers are black and white for computational questions, but as you said calculation is never a big part of CIA exam.

          • Stephanie says:

            Yes Kasey, Gleim is known to mix questions of other accounting exams in the practice questions. The FIFO/LIFO is probably from CPA. It is a great way to build up a solid foundation in general accounting, so if you encounter any out-of-the-blue questions in actual exam, you can still handle them. But then, in reality, if you don’t have time for all this, I agree you can just move on. Financials isn’t a big part in the exam 🙂

  • Kasey says:

    so what was your experience overall with Part 3? What sections of Gleim, in your opinion, didn’t prepare you as well for the exam?
    What areas do you wish you would have spent more time on while studying?

    and if i can ask, how long did you study in preparation for Part 3?

    I have spent about 50 hours so far studying and have completed 14 chapters, so roughly 70% of the material. I have the 2 Managerial Accounting chapters, two IT chapters, Global Business and Legal/Reg Issue chapters left before I have completed a completed pass through of all material.

    • Gaetano says:

      I studied over 100 hours and answered 5.300 questions based on Gleim Test Prep Analysis (Offline Version).

      – did not spend enough time reading Gleim’s book and focused too much answering questions;
      – had the feeling that I often answered the same questions. At the end, I knew the answer by hart, which was a bad tactic.

      I have the perception that Gleim materials did not provide enough information about Governance (only 60 questions to answer) and no enough information about ISO 31000.

      I would recommend Gleim to create a Glossary with all financial / IT / Business / … terms and definitions. We could save a lot of time while studying.

      I probably failed because my confidence decreased after:
      – the admin person in the exam center made allusion that few people passed the exam. I don’t understand why IIA is not transparent on pass success rate
      – I struggled to answer tricky questions (Which is the best / the less / …) at the beginning and I lost time.

      I had the feeling that the end of the exam was much easier. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to review the first question answered.

      Next time, I will try to avoid that tricky questions plays on my morale.

      To finish, I am currently spending more time to analyze Gleim’s book and IPPF (ISO 31000).

      • Stephanie says:

        Do read the IPPF Practice Guides which can be downloaded on the IIA website (free for IIA members). It’s great for Governance and Risk Management. Best of luck to your next attempt!

  • Kasey says:

    I downloaded the 31000 Practice guide from IPPF to begin reading. I also scheduled my test for 2 weeks from today. That would put me at about 100 hours of preparation. My studying for Part 3 is by far the most effort I have put forth on anything exam. And that includes my MBA!

    After going through Ch14-18 for the first pass, the material is definitely not as daunting as it was when I first took Part 3. Or maybe this time I am doing more active studying. Reading the chapter, making flashcards of the material, then using my flashcards and the book to go through the m/c questions.

    I do think the Test Prep area of Gleim can be overwhelming with the 2,000 m/c. Like you said, you can start obsessing about answering their questions correctly, instead of just rereading the Chapters themselves. I did pass 2 of the exam parts by just using the books and 20 questions in back of each chapter. And having just the book made me focus on reading/rereading the material instead of a strong desire to get every m/c question right.

    Also a majority of the Chapters are easier for me to comprehend. Granted the Governance chapter – though very short – is confusing at times. Assurance/observations/audit can do this/not do that. LOL. Governance area is definitely a section that I cannot just read one and “get”.

    One thing I do with the m/c in back of the chapters is – after answering the question, I answer the 3 other m/c options. Answering why they are right/wrong.

    My new confusion is absorption/variable costing. But I am reminding myself that I won’t get it immediately, or even in the next day, but in a few days it will make sense. Kind of like the financial ratios. And I remind myself – these 5 chapters at most are 20% of the exam, or roughly 4% for each chapter. The communication chapter has more weight (5-10%) than 1 financial chapter.

  • Luca says:

    Hi Stephanie!
    I passed part I in the beginning of august and I prepared for part II which I have failed yesterday scoring 588 (un-official results). It is a weird situation because i was more sure than part I while I was preparing for the exam and my pass rates where substantially higher, both with the Gleim prep tests and the IIA test practice (nearly 90-95%). I felt the exam was a little different than the prep tests, but in a reasonable extent. I need significant improvements in both section 2 “Managing Individual Engagements” and 3 “Fraud and Controls” which where the sections I was scoring on average 90%.
    I am trying to keep smiling although I totally skip my vacation studying this summer. And now i have to prepare part III, where I have predicted I could encounter some issues but the failure in part II totally screwed up my plans.

    Any suggestion to ace part II?
    maybe I failed because i took it too quickly and i didn’t have time to grasp properly the concept?? I am so disappointed now and I don’t see the end of this study journey…

  • Fatema says:

    Good Morning,

    I started my CIA using IIA Material, however I failed twice in parts 1 and 2. Then I decided to change to Gliem Material and I passed both. I am currently preparing for part 3 using Gleim Material, however I couldn’t find sufficient time to study due to work and social responsibilities.
    I have only 24 days left to do my exam and I didn’t complete the half of the material. Any suggestion please?? I want to pass that exam to be promoted this year, so please advise me of the best ways to pass.

    • Agshin says:

      Thanks for info, After your comments I also desided to purchase Gleim instead of CIA materials and will try to pass Part 2. Because previously I also used CIA materials and 4 time failed Part 1.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Fatema, I would focus on the more heavily tested content and make sure you cover them, then, work on the weaker areas. Part 3 has lots of topics but some only tested in basic level (such as the section on financials). I recently added a few more tips on this page:

    • Marcelle says:

      Hi Fatema. I would suggest foregoing the social responsibilities if possible. I deleted my Facebook page and explained to my family that this exam is a priority. I even gave up wine!!!! This will be the 3rd time I take part 3 and I haven’t left anything to chance. I switched from the IIA materials to Examatrix and supplemented it with the Wiley test bank. My study schedule has been the following: workdays-review reading materials during lunch; 2 hours of questions Monday-Friday. I do 6-8 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Examatrix has a free 3 day trial. If you want me to send you some screen shots send me your email address.

  • Jake says:

    Hi.. Just like to know if the exam set is exactly the same when you re-take? I just took part 3 today and got score of 582. So sad.

    • Stephanie says:

      I think it would be different Jake. Imagine that there is a big pool of questions and the system randomly picks a bunch and present to you in the exam. As Agshin said it was a good score. You just need to be a little bit better next time! Regards, Stephanie

  • Agshin says:

    Jake, Actually for part 3, it is very good score. You need to push a little more and you will get your result. Because as I know Part 3 is more harder than other parts. BTW you asked very intresting question about exam questions.

  • khaled ezzat says:

    hi guys i failed par 1 today i scored 570 its so frustrating of course when u think of the money and time spent on studying , i just want to know is it true i have to wait 90 days to retake the exam again? if that’s the case i start focusing on part 2

  • Kasey says:

    I passed Part 3 yesterday and am now an official CIA!

    I studied about 115 hours the past 4.5 weeks. 2.5 hours in the morning, during my lunch hour, and then in the evening.

    I recommend reading the IIA practice guides regarding Risk Management and Governance alongside Gleim Part 3.

    I stopped running m/c questions on the test prep section of gleim – that became too overwhelming. I stayed the course and read the book, made flashcards and just concentrated.

    Probably because I studied nonstop, I did not find the test as challenging as it could have been. Though please remember I failed Part 3 last year and found it completely difficult and hard to comprehend when I took it the first time.

    • Art Yip says:


      Congratulations on passing part 3, and becoming a CIA! Welcome to the club! Passing part 3 is a big accomplishment! You persevered through hard work! Your study approach is a good reminder that practice questions are good for practice, but the key to passing still hinges on understanding the concepts and being able to apply them!

    • Gaetano says:


      • Kasey says:

        Thank you very much. Passing the final exam has been weighing on me for some time. I took Part 1 in 2012, so this has been a long journey to complete. You cannot imagine how “light” I feel. Other than telling my husband, I was most excited to tell my boss I passed.

        Stephanie’s excel Study Planner was a great tool that I used daily. It helped me track my progress and keep me focused that studying for Part 3 was short-term. Thank you Stephanie!

        For reference for anyone studying, I just looked at my Gleim history statistics to share how much time I was on gleim answering questions. For the Test Prep tab (study session and practice exams) I spent 33 hours 20 minutes and answered 3,349 questions. That does not include the hours spent in the Gleim Online tab, doing t/f, watching the audio visual, reviewing flashcards and of course the hours spent reading the book.

        Gleim recommends doing a m/c first, then reading the book. But I found taking a m/c prior to reading was pointless. My strategy was to read the chapter, take m/c #1 with my book in front of me answering questions. For sections or concepts I knew were difficult for me I made flashcards. Then would watch the audio-visual presentation while following along with the book and my flashcards. Finally take the T/F quiz and the m/c #2.

        I aimed to do those steps for 1 chapter a day. While making sure to review the previous days chapter as to not forget what I learned.

        These steps would be done in the morning and over my lunch break. After getting home from work, making dinner, and spending time with my family, I would then review the book’s chapter again. By evening I would be tired and answering m/c questions was pointless. Why? because I would be too tired to really read the questions and would make simple mistakes and would become frustrated and begin to doubt myself. But reviewing just the book was enough reminder for me on vocabulary and concept reviews.

        About a week out from the actual exam, I began reading(and reading and reading) two IIA Practice Guides on risk and governance. Risk: “Assessing the Adequacy of Risk Management using ISO 31000” and Governance: “Assessing Organizational Governance in the Private Sector”. I found these two Practice Guides helped me understand the Risk and Governance chapters of Gleim. Oddly, even though the practice guides are longer with much more information, their concepts were easy to understand and made the Gleim chapters understandable.

        Good Luck to everyone! Passing and becoming certified was worth the 4.5 weeks of studying.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kasey, that’s awesome, very happy for you! Thanks for the tips on the IIA practice guide — I will keep this recommendation on my Part 3 page. I am glad that it worked out this time. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Nur says:

    yesterday I took P1
    I was surprised
    Alot of uestions came from the SPACE
    I got score 587

    But I still believe that P1 + p2 u can Pass it and it depends on Luck

    I solved more than 800 MCQS different material befor the exam
    but that didnt help , I was shocked

    i am now planning to take p3 since its the most difficult and I think if I pass p3 I will passed the other Parts

    Good luck All
    and pls if anyone purchase CIA Learning system could tell us tips
    wither its good to purchase it or
    hock material MCQs will be sufficent for p3
    thx and good luck all

    • Art Yip says:


      IIA’s CIA Learning System will definitely help you in your preparation for Part 3, especially in understanding the more technical concepts. Keep in mind that Part 3 is double the material compared to Part 1, and the exam is much harder than Part 1 or 2.

  • Abbas says:

    Hi, I am a college student at the university of Houston. I am planning on taking the test in the next 12 months, but I have a few questions. If you do not reach 600, do you have to retake all 3 parts or can you just retake one particular section in hopes of reaching a passing score?

  • Sonto says:

    I passed part 2 in May using CIA test prep only.. I have just failed part 1 score 575 with significant improvrments on section III, it the worst feeling ever seeing that I had previously passed it in 2010 and had to retake if because it expired. I used the CIA study material and did MC questions from both CIA and Gleim, I felt the exam was easy just dissapointed that I failed. Now dont even have the energy to study part 3 that I failed in June and plan on writing in December.

    • Stephanie says:

      I see Sonto, that’s certainly disappointing, but don’t give up! You have passed Part 2 and also you proved yourself that you could pass 1 before. Why don’t you take a break and get some recharge first? Stephanie

  • Osama Siddiqui says:

    Hi everyone,

    Good to see so many comments here. Yesterday I took CIA part 3 and unfortunately didn’t pass, it shows my score 588… left me quite disappointed.. I thought I did fair enough to pass…you guys have any suggestion for my 2nd attempt? 🙁

  • Ali says:

    guys I need help
    I started to study part 3, im using gliem material
    I just finished chapter one- tow and three
    When I tryed to solve the mcqs , ai couldnt remmeber what I have studdied
    The problem is part three have alot of chapters and informations.
    I have decided to study only MCQs .. Focusing on correct and incorrect answers .. I will study gliem and hock mcqs 1500 mcqs .. Is it enough to Pass ?

  • allam says:

    I think yes it will be sufficient

  • Luca says:

    Hi! I am about to finish the part 3 review, and i am having difficulties with chapter 17 of gleim course review, the one related to cost concepts. In particular, I find difficult to grasp the concepts of EUP (equivalent units of production) WIP, FIFO and weighted average calculations….can anybody suggest me if this part might be important for the exam? I am running out of time and I would like to know if it might be important to deepen my understanding of those concepts

    Thanks in advance to all

  • Kid Yie says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just took the Part 1 and unfortunately failed (I hate that word) with a score of 585. The comments I got was to enhance my understanding on the 1st and 3rd parts.

    Any tips on how I could do to improve, as I have read and even did the Gleim questions (a total of 753 in fact) and thought I could pass. Do you think it is necessary to purchase other materials – as I do think that I need more / different sets of practice questions.

    Also, I was thinking of either retaking Part 1 or straight try on the Part 2 instead. Would it be better to retake Part 1 first?

    Your advice will be much appreciated! Looking forward to hear from you.


    Kid Yie

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kid Yie,
      Thanks for your note.
      Definitely frustrating… it’s hard to tell where you can improve when you are only missing 5 marks.

      If budget isn’t a big concern, I recommend Exammatrix to “shake things up” — it feeds you questions in your weaker areas. Tough to go through them but that’s why it is helpful:

      Let me know if this works!


  • KK says:

    Hi there,
    I’m preparing Paper 3 and I’m very nervous and lost. There are so many chapters and so different as well. I feel very difficult to study and so much things to memorize (some really are not just logics but need to memorize). I’ve already spent a lot of time in preparing for it and I’m going crazy soon but still when I do the test prep questions I score low.
    I don’t know what to do. Very desperate. Please help.

    • Art Yip says:


      Scoring low on the test prep means you have not quite grasped the concepts just yet. If money isn’t an issue, I recommend getting the IIA’s CIA Learning System for Part 3. It teaches the concepts very well. Go through all the steps recommended in the IIA’s CIA Learning System (reading and answering practice questions afterwards). After you’re done with the review, then go back to the test prep. You should see a significant improvement on your scores. When you are scoring close to 90%, (not from memorizing the answers but from understanding the concepts), then you are ready for the exam.


  • Luca says:

    I passed Part 3 yesterday and now I have to take part 2 to be officially a CIA!!

    During my studies I stopped running m/c questions on the test prep section of gleim over the financial chapters, especially over the problems that required long calculations to be solved and I focused more on reviewing the material.
    I am very happy cause I passed part 3 at the first try and it has come after failing part 2 in September that was a big shock for my self confidence, I thought I would never be able to pass part 3.

    I passed part 1 in July, now I miss only part 2 which I will retake it before christmas, hopefully it will look easier after dealing with part 3.

    Good luck to everyone

    • Art Yip says:


      Congratulations on passing Part 3, you have just passed the hardest part! You are on the final stretch. Since you came close in your previous Part 2 exam, you just need to put in a little more extra effort and you’ll get there. When I passed Part 2 back in January of this year, I felt Gleim MCQs were the most helpful. I remember I almost ran out of time during that exam. So read the last sentence of any long questions first. That will help you cut to the chase, and give you an idea of what to look for. Also try to stick with 1 minute per question timeline. Wish you the best on your final exam part!


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Luca, super happy for you! 🙂
      It’s great to know readers who passed on their first attempt, but I truly admire those who experienced failure before and didn’t give up. Passing part 3 is really a confidence boost for your Part 2! Stephanie

  • Patrizio Casso says:

    I failed twice the cia part 3 with scores similar to the ones that failed for 2/3 questions (kind of sceptical seeing these results quiet similar though…). I am looking for more concrete feedback on how people that first failed successfully passed. I am focusing on Gleim and I must admit that questions were more tough during the exam. I have practiced extensively the gleim MCs and I almost know them by heart know (I also understand the underlying concept ofc). The questions from the IIA test prep doesn’t seem to reflect what was asked during the exam (in my memories). Since I was quiet prepared for both of my first attempts, I am wondering what material I can use to have this extra knowledge to be sure to pass the part 3 next week. Any idea, advice apart going through the official books? Thanks for your help guys, Patrizio C.

    • Luca says:

      Ciao Patrizio,

      you can try with Exammatrix, I used Gleim material to prepare for the exam and then Exammatrix on top of that. It was helpful in my case and helped me to grasp concepts I didn’t focus with Gleim tests.

      wish you good luck with part 3!

      • Patrizio Casso says:

        And did you have any experience with the material of the IIA? it seems to me that the questions are not aligned at all with the exam. Any feedback from other members? Since my company paid for it, I am using it but I am not convinced at all. Thanks for your answer 🙂 Patrizio C.

        • Luca says:

          I have no direct experience with the IA material, hence i don’t really know whether could be helpful for the exam prep…but you know that most of the times it is matter of luck to pass the exam, given a good preparation as you already have! keep trying and you’ll get there!

        • Stephanie says:

          Hi Patrizio, we do have some extensive discussion on how IIA materials can be helpful in certain topics. I also summarize that in the post on Part 3 here:

      • Stephanie says:

        Yup, I recently tried that out and I really like Exammatrix, esp for those who got stuck / got too familiar with their existing review materials. Stephanie

  • Patrizio Casso says:

    Ok, thanks a lot Luca. I will keep working both Gleim and IIA material and if I feel something is missing will consider examatrix. Thanks again! Patrizio

  • David says:

    I passed parts 1 and 2 in my first attempt. I just took Part 3 of the CIA today. Unfortunately, I failed with an “Unofficial” score of 594. Per my research, it appears I failed by one question. Is this correct? I have been studying with Gleim materials and they have worked well for me. I will retake Part 3 around the end of March. I will continue with my Gleim review and will read the IIA Practice Guides regarding Risk Management and Governance (as mentioned above). I found I was most under-prepared for the Governance/Assurance parts of the test. Does anyone else have any suggestions?


    • Art Yip says:


      IIA uses a scaled scoring so it’s hard to say by how many questions. It could be 1 or 2. Either way, you came very close. Read the IPPF Practice Advisories regarding Risk Management and Governance in addition to the Practice Guides. Make sure you know IT very well as that’s heavily tested in Part 3. Learn from your exam experience, try to figure out where you made mistakes so you can apply it to your retake. Stay focused and determined, and you’ll get there in March!


  • Noora says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for such an informative website. I am a fresh graduate with a background in accounting and currently it has been 2 years working as an accountant with 0 experience in internal audit. To be honest, accounting is not my area of interest unlike internal auditing which has always been my interest and strength. Therefore I am shifting my mind set into internal auditing.

    I am currently preparing for CIA Part 1 and referring to Gleim. Could you please let me know the steps of succeeding in the CIA exam as now i am more worried and concerned from the comments that I see that shoes that many candidates has failed. Gleim questions are challenging and helping but my main issue is that the terminologies used are very distracting and unknown to me.

    Thank You

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Noora! Why are you checking this page before taking the exam 😉
      This page is dedicated to retakers, so of course all the comments are on how people fail and so on. There are also a lot of readers who pass on their first try. IIA doesn’t release the stats, but from my daily interaction with readers I think it is comfortably high. You have two years of accounting experience and that’s better than many candidates. Internal audit is a niche but the core concept is accounting. If you have a slight interaction with auditors or have been helping out to providing supporting materials for the audit, you know what audit is, and that’s enough. Just focus on understanding the terminologies and imagine how you would do as an IA. Hope it helps and best of luck! Stephanie

  • Agshin Lee says:


    Today I failed Part 2. I am very sad but trying to motivate myself, do not stop 🙁 Only 6 questions were wrong.

  • Charles says:

    I failed part I of the cia exam just yesterday with scoring 590. That is still frustrating for me. I learned that I cant retake it before 90 days. Can I drop part I and take the other ( like part II) before 90 days?

    • Stephanie says:

      Charles, I understand the frustration… but yes you can take Part 2 before that 90 day restriction. I think it’s meant to be progressive (from Part 1 to Part 2) but they don’t really build on one another, so no problem taking Part 2 first. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Diane says:

    Is the 90 days calendar days or week days?

  • Vengka says:

    Hie Friends,
    Good Day Guys,

    I’m contemplating to give another attempt to obtain CIA certification. I did tried in 2009 but failed at 1st attempt and gave up. But now I’m giving serious taught ….. i need re-register and start from stretch again. My biggest concern, where to start? in fact I’m doing part time job to accumulate funds (approximately (USD 1K (Registration & Exam Fees) .

    Would really appreciate if anyone can enlighten me on the following since my substantial amount of money to be invested :

    1) Which study material i should use, currently i have the books (4 parts) from IIA.
    2) Can I get my self prepared (train first) then proceed to register for exam?

    Thanks Friends

  • Karen says:

    I sat today for my second attempt at part 1 of the CIA. Received a 546. Got a 580 the first time. I am using IIA ‘s three part kit. I have applied myself to the reading, outlining, flashcards, quizes, preexams, etc. I understand the concepts, know the flashcards, and am testing at at least 80% on multiple choice. I feel that IIA’s training is not preparing me, I sit down at the testing center and I’m not recognizing any familiarity. What is disappointing , is all I learned how to do, is not even covered. I have been auditing for ten years. Suggestions, move onto Gleim, or another vendor?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Karen, sounds like you have worked hard on this, so I am not too sure why. If you can’t figure out I suggest you check out exammatrix because the adaptive learning technology is really suited to retakers who aren’t too sure where their weakness are. They identify for you and then feed you those questions. Please check it out here:

  • Pavan Atreya says:

    Hi Team Gleim,
    I cleared my CIA Part I Exams after reading hock materials. I felt that many concepts were not covered in the material and still passed. I thought of switching over to Gleim materials, since I got very good reivews from my sources. However, I studied and wrote the Part 2 and got 588 (12 marks away from passing marks). Its very difficult for me to pay the fee again and write it. The score analysis gave moderate improvement in first 2 parts (40% – 50%) and significant improvement in 3rd part (5 – 15% – Fraud related area).
    I am completely dejected by the type of questions given in the material. I had got above 90% in all my simulation exams during final practice. Though I know that there cannot be any comprehensive set of questions, I was surprised to see that none of the questions from the materials were appearing in the exam. Humbly request you to suggest how do I pass (since I need to complete it this time).
    Also, since I cannot take the exam in another 90 days, can I take part 3 meanwhile ?

    • Gleim CIA Review says:

      Hi Pavan,

      Please keep in mind that the CIA Exam is non-disclosed so there is no way any review provider can know or see exactly what questions you will receive on your exam. However, Gleim does include all previous exam questions (that have been released by The IIA) plus other questions that are applicable to the topics tested.

      That being said, we know CIA Part 1 and Part 2 test at the proficiency level, meaning you’re expected to apply yourself as an auditor in the situation. Additionally, there will likely be 2 correct answers– but only one answer is most correct given the situation.

      So, when you approach the exam and our review materials, and you encounter challenging topics or questions, taking notes and carefully reviewing your Practice Exams is key. You need to be familiar enough with applying the topics that you can quickly narrow the answers to 2 selections and make an educated guess based on your complete knowledge of the concept. I think this will improve your scores overall.

      You can definitely sit for Part 3 now while you wait for the 90 day period for Part 2, and I would.

      Finally, based on your score you were close to passing. I think working on your approach for Part 2 will be all you need to make that difference.

      Gleim CIA Review

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks Gleim for providing a prompt and detailed answer.

      • Pavan Atreya says:

        Thank you Gliem for the response. Will work on the approach and rectify in the areas of improvement.

        • Karla says:

          Dear Pavan,

          What do you suggest to study for CIA part 2 that is not cover in Gleim’s materials?

          I felt the same as you with CIA part 1 and in the same way I still passed.

          Now, I’m really nervous because I’m not if I will be enough prepare for the part 2. I’m using Gleim’s material premium 2017.

          Please I really appreciate your comments.



  • Ali says:

    I took CIA part 2 yesterday and got a score of 594. I could not believe my eyes. I worked very hard on the materials; I read and summarized the book, did all the multiple questions in the review book, and also hundreds of questions from the online test bank. I even took a course where they gave us a 100-question mock exam after reviewing the topics.
    What was so frustrating is that during the actual exam, a lot of the questions had new topics and terminologies that I’ve never come across before. It was like I studied zoo animals then was asked about how computers work. Failing because of that is so disappointing and discouraging, especially since I was one or two questions away from passing. It feels like I wasted the past couple of months for nothing.
    I have about 15-16 months until my certification eligibility expires, but I have to wait 3 months until I can retake Part 2. Also I still have Part 3 left, but going at this rate, I’m having doubts about the ability to pass both before the deadline.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ali,
      That was indeed really close…
      First of all, 15-16 months is a lot of time, don’t worry. I also don’t like the idea that we need to wait for 90 days to retake the test, but in the meantime, just focus on Part 3, shall we?

      Part 3 is a bit more complicated covering a wider variety of subjects. Please make sure you read this page for tips:

      As for Part 2, it’s hard for me to comment, because with such a small difference, it could be anything. It could be sheer luck (or lack of) that you get a larger portion of weird questions. They are known to be there because no review materials can cover all.

      We can talk about the strategy for part 2 later. Stephanie

      • Ali says:

        Hello Stephanie,

        I am happy to say that I took CIA part 2 again last month and I’ve successfully passed the exam. That was SUCH a relief.
        I thought I’d share here what I did differently in terms of exam preparation in case it helps anyone.

        I’ve already created a word document summary for all the units of the Gleim book when I studied the first time using my own words and understanding for each unit. So I used that as a basis of my review without having to go back to the book.
        The new thing I did was using the Gleim Review books for Parts 1 and 3 and studying any topic that was related to CIA Part 2. My reasoning was that I wanted to fully understand the Part 2 topics and not allow for a chance to miss any information. I think that really helped.
        Again, I also did a lot of multiple choice questions from the Gleim practice questions/online test bank, with particular focus on the areas where the last test result mentioned I needed improvement.

        When I retook the exam it felt less weird than the last time. To be completely honest, I’m not 100% sure if I was just luckier, or if it was the result of all the preparation I did, but I like to think that hard work pays off.

        In any case, I’m more than glad to get that out of the way. Right now I’m preparing for CIA Part 3 that I scheduled in December. I’ll check back again once I take it and let you know how it went. Wish me luck 🙂

        Thank you Stephanie for your kind support.


    • david says:

      Hi Ali,

      I can relate to what you’re saying. Also during my exam several questions were asked about topics that were not covered in any way in the Gleim textbook or digital modules. Also a few questiona about well covered areas but the question was so detailed that I still couldn’t make any sense of it. Result: 595. Crap.

  • Mali says:


    Took part 3 today and failed with a score of 579, I was gonna punch myself. The worst thing about my journey is that 4 year period will be over by the end of july which means that I only have one chance to retake 🙂

    As I checked the comments in here today for the first time, I felt sad for myself as I didn’t benefit from all the tips mentioned and the most important one was benefiting from IIA practice guides on governance as it came out to be my weakest part based on the performance evaluation and I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to that section.

    For this part, I have studied via Gleim materials but mainly spent my time on 2000 questions. For the ones that I solved on first try, I did nothing but as for the ones that were not correct I took notes and reread those notes several time

    It is good to have such a forum and I will update you guys on the next exam results.

    Wishing you the best on the way to success.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mali, thanks a lot for your sharing! The best thing is how you know the obvious area you can work on, and looking at what people have reported here, they are able to pass in the next attempt by implementing these strategies. how you work on the incorrect questions is a strategy that you must keep. Keep improving on governance and other weaker areas. Best of luck! Stephanie

  • Liz B says:


    I am a little worried about not passing part 3 the first time and I am selecting the study materials and format now. It did take me a few times to pass CPA BEC back in 2007, I just barely miss passing twice and then passed the third time. I honestly don’t believe my actual performance was much diff each time even with study; it was just how I compared to others that test period. In this case (and considering 12 years of IA exp with most in consulting, do you think I can get enough food practice in with Gleim’s basic access or need the more premium access with lectures. How valuable are those lectures? Thank you!

  • Pat says:

    Hi All, I have read all your comments and I must say they live me confused no sure if I should be optimistic or just give up already. I’m writing my part 3 next week and I’m far from being prepared as I did not give myself enough time to study due to work and personal life demands. I’m using Gleim study material and have not touched IT and Finance/Management accounting and only have 5 days left before the exams. My worst concern is my eligibility is 19 May 2016. if I fail this exam this will mean I will forfeit my part 1 and 2 and I have to start from part 1 again. I will do my best theres nothing more than that I can do. Good luck to everyone who is writing either soon or in future.

  • nina says:

    I just wanted to say how useful this website is, and that I wish I had known about it before I sat for part 3 of the CIA earlier this year. I successfully completed parts 1& 2 on the first try, using Gleim and Hock. Both have great test banks, but the textbook for Hock is more in depth and some of the test bank questions are from CMA. You can also create and print out tests, which I found extremely useful during times when I knew I would be away from my computer. For part 3, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of material, and focused heavily on Business Processes and Risks, IT and Accounting/Finance sections of the study material. I used both Gleim and Hock to prep but failed the exam with a 594, which I attribute to changing various answers at the last minute. My weak points were governance and RM where I was scoring over 90% on gleim and Hock. For anyone currently studying I highly suggest reading through the comment sections, to get an understanding of what others experience, and reading through the study material, not only focusing on your weak points but also continuing to go through questions in your strong areas, and A MUST would be to download the Practice Advisories from the IIA, specifically, PA 2120-1, 2, Practice guides for “Assessing Org Gov in a private sector”, Coordinating RM and Assurance, Business Continuity Management, CSR, Assessing the adequacy of RM using ISO 31000, and GTAG 1, 8, and 17. I recommend being familiar with the responsibilities within RM, CSR and governance, the different types of general and application controls, so you can determine which controls would be best applied in certain situations, and the approaches to RM using ISO 31000. I also purchased Exam Matrix, and the questions were a lot harder and didn’t cover topics as in depth as Gleim or Hock, i felt like those required a little more application, but it is a good program to use as a supplement. I successfully passed part 3 a few weeks ago, and I am officially certified. I know failing can be discouraging, but I encourage everyone to continue pushing through, and hopefully my (long) advice can help you on your journey!

  • Sandhya Suryanarayanan says:

    Hello !
    I am planning to take up Part 2 and this is the first time I am appearing for CIA exams. I am following Hock and I have taken all the practice questions plus simulation exam thrice to score 83, 87 and 91. Little apprehensive about the adequacy of my preparation. Can you please advice if i am prepared enough to take up the exam anytime soon?

  • Dustin says:

    So I passed Parts 1 and 2 in the first year and a half I have worked as an Internal Audior. I just got back from Part 3, failing with a score of 564 (which I know is relative to 600, I just don’t know how badly I failed). I have been using Gleim’s materials. I noticed on Parts 1 and 2 that the questions were not very representative of Gleims materials, but I passed anyway. That now seems to have caught up with me, as maybe 4 of 100 questions on the test I recall from Gleim.
    I am frustrated and my Gleim study materials will expire far before I am able to retake the test. I don’t feel like it was a value anyway, wasting my time on advanced accounting and other filler I saw nowhere on the exam.
    What should I do? I am leaning toward getting the IIA materials for Part 3. I need to pass this exam the next time I take it.

  • Faisal says:

    Hi there:

    I just failed the CIA exam scored 594. Please advise the process of result review.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Faisal, sorry to hear that. You may want to sign up for the special edition of the newsletter (the sign up form above). That is one for retakers with all the relevant info and advice. Regards, Stephanie

  • Faisal says:

    Thanks Stephenie

  • JC says:

    I previously passed Part 1 and Part 2 on my first attempt. I just took Part 3 for the first time and failed with 594. I used Gleim to study and practice for the exam. I don’t think I studied enough for Financial Management and this is what came back to bite me during the exam. According to the unofficial assessment report, I also have to improve on Management / Leadership Principles. As you can imagine, I was heartbroken when I saw my score, especially after spending nights, weekends, and vacation days studying for the exam while juggling a demanding job and three kids. I thought about requesting a review by the IIA since I was so close to passing, but I’m not sure if this has ever worked for anyone. In any case, I’m determined to keep trying and plan on retaking the exam in December of this year. Best of luck to you all…keep trying and don’t give up:-)

  • Anne says:

    Hi I just recently took the CIA Exam (Part 1) this September and scored 590. However, I saw the official results and it says that I need moderate improvement on Internal Control /Risk (II) and Conducting Internal Audit Engagement (III) . Please advice on how can I improve on this part. Specially on data analysis and IT since I’ve encountered those on exams and find a hard time on answering those questions. Planning to retake the exam on January.

    Is it good if I review for Parts 1-3 until December than reviewing solely on Part 1 only ,since I am unemployed and will be reviewing full time so I can maximize my time?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Anne, it’s good that your own exam experience matches with the diagnostic report. So it will be a simple plan — work on the practice questions from these two weaker areas. Go through them slowly to make sure you understand every step. Once it clicks, you can train yourself to work faster (and maintain the accuracy).

      I wouldn’t go for 3 parts together. It’s way too overwhelming for most people. I would rather ace one part and move on to the next. But if you really want to study on something else (totally understandable), I would go for Part 2. It complements Part 1 in many ways. Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Ozair says:

    Gave my cia part 2 and got 594. Any feedback what i should do next i also did not receive an offical email from IIA relating to my cia part 2 exam . Any chance of the score being re-evaluated.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Ozair, sorry to hear that, it was pretty close! Without knowing more on your situation, I would repeat the old sayings of working on the weakest areas. It does work for the vast majority of candidates.

      While the report shows you some indication, I think it’s too general — if you use the online prep test, utithe system should have tracked your weakest areas. I would just utilize that function and work from there.

      You might want to check your profile on CCMS system as well — if I remember correctly the report should be available within 24-72 hours.

  • Niv12 says:

    Hi , I am planning to give my CIA Exam . I was debating between CIA ,CMA and CPA and finally decided to go with CIA exam .

    How long does it usually take to study every part , i understand that everyone has a different ability but just wanted to get a rough estimate of how many days it would take per part for exam preparation .

  • asif says:

    i attempted part 1 and failed at 556. i have to wait for 90 days to retake that part. i have prepared for part 2 so can i take it before 3 months( for part 2 only).

  • Sonia says:

    after the experience of part 1 results,,approximately 10 questions were not covered by Gleim ..i have prepared myself for part 2. can anyone guide me regarding the topics that i should cover for part 2 not covered by Gleim?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Sonia, the thing is that the exam questions are picked from a huge database and so everyone’s experience is different… The level of difficulty should be the same though. Regards, Stephanie

  • Talal says:

    I am only considering Gliem text book and practice questions for part 3 exam. Do you think that would be enough?

  • Ivan says:

    Hi Steph,
    I heard that effective on 1st January 2017 The Standard will be changed. Is it affect the exam’s questions? And is it still relevant to use Gleim’s exam review that I already bought in August 2016?


  • Salman says:

    We know few areas in the real exam gleim have not covered in study text so as per your experience & analysis, can i be able to cover all the topics from IIA CIA learning system for part 1 not mentioned in gleim book?i am going to appear for part 1 after 10 days. suggest plz

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Salman, hmm, in terms of coverage I do think IIA covers more than Gleim, but to be honest it can’t be THE solution. Because, it it were this simple, everyone who study using IIA materials would pass. This is obviously not the case.

      I guess I can’t answer your question because it also depends on your previous experience and how well you are able to do in the areas that are covered. I believe the majority of topics (especially major ones) are covered by all major review course providers.

      • Salman says:

        today failed again in part 1. last time 556 and now 581.. results moderate improvement in all areas. what should i do now….?? please Stephanie suggest me….

        • mmajstor says:

          Try to learn from IIA books which is more specific, and to review your knowledge by both practice questions – IIA and Gleim, two times at least. When your score for each chapter is 70% +, you are ready to go.

          In part I, you will have questions that are thoroughly explained in part 2. That’s bad, but you will cover that unexplained theory from Gleim review questions-answers which are larger in number.

          • Salman says:

            before applying again for part 1 i completed part 2 text book with practice questions then i completed gleim pat 1 questions 2 times fully,i got 92% cumulative along with Hock practice questions fully 1 time.but still failed..i don’t know what to do now?

          • mmajstor says:


            Then, I think nothing special really. Exams are full of tricky questions, and nothing can make you 100 percent prepared. Just do the same thing, increase your psychological state, and try again… easier test will come to you. I have the same problem with part3. Some mental projections:
            – failing the exam is not the end of your world
            – you know the theory
            – you are well prepared
            – you deserve to pass
            – you will pass

          • Stephanie says:

            Love your mental projection idea! Stephanie

  • Ahaid says:

    Failed CIA Part-2 by scoring 595, Although I didn’t find it hard and finished 10 min earlier then time allocated. Result was you need moderate improvement in all three units.

    I think I got more question right then they market correct…..No way to check your score so really sucks…

    • Ahaid says:

      I was scoring over 90% in gliem

      • Alina says:

        Would you like to guide me regarding part 2 of actual exam?
        how was the difficulty level of part 2 as compared to part 1? did the exam cover gleim questions same like %? and how about the topics outside gleim as we faced in part 1 approx 10 questions?any other necessary guidance would love to give?

        • Stephanie says:

          Our blogger Lynnel will compare Part 1 and 2 for us in her upcoming posts. She is the best person to ask given she just passed both parts on the same day. Stay tuned! It should be out in a couple of weeks 🙂

          To quickly answer your question, difficulty level should be similar — some even think Part 2 question are slightly easier. The weighting should be similar to those shown in Gleim. In terms of whether there will be topics outside of what Gleim covers, it’s hard to say because everyone gets a different set of exam questions… supposedly, overall, Gleim’s coverage is adequate for Part 1 and 2. There are some complaints for Part 3 but we address that with supplementary materials.

          You might want to check out Practice Advisories from IIA as supplementary materials for Part 1/2… Lynnel will share the details next week. Please check out her latest post then at

          • Nur says:

            Dear Stephanie

            Im looking for Lynnels’ blog onthe comparison for part 1 and part 2. Would you be able to give me the link? As of today, ive passed part 2, but failed part 1 twice, its so frustrating! If you have any other tips on how to tackle part 1, please do share. Thank u!

  • Nur says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    I will be retaking CIA part 1 next month (scored 590 on my 1st attempt, frustrating!!!!!) I am currently using GLEIM study materials and i just realised that the exam rehearsal option cannot be reset. My plan this time round is to practice mock exams several times practice on the accuracy. Appreciate your advice on how or where i can obtain exam rehearsal type questions as the one on GLEIM will exactly be the same and ive already attempted it. Looking forward to your kind advice!!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nur, that’s certainly frustrating… but you can do it! Stay strong!
      Hmm for now i can’t think of a way to get mock exams without getting the whole package from other providers (that would be too expensive and unnecessary)… hmm… I’ll give it a thought.

    • Talal says:

      Hello Nur, Allow me to share my two cents. CIA exams does not necessarily require an in-depth knowledge of the study text.

      CIA has a non disclosure policy, You cannot find questions anywhere similar to what will come in exams. That said, it is hardly a question of practicing as much practice exam question then it is to study the actual study text.

      I cannot emphasis how important it is to have a general understanding of the topics you are covering in the study text as well as the topics themselve. You need to go through study text word by word. Don’t skip anything. It will be hard but thats the only way.

      If you need more guidence feel free to leave a reply.


      • Nur says:

        Dear Talal,
        Thanks very much for your guidance. Ill take on your advice and will be studying the text. However, i do feel like perhaps my application of the concepts is my weakness. I remember that for case/scenario-based questions, i tend to not be confident in answering them. Any advice on how i may improve on that?

        • Talal says:

          Your issues with a case study question could be as follows

          – You read the problem. You understand the problem. You cannot answer the problem.
          – You read the problem. You cannot understand the problem. Hence you cannot answer the problem.

          First one is purely a lack of knowledge case. You will need to study and that’s it.

          The second case is a bit difficult to tackle as it may differ from person to person. It could be that you don’t understand the language used or the basic concept or both.

          I used to fall in the “second category” and the way I handled this issue was by learning a topic from different locations. I know it sounds hard but trusts me it’s not. The more you learn a topic from different sources the better you will understand. Just google the topic or definition in question.

          For example, Chap 5 in Gliem Part 1, Confidence level/interval. I feel it would be pretty hard to grasp the idea if you have no previous knowledge about it.

          • Nur says:

            Dear Talal/Stephanie

            I took another shot at the CIA pt 1 exam last week and finally PASSED! I am grateful for this blog and the advice that has been shared.

            I will be taking part 3 in september. Please do share your experiences and advice if any. This will be my first attempt at part 3.


          • Stephanie says:

            Hi Nur,
            That’s great news! We have loads and loads of experience sharing in Part 3 here. Take the time to go through the comments. It could get quite overwhelming 😉

            Regards, Stephanie

          • Talal says:

            Dear Nur,

            Congrats on your success. Looking at that Pass is a real pleasure which last for about 2 minutes. ;(

            Start now for Part-3. It’s quite lengthy if you are not from accounting background.

            First 10 chapters (Gliem) are mostly theory. Last 10 Chapters are a bit theory and numericals.

            First 10 should take substantial amount of time to memorize. Last 10 are not much to bother about if you have accounting background.

            In any case you should start now.

  • Salman says:

    i am preparing for part 2 using gleim 2013 book & 720 questions of gleim test prep. While in part 1 the gleim book was same only topics moving from chapter to chapter not a single word was new 2015 comparing to 2013.As i have only 2013 material and course contents had not changed yet since 2013 so for part 2 what you suggest? will this be enough for preparation those who gave real exam and prepared/preparing from gleim?

  • Chye Seng says:

    I will be taking my Part 3 on 1 March, and will be my 4th attempt. Part 3 has really drained me as the topics are very wide. I have been using Gleim prep and also their questions and kept on practice and practice. I just hope that I will pass this time round as I look forward to use the designation to resurrect my career. I have been an internal audit for the past nine years…

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Chye, I hear you… we have lots and lots of readers in your situation. Did you check out our Part 3 page? It’s a must-read full of advice from successful candidates around the world.

      • Goh Chye Seng says:

        Hi Stephanie, thank you for the encouragement. I have tried all methods even to reading the Practice Guide and all those related. Improvement I had made, but still not yet enough to pass. It is tough. Confidence in doing the questions in actual exam does not translate to a passing grade. Got a 588 in my 4th attempt. Will try better next time (but will have to wait for another 90 days before I can attempt and my 4 years period is coming to an end (106 days) so I have to quickly register myself and choose a test date nearer to the end date.

  • Kim Hancock says:


    I recently undertook the CIA part three and gained 564.

    I understood that you had to get 600 to pass, however I also read soemthing about the pass rate being 75%.

    An easy calculation resulted in my mark equating to 75% and the 600 resulting in 80%. Im so confused as there seems to be no straightforward approach.

    Also I found that the questions on the test were not covered within the IIA study materials which I feel left me at a complete disadvantage. My experience of the IIA so far is that they seem driven by money, and charge for all aspects. Charging for a review and remark is them gaining from our missery.

    • Mohamed Mostafa says:

      I totally agree i got exam questionsnot in iia material and gleim, also i am sure that for two questions there was no correct answer from the 4 choices. I thought the review or appeal was for free but they are charging he k of alot of money for, i agree on the commercial aspect of this. Lets just hope i pass on next attempt.

      • Stephanie says:

        Hi Mohamed, if you are quite sure the questions are presented incorrectly, you can log in a request at the exam center (I forgot the official name but you can voice out your concern).

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Kim,
      Sorry to hear that… but we have numerous readers here who failed and then finally pass. I am sure you will be one of them.
      On the point of 75%, I don’t think there is an official proof on that so I wouldn’t worry about it. In any case it is not a straight-forward calculation. Here is my discussion on the CIA exam scoring for you info:

      The questions are randomly pulled from a big database. In a way it somewhat depends on your luck on which question you get — some are right from the syllabus while others could be indirectly testing your concepts. Those would be harder.

  • Sukanya Roy says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I took the part 1 and part 2 exams before but did not pass. Out of frustration I left the course. But now I plan to restart once again. Would be buying the latest material from Gleim. However, from my previous experience I recall that my biggest challenge was to answer the questions related to Information technology area since I do not have any knowledge on that and the technical words used were completely unknown to me. I am an Internal Auditor by profession. Also, Gleim study material does not cover much IT related questions. My question is: Unless I have working knowledge in IT or at least those questions are there in the study material, how would I be able to answer such questions during the exam. Please advise.

    • mmajstor says:

      Are you sure that IT was your biggest problem, since that area is covered in part 3, and not in parts 1 and 2?

  • Zayan says:

    Failed 2 times in part 1, ready for 3rd attempt for part 1 after 9 days.. facing problem of remembering ans, as i watch the question ans clicked in my mind already. did gleim with questions n ans once again. doing hock questions again… covered IIA study book as supplementary…griped unknown topics not covered by gleim faced while 2 times failure.
    Fearing from failure 3rd time… Made Motto…do or die..but still fear of failure is there.
    Any Suggestion from all of you guys? for fear and preparation and course coverage.

    • Ozair says:

      This time you will pass. Stay confident and cool .It is not the end. Doing the questions is important but the main thing is the concepts.You need to be very much clear with the concepts

    • Tani says:

      Ok. If you can tell your overall qualification i would be able to better guide you.

      I have passed CIA in 1st go.

      One thing I can tell you is that gliem practice questions cannot be a judge of your preparation. If you have noticed, the actual exam questions are very straight forward and not more than 2 short sentences long whereas in gliem past exam papers they are quite hard and long.

      What I have understood is that the exams are designed while keeping an average student in mind and the time they may take to read and solve the question.

      Anyway, all you need to do in my opinion is go through word by word line by line your gleim study text. Leave the gliem past paper. And spend that time learning the text.

      The more you remember the better your chances would be.

      I wrote this comment on a mobile. Please excuse my mistakes.

    • Shanley says:

      Omg! Your comment is exactly what I am feeling right now. Going for my third attempt this Tuesday. And the funny thing is that I actually made a motto for myself too.. and it’s “I can and I will”. Been telling myself that for weeks now. But like you said, still fearing failure again.

      So did u pass the third attempt?

  • Vedrana says:

    Hi all,

    I just failed Part I yesterday with score 526 in my second attempt. I’m frustrating but will do it again of course. I’m wondering which proper approach to apply further, since I faced with very tricky questions yesterday. I used Gleim and my score was around 90% in each units except six and seven and exam result shows that I need significant improvement in first and third section.
    It strange but results was totally different first time since I was needed significant improvement in second and third section. Finally I identified that third section is my Achilles.

    Thank you for reading.

  • Marie says:

    I just failed the part 1 yesterday with 580… only by 3 questions!!!! very frustrating 🙁
    I have “need moderate improvement” in all parts, and not sure which were my weak points…
    Since I now have to wait 3 months to retake it, I am considering taking part 2 before. Do you think it can be a good strategy?
    Thank you very much for all your precious advice!

    • Art Yip says:


      I think it’s a good strategy. There are some overlaps between the 2 parts. QAIP, Risk Concepts, and Fraud Risks will again be tested. Make sure you manage your time well as Part 2 tends to have long scenario type questions. Most candidates find Part 2 a little easier. Studying for and passing Part 2 will help ready you for your Part 1 retake. You came fairly close to passing Part 1 so you should be OK on your retake.


  • Tahira Sajjad says:

    Thank you for providing such insightful tips for the CIA exam parts.
    I recently took the part 3 exam and unfortunately failed it. My score was 571. I found the exam to be pretty hard even after studying for about 3 months with the Gleim system. Im kind of disappointing as all questions were tricky and much harder than what i studied/expected. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to attack the exam next. Im planning to retake it in the next months. Should I consider supplementing materials from other sources (Like Wiley / CIA review system?).Also, how many times usually people retake the exam ? I would appreciate any recommendations.


    • Ozair says:

      Hi tahira sad to hear about your result.I am planning to give the exam next month for P3.Really appreciate if you can just tell me what all areas did the exam focus on as the topics are too much.From my point of view you can read the IIA material which is much better to understand and grasp the concepts but dont waste time in units relating accounting and finance from the iia text book gleim is sufficient at that part

    • lisa says:


      You should check out the Part 3 page on the website.

      Based on my review of the Part 3 page you need to read the Practice guides that identified by pass test takers.

      I passed part 2 this month and I am going start my preparation for part 3. Going download the practice guides the guys recommend.

      They also mentioned some areas that seem to frequent the exam: Corporate social responsibility, governance, risk mgt. Etc…

      Review the part 3 comments.

      All the best

  • Salman says:

    Failed 3rd time in part 1(556, 586, 561). what should i do now? should i leave the CIA or go for part 2 and try. i have wasted enough time for this CIA. i was thinking it too much easy as i am acca finalist also but this part 1 taken me too tough to tackle. Help me Guys? I left the job to complete this course early but this made me a complete nightmare

    • TANi says:

      Hello Salman

      It took me 8 years to complete ACCA and it took me 1.5 years to complete CIA. I have failed numerous times as you can judge by the number of years.

      The most important thing I have learned from my failures is dedication. I was committed to completing these certifications at any cost. Are you devoted?

      You need to have an honest dialog with yourself.

      I will say this though, with ACCA students it’s not a matter of lack of knowledge rather it’s lack of understanding.

      CIA is very different as it requires you to have a deep understanding of basic concepts and shallow knowledge of the advance topics.

      Try to remember your questions and then decide were those the easy ones that got you into trouble?

      Let me know if I can help in any other way.


      • Salman says:

        Thanks for encouraging.i have also committed to complete and ready for full dedication at any cost. Now i have 4 papers left in ACCA and i recently failed in part 1 and was thinking for part 2 (due to connection of part 1 with part 2) and the acca exams are after 1 month almost. so i am confused to take which paper in addition to 1 acca paper. either 2 acca papers for December attempt or 1 acca paper and 1 cia paper (part 2).i can handle only 2 papers in one month. What would you recommend in selecting the priority? Need Suggestion

        • TANi says:

          Hello again.

          Take a breather from CIA. Focus on passing ACCA for now. If you do it right, you won’t need more than a month to pass CIA Part 1. Go for ACCA in December and book CIA 1 afterward.

          Don’t attempt Part 2 before passing Part 1.

  • Stephanie says:

    Wonderful news Lou! Thanks for sharing and letting us know how the type of questions you got in the exam. All the best! Stephanie

  • Adil says:

    Hi.. I failed my part 1 exam by scorting 566. I can’t appear in part 1 exam for 90days.. My question is can i appear in second part in a month ?? and i will pay for part 1 exam fee again ?? Please advise.

    • Tani says:

      Adil –

      Sorry to hear about your result. Try to learn the whole book next time. Go through it several times. You will develop a better understanding.

      Both questions could be explained by the IIA. In your CCMS portal, raise an incident. They usually answer within a couple of working days.

      If you need any help, I would be happy to help.

      Good luck –

  • Fatema says:


    I used Gleim and Exammatrix however I failed in part 3 many times. I am planning to do it again in April and it will be the last chance for me to be certified. I am thinking to buy wiley exam preparation this time. Is it recommended for part 3??

  • Ashraf says:

    Dear Stephanie

    Today I failed in CIA part1 exam with score of 585.
    I have studied well and did practice exams from GLEIM that I was approaching 100% in such exams.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t find any similar questions in the exam.

    Would you please advice me how to proceed and whether to change Gliem materials.


    • Stephanie says:

      Oh, sorry to hear that. Did any of the common problems apply in your case? Might want to sign up for the special mini course above as we talk about the issues in more detail. Regards, Stephanie

  • Taylor says:

    Hi! Quick question: What are the chances of getting a Pass if the unofficial score report says you Failed. I took Part 3 today and got a 594. So frustratingly close. Disappointed right now obviously but I guess I just have to do it again. Passed Part 1 and 2 in one take btw.

    • Meghan D says:

      It is unlikely that your official score will be any different. If you have questions or would like to discuss your re-take, please email stephanie[at]


  • Gloria says:

    Hi this is my second time failing the cia part 1.I’m sad that I put in so much effort yet I failed.Is it a good idea to start with the part 2 and then write the part later especially now that the syllabus is changed for 2019.

    • Meghan D says:


      I’m sorry to hear this! I’d advise you to move on to the next Part and write Part 1 in 2019. You have to wait 90 days when you fail a Part regardless, so this will be the best use of your time.


  • San says:

    I took the CIA part 1 exam today ( 2018)and unfortunately lost ( score 547) is it a good idea to take up the part 2 exam under new syllabus in the coming month

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