I Pass the CIA Exam!

I am Finally Certified!


cia exam learning style

Annette is our first exam blogger from Namibia. She passed Part 1 and 2, and is working on the last part. She finally passed the exam on Feb 7, 2017.

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.

What did I do differently this time? I am now very honest, so please don’t hold me responsible for anything.

My last try was in beginning of November. My expiry date 12 February. That meant I had 10 days between 90 days wait period and expiry date to write and pass the exam.

In January I printed myself some questions from Gleim and answered them on paper (open-book style). This helped me focus on the quality of the questions and no rushing to see my score on the test prep software. Only after I completed them all, did I check on Gleim and took down notes why I might have been incorrect. I did approximately 500 questions like that.

The week and weekend before I did not study at all. I tried to keep myself busy with anything else but CIA. I went to the test centre as calm as never before.

The exam felt easier, whether it was because the IIA saw my name yet again and decided to give me easier questions (haha – wishful thinking), I was much calmer and stress-free or because after so many months I finally knew the topics well enough.

I finished with 30 minutes left and decided not to spend more time on it and to start doubting myself. Our test centre is very small and usually I write all alone and the administrator already knows me. After she handed me the results I gave her a big hug and told her “You won’t see me anytime soon” lol.

I passed in the nick of time. I am happy. Everyone is happy for me.

I was afraid that the deadline would also include submission of supporting documents (e.g. character reference and experience verification), so I did not waste any time and had my boss sign the required documentation before I uploaded them. On 8 February I already received the email that I am officially certified. Now all that is left is to order my certificate.

To end this post I’d like to share this quote from Donald Trump with you:

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

(my way was to find calmness within me and believing in myself as so many others did).

Note from Stephanie

As you see from my Facebook page, we are also totally thrilled to know that you passed. Congrats again you totally deserve it!

It’s also heartening to know that your boss and colleagues have been very supportive, and how you can share not just the good news, but also the frustrations and anxiety of retaking the exam. It is not something to take for granted.

And it’s funny how the exam site administer knows you. I live in big cities all my life and I can never ever imagine hugging the proctor. I mean, they are so… institutional (I tried to be nice 😉 ). Namibia sounds like a lovely place to live and work. I hope to pay a visit some day!

Annette, becoming a Certified Internal Audit is the big step towards your passion in developing the profession in your country. If there is anything I can do on this, let me know. All the best!

About the Author Annette S

Hello, I was born, raised and have been working in Namibia as an internal auditor. I finally passed my CIA exam after 7 attempts on Part 3!

  • Lynnel says:

    Congratulations again Annette and you deserved it! After all the challenges, you’ve made it, what an inspiring story. Wish me luck on my Part 3! 😊

    • Annette says:

      Hi Lynnel

      Thank you so much, your story also inspired me and that you passed 2 exams on same day gave me the motivation that I should totally be able to pass one part a day!

      I totally wish you all the best for Part 3 and am very confident you can make it on try 1 🙂

  • Annette says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Our country is so small (2.2 million inhabitants) that I meet everyday someone I know in town. Actually I started at this new client and on Day 1 I met 3 people at the client that I know (ex-colleague, friends of older sister). If interested I can write a post about living and working in Windhoek, Namibia 🙂

    We only have one test centre in Namibia, which can seat 6 people at a time, but usually I am sitting all alone.

    My younger aspiring CIA colleagues told me that they are now even more motivated to pass their exams! That’s it – one step at a time.

  • Manakgona says:

    Congratulations Annette ,

    I’m from South Africa however in in the UNited States and I will be taking my exams whilst I’m here.
    What an inspiring story, memorable journey to success!

    I hope all the best for your future as a Certified Internal Auditor.

    All the best to you to Lynnel

  • Faisal says:

    Congratulations Annette. You deserved this.
    I am a fan of your determination.

  • Nico says:

    Congratulations Annette!!! I’ll be sitting for part 3 in 2 weeks and I am struggling with the accounting part (mentioned in a post below) but also with Unit 6 – Structural Analysis within an industry and Unit 7 – Industry Evolution and environments to some extent.

    I saw that you had also some hard time with these topics and was wondering whether the GLEIM questions do reflect the type of questions asked during the exams you sat for?

    Many thanks upfront for your input!

    • Annette says:

      Hi Nico

      Thank you very much.

      This is part of a comment I wrote shortly after passing on the Part 3 Tips and Study Strategy blog.

      – 15 IT related questions (application controls, Disaster Recovery, change management, outsourced services)
      – 7 CSR questions
      – 8 Risk Management
      – 5 Inventory related questions
      – 3 CVP questions
      – a few Bargain Power of suppliers/buyers questions
      – a few IA Strategic Plan

      Nothing on:
      – financial ratios (or any calculations apart for a very simple CVP and Economic Order Quantity)
      – can’t recall anything on Organisational Behaviour, Communication, Legal, Economic and Regulatory.

      And 1 or two questions on the remainder topics.

      I tried using Gleim questions on the topics you mentioned, but for me the problem was not the question itself but understanding the concept in the first place. So in the end I concentrated more on the much mentioned topics and not spend too much time on Unit 6,7,19 and 20 (and was very lucky that they asked almost nothing on it). If at all, in previous exams I can recall, them asking more about emerging markets and industry marketing strategies.

      Hope that helps.

  • vidya says:

    Congratulations Annette…now that you have completed the CIA successfully…I wish that you achieve more and more success in your career.

  • Leena says:

    Hi Annette,

    Your story is so inspirational, Congratulations!!
    In the end it is not how fast you cross the finish line that matters.

    Now that you are certified, I wish you a great career as a CIA.

  • Odetta Pumphrey says:

    Hi Annette,

    Congrats on passing Part III. I will be taking it AGAIN in about a week. I an hoping to finally be done with Part III since this has been such an obstacle for me to complete. But i am going in optimistically that i will do well and finally be certified.

    I was wondering if you studied any of the IPPF’s from the IIA for Part III? If so which ones and did they help you during the test?

    Please let me know,


    Odetta (In Chicago)

    • Annette says:

      Thank you Odetta. You can do it – just believe in yourself!

      I did 3 QAR’s last year for clients and thus have been exposed to the Standards quite a bit. I cannot say that any of them helped me with Part 3. If I had to pick I would go with 2110, 2120 and 2130 (Governance, Risk Management, Control) for the Risk Management chapter. I think the IPPF are more relevant to Part 1 and 2 (but I wrote them a long time ago when it was still 4 part system).

  • Mohamed Mostafa says:

    I passed part 3 and now completed the CIA, this was my second attempt with the first one failed by score 588 which was close and frustrating. The second attempt was so difficult to start especially that my certification program expires in a week from now and this was my last chance to clear it before having to go through an extension in addition to mentally being unable to study strongly. The support and motivation I got through this community was amazing and was the reason to put things on track and thankfully passed this time.

    The exam covered mostly what is noted here, besides additional topics
    iSO 31000, ERM, COSO
    CSR in depth
    iT general controls and application controls
    Communication in depth
    Management accounting on cvp and absorption costing
    Business continuity
    Eoq and few calculations on ratios
    iT governance in particular
    3 questions on globalalization and economy last 2 parts in gleim

    Thank you all and keep at it till you are certified, wish you all the best

    • Stephanie says:

      That’s wonderful Mohamed! It’s always so encouraging to hear from those who are successful in their retake. Thanks for the tips and encouragement, and all the best to you!

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