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Gleim CIA vs Wiley CIAexcel: A Fair & Honest Comparison

Should you choose Gleim CIA or Wiley CIAexcel? In our fair and honest comparison, you can learn which of the 2 options is best for you. As former CIA candidates, we can attest to the accuracy of this comparison. We have used most of the available CIA review courses, and you may even call us course comparison experts! We’ve cut through all the marketing fluff to provide you with only the most relevant and truthful information. So, let’s take a look at Gleim CIA Review and Wiley CIAexcel to see how they stack up against each other.

Gleim CIA vs. Wiley CIAexcel Comparison Chart

CIA Review Attribute

Attribute Importance

Gleim CIA Review -- Premium Course

Wiley CIAexcel -- Study Pack

Access Until You Pass

High -- Without continued access, you have to pay for a new course if your course expires before you finish the exam.


Not included -- You'll only have access for 12 months.

Video Lectures

Medium -- Video lectures could be more important for visual and auditory learners.

Over 45 lecture hours included

No video lectures available

CIA Test Bank

High -- Without practice questions, you won't be able to apply the knowledge you've learned throughout the course.

Over 3,000 questions included

Over 5,000 questions included


High -- You'll want the books to learn the concepts, especially if you do not receive video lectures with the course.

Digital and physical books included 

Physical books included


Low -- flashcards reinforce the topics you've already learned, but research shows you'll be more likely to commit the items to memory if you create flashcards yourself.

Digital flashcards included

Focus notes included (these are like flashcards, but with more information on each card)

The Winner of Gleim CIA Review or Wiley CIAexcel

For the best CIA review course (and the most comprehensive one too), we award Gleim CIA the winner. Gleim CIA includes everything you need to pass, and it's one of the most widely used CIA courses available.

We think Wiley CIAexcel is fine for supplementing, but since Wiley doesn't include video lectures or access until you pass, we wouldn't recommend it as a standalone course.

Gleim CIA Review and Wiley CIAexcel History

Gleim CIA has been around since 1980. While it started out only publishing CPA review courses in 1974, Gleim now sells the #1 CIA review course. The CIA review course is a few decades old, and the team at Gleim works diligently to update the lectures and content every year. 

Wiley CIAexcel is relatively new. But really, just the name is new. Wiley CIAexcel was previously known only as Wiley CIA. Wiley has actually been around longer than Gleim, but Wiley has not been producing CIA review for as long as Gleim has. The team at Wiley does make the necessary updates to its CIA course, but we've seen Wiley make more improvements to Wiley CMAexcel and Wiley CPAexcel than Wiley CIAexcel.

Gleim CIA v. Wiley CIAexcel Interface

Gleim recently updated the interface of its CIA course. This new interface includes adaptive technology. With this new addition, Gleim has made it possible for candidates to study more efficiently. The adaptive course provides candidates with an easy-to-use interface, and detailed analytics are readily available.

The Wiley CIA interface is very modern and also easy-to-use. The course provides detailed analytics, but Wiley does not have adaptive technology in its platform.

Gleim CIA Compared to Wiley CIA Materials

Video Lectures

The Gleim Premium CIA Review System includes video lectures led by professors. So, you can watch over 45 hours of videos in which professors cover the core concepts, dive deep into multiple-choice questions, and help you to pass the CIA exam. With these lectures, you can take your comprehension above and beyond rote memorization. In fact, the CIA videos can really do more to help you to learn the topics tested than the traditional study methods (e.g., only answering thousands of practice questions) with which you receive zero instruction.

In contrast, Wiley CIA does not include video lectures. Without CIA videos, you’ll be leaving your preparation solely to yourself. Therefore, you will have to teach yourself the concepts. Consequently, you may not gain a strong enough understanding to apply what you've learned on exam day. And if you find yourself in this situation, you may not be ready to answer the challenging CIA exam application questions.

Access Length

The CIA exam changes frequently, and because of this, using outdated materials can be very risky. But you never have to worry about using outdated materials if you purchase a CIA review course that includes access until you pass.

Access until you pass affords you the opportunity to study for as long as you need without worrying that your materials will expire. For instance, if unexpected circumstances cause your CIA exam journey to last for 22 months, you’ll still be able to use your materials (and receive free updates along the way) if your course includes access until you pass. However, if you purchase a course that only provides 12-18 months of access, then you’ll be on the hook for purchasing new materials when the CIA exam syllabus changes. So, when your CIA course includes access until you pass, you won’t need to purchase new materials ever again, regardless of the time in between purchasing and passing the exam.

The Gleim Premium CIA Review System includes access until you pass. Additionally, Gleim CIA will also provide you with free updates along the way. And Gleim also offers a no-hassle guarantee as part of its access until you pass policy. This guarantee allows you to request your money back with no questions asked. So, if you fail and decide Gleim is not a good course for your learning style, you can request a refund (some restrictions may apply).

The Wiley CIAexcel course does not included access until you pass or free updates after your course expires. Like the IIA CIA Learning System, Wiley CIAexcel only includes 12 months of access. So, after 1 year, you’ll no longer have access to your CIA course unless you pay costly fees.

Help from Experts

When you purchase Gleim CIA’s Premium CIA Course, you'll find a team of accounting experts waiting to help you. These experts are there to answer any questions you have about the content you’re studying. So, if you ever get stuck on an exam topic, the team at Gleim can help you through the problems you’re having.

Furthermore, your course package also features assistance from exam mentors. Therefore, you can ask your personal mentor questions about the exam and work with them to strategize about study schedules. This team can even assess your performance and make recommendations based on your course scores.

In contrast, Wiley CIA does not have a team of accounting experts available to help you. Consequently, if you cannot understand a topic or question in Wiley CIA’s course, you won’t have anyone to turn to. Similarly, no exam mentors work at Wiley CIA. For this reason, you’ll have to strategize on your own and try to find answers to your CIA exam questions elsewhere.


Gleim CIA now includes digital flashcards. Regardless, it's a good idea to create your own flashcards as a way to improve retention and understanding of the concepts.

However, Wiley CIA’s course includes CIA Focus Notes. These focus notes are similar to flashcards, but they are more detailed than their summarized counterpart. Instead of one question on the front and answer on the back, the Focus Notes contain several related concepts. Therefore, the Wiley CIAexcel Focus Notes are good for supplementing your studies. Still, their role in your studies is likely going to be insignificant because the information within the Focus Notes is too summarized to deepen your understanding.

Gleim CIA Pass Rate vs. Wiley CIA Pass Rates

Neither Gleim CIA nor Wiley CIAexcel provide candidates with any pass rate information. And pass rates for CIA review providers are not widely known. Additionally, no independent third party audits the pass rates that the CIA review providers publish, so you shouldn't rely on CIA pass rate data that you may find on a review provider's website.

However, we do hear many more success stories from candidates who used Gleim than we do from candidates who used Wiley CIAexcel. Furthermore, I’ve compiled pass rates over the years from my readers and have a fairly large sample size. And what I’ve learned is that my readers who purchase Gleim CIA Review pass, on average, about 90% of the time. This pass rate is 50% larger than the CIA pass rate the IIA reports.

Gleim CIA vs. Wiley CIAexcel Learning Styles

Because the Gleim CIA course presents so many different study components, it will satisfy a wide variety of candidate learning styles. For instance, both visual and auditory learners will find that the video and audio lectures are perfect for their study style. But linguistic and logical learners shouldn’t feel left out: Gleim CIA offers a huge multiple-choice question test bank and textbooks. So, with the Gleim CIA books and test bank, you can achieve exam success even if you don't like to watch or listen to lectures.

Wiley CIAexcel only offers learning style components. So, at the end of the day, the Wiley CIA course is just a book and test bank. This course doesn't contain any teaching components, so it likely won’t meet the study needs of a visual or auditory learner.

Gleim CIA Discounts vs. Wiley CIAexcel Discounts

Gleim CIA discounts are available for my readers (discounted price appears in shopping cart when you use my link; no promo code is required). But, these discounts rarely apply to individual parts of the Gleim review courses. However, Gleim does reduce the price of the individual course parts when you purchase one of their course bundles, which include all 3 course parts. And the discounts they offer my readers are large enough to justify purchasing a course bundle. So, when you combine my discounts with the savings Gleim incorporates into the prices of the course bundles, you can maximize your CIA review course savings! 

Wiley CIAexcel also discounts its course. However, in contrast to Gleim CIA, Wiley CIA frequently discounts its individual parts. And these discounts may be larger than Gleim’s discounts depending on the time of year. However, you’ll still receive far less value and fewer features if you choose the Wiley CIAexcel course. Therefore, don’t let the savings Wiley offers distract you from all the value that Gleim provides.

Who Should You Pick? Gleim CIA or Wiley CIAexcel

Course Feature

Gleim CIA Review

Wiley CIAexcel Review

Access Until You Pass



Professor-Led Video Lectures



Course Quality






Help from Experts



High Pass Rates






From this table, you can see that the Wiley CIAexcel course only scores 1.5 points. In contrast, Gleim CIA scores 5 points, thus making it a stronger choice than Wiley CIAexcel. Gleim CIA’s Premium Course has better pass rates and provides candidates with more value for their hard-earned money. So, for a modest increase in your CIA course investment, you can get video lectures, audio lectures, access until you pass, help from experts, and more. Basically, everything you need to pass the CIA exam!

Conclusion about Gleim CIA and Wiley CIAexcel

If you are questioning the validity of this comparison, please note: As we have taken the CIA exam before, we applied our actual course experience under real study conditions when building out this comparison. We did not rely solely on available marketing information and screenshots.

Additionally, we should point out that there are a couple things that both courses lack. Neither Gleim nor Wiley CIAexcel offer a downloadable app that would allow you to study offline. Both courses publish books for offline studying, but the bulk of the questions can be found in the online banks. Therefore, finding a reliable internet connection is vital no matter which course you choose.

Furthermore, neither CIA review course includes access to live lectures or a live presenter. The Gleim lectures are good, but they are recorded, and no face-time with the professor is available. Gleim does allow you to ask questions, but you must do so within the course, and Gleim only provides the answers in writing. Our ideal CIA review course would include face-time with a professor, but currently, there isn't a course like this on the market. 

Therefore, the best option that meets all relevant and critical features is Gleim CIA Review. If you already have Gleim CIA Review, Wiley CIAexcel is a supplemental option and will provide you with an additional 2,000 questions for Part 3. 

Next Steps

If you're still unsure which course is the best for you, please contact me for a thorough and helpful recommendation. You can also sign up for my free CIA exam study materials to learn more about the process of becoming a CIA. 

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