• You are here:
  • Home »

Gleim CIA vs. Surgent CIA Review: We Can Help You Decide

In the showdown between Gleim CIA vs. Surgent CIA Review, both courses may look comparable. But this is not the case because Gleim CIA Review is a full course with everything candidates need to pass the CIA exam. On the other hand, Surgent CIA Review is better for candidates who just need more practice questions. So, while both systems have their uses, which one you choose depends on what you need in your CIA materials. Luckily, we can help you navigate the pros and cons of each option.

Because members of our team have used all of the CIA review systems on the market and have actually sat for the CIA exam, we are truly qualified to help you make important decisions about CIA review. Furthermore, we keep our reviews fair and accurate because we want you to get the best information possible.

Gleim CIA Review vs. Surgent CIA Review Comparison Chart

CIA Review Attribute

Attribute Importance

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. Surgent CIA provides you with 18 months of access. After your access expires, you will have to pay a fee to study from your course again.

Video Lectures

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

Over 45 lecture hours included

Not included. The Surgent course does not offer CIA videos.

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

2,500+ 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 

Only digital (PDF) books are available; no physical books are 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

Not included

Who Wins? Gleim CIA Review or Surgent CIA Review?

In the battle between Gleim CIA vs. Surgent CIA Review, we declare Gleim CIA Review the winner. Gleim CIA Review is the best CIA review course on the market. If you've just started studying for the CIA exam and you need a complete and comprehensive course, then Gleim CIA Review is your best option.

However, if you already have your materials and need additional practice questions, Surgent CIA Review could be helpful. But whether you need Surgent CIA Review depends solely on which course you've purchased so far.

If you already have:

then you should also get:

Wiley CIAexcel

Gleim Premium CIA Review


Gleim Premium CIA Review

IIA CIA Learning System

Gleim Premium CIA Review

Surgent CIA Review

Gleim Premium CIA Review

Surgent CIA Review is the perfect complement to the Gleim Premium course. Consequently, if you don’t already have Gleim and you are using another system, you need to get Gleim. It’s the only comprehensive CIA course available.

So, we don’t recommend using Surgent CIA Review as a standalone course, but we believe it is great for supplementing!

Gleim CIA Review and Surgent CIA Review History

Dr. Irvin Gleim, CPA, CIA, CMA, EA, founded Gleim over 45 years ago. And, Gleim CIA Review was the original CIA review course because no other CIA review course existed until Dr. Gleim created one! Gleim has dedicated a very large team to maintaining and producing its materials. Furthermore, some of the finest university professors in the industry teach the Gleim CIA video lectures.

In contrast, Surgent CIA Review is a relatively new course, as Surgent started in 2015. Surgent entered the CIA course market by purchasing ExamMatrix, which previously published ExamMatrix CIA Review. Surgent integrated the ExamMatrix CIA course into the Surgent CIA review course and improved the functionality of the original ExamMatrix course.

Gleim CIA vs. Surgent CIA Review Course Interface

Both Gleim CIA and Surgent CIA have adaptive courses. So, with their adaptive technology, you can focus on your weak areas and spend less time on studying information you already know. However, the interfaces in both of these courses are different.

The Gleim CIA Review SmartAdapt platform supplies you with a guided approach to your studies. Therefore, you’ll never have to guess where to go next or manually identify your weak areas, as the system will do all of that for you.

In addition, the Gleim CIA Review Course includes up to two full-length Exam Rehearsal(s) as part of your final review to tell you when you are exam day ready. However, you will need to complete the course before you can take these practice exams, as they are located in the final review section.

In contrast, the Surgent A.S.A.P. platform requires more effort from the user. The course won't progress to the next part or advance to a new area for you; you'll have to take those steps yourself. So, using Surgent's course may involve a little guesswork on your part. However, we don’t see this fact as a significant deterrent for most CIA candidates.

Also, another great feature of the Surgent CIA Review course is the ReadyScore tool. This tool allows you to see what your score might be if you were to take the CIA exam today. Surgent has confirmed that most candidates actually score about 5 points higher than what their ReadyScore indicates. So, this tool is very helpful for gauging how you may perform on exam day. The ReadyScore is constantly analyzing your estimated score as you work through the course, so you can see how you may perform in real time.

Finally, while both interfaces are user-friendly, Gleim CIA Review certainly provides you with more granular analytics. With the course's convenient on-demand data that drills down to the micro-topic, you’ll know how well you are performing.

Gleim CIA Course or Surgent CIA Materials

Video Lectures

Not only does the Gleim CIA Review course contain 45 hours of helpful video lectures, but it’s the only CIA course to offer video lectures at all. The quality of the lectures is also quite high, as top university professors clearly explain all the information you need to know. Additionally, the lectures are bite-sized, so you don’t have to watch hours of videos at a time. Most lectures are around 10-15 minutes in length, which is ideal for candidates who prefer a micro-learning style.

In addition to going over critical topics, the Gleim CIA videos also include detailed multiple-choice question walkthroughs. The professors will tell you how to approach each question, how to answer it, and how to watch for CIA exam tricks and distractors.

In contrast, Surgent CIA Review doesn’t include any video lectures. Additionally, Surgent also does not include any audio lectures either, while Gleim does. So, if you are an auditory or visual learner, you will likely be disappointed with any course that does not include these kinds of lectures.

Access Length

The Gleim CIA Premium Review Course includes unlimited access until you pass the CIA exam. Also, you’ll receive free updates the entire time you are studying. Furthermore, Gleim CIA will not charge you any additional fees to continue to receive access or updates.

However, Surgent CIA only provides you with 18 months of access. So, if you are one of the many CIA candidates who need to re-take any exam parts, your studies may extend beyond your 18-month access window. And in that case, using Surgent will cost you more because you’ll have to pay to extend your access once the course expires.

Help from Experts

When you choose to use Gleim CIA Review, you'll get access to a team of accounting and exam experts. So, you can ask questions about the actual course content (like, "How do I answer this question? I’m stuck!") to the accounting experts. And, you can also work with exam mentors called Personal Counselors dedicated to aiding you. These mentors will guide you through every step of the study process so you can pass the CIA exam on your first attempt. You can strategize about your studies with the Personal Counselors. And finally, they can look at your trending scores in the course and make suggestions for you.

In contrast, if you choose Surgent CIA Review, you won’t have access to any experts -- accounting, exam, or otherwise. So, if you get stuck on any topic area, you can't ask anyone from Surgent for help. You may find this lack of assistance to be quite frustrating, and you may even miss out on gaining a better understanding of some of the material. 


Gleim CIA Review now includes flashcards. However, making your own flashcards is actually a very effective study exercise. Research proves that when you write or re-write the topics, you recall them better. So, we highly recommend creating your own flashcards when possible.

Gleim CIA Pass Rates vs. Surgent CIA Pass Rates

Most CIA review courses do not disclose their pass rates. So, we aren't surprised that neither Gleim nor Surgent have any published pass rates we can share with you. But, we have collected pass rates from our readers over the years. And our findings show that Gleim Premium CIA Review users typically pass 90% of the time.

However, at this time, we don’t have enough active users of Surgent CIA Review for a valid sample size. Therefore, we do not have a reader pass rate for Surgent.

Surgent CIA Review vs. Gleim CIA Review Learning Styles

The Gleim CIA Review course gives CIA candidates access to many learning tools. So, purchasing Gleim CIA Review gives you a great change of having your learning style needs met. Because Gleim offers video and audio lectures, both auditory and visual learners can use the course to learn efficiently and effectively. Additionally, the Gleim CIA course also includes printed and digital textbooks and a test bank of practice questions. So, both linguistic learners who prefer to read the information and logical learners who want to discover the reasoning behind the concepts will get what they need to succeed from Gleim CIA Review. 

On the other hand, because Surgent CIA Review is geared more toward candidates who need additional practice questions as a supplement for their main course, the number of learning components is minimal. Therefore, the course won’t meet the learning style needs of every CIA candidate.

Gleim CIA Discounts vs. Surgent CIA Discounts

Both Gleim CIA and Surgent CIA have discounts available. Also, both Gleim and Surgent provide my readers with exclusive discounts that are better than any other CIA review discounts available.

However, even though you can get a discount on both courses, you will still get a better value overall when you go with Gleim because this course includes more features. Additionally, once you purchase the Gleim course, you’ll never have to pay costly course renewal fees because your course access won’t expire. So, you really do get more for your money with Gleim CIA Review. 

Who Do We Recommend? Surgent CIA or Gleim CIA?

In the category of best primary CIA review course, Gleim CIA Review is the winner. This course includes the most MCQs (50% more than Surgent), video lectures led by lauded professors, help from exam and accounting experts, access until you pass, and more. And with my exclusive discount, the price is very affordable and the value for your money is exceptional.

Furthermore, Surgent CIA Review is a great source of additional practice questions, particularly when paired with the Gleim Premium CIA Review Course. However, we don't recommend making Surgent as your sole CIA review course.

Course Feature

Surgent CIA Review

Access Until You Pass



Professor-Led Video Lectures



Course Quality






Help From Experts



High Pass Rates


Not enough data




As you can see from the summary, Surgent CIA Review only scores .5 points, while Gleim CIA Review scores 6. And remember: when you go with Gleim, you’ll greatly increase your chance of passing the CIA exam on the first try. And with our exclusive Gleim Premium CIA Review discount, you’ll get even more value for your money. 

Yet, if you're still unsure about which course to use, please contact me. I'd love to give you a thorough and personalized recommendation. What's more, you can also learn all about the CIA process by signing up for my free CIA exam study materials

Lastly, if you've been thinking of using Wiley CIAexcel, then you should check out our comparison of Gleim CIA vs. Wiley CIAexcel.

Please rate this