In the ever-changing environment of the business and accounting industries, professional accounting exams must be adjusted every 5-6 years to keep up. Therefore, IIA CIA exam changes aren’t all that infrequent. So, if you’re starting your exam journey now, let me tell you all about the CIA exam changes so you can prepare to pass successfully.
If you are currently taking the CIA exam, chances are you’re doing so in an online environment. The IIA began CIA, CRMA, and CIA Challenge exam testing on April 29, 2020. At this time, the IIA has not defined an end date.
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, Pearson-Vue centers closed, which meant CIA candidates didn’t have a place to take their exam(s). While Pearson-Vue centers have re-opened, candidates still have the flexible option of taking the CIA exam remotely.
First of all, the CIA application and exam registration process are the same for online and in-person testing. However, with online remoting proctoring, you can sit for the CIA exam comfortably from home, your office, or another remote location. Also, you’ll need access to a computer and the internet, as well as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. What’s more, the online testing environment presents issues on Apple/Mac devices. Therefore, it is recommended you take the exam in a Pearson-Vue location if you only have access to Mac devices.
Currently, all countries except Cuba, mainland China, North Korea, Slovenia, Sudan, and Syria can take the online version of the exam. However, please be advised that all support and proctors can only assist you using English.
The IIA states that they will send your score within 24 hours of exam completion. However, I’ve been hearing that scores have been delivered much sooner than that. Some candidates received their scores in 2 hours or less.
The syllabus for the online CIA exam remains unchanged. Consequently, you’ll experience the same CIA exam format, questions, and content that you would at a Pearson-Vue testing center. Therefore, the only difference is that you can take the exam from your house or any remote location!
Yes! It’s completely normal to be nervous when the IIA issues a change. But so long as you have a reliable computer and internet access, the process should be seamless.
But, to offer even more help, my readers have sent their online testing experiences, along with tips. Also, feel free to leave your questions, concerns, and tips in the comment section below.
It was sometime at the end of May 2020 when I realized that I’m somewhat prepared to write the Part 1 exam soon. Due to the COVID-19 situation worldwide, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) permitted Pearson to conduct the CIA exams through online proctoring from home.
So, I checked the Pearson Vue website for the same, and the information regarding the test was very well explained there. Even though I was skeptical about giving it online from home due to my often unstable wi-fi connection and background noises in my neighborhood, I thought of giving it a go knowing that any glitch from my side can result in the exam getting terminated without any refund.
I accessed the exam section in CCMS and paid for my exam. Then I was taken to the Pearson Vue website where I was given an option to choose my mode of exam:
• In the test center
• At home through OnVue
I selected OnVue and was then prompted to enter my preferred time and date of the exam. They have a long catalog of dates and times all throughout the month and day. When I was selecting my slot, there were slots for the entire month of June. The time slots are available all throughout the night and day with a gap of 30 mins between each slot.
I chose 6:45 am IST to give my exam on the 26th June 2020. On confirming the same, one gets a confirmation mail from Pearson Vue stating the Non-Disclosure nature of the exam and other relevant details pertaining to the exam.
Also, it is advisable to run the system check on the same computer on which you’ll be giving the exam. You’ll want to do this sometime before the actual exam starts to ensure any last-minute troubleshooting is completed.
You are required to be seated and in the system 30 mins prior to the exam. So, I took my seat at 6:10 am to start with a system check and then start with the exam. Once my system check got completed, I accessed CCMS and then went on to “Manage my Exam” which redirects you to the Pearson Vue Dashboard that has the “Begin Exam” button.
Once you click that, you’ll be given an access code that you need to insert in the OnVue software. Furthermore, you’ll need to download the software before your exam date or at that time, as per the instructions on the screen to have a seamless check-in process.
After you put in the access code in the OnVue software, you’ll start with the check-in process that will involve activating your microphone, webcam, screen sharing, and uploading your proof of identification. Furthermore, you’ll also be asked to provide your mobile number in case any troubleshooting needs to happen during the exam.
Upon completion of all the check-in steps, you’ll be asked to wait for around 15 mins till the check-in is approved. Mine got approved in a minute and I was greeted by my Proctor over a computer call. After that, she asked me to turn my laptop and show her my desk and the room to maintain integrity and prevent any malpractices. I did as instructed, and she gave a go-ahead and informed me of her launching the exam right away.
My Proctor wished me luck before the exam, and then my exam launched. During the exam, your webcam is kept ON and you are being recorded throughout the exam.
What’s more, in the exam window, you’ll find the chat option where you can raise any concerns during the exam to the proctors who’ll assist you right away. A nervous me started the exam without any hassle and slowly eased up as I went along. When I was short of two questions before finishing the exam, my screen froze in the “Loading” screen which appears when going from one question to another. As it was the first time I was giving an exam of this magnitude entirely online, I got tensed but somehow held my nerves to see the screen automatically unfreezing.
Consequently, I immediately got a call on my mobile and computer from my Proctor who enquired why there was a lag. I answered honestly and he helped me troubleshoot then and there to ensure a smooth test-taking experience for the remaining part of the exam. Post call, I finished up my exam without any issue and was then redirected to Pearson Vue’s feedback page to provide comments on the exam experience.
So, don’t panic in case any issue happens during the exam. Your proctor will either contact you over a telephone or computer call to assist you. Online Proctoring was indeed a very new experience for me which comes with its own pros and cons but you can give the exam from the comfort of your home, so that balances it 🙂
Overall, it was a great experience to take the exam through OnVue and I highly recommend taking up the same if you have a relatively stable internet connection and a quiet room for the exam.
To end it up, I’d like to provide a process flow of the steps required to finish the exam through OnVue:
1. Access CCMS and pay the exam fees
2. Get redirected to Pearson and select the preferred mode, date, and time of the exam
3. Receive the exam details confirmation mail from Pearson
4. Study hard
5. Complete a system check before the day of the exam
6. On the day of the exam, sit on the system 30 mins before the scheduled slot time and start with the check-in process. Make sure your room is well lit and your desk is clutter-free
7. Comply with the proctor’s instructions and start the exam hassle-free
8. Finish within the time limit and raise a doubt in the Chat section to get it addressed by the proctor in case of any issues and then submit the exam
9. Give feedback for the exam process and then check the score report in the Pearson Dashboard
All the best 🙂
In early 2017, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) conducted an extensive analysis of the modern internal audit profession. With their research, they uncovered the knowledge, skills, and abilities current internal audit professionals need in their positions. The IIA then decided to modify the CIA exam syllabus so that the new version assesses CIA candidates for such information and capabilities.
According to the IIA, an exam syllabus is an outline summarizing the topic areas the exam addresses. Therefore, each part of the CIA exam has its own separate syllabus. For this reason, CIA exam review providers and candidates can use the 3 CIA exam syllabi to identify and learn the content on which the exam will cover. The exam focuses on this content in order to prove candidate proficiency in internal audit during the process of earning the CIA designation.
As I mentioned, a new iteration of the CIA exam launched on January 1, 2019. The IIA released the updated English version of the exam first. Other language versions of the exam became available gradually throughout 2019.
|French and Spanish||June 1, 2019|
|German and Turkish||July 1, 2019|
|Arabic and Russian||August 1, 2019|
|Korean and Portuguese||September 1, 2019|
|Chinese Traditional and Japanese||October 1, 2019|
|Chinese Simplified||December 2019 or early 2020|
The format of the CIA exam, which includes the following exam components, remained the same:
150 minutes (Part 1)
120 minutes (Part 2)
120 minutes (Part 3)
Number of Exam Questions
125 Questions (Part 1)
100 Questions (Part 2)
100 Questions (Part 3)
Passing Score: 600
The CIA exam requirements also stayed the same.
The IIA has adjusted the syllabus of all 3 parts to reflect the latest global practice of internal audit. In particular, the IIA has revised Part 1 and Part 2 to better align with The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
The IIA has also switched a few sections between Part 1 and Part 2 to create a more focused and coherent syllabus. Therefore, candidates who have already taken Part 1 or 2 may see some subject areas repeated if they take the other part in 2019.
Each new CIA syllabus for 2019 differs significantly from each old CIA syllabus 2018. As you can see in this comparison of the IIA syllabus for each part, the CIA Part 1 syllabus and the CIA Part 2 syllabus have gained content areas, while the CIA Part 3 syllabus has lost content areas.
|Part 1 CIA Syllabus 2018||Part 1 CIA Syllabus 2019|
|I. Mandatory Guidance (35-45%)||I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)|
|II. Internal Control / Risk (25-35%)||II. Independence and Objectivity (15%)|
|III. Conducting Internal Audit Engagements – Audit Tools and Techniques (25-35%)||III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)|
|IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)|
|V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)|
|VI. Fraud Risks (10%)|
|Part 2 CIA Syllabus 2018||Part 2 CIA Syllabus 2019|
|I. Managing the Internal Audit Function (40-50%)||I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)|
|II. Managing Individual Engagements (40-50%)||II. Planning the Engagement (20%)|
|III. Fraud Risks and Controls (5-15%)||III. Performing the Engagement (40%)|
|IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)|
|Part 3 CIA Syllabus 2018||Part 3 CIA Syllabus 2019|
|I. Governance / Business Ethics (5-15%)||I. Business Acumen (35%)|
|II. Risk Management (10-20%)||II. Informational Security (25%)|
|III. Organizational Structure / Business Processes and Risks (15-25%)||III. Information Technology (20%)|
|IV. Communications (5-10%)||IV. Financial Management (20%)|
|V. Management / Leadership Principles (10-20%)|
|VI. IT / Business Continuity|
|VII. Financial Management (10-20%)|
|VIII. Global Business Environment (0-10%)|
The new syllabi also provide more information about how deeply the exam expects candidates to understand each topic. For example, the old syllabus told candidates to know all topics at the Proficient level as opposed to the Awareness level. Consequently, each new syllabus specifies whether an individual subtopic requires a Basic or Proficient level of knowledge. This detail helps candidates get a better impression of the relative importance of every topic.
The new CIA exam Part 1 syllabus reorganizes this part to cover a macro view of internal audit. Furthermore, the syllabus goes deeper into the foundations of internal auditing as defined by the IIA mission statements and standards.
Part 1 also tests the overall concept of governance, risk management and control, and fraud risk in more detail.
The syllabus has moved the application portion of internal audit (e.g. audit tools and techniques) to Part 2.
These 4 sections include:
They are essentially the same as Section I in the old syllabus. The combined weighting (15%+15%+18%+7% = 55%) is higher than the old one (35-45%).
Governance, Risk Management, and Control now appear in this section. Originally, these topics were located under Section II in the old syllabus.
Additionally, the subtopics in this section are almost evenly split between a Basic knowledge level requirement and a Proficient knowledge level requirement.
Finally, the weighting has increased from 25-35% to 35%.
Fraud Risks was part of the old Section II. But now, this topic has merged with Section III in Part 2 to form a new separate section. At 10%, the weighting is about the same.
Furthermore, in the old exam, these topics were tested at the Awareness level in Part 1 and progressed to the Proficient level in Part 2. However, in the new exam, candidates must know almost all of these topics at the Proficient level.
The old Section III, Conducting Internal Audit Engagement (25-35%), has moved to Part 2.
The new CIA Part 2 syllabus now clarifies that this part tests the application of internal audit.
Specifically, Part 2 assesses candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the IIA’s Performance Standards (Series 2000, 2200, 2300, 2400, 2500, and 2600) and current internal audit practices.
This section, called Managing the Internal Audit Activity, is the same as Section I in the old syllabus.
Nevertheless, Section I places less emphasis on the strategic role of internal auditors (previously addresses in Section 1A) and now only tests on this topic at the Basic level.
Accordingly, this section has experienced a great reduction in overall weighting, going from 40-50% to 20%.
Previously, Section II on Planning the Engagement was the first part of the old Section II.
Additionally, Section IV on Communicating Engagement Results was the second part of the old Section II.
Not surprisingly, the newly combined weighting of this (20% + 20% = 40%) falls within the same range as the old version (40-50%).
The Performing the Engagement section used to be in Section III in Part 1. But now, the weighting has increased from 25-35% in old Part 1 to 40% in the new Part 2.
The old Section III on Fraud Risk now resides in Section VI. Fraud Risk in Part 1.
The new CIA Part 3 syllabus considerably streamlines this content to feature only the areas most relevant to internal auditors. For example, the IIA removed business competition, conflict management, cultural and political environment, and communications from the new CIA Part 3 syllabus.
Interestingly, the once heavily tested topic about COSO and ISO 31000 seems to have disappeared as well.
As a result, the new syllabus places much greater weight on Information Security and Information Technology.
This Business Acumen section is a combination of the old Sections III and V. For this reason, most of the topics continue to test at the Basic level. However, performance measures and the risk/control implications of common business processes now require a Proficient level of knowledge.
Moreover, with 35%, the weighting of this section stays within the old 25-40% range.
These 2 sections on Information Security and Information Technology pull from the old Section VI on the same subject. But, the weighting has increased significantly, going from a range of 15-25% to 45%.
Although, the cognitive level continues to be Basic. So, this section just tests candidates at an introductory level of the topics.
This section on Financial Management is a duplicate of the old Section VII on the same subject. Hence, the testing level is still Basic for all topics except financial analysis (the ratios).
Once again, the weighting (20%) remains in the same range (15-20%) found in the old syllabus.
Whether the new syllabus makes the exam harder or easier is hard to say. But new exam candidates can rest assured that CIA exam review course providers have updated their content according to the new syllabus and will continue to adjust their practice questions and exams to better reflect the altered exam content as they receive more feedback from candidates.
As I mentioned, the topic switches that took place between the 2018 CIA syllabi and the 2019 CIA syllabi mean that candidates who took Part 1 or Part 2 in 2018 may see some of the same topics when they sit for the other part in 2019.
On the other hand, if you have to retake Part 1 or Part 2 in 2019, you’ll have to study some new topics in order to pass the new version.
Part 3 is now less of a mixed bag, which could be good news for many candidates.
For instance, Governance and ISO 31000 may no longer be tested (at least, the new syllabus does not explicitly mention them as the old syllabus did).
Also, the exam still tests financial management at the Basic level. In that case, those who use Gleim can still stay away from the complex computational practice questions. The ratios remain important though. For this reason, you should memorize the formulas and know how to apply them.
Maybe you’re wondering, “I’ve already passed one part of the CIA exam. Do I need to retake that part in 2019? Will my credit for passing CIA exam parts carry over?”
No, you do not need to retake any passed parts in 2019. Because yes, credit for passed exam parts will carry over. As a result, you can combine credit for a part passed in 2018 with a part passed in 2019. Just remember: you have 3 years to pass all 3 CIA exam parts.
To ensure that you’re prepared for the most recent exam version, you need to study with the most up-to-date review materials. If you purchased an online course that comes with free updates, make sure you accept those changes and get the latest edition of the printed book as well.
If your CIA materials are out of date and you can’t renew them for free, you must invest in new materials so you have the information you need to pass. Thankfully, you can save money on these materials when you use my CIA review discounts to make your purchase.
You can further diminish CIA exam uncertainty by taking our free mini-course. This course will help you pass the CIA exam with ease, so sign up directly below:
The new exam has not been around for long, but we already have some valuable feedback on it from one of our readers. That’s because our reader Lio (who is now officially a CIA!) sat for the CIA Part 3 2019 exam and has this to say about his exam experience:
“Great news! I passed the last part, and I’m now a full-fledged CIA! I’d like to thank you and the rest of the IPasstheCIAExam.com blogging community for helping me get through the last hurdle. Truth be told, your recurring emails about practical advice and review tips as well as your readers’ experiences did help in making sure I stayed focused down to the last stretch.
As a way of giving back to the community, I’d like to share my exam experience with your readers and hope that they, too, could learn from my experience. I think this is also insightful since I probably am one of the few ‘guinea pigs’ writing the new 2019 CIA syllabus exam.
Since it was such a frenzy, and everything happened in a daze (not-so-fun fact: I almost didn’t make it to the exam because I didn’t realize I had an expired driver’s license), I will try to recall as much as I can about the exam content and present that information here in bullet points.
Just a caveat: everything I’m saying here is based solely on my exam. It is very possible that other people who sit for the exam will see very different sets of study unit questions than I did. So without further ado, here are some tips and practical advice you might find useful.
If you look at Lynette’s tips on passing CIA Part 3 last year and compare that with the type of questions I had this year, you can see how what seems to be the new norm is a stark departure from what has been frequently tested in the past. Then again, as I said, what holds true for my exam might not hold true for the exams of others.
I hope this information can add value to your readers who are currently preparing to write Part 3 soon.”
If you would like to contribute your own experience regarding the CIA Exam 2019 to this article, please send me a message.
Gleim CIA Review is the most widely used CIA review course, and many of my readers use it. Therefore, I’d like to demonstrate just how much the CIA exam changed on January 1, 2019, by revealing how much the content of the 2019 edition of Gleim CIA Review differs from the 2018 edition. You can compare the detailed table of contents from each part of the 2019 Gleim course to your 2018 Gleim course to get a better sense of the new CIA exam syllabi’s effects. Also, if you’re interested in purchasing Gleim for your CIA 2019 study materials, make sure to check out my Gleim CIA discount page.
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.