I Pass the CIA Exam!

Kostas Passing CIA Part 3 Exam! Special Sharing with Readers


pass-examKostas is one of our readers who recently passed Part 3 of the CIA exam. Here is his sharing.

Good morning. On 15/7 I took and passed part 3 of CIA. This was my second attempt since on the first one I was not prepared at all, due to heavy workload. I scored 575.

My CIA Exam Part 3 Experience

Here is my experience and my attempt to help others pass this very difficult test:

Review Course

I only used Gleimgleim cia review for my study and even though it is sufficient enough you will need supplementary study on ISO 31000 and CSR and IIA PA’s.

I studied for approximately 20 hrs per week for 3 months. Reading book, making notes and doing MCQ’s every day. I managed to score from 96% to 100% before taking the exam.

Exam Experience

I had approximately 15 finance questions, mostly on inventories, of which only 2 required some basic calculations.

IT focused on RAD and IT controls (general and application). Approximately 15 questions.

ISO 31000 (risk management) and CSR were heavily tested.

The rest of the questions were a mix of all the rest of the study units (decentralized organizations, collectivism vs individualism, tax, exchange rates, globalized markets, fragmented and emerging industries etc.

Approximately 5 questions were same as Gleim’s.

Study Tips and Exam Taking Strategies

When preparing for the exam

Focus on analyzing the question and find out what exactly the examiner requests from you. DO NOT overthink and stick to the question subject. This way you may easily eliminate at least 2 if not the 3 wrong answers.

Some questions, within the test are RELATED. You may find yourself in a situation were you do not know a topic at all or it seems odd, however in later questions this topic arises again and you are able to understand to what it relates and find the correct answer. Go back to the other question and correct what seemingly was VERY hard to answer. Pay attention.

Some questions seem general in nature and disrupt your focus on what they request. Well again stay focused and find the topic that it relates to from the answers to the question. Read the answers and then the question again and make them TRUE/FALSE.

Some questions were straight forward and you knew the answer just by having studied a lot.

Trick is to understand the concepts when reading and NOT just learning by heart.

During the exam

FOCUS. Yes it is difficult and you are anxious. Yes i know. However when you see a difficult question immediately move to the next one and DO NOT panic. It is a roller-coaster. You will get 2 difficult, then one easy and then 1 odd and 1 subjective and then 1 out of the blue and then 2 easy or whatever. This is the MAJOR difficulty of the exam. Control your emotions. If you are feeling like being fed up and your head hurting, well then you are in the correct path.

Focus on the goal and motivate yourself with every question you find difficult. If you studied hard then you have to understand that by 95% you know the answer. Also guess what…this answer is provided below. NAIL IT.

Good luck to everybody.

Note from Stephanie

Kosta, congrats again in nailing your Part 3, finally! We as a community are really glad to hear your success. Thank you for reassuring that understanding the concepts is important, and if we know our stuff, quite a few questions can be straightforward.

And when we face tough questions, your tips on looking for hints from other questions as well as the focus in eliminating wrong answers are really helpful. Also, using the true/false method to narrow down the choices is great.

Thank you for this thoughtful sharing. We wish you all the best!

For Your Further Reading

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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  • Art Yip says:


    Congratulations! Passing Part 3 is a great accomplishment! Great to see you offer such insightful tips to help others as well! Sounds like the main focus on Part 3 is still IT, Risk Management and Governance!

    • Kostas says:

      Yes Art…We talked through facebook and you gave me some of the best advice for supplementary material to study. Thank you for that and for your nice words. I am just trying to give my portion of help to fellow candidates.
      Yes IT, finance, risk management and Governance are approximately 55% of the test.

    • Heinrich says:

      Dear Reader, could you big please share a copy of the IG 2110 Governance. I don’t not have the global access to download it myself.
      Thanks in advance.

  • Kitten says:

    Was the finance questions difficult? Or just reading the concepts is enough since I have an accounting background? And was the calculations questions from inventories only? If not can you advice from which chapter so we can foucuse on


    • Kostas says:

      Good morning Kitten,

      The Finance questions were not difficult and only 2-3 required basic calculations. No the calculations were not from inventory only. They included some financial ratios also but in basic level. However the focus of finance questions was on inventories.

      Good luck to you

  • Hary says:

    Congrats Kostas, big achievement!
    I have a question regarding IT section, you mention that some of the focus was on RAD, what does it stand for?

    • Kostas says:

      Dear Hary,

      RAD is Rapid Application Development. It is an IT concept opposed to System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), that promotes a more agile way of creating applications and maintaining them.

  • Ivan says:

    Congratulations, Kostas!

    Kostas, can you share with us what is your background?
    And how many times you spent for studying each part? And is it true that to mastered part 3 we have to study two times harder than part 1 or part 2 because of abundant topics covered in part 3?
    One more question regarding part 1-3, is it enough for me to just studying gleim’s book and test prep ($447) instead of buying the traditional or premium pack?

    Thanks a lot !

    • Kostas says:

      Good morning Ivan,

      My background is 10 years audit experience, and currently going for audit executive for a major global insurance entity in my home country operations (i will take it from there for further advancement globally). However do not mess things up. Experience helped me but not that much. On the contrary i would say sometimes the things you do in day to day at work are not “best practice”, since efficiency is more important.

      I spent studying for part 1 and part 2 for about 2 weeks for each. For part 3 though i spent a good amount of 3 months studying.

      Yes you may study only the book and test prep (along the supplementary materials we all remark here) and you will be fine. At least that is what i did.

  • Cristina says:

    Hi Kostas,

    Congrats on passing! What supplementary materials did you use for CSR and ISO 31000?

    • Kostas says:

      Good morning Cristina,

      For CSR i just used youtube tutorials and explanation guides to understand fully the topic in depth. For ISO 31000 there is a supplementary guide in IIA members part for risk management in the private sector. You may find it there.

  • F. Sharif says:

    Hello Mr. Kostas, I had the same issue with ISO 31000 and CSR, please can you say for us what supplementary material you used to cover them for the exam?
    Thank you

  • Bamidele says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I registered for the CIA exam in November 2012 – i recently started working at the time and a lot of my colleagues were talking CIA so thought to enroll. I attempted Part 1 immediately and i failed. I abandoned the exams for a period of two years in pursuit of my accounting qualification (ACA) while i obtained in 2014. In January 2016, i attempted part 1 again and i passed it. I have also passed Part 2. My CIA Application was for expires in November 2016 (i.e. 11/26/2012 – 11/26/2016). When i contacted the IIA, i was told
    the deadline to register for Part 3 is 11/26/2016 with 180 days to sit for the exam, but if unsuccessful, ALL PASSED PARTS AND THEIR FEES ARE FORFEITED. The IIA also offers one-time Certification Candidate Program Extension at a cost of $250 per applicant.

    Please how true is the information in Caps – the forfeiture of passed parts if one does not pass Part 3 before expiration of Application.

    • Stephanie says:

      Yes, Bamidele, I am afraid it is correct. One has to complete the 3 parts within 4 years. I didn’t know that you can pay to get it extended… while it is costly, I would do that (and definitely get Part 3 done this time!)

  • Badryah Hassan says:

    Congrats, I hope I will pass also but I have a small request.
    kindly share with as your tips for part one I did it on 31/07/2016 and I failed and I don’t want to fail again on my second attempt

    Thank you and congrats again
    Badryah Hassan Al Belooshi

  • Matt J says:

    Quick question. How do you check your score? I know I passed Part 1 and 2, but never get my score.

  • Matt J says:

    I just got a 594 on my first try on Part 3. Does that mean I missed passing by a question or 2? Or am I farther off than that?

  • Mav R says:

    Hi Stephanie, Kostas, Lynnel and every contributor of blogs and stories. I just passed Part 3 recently for the first time. I still have Part 1 to take, though. I’m glad I saw your blog entries and stories regarding CIA Part 3 tips. Everything are on point. ISO31000 and CSR are still relevant and majorly highlighted in the exam. I must say Confidence is a key. I did not study all and every MCQ, test prep that are in my custody. All I had were my confidence and in-depth understanding of all topics. I used Gleim alone. I also read PG on ISO31000 and CSR, one-time only. Thank you for all the tips, hoping you will help more aspiring CIA candidates in the future.

    -Mav R.

  • Khadija says:

    Please tell me about the finance part.i have done questions from Gleim and have startedthe IIA learning system questions but those are tough. Is Gleim sufficient?

  • Andrea says:

    Hi all,

    I want to share my experience here, and let you know that passing CIA is possible. I´m an internal auditor, and my native language is Spanish, and I’m from South America, so the CIA here is almost like a dream, the main drawbacks is that EVERYTHING is in English.

    The overall process to pass the 1, 2 and 3 parts took me 5 months. The part 1 and 2 I did with gleim and standards. And when I started to study for the third part, was the main shook, the amount of material was overwhelming, and I felt that was almost impossible to understand everything and my brain started to melt. The financial and accounting part was the most challenging due to the amount of information and again in another language where nothing makes sense.

    After that, I came across to this website, and everyone was talking about the financial and accounting part as not as difficult as Gleim present it, and I thought if I do not trust my colleagues what I am? A monster? jajaja . So, I put all my trust on the tips and I simply did not study the Gleim questions for the financial and accounting part and I just read the concepts, every page with calculations I just skipped that section (It was hard, believe me). Additionally, I just took the syllabus, and I tried to match the IT concepts with the GTAGs , I did the same thing for Governance and Risk management.

    The night before the test I did not sleep, the only thing that was in my head was the words of most of my bosses saying that for a staff auditor will be impossible to pass the cia because they hold higher positions in the company and they could not make it (Senior managers and Directors).

    The day of the test (Today), I was so nervous that I could not eat, or drink anything, when the test started I felt like this is it, I have to answer every question thinking that this must make sense in the reality in every day business.

    About the questions, 20 IT, 30 Governance, RM and CSR, the rest was a mix of the syllabus but common sense questions. And JUST 3 BASIC CALCULATIONS, one depreciation, acid test, and variable costing ( did not know that one).

    Finally, when I pressed send, I think my heart stop for a while ( Sorry the dramatism but I´m latin). And the printer started to sound and I felt like that moment took an eternity. And the results were there: Pass, I love that word know. ( I had my Hollywood moment, like in the movie pursuit of happiness)

    Overall, I want to let you know that is possible, you must overcome everything that is in your head and think positively. In my case, only 30 people are CIA in my country and they are Directors and Senior manager. And now I am a CIA too.

    • Stephanie says:

      Wonderful story Andrea! (and I love your Latin dramatism LOL)

      If one day I publish a book on the CIA exam (just like I did on the CPA exam), I will certainly include your story 🙂

      I hope you’ll join Annette who aspires to build up the internal audit industry in her country. You can make a difference in your profession in a really meaningful way. All the best! Stephanie

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