This is originally a very, very long comment on my Part 3 tips page. Special things to David who took the time to give back to our community. All the best to you!
I passed CIA Part III today, first time! This means that I’ve now achieved my CIA!
I wanted to say a huge thank you for the postings on this site, as I believe this is what made the difference between passing and failing. Have posted my experience in case it helps anyone.
I’m a non-accountant, so I had zero background in the accounting questions and was super intimidated by them.
I used Gleim a lot for Part II and CIA for Part I. Like many others, the number of questions on Gleim (2,000 or so) appealed. To pass Part II I basically read the CIA book once and then hit the multiple choice questions hard. This worked and I passed Part II (and Part I) first time.
Part III was a big shock in terms of the amount of material to cover, particularly if you’re not an accountant or IT person.
I started by using the same strategy for Part III as I’d used for Part II. Read CIA books once, then spent literally hundreds of hours on multiple choice questions. I spent LOADS of time on the accounting parts as I basically knew nothing and found them very complicated. I also used Gleim’s video presentations by a ‘human instructor’ that are part of the materials and would recommend this to anyone struggling with accounting.
On the week of the exam, I was feeling pretty confident. 80%+ on both Gleim and CIA questions. But I now realize I was learning the questions and not the material.
I took the IIA’s official practice exam two days before the exam just to check I was in good shape. I failed badly, five out of eight areas failed!
I freaked out and considered rescheduling the exam, but having taken two weeks off work to study, I at least wanted to give it a shot.
That’s when I found this site – luckily before I took the exam and not afterwards, as happened to some others on here who weren’t so lucky (you’ll get there for sure!).
Everything I read on here was correct. I crammed for two days based on what people had said:
Both Gleim and CIA don’t do this justice, particularly Gleim. CIA has it all in, but its not obvious how important it is to study it when there are so many other things to study. Understanding ERM fully, various frameworks etc was essential, and I only did that because I read this site. I read practice guides as suggested, for governance, Risk Management etc.
Very glad I’d studied that in detail. I read practice guide from IIA on this.
Definitely study hard on IT, in particular make sure to read practice guides for GTAG as was suggested.
I totally overstudied on this, although I now actually understand finance, financial accounting and managerial accounting 🙂 My advice would be don’t spend too much time on multiple choice calculations, but focus more on principles and understanding these. Again, this advice was on this site, and I wish I’d seen it a few weeks ago!
Finally, I also bought 90 day access to Exammatrix questions, to try to get around the issue that I had ‘learned’ the questions in the other two learning systems. It kind of helped a bit, but the site quality is pretty poor and some of the questions are the same as in other learning systems. So I’d say it’s probably not worth it, I was just panicking and should probably have spent the time reading practice guides.
(and believe me, I don’t want to), I’d probably:
Read and actually learn the material in the CIA books, as in take notes, summarize and not just read the pages. I did that right at the end of my study and I think its what helped me pass.
Read all the practice guides on the IIA site if you have plenty of time to study, or a lot of them. They are well written and help reinforce learning from the CIA books.
DO NOT max out on Gleim multiple choice question answering, particularly for financial areas. While this strategy of repeated question answering helped a lot in Part II, it didn’t in Part III where the questions are a lot more conceptual. There’s too much material to ‘learn’ it just by answering questions, and the questions on the actual exam are not obvious to answer.
I would use the video presentations on Gleim though if you have time, found them helpful for tough material.
To all those yet to attain their CIA, stick with it! You’ll get there! I had almost zero experience in Internal Audit when I started studying for the designation.
In case you missed it, David used these review courses to pass:
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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