How did I Pass Part 3 First Time?


Our blogger Lynnel is back with yet another awesome posts on the reflection of her CIA exam journey.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Your dream may be hard to achieve but, you do not want to let your dream be just a dream.

Hi every one! I am back with another blog.

I believe Part 3 is the hardest part among the CIA exam so I decided to write a blog post on how I passed part 3 first time. This piece is meant to share my thoughts, inspire others to persevere, and give back to the whole community.

For those who may ask, I have blog posts for study techniques and have documented six weeks of my preparation for Part 3. It took exactly 12 months since I passed all parts, but it doesn’t matter because everything is worth it.

When I was going through the thread for Part 3 in this page, I really felt discouraged because of others failing the exam and it seems impossible for them to pass part 3 because it is very hard.

After reading feedbacks and talking to everyone who passed Part 3 , I thought of one question — how did they pass? So, I decided to make my own formula to pass the exam.

Formula to Pass the CIA Exam

CIA (100%) = Good foundation of concepts (80%) + Exam test skill (10%) + Emotional preparation (10%)

The formula is subjective and is all based on my opinion, but I believe that this is applicable to any type or kind of exams.

1. Good Foundation of Concepts

Study plan and study strategies/techniques

Every person is different, so one must know his/herself very well on how one will pass the exam. You need to assess yourself about your own learning style, be it reading, answering questions, watching videos and etc.

On my part, I noticed that I absorbed the concepts really well by reading and writing or summarizing concepts. There is a blog post by Annette on different kinds of learning styles you may want to check it out. In addition, I have a separate part of blog for my study plan for part 3.

Assess weaknesses

Once I am done with my review and answering practice questions I make sure I look through my weaknesses on each chapter or sub-unit and highlight it. I usually trace incorrect answers from practice questions to the books or guides and mark it.

2. Exam Test Taking Skill

On every exam, for sure there will be unfamiliar questions or some others called it, questions that are out of this world. So, the key is to develop your exam test taking skill and make an educated guess. Cross out unrelated answers to questions or answers that are similar in type and pick the one that is more related to questions being asked.

On the other hand, exam test skill includes time management. On practice questions, I usually answer questions that are short and easy within 30 seconds and skip questions that are hard and long. In addition, I do not change answers, I make sure I pick the right answer first time.

3. Emotional Preparation

I know it is very hard to control emotions, but do not let your emotions overpower. Always remain positive, calm and claim that you can and will do it. Meditation really helps me a lot to think positive and remain calm. I also put my favorite quotes on my desk and notebook to be reminded always about my dream.

4. Spiritual Guidance

I did not include it in the formula and decided to make it invisible because I respect everyone’s differences in terms of religion. But, spiritual guidance has been one of the top components in my own formula that supports me (or us) to pass the CIA exam.

I hope this post helps. Always remember, “Dream, Believe and Achieve”.

Note from Stephanie

Another very insightful post! I especially like your 80% concepts + 10% test taking strategies + 10% mental preparation.

Many candidates miss one of these components or over-emphasize the importance of one of them. For example, there are always readers who keep asking about the “tips” even after showing them my mega page with 38 suggestions. For these candidates, they should have focused more on the core concepts instead of looking for the magic bullet to ace the exam.

At the same time, there are others who keep reading the book the tenth time without properly managing their emotion for proper test taking. They keep panicking and ask what else they should cover more. Instead what they need to do is simply relax, go over the weaker areas, and maybe one final look at the important concepts.

So please take a moment to digest Lynnel’s wisdom. As she said, this formula applies to every exam.

Good luck to you all! Stephanie

About the Author Lynnel

Lynnel is a recent graduate, with a BSBA Major in Internal Auditing in the Philippines. Lynnel passed Part 1 and 2 on the same day, and Part 3 on her first attempt.

  • Annette says:

    Hi Lynnel

    Great formula! I had a bit of an imbalance, more emotions less foundation of concepts – hence my struggle. Definitely something to remember for the future.

  • Hema says:

    Hi Lynnel, I really like preparation formula: Read to familiarise, Read to understand and final reading for retention. I have intended to take up CIA, and so surveying about this. Your posts have come handy.

  • Aubrey says:

    Passed my part 3 today… Thanks for the bloggers on this website your predictions for the exam were spot on .Glad I followed the advice from these blogs..thank you all

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