I have readers who take the CIA exam because they are approaching a corporate ceiling that cannot exceed without the CIA certification. For them, they worry if they are too old for this exam.
On the other hand, we have those who are at school, interested in internal audit, and wonder if they can take the exam before graduation.
The question is: when to take the CIA exam? Is there an ideal timing for this?
It is fair to say that, for professional exams such as the CIA exam, there is certain amount of content that we need to memorize. The older we are, the less efficient we function for rote memorization. This is something mature candidates have to accept.
However, the CIA exam involves questions that test on real business situation, and how internal audit is performed on a daily basis. For this, experienced candidates have distinct advantage.
It’s the opposite for candidates who haven’t yet joined the workforce. You excel in memory power, but lack the experience to analyze some of the more “real-life” questions.
There are additional to take the CIA exam at a young age:
1. Student discount
One tangible benefit is the discount on IIA membership and further discount on application and exam fees. You can save up to $400 altogether.
Students have more flexible time schedule, which is very helpful for exam preparation.
1. Is it relevant down the road?
You may find your internal audit class very interesting, but is it the same thing at the workplace? you might waste time, money and effort taking the CIA exam, only to go on to another accounting niche at a later time.
There isn’t a distinct advantage or disadvantage that I can think of, but if you believe that the CIA title can help you make more money as shown in IIA survey, then yes, your opportunity cost is higher if you postpone your plan of getting certified.
What are your thoughts? Please share your story and thoughts in the comment section below.
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.