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Contact Us : 800.874.5346 | International: +1 352.375.0772

CIA exam basics: What you need to know before getting started

CIA Exam basics: What you need to know before getting started.

The CIA certification is a great stepping stone for any auditing career. To earn the CIA designation, you first have to pass the CIA exam. Knowing who the CIA exam is for and how it’s designed and administered will give you a leg up. Here are some key facts you need to know before you get started.

The role of the Certified Internal Auditor

The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) administers the CIA exam. According to The IIA, the Mission of Internal Audit is “To enhance and protect organizational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice, and insight.” Many organizations rely on internal auditors to maintain the financial health of the organization. The more experience and knowledge an internal auditor has, the more value they can offer.

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification is the only globally recognized certification in the internal audit and compliance industry. According to The IIA, by earning the CIA, “individuals demonstrate their professionalism in the internal audit field,” and gain “educational experience, information, and business tools that can be applied immediately in any organization or business environment.”

Earning your CIA is a sure way to increase your earning potential and boost your career. More information can be found in our CIA Salary Guide.

The IIA furthers the internal auditing profession

The IIA is a global organization that provides internal audit professionals worldwide with authoritative guidance in the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF).

Becoming a member of The IIA is not required to sit for the exam, but it is strongly recommended because of the money IIA members save on the exam and many other benefits they receive. Other benefits of being an IIA member include access to tools and information to build their careers. Chapters and affiliated institutes around the world hold regular meetings, seminars, and conferences that encourage members to network with peers, develop professional contacts, and stay informed about current issues and practices in internal auditing.

Additionally, The IIA hosts conferences for internal auditors and CIAs; provides continuing professional education courses; publishes newsletters, books, and magazines; and assists with administering the CIA exam through its Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS).

The IIA and the administration of the CIA exam

The CIA exam is produced by The IIA to certify professionals who possess the knowledge and skills to effectively perform internal audit responsibilities in any organization and industry, anywhere in the world.

The CIA exam is a non-disclosed exam created by The IIA’s Professional Certification Department, which is comprised of the Professional Certifications Board (PCB) and the Exam Development Committee (EDC), to reflect current knowledge and practices in the internal auditing profession. Together, these entities write the syllabus and questions, grade the exams, and ensure the integrity of the exam process.

The exam syllabus is free and provided publicly on The IIA’s website. All review providers have the same knowledge about what is tested on the exam and how likely each topic is to be tested. This is to ensure that all candidates, including those who decide to study on their own, have an equal chance of passing the exam and proving themselves to be experts in internal audit.

Gleim analyzes the CIA exam syllabus each time a new one is published to ensure candidates are studying the correct material and testing at the proficiency level needed to pass the exam.

The CIA exam is updated each time there are changes to the standards and guidance, but not immediately. Updated standards are eligible to be tested on the CIA exam 6 months after they take effect. Gleim reviews these changes as soon as they are announced to begin preparing candidates at the earliest testing date.

You can find more detailed information about the CIA exam in our Free CIA Exam Guide, including where to sit for the exam, how it’s graded, and much more!

A non-disclosed CIA exam

The CIA exam is non-disclosed to provide every candidate an equal chance of passing the exam. This means the actual test questions are not released to review providers or the public until they are retired and no longer included on the exam. All review providers are granted the same access to these questions and the exam syllabus. No provider has “insider” knowledge or additional insight over the others.

Although The IIA does offer exam prep materials, it is only as good as the third-party provider can make it. To maintain the CIA exam’s integrity and non-disclosed status, the Professional Certification Department does not provide additional exam details to any one review course. Each review provider, including Gleim, generates its own study materials, including practice questions and exams. Our CIA Review System is designed to help you pass the first time. With our SmartAdapt™ guided review course, thousands of multiple-choice questions, and realistic practice exams, we focus on ensuring our candidates are prepared for any question or topic on the exam!

Previous CIA exam questions

Once CIA exam questions are retired and released to the public, we quickly incorporate them into our review materials. They are important for practice and familiarity with the CIA exam, and we know its valuable for CIA candidates to get this practice as soon as possible.

However, just testing with these questions is not enough. Gleim also uses the released questions as blueprints for writing additional practice questions. We believe that the more practice questions candidates have, the more familiar they’ll become to the tricks and common mistakes while taking the test.

More questions also means more of our signature answer explanations, which describe why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Each question is an additional learning opportunity to ensure candidates are as prepared as they can be going into their exam. Because the CIA exam is non-disclosed, our goal is for CIA candidates to learn the concepts behind the questions rather than memorizing them.

You can take a sample quiz of CIA practice questions for free on our website. Test your knowledge with questions similar to those you’ll see on the exam!

The most widely used CIA exam prep

With all the perks of becoming a CIA, including the value you will bring to your organization, it’s important to choose the right CIA exam review provider for your studies. We created the very first CIA review course in 1980, and we put our 40 years of experience to work for you. Gleim is the best CIA exam prep course available, and we are ready to help you pass with confidence!

The full first study unit of our innovative SmartAdapt™ Premium Review Course is free for you to try right now. Sign up for the demo to see for yourself how the system has helped CIA candidates pass their exams on the first attempt!