CIA Exam Question Tips

cia exam question tips

The only kind of question you’ll see on the CIA exam is multiple-choice. While you’ve seen multiple-choice questions (MCQs) before, you have yet to face the over 300 MCQs appearing on all three parts of the CIA exam combined. So while this question type is familiar, the best practices for answering them probably aren’t. But you don’t have to worry, because we’ve got the information you need to master these MCQs. Prepare for CIA exam success today with our tips and time management system for CIA exam questions.

Question Count

Before we get to our suggestions, we’ll get you up to speed on CIA exam questions by covering some exam basics, which we’ve organized for you in the chart below.

Exam Format


Number of Questions

Total Testing Time

Part 1: Internal Audit Basics


2 ½ hours

Part 2: Internal Audit Practice


2 hours

Part 3: Internal Audit Knowledge Elements


2 hours

Knowing exactly how many questions are on the exam and how much time you’ll have to answer them reinforces the need for an effective question-answering strategy. You want to make sure you get to every question and do your best on all of them. Thankfully, we’ve got that strategy for you right here.

Tips for Answering CIA Questions

To give yourself every advantage on CIA exam questions, follow these tips:

  • Complete plenty of practice quizzes.

    What is the best way to prepare for 325 CIA exam questions? Answer a lot of practice MCQs. When you use a comprehensive test bank of exam-emulating questions, you can meet your MCQ quota by taking multiple practice quizzes a day. This habit

    • Prepares you for every type of CIA MCQ by increasing your exposure to the exam content
    • Strengthens your weak areas by helping you learn from your mistakes
    • Expands your understanding of the exam content beyond memorization
    • Familiarizes you with the look and layout of the CIA exam

    Each practice question you answer is an opportunity to improve your testing techniques and deepen your conceptual understanding before exam day. Review all of the answer explanations so you can validate or correct your thought process, and don’t feel bad about low scores, because you learn more from getting questions wrong than right. Every mistake you make now is one you’re less likely to make when it counts.

  • Work through the question systematically.

    Both during your practice quizzes and the actual exam, start by reading the sentence that is actually asking the question. This is usually the last sentence of the question stem. Use the question to categorize the information in the stem as essential and non-essential. Finally, write down the important information and refer to your notes as you assess the answer choices. This step spares you from having to read any more than you have to.

  • Apply your exam time management strategy when you answer practice MCQs.

    In the CIA exam, a timer on the exam screens shows the minutes and seconds you have left, so you don’t have to rely on your watch like during some other professional exams. Make this adjustment before your testing appointment by thinking in terms of minutes and seconds throughout your study sessions. Then, use either our suggested CIA exam time management system below or your own variation to take practice quizzes and exams so it’s second nature by exam day.

  • Make an educated guess.

    When you encounter CIA exam questions that are ambiguous or unfamiliar, don’t let it shake your confidence. Make an educated guess instead. Educated guessing involves three steps:

    • Rule out easily identifiable distractors.
    • Speculate on the rationale behind the question.
    • Select the best answer or your best guess between two equally appealing options.

    Once you’ve made your guess with a real exam question, mark that question and move on. You can return to that question during your review, but you should not waste time agonizing over your best guess. During your study sessions, read the answer explanations for all of the questions so you can see the results of your guess and get the information you need to avoid guessing next time.

Time Management

Managing your time well is critical to passing the CIA exam. The exam timer offers no guidance for breaks or time allocation among questions; it only shows the remaining time for the entire exam. It’s up to you to establish and adhere to a time management system. Spare yourself some hassle by using the Gleim Time Management System for the CIA exam.

Part 1 Time Management System

The key to finishing 125 MCQs in two and a half hours is answering MCQs at a rate of one minute per question. At this rate, you can complete all the questions in 125 minutes and have 25 minutes left over to review any unanswered or marked questions.

Part 1 Time Management System

Testing Activity

Time Per Question

Total Time

Answer 125 MCQs

One minute

125 minutes

Review marked questions


25 minutes

Finish entire exam

150 minutes

If you average one minute per question during the exam, you’ll begin a new set of 20 questions every 20 minutes. To stay on track, look for these checkpoints on the exam timer:

  • Question 1 – 150:00
  • Question 21 – 130:00
  • Question 41 – 110:00
  • Question 61 – 90:00
  • Question 81 – 70:00
  • Question 101 – 50:00
  • Question 121 – 30:00

As you can see, this system allows you to finish 125 questions with 25 minutes to review.

Part 2 and Part 3 Time Management Systems

Both Part 2 and Part 3 require you to answer 100 MCQs in 2 hours. Though the number of questions and total testing time differ from Part 1, we still recommend answering MCQs at a rate of one minute per question.
When you stick to this pace, you’ll see the following minutes and seconds displayed on the exam timer at these checkpoints:

  • Question 1 – 120:00
  • Question 21 – 100:00
  • Question 41 – 80:00
  • Question 61 – 60:00
  • Question 81 – 40:00

With this system, you will finish 100 questions with 20 minutes left to review.

No matter how much extra time you have left, use it wisely and use it all; don’t leave the testing center early.

Best Exam Practice Questions

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to put these important tips into practice when you review with the best CIA test bank available. You’ll find that test bank in the #1 CIA exam prep, Gleim CIA Review. Our course offers the best content coverage and the most refined test bank of MCQs on the market. Our questions also replicate the look and feel of the real CIA exam, so you can get comfortable with every aspect of the exam environment, not just the timing, before you sit. Introduce yourself to some of our high-quality practice MCQs today by accessing our free CIA exam questions!