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CIA Exam Changes

On January 1, 2019, The IIA made major content updates to the English version of the CIA exam. These changes included adding new testable topics and reorganizing topics on the CIA exam. These extensive changes were made in an effort to keep the CIA exam up to date with current auditing best practices and the role of an internal auditor. Throughout 2019 and 2020 The IIA will be updating the translated versions of the exam.

Want to learn about any CIA exam changes? You will find all you need to know about changes and updates to the CIA exam right here in our comprehensive guide.

CIA Certification Online Testing

In response to worldwide Pearson VUE test center closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The IIA has partnered with Pearson VUE to offer online testing of CIA exams. This option became available starting April 29, 2020, for an initial 3-month trial period. The IIA will then determine whether to continue online testing or not.

The IIA has updated their Certification Candidate Handbook, Appendix D, to incorporate information about online proctoring.

Online testing allows CIA candidates to take their exams in the safety of their own home or office. During this time of uncertainty, this ensures candidates are able to complete their exams and meet their certification requirements.

Languages available for online testing

Online testing is available in multiple languages, but candidates will need to communicate with the proctor in English. See our chart below for language availability dates. Pearson VUE greeters, proctors, and tech support are only available in English, and you must be able to communicate with your proctor in English to participate.

LanguageStart Date
EnglishApril 29, 2020
JapaneseMay 6, 2020
Arabic, Turkish, Russian, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Thai, and KoreanMay 27, 2020
Czech, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, and PolishJune 7, 2020
English CIA Challenge Exam for Specialty ProgramsComing Soon

Note: Online testing is not available everywhere. Currently, Cuba, mainland China, North Korea, Slovenia, Sudan, and Syria are not offering online testing.

Requirements to take the CIA exam online

You will need three things to sit for your exam at home: a reliable device with a webcam; a quiet, private location where you won’t be interrupted; and a strong internet connection.

System requirements can be found on the Pearson VUE online testing page. Gleim and The IIA recommend you read these requirements carefully before scheduling your exam. You may download the Pearson VUE software in advance to test your system for compatibility. Pearson VUE has technical support available to assist with any issues that arise.

Candidates must ensure their workspace fulfills the security requirements of the exam, which includes having only one monitor and no other computers on during your exam. If you are suspected of cheating or tampering with the software, your exam will be immediately terminated. This will be reported to Pearson VUE and The IIA, potentially invalidating your exam.

Acceptable online testing locations

Candidates are advised to test in a quiet, private room in their home or office. The room must be inspected by a proctor prior to beginning your exam. This is done via photos submitted through the downloaded exam software. If you have any whiteboards or items with writing on a wall, these will be inspected prior to your exam. If your room fails the inspection, you will be labeled a “no-show” and will need to register and pay the exam fees again.

You cannot have anyone else in the room with you while you are testing. If the exam proctor suspects a third party in the room, your exam could be terminated. Be sure to alert any individuals that are in your office or home not to disturb you during your exam! You are not allowed any paper, notebooks, or writing utensils within arm’s reach of your workspace. You cannot have any physical scratch paper or whiteboards.

Cost for online testing

Pricing for the English exams is listed below. Online testing is the same cost than testing at a Pearson VUE test center, so be sure your home or office meets the testing requirements before you pay to register! Candidates who would normally go through their local affiliate to register and schedule their exams must still do so.

PartMember PriceNonmember Price
Part 1$280 USD$395 USD
Part 2$230 USD$345 USD
Part 3$230 USD$345 USD

How to schedule an exam for online testing

Register to sit for your exam using online testing through your CCMS account. Be sure to read the Pearson VUE online testing page thoroughly to make sure this is a viable option. There is an option to “Test my system,” which can be helpful to determine if your station meets the technical requirements.

When registering for your exam on CCMS, select “At my home or office” on the “Select Exam Delivery Option” page. You can schedule exams every quarter hour (9 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., etc.) and may even be able to schedule your exam on the same day you take it, depending on availability.

Steps to register for online testing

  1. Log into CCMS.
  2. Click “Manage My Program.”
  3. Under “TEST” on the left navigation bar:
    1. If you have not yet registered for an exam, click “Register” and complete the registration process.
    2. If you already have an exam scheduled, click “Manage my Appointment.”
      1. In “Upcoming Appointments,” click the exam you wish to change.
      2. Cancel your appointment.
      3. Reschedule your exam via online testing.

NOTE: If you do not see the option to schedule for online testing, click “Help” in CCMS and open a new case. Select the “Request OP-Delivery for Existing Registration” category.

Starting your exam

Pearson VUE has instructions on their site for exam-day procedures. You will still need to be on time for your exam, but you should plan to be there up to 30 minutes earlier to complete the check-in process, including submitting your ID and other security details. If you are late due to a prolonged check-in process, you can be labeled a “no-show” and risk registering and paying the exam fees again. It can take up to 10 minutes to get a proctor, who will be monitoring you both visually and audibly during your entire exam.

Handling technical issues

According to Pearson VUE, the most common technical issues are an unreliable internet connection (less than 3 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up) or an unauthorized program running simultaneously. CIA candidates can verify both by testing their software and making sure all unauthorized programs are exited before their exam.

If you have a minor internet outage, the exam will pause until connection is resumed. However, if your connection is disrupted for a long period of time, the exam will be terminated and a case will be opened for review.

If you have any other technical issues after meeting with the greeter, Pearson VUE will automatically log a case on your behalf. Due to high volume, it may take 3-5 business days for Pearson VUE to review your case. However, if your exam is terminated or paused, you will not be able to resume your exam session.

Contact Pearson VUE’s IIA-specific customer service via online chat or over the phone. Remember, all greeters, proctors, and technical support are only available in English.

THE Gleim Logo SOLUTION 


Practice testing in an environment similar to the exam! With Gleim’s exam-emulating software, you can practice answering questions under these conditions. Take note of anything that distracts you during your quizzes (outside noises, room decorations, etc.) and learn to work past these distractions or identify whether you should remove them during future quizzes and your exam! Be sure to clean your desk of any papers or notes. If you take notes during your quizzes, use an online note taking tool to mimic the digital whiteboard instead of physical paper.

Major differences between an in-person and online exam

Some of the major differences of the online exam are as follows:

  • No physical scratch paper or whiteboards may be used. Any writing utensil or surface within arm’s reach can be grounds for terminating your exam. A digital whiteboard will be available.
  • You will not be allowed breaks. The CIA exam has no scheduled breaks, so you will need to remain seated for the entire exam length. Getting up from your seat could result in a disqualification of your exam.
  • You will not be allowed food or drinks other than water in a clear glass. Chewing gum is also prohibited.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When will I receive my score report?

Once your exam is completed, you will receive an unofficial “pass” or “fail” result on your screen. Just as with an in-person exam, you will also receive a numeric score for an unsuccessful attempt. Candidates will have the option to print their exam result or save it as a PDF. You will still receive an email when your official exam result becomes available.

Can I challenge the decision if a proctor terminates my exam?

The Pearson VUE online testing page states that if an exam is terminated for suspicion of cheating or tampering with the software, or if a third party is detected in the physical room, a log will be made and reported to The IIA. You need to contact The IIA or Pearson VUE if you feel your exam was unfairly terminated.

Can I take the exam someplace that isn’t a home or office?

Pearson VUE states that your testing location should be a walled room with a closed door and without distractions. Places that aren’t entirely private, such as a rented room in a library, may be difficult to secure well enough for your exam. Additionally, the computer you use MUST meet the technical requirements (you must have a webcam, steady internet connection, and the ability to download the testing software).

If you plan to sit someplace that isn’t a home or office, check with a Pearson VUE customer service agent either over the phone or through their chat service to help determine if your location is acceptable.

CIA Exam Changes Overview

The IIA has streamlined the CIA exam by redefining the three exam parts according to The IIA’s 2017 global job-analysis study. Each part will better test the knowledge and skills required of current internal auditors.

Now, content is more evenly distributed across all three parts and topics in Part 3 no longer overlap with those in Parts 1 and 2. This redistribution has made it more important to take Part 3 last, but it is now more feasible for candidates to take Part 3 either first or last. Parts 1 and 2 should continue to be taken in numerical order because topics tested in Part 2 still build on those found in Part 1.

Part 3 still requires a basic knowledge of topics that relate peripherally—but not directly—to auditing. However, now Part 3 has an increased focused on IT-related topics and how they pertain to auditing.

BIGGEST CHANGES ACROSS THE EXAM

The amount of variance in Part 3 topics is now much fewer.

Governance is now tested in Part 1.

Data Analytics is now tested in Part 3.

Topics now include a rating of “Basic” or “Proficient” denoting the level of understanding necessary to answer questions on that topic.

CIA Exam Changes Timeline

The new CIA exam syllabus took effect January 1, 2019, for the English version of the exam. The new exam has been translated into most languages and will continue to be translated into others throughout 2020 and 2021.

Upcoming language translations

The new CIA exam will be released in the following languages starting on the listed date.

LanguageAvailability Date
Simplified ChineseJune 1, 2020
PolishJanuary 1, 2021

Discontinued languages

The following languages will be discontinued, and the last dates to sit for the 2018 version of the exam in these languages are listed.

LanguageLast Date
HebrewDecember 31, 2020
IndonesianDecember 31, 2020
CzechMay 31, 2021
ItalianMay 31, 2021

Part 1: Essentials of Internal Auditing

Previous Part Title: Internal Audit Basics
BIGGEST CHANGES IN PART 1

Includes Governance, which is now a main focus

Greater alignment with The IIA’s Attribute Standards

Cognitive levels: 14 basic topics, 16 proficient topics

2018 Syllabus
I. Mandatory Guidance
Now in Part 1, Area I. Foundations of Internal Auditing
35-45%
II. Internal Control/Risk
Now in Part 1, Area V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control & Part 1, Area VI. Fraud Risk
25-35%

III. Conducting Internal Audit Engagements — Auditing Tools and Techniques
Now in Part 1, Area III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care
Content about Data Analytics now in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen

25-35%
2019 Syllabus
Ι. Foundations of Internal Auditing15%
ΙΙ. Independence and Objectivity15%
ΙΙΙ. Proficiency and Due Professional Care18%
ΙV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Programs7%
V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control35%
VI. Fraud Risk10%
BIGGEST CHANGES IN PART 1

Includes Governance, which is now a main focus

Greater alignment with the IIA’s Attribute Standards

Cognitive levels: 14 basic topics, 16 proficient topics

2018 Syllabus
I. Mandatory Guidance
Now in Part 1, Area I. Foundations of Internal Auditing
35-45%
II. Internal Control/Risk
Now in Part 1, Area V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control & Part 1, Area VI. Fraud Risk
25-35%

III. Conducting Internal Audit Engagements — Auditing Tools and Techniques
Now in Part 1, Area III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care
Content about Data Analytics now in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen

25-35%
2019 Syllabus
Ι. Foundations of Internal Auditing15%
ΙΙ. Independence and Objectivity15%
ΙΙΙ. Proficiency and Due Professional Care18%
ΙV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Programs7%
V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control35%
VI. Fraud Risk10%

Part 2: Practice of Internal Auditing

Previous Part Title: Internal Audit Practice
BIGGEST CHANGES IN PART 2

No longer tests on fraud risk (although risk is still an element of Part 2)

Goes deeper into the Information Gathering process under Domain 3, Performing the Engagement.

 Cognitive levels: 14 basic topics, 21 proficient topics

2018 Syllabus
I. Managing the Internal Audit Function
Now in Part 2, Area I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity
40-50%
II. Managing Individual Engagements
Now in Part 2, Area II. Planning the Engagement, Part 2, Area III. Performing the Engagement, & Part 2, Area IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress.
40-50%
ΙΙΙ. Fraud Risks and Controls
Now in Part 1, Area VI. Fraud Risk
5-15%
2019 Syllabus
Ι. Managing the Internal Audit Activity20%
ΙΙ. Planning the Engagement20%
ΙΙΙ. Performing the Engagement40%
ΙV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress20%
BIGGEST CHANGES IN PART 2

No longer tests on fraud risk (although risk is still an element of Part 2)

Goes deeper into the Information Gathering process under Domain 3, Performing the Engagement.

Cognitive levels: 14 basic topics, 21 proficient topics

2018 Syllabus
I. Managing the Internal Audit Function
Now in Part 2, Area I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity
40-50%
II. Managing Individual Engagements
Now in Part 2, Area II. Planning the Engagement, Part 2, Area III. Performing the Engagement, & Part 2, Area IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress.
40-50%
ΙΙΙ. Fraud Risks and Controls
Now in Part 1, Area VI. Fraud Risk
5-15%
2019 Syllabus
Ι. Managing the Internal Audit Activity20%
ΙΙ. Planning the Engagement20%
ΙΙΙ. Performing the Engagement40%
ΙV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress20%

Part 3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

Previous Part Title: Internal Audit Knowledge Elements
BIGGEST CHANGES IN PART 3

Fewer topics

No longer tests on Governance or Ethics

 Now tests on Data Analytics

Cognitive levels: 32 basic topics, 3 proficient topics

Goes much deeper into Information Technology and Information Security

2018 Syllabus
I. Governance/Business Ethics
Now in Part 1
5-15%
II. Risk Management
Now in Part 1
10-20%
ΙΙΙ. Organizational Structure/Business Processes and Risks
Now in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
15-25%
ΙV. Communication
Removed. Elements of this topic appear in Part 1, Area III Performing the Engagement, Part 2, Area I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity, Part 2, Area IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress, & Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
5-10%
V. Management/Leadership Principles
Now in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
10-20%
VΙ. IT/Business Continuity
Now in Part 3, Area II. Information Security & Part 3, Area III. Information Technology
15-25%
VΙΙ. Financial Management
Now in Part 3, Area IV. Financial Management
10-20%
VΙΙΙ. Global Business Environment
Removed. Elements of this topic appear in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
0-10%
2019 Syllabus
Ι. Business Acumen35%
ΙΙ. Information Security25%
ΙΙΙ. Information Technology20%
ΙV. Financial Management20%
BIGGEST CHANGES IN PART 3

Fewer topics

No longer tests on Governance or Ethics

 Now tests on Data Analytics

Cognitive levels: 32 basic topics, 3 proficient topics

Goes much deeper into Information Technology and Information Security

2018 Syllabus
I. Governance/Business Ethics
Now in Part 1
5-15%
II. Risk Management
Now in Part 1
10-20%
ΙΙΙ. Organizational Structure/Business Processes and Risks
Now in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
15-25%
ΙV. Communication
Removed. Elements of this topic appear in Part 1, Area III Performing the Engagement, Part 2, Area I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity, Part 2, Area IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress, & Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
5-10%
V. Management/Leadership Principles
Now in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
10-20%
VΙ. IT/Business Continuity
Now in Part 3, Area II. Information Security & Part 3, Area III. Information Technology
15-25%
VΙΙ. Financial Management
Now in Part 3, Area IV. Financial Management
10-20%
VΙΙΙ. Global Business Environment
Removed. Elements of this topic appear in Part 3, Area I. Business Acumen
0-10%
2019 Syllabus
Ι. Business Acumen35%
ΙΙ. Information Security25%
ΙΙΙ. Information Technology20%
ΙV. Financial Management20%

Passing Score

The IIA has always set the level at which new CIAs need to perform. To do this, it conducts a standard-setting study to determine what constitutes a passing score.

The passing score will remain the same on the new exam: 600 on a scale of 250-750. However, because there will be a lot of changes all at once, the first candidates to take it will actually help The IIA determine how hard the new exam is, and what percent of answers correct is needed to achieve a 600. A 600 has always been a moving target. 600 equals 75% when the test is of a moderate difficulty level, and sometimes 600 is less than 75% when the test is more difficult.

What about the CIA exam hasn’t changed?

TEST FORMAT

The format of the test will stay the same. You will still be asked the same number of questions and given the same amount of time to finish each part of the exam.

PART 1:

125 questions    150 minutes

PART 2:

100 questions    120 minutes

PART 3:

100 questions    120 minutes

FEES AND REQUIREMENTS

The fees and requirements to take the CIA exam will also stay the same.

The Revised CIA Syllabus

You can read The IIA’s outline for the exam changes here. It is incredibly granular and much of the information isn’t relevant to your exam preparation, but it does offer more details if you need them.