A Detailed Guide on taking the Certified Internal Auditor Exams
Before you Start
- Planning is your key to success. Create a study plan as early as possible.
- Having a general overview of the three CIA exam parts will help you better plan your study.
- After taking a general idea about all the topics covered in the CIA exam it’s time to set up a broad plan. Your plan should include rough dates of sitting for exams, and study hours per session.
- Periodically visit the IIA’s website (www.theiia.org) to stay abreast of all updates and developments related to the CIA program. You can also subscribe to our weekly/monthly newsletter that will keep you posted on any updates.
Make it the PRC Way
- Structure your study around PRC’s division of content into sessions.
- Read the selected session thoroughly from your textbook.
- Short focused study sessions are far better than long study sessions.
- Once you understand the content of the session you are ready move to stage 2.
- Don not over-stress yourself. You shouldn’t be studying ALL the time. You should have some rest as well.
- Use the questions tools correctly: Whenever you answer a question incorrectly, you should read the answer explanations to understand why your answer is incorrect, and to know what topic you need to focus on.
- During the early stages of studying, do not worry about timing your multiple choice answers. At this stage you should carefully read the questions and answers without worrying about time; your average time per question will improve as you progress.
- At first attempt you will get a score between 60 to 75%, do not move to the next section until you get at least 90%.
Whenever you do not reach the 90% correct answers target you should go back Stage One and re-read the section/topic. Perfect:
- Notice your weaknesses and focus on them:
Flashcards: Flashcards are very useful at this stage. Reading through the textbooks could be a bit boring at this stage as you are familiar with most of the topics. Go through the flashcards eliminating those you know very well until you are left with a few flashcards that are challenging to you and focus on them. You may want to go over the topic(s) in the textbook to focus on the particular topic(s) covered by those flashcards you have filtered.
- Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
Repetition makes perfect. Repeat as much as it takes until you feel confident that you will pass your exam.
- Developing exam taking techniques and skills.
Now is the time to take full exam (exam simulations) using PRC’s preparation tool: PRC Mock Exam. Having perfected the exam topics and answered as many practice questions as possible is essential to pass the exam, but you also need to develop the necessary skills and strategies to pass a multiple choice exam. Time management is the most important skill.
- Create exam like environment: Switch off your mobile, log out of Facebook, Skype… If you live with your family inform them not to disturb you during your exam simulation session.
- The computer screen has a built-in timer to let you know the time remaining as you work through the exam. Plan your time wisely so that you do not have enough time to complete the exam.
- Read the question before you look at answers.
- The testing system allows you to flag questions for review and allows you to return to these items after you have viewed the last question in the exam. If you have completed the best question in the exam before the time is up, you will be able to review your flagged questions and any other questions until your testing time expires.
- Do not attempt long and/or difficult question; mark them and move on.
- Once you have attempted all short and easy questions return to the difficult/long questions.
- Attempt ALL questions. There’s no penalty on wrong attempts.
- “Funny” responses are usually wrong.
- Eliminate answers you know aren’t right.
- Read all the choices before choosing your answer.
- “All of the above” is often a correct response if you can verify that more than one of the other responses is probably correct.
- Your first choice is usually the right one, unless you misread the question. Do NOT change your answers except of you are definitely sure you should change your answer.
Before You Go to the Exam
- View the exam tutorial published on the IIA’s website. The tutorial introduce you to the tools and features available during the CIA exam; such as marking questions, moving between questions, returning to marked questions, etc.
- Locate your exam testing center as early as possible. Visit your exam center at least one day before your exam date to make sure you have the correct address and you plan for your exam day rout.
- If the exam center is hours away from you home, arrange for a hotel reservation in a hotel located near the testing center. This will help you avoid the hassle of last minute traffic jams, flight time changes..
- Have a good night sleep before your exam day.
- Arrange for a light breakfast.
- Plan to arrive at the exam site at least half an hour before the exam.
- Remember to have the following items on you: Authorization Letter, Exam Registration Confirmation, Valid ID.
- Wear comfortable layers of clothing. You can NOT leave the exam room once your exam starts. Wearing layers of clothing will be convenient in case you felf too cold or too hot during your exam.
- Maintain your positive attitude before and during the exam; do not panic if you encounter difficulties while studying or while doing the exam.
- Read the exam instructions carefully.
- You will be provided with earplugs and a notebook and some pencils.
- Do NOT leave the exam room until you are instructed to do so.
After the exam
- Take the rest of the day off as a reward even if you haven’t passed the exam. You have put a lot of effort and your body and mind need the rest.
- Review the exam experience and adjust your study plan for the upcoming part(s) according to what you have learned during the exam experience. You might have noticed that you need to focus on time management during the exam, or improve the time it takes you to solve a question, or you might notice that you need to focus on specific types of questions that you found challenging during the exam.