How Long To Complete Cia Exam

Introduction: Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs) are professionals who possess the knowledge and skills to plan, execute and report on audits of enterprises. Preparing for and taking the CIA exam can be a daunting task. Understanding how long it takes to complete the CIA exam is a great first step in making the process easier. The following article looks at the CIA exam and provides insight into how long it takes to complete it.

Requirements for taking the CIA Exam: In order to take the CIA exam, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university and meet the Institute of Internal Auditor’s (IIA) experience requirements. Once candidates are approved to take the exam, they have a period of up to three years from the date of approval in which to pass all parts of the exam. In other words, candidates have three years to complete the entire CIA exam.

Length of Each Part of the Exam: Candidates must pass four parts of the exam to become a Certified Internal Auditor. Each part consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, which are typically completed in four hours. Thus, it takes four hours to complete a single part of the CIA exam.

Study Time Required: It is recommended that candidates prepare for the CIA exam by extensively studying the CIA exam syllabus. Depending on the candidate’s experience and knowledge, they should plan on 6 to 9 months of full-time study to adequately prepare for the exam. Experts recommend that candidates devote at least 300-400 hours of study to ensure success on the CIA exam.

Tips for Maximizing Time: While it is important to spend adequate time studying, it is also important to be efficient with the time that is available. Experts recommend breaking down each part of the CIA exam into manageable study goals and devoting time every day to studying for the exam. They also suggest creating a study schedule to keep on track and understanding the structure of the exam to maximize the time that is available.

The Significance of the CIA Exam: Passing the CIA exam is a significant milestone in the journey to becoming a CIA. It not only demonstrates that candidates possess the required knowledge to perform internal audit functions, but also validates their skills and demonstrates their commitment to their profession. Furthermore, passing each part of the exam is a valuable professional recognition that can be leveraged to boost careers.

Exam Scheduling Tips

Taking the Exam: When candidates are ready to take the exam, they must schedule their exams in advance at one of the authorized IIA test centers located around the world. Candidates should plan ahead and be aware of any holidays or national observances that might interfere with their exam and the availability of testing centers. It is also important to arrive at the test center on time for the scheduled exam.

Exam Rules and Regulations: Additionally, candidates must be aware of the exam rules and regulations. The IIA has strict policies regarding the use of electronic devices during the exam and the handling of reference materials.

Time Management: During the actual exam, it is important to manage time effectively. Candidates should read each question carefully, analyze the data and options provided, and answer questions based on their knowledge and understanding of the material. Additionally, time management techniques such as using the process of elimination, managing stress and staying calm can help candidates answer questions and finish the exam in the allotted time.

Retaking the Exam

Scoring: After the exam, candidates will receive notification of their scores. If a candidate does not pass a part of the exam, they may retake the exam after 30 days. However, candidates are only allowed to retake each part of the CIA exam three times in a rolling 12-month period.

Reviewing Exam Techniques: In order to pass the exam on the first attempt, it is important to review exam techniques, such as time management, note taking and stress reduction. Additionally, it can be beneficial to review the material studied and use any available practice tests to prepare.

Seeking Guidance: Additionally, candidates can seek guidance or assistance from their employer, CIA exam study group, or IIA Learning System faculty member. These people can provide additional insight, resources and advice that may help candidates increase their chances of success on the exam.

Post-Exam Strategies

Continued Learning: Once the exam has been passed, it is important to continue to stay up to date with the latest information and developments in the auditing industry. Additionally, many continuing professional education (CPE) courses are available for CIAs that can help to further develop their skills and knowledge in their field.

Networking: Additionally, networking can be a great way to stay connected with the auditing community. CIAs can join professional organizations or attend conferences and seminars to stay abreast of the industry developments. Joining a professional organization or community can also be beneficial as it can provide access to valuable informational resources and job opportunities.

Being an Advocate: Additionally, another good post-exam strategy is to become a CIA exam advocate. CIAs who are passionate about their profession and the certification can spread awareness of the benefits and value of the certification. CIAs should strive to share their personal experiences and success stories with others.

Completing the Certification Process

Certificate: Once a candidate has passed all four parts of the CIA exam and met the experience requirements, they can submit their application for certification to the IIA. The application for certification should include documentation that validates the candidate’s degree, experience, and the completion of all four parts of the CIA exam. IIA will then review the application, and if approved, will award the candidate the Certified Internal Auditor certificate.

Achievement Benefits: Passing the CIA exam and becoming a CIA can open up a multitude of opportunities. Becoming a CIA provides access to a wide range of employment opportunities, higher salaries, and greater job stability. Additionally, the CIA designation can be a valuable testament to the candidate’s commitment and dedication to their profession.

CIA Exam Resources

Study Resources: The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides extensive resources to help candidates prepare for the CIA exam. These resources include practice exams, a question bank, and study study guides.

Online Courses: Additionally, there are many online courses available for candidates to take to help them prepare for the CIA exam. These courses typically include video lectures, practice tests and downloadable study materials.

Exam Coaching: Additionally, several organizations and professional services offer exam coaching for the CIA exam. These services typically provide personalized study plans, mentorship from experienced professionals, and access to study communities.


Passing the CIA exam and becoming a Certified Internal Auditor takes time and dedication. The process can be daunting, but with the right preparation and knowledge, candidates can improve their chances of success. Understanding the requirements of the exam, the importance of studying, and the exam-taking best practices can help make the process easier. Additionally, it is important to leverage the available resources to adequately prepare for the CIA exam.

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Rosemary Harrold is an accomplished writer and researcher who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the world of secret services. She gained an MSc in International Relations in 2017 and has since built on her expertise with numerous publications on intelligence agencies, their practices, and recent developments. Rosemary has been writing about IBM, CIA and FBI activities since then, as well as providing in-depth analysis on intelligence-related topics.

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