Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs have been compiled from past CIA webinars. Questions specific to an individual situation are not included in this FAQ. Please contact The IIA at [email protected] with specific questions related to prerequisites, qualifications, etc.

CIA Certification FAQs

Is CIA certification recognized around the globe?

Yes, the CIA is the only globally accepted designation for internal auditors.

What are the eligibility requirements for CIA certification?

CIA candidates must meet eligibility requirements for education, character, work experience, and identification. For complete details, visit https://na.theiia.org/certification/cia-certification/pages/eligibility-requirements.aspx.

Are the CIA requirements different in countries around the world?

With the exception of a few designated countries, CIA requirements are the same for all candidates.

Whether a candidate is still in the process of attaining their CIA or they are already certified, the requirements are the same globally. For additional information on the countries where exceptions may apply, please visit: https://global.theiia.org/certification/cia-certification/Pages/Eligibility-Requirements.aspx

Do I have to meet all CIA requirements prior to applying to the program?

No. Candidates may sit for the CIA exam prior to completing the Education and Work Experience requirements. All requirements must be completed within the 3 or 4 year program time limit (starting from your CIA application approval date) prior to being issued their CIA certification. CIA candidates approved after September 1, 2019 have 3 years to complete the program rather than 4 years.

Is there a listing of "accredited" universities that are recognized by The IIA for meeting the education requirements?¬

The IIA follows the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) guidelines on defining accredited universities.

Can I complete the CIA exams before finishing my Bachelor’s degree?

The CIA program does allow students to enroll as candidates, sitting for all exam parts. However, final certification can only be attained once a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent has been completed. For additional information on student candidates, please review the Certification Candidate Handbook.

Will my internal audit experience from 15 years ago count toward my work experience requirement?

Provided the candidate holds the minimum education requirement of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, their prior experience can be submitted. A statement of the candidate’s work history must be attested to by the candidate’s former or current manager, or someone holding an active IIA Global Certification.

How frequently are CIA exams offered?

The CIA exam is offered year-round through Pearson VUE testing centers. Most centers are open five or six days per week during normal business hours (based on local conditions) throughout the year.

For a limited time, Person VUE and The IIA are offering online-proctored exams. For details, visit https://global.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Certification-Online-Proctoring.aspx.

Where is my nearest testing center?

The exam is offered at Pearson VUE Testing Centers worldwide. For a list of locations, please visit http://vue.com/iia/.

How do I take the CIA exam online, from home?

To support the continued professional development of certification candidates around the world and in response to mass Pearson VUE test center closures, The IIA has adopted online testing to enable candidates to take the Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) exam from home. We are partnering with Pearson VUE to offer this testing option for a period of 3 months starting 29 April 2020 (At the end of the 3-month period, The IIA will evaluate and decide whether to continue or suspend this online testing offer.) For details, visit https://global.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Certification-Online-Proctoring.aspx

What languages are available for the CIA exam?

The CIA exam is available in multiple languages. For details, visit https://global.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Exam-Language-Offerings.aspx

If I’m taking the exam in a language other than English, will I be able to see both English and my preferred language on the screen at the test center?

Yes, candidates can toggle from the language to the English version.

Do I have to register for all three exams at the same time, or can I do them one at a time?

After you apply to the CIA program and receive acceptance, you can register for one or more exam parts via CCMS. Once you register for an exam part, you will have 180 days to schedule a time with Pearson VUE and sit for that exam part.

Do the parts of the exam have to be taken in order? Do you recommend an order?

You can take the exam parts in any order, based on your personal preference and experience.

CIA instructors often recommend that experienced auditors begin with Part 1 or Part 2. Students, recent graduates, and those new to the profession may wish to start with Part 3.

Can I take more than one exam part at a time (i.e. in one day)?

Yes, you are allowed to take all 3 exams in one day, however it’s not recommended.

Is the scoring of the test simply a weighted scoring based on the complexity and type of proficiency of the specific question or is the scoring weighted by section?

Although the difficulty level of questions may vary depending on the topic for which they are written, each scored question is equally weighted throughout the entire exam and does change per section. The candidate’s overall score determines whether or not a passing grade is received.

Your raw score is calculated based on the number of questions that you answer correctly and then converted to a reporting scale that ranges from 250 – 750 points. A score of 600 or higher on this scale is required to pass the exam.

What percentage of the questions or number of questions on the CIA exam do I have to get correct to pass?

Given the reporting scale process, there is no set “passing score”. However, a passing score generally falls between 70% and 80% or 600-750 points.

What are the average pass rates for the CIA exams?

The 2019 global aggregated CIA exam pass rate was 42%. This pass rate is reflective of all computer-based exams delivered in all countries and all languages, and combines all three parts into one score. The separate scores are not publicized. Typically, pass rates are higher in countries where exam preparation materials are readily available in the local language.

For more information, visit https://na.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Certification-Program-Pass-Rates.aspx

How many years do I have to complete all three parts of the CIA exam?

Candidates approved before September 1, 2019 have 4 years to complete the three exams and all other program requirements from the date of application approval. Candidates approved on or after September 1, 2019 have 3 years to complete the program.

If I don't pass all three exams in the allotted time, do I have to retake the passed exams or reapply to the program?

Candidates approved before September 1, 2019 will have 4 years from the date of the application approval to complete all program requirements (documentation and examination requirements) and become certified. Candidates approved on or after September 1, 2019 will have 3 years to complete the program.

If you do not complete the program requirements in the allotted 3- or 4-year time frame, you will forfeit all passed parts and fees and must re-apply into the program as a new candidate.

When was the last CIA exam change? What changes were made?

Periodically, The IIA conducts a global job analysis study to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities most applicable to today’s internal audit practitioners. As a result of the most recent study, the CIA exam syllabi were updated in 2019.

To see how the syllabi were changed, visit https://na.theiia.org/certification/CIA-Certification/Pages/cia-exam-why-and-how-its-changing.aspx. 

How many questions are in the 3 CIA exam parts?

Part 1 = 125 questions
Part 2 = 100 questions
Part 3 = 100 questions

Are any part(s) of the CIA exam waived for individuals with a CFE, CPA, or other professional designation?

No, no parts of the CIA exam can be waived. Candidates must pass all three parts of the exam.

Periodically, The IIA partners with other global credentialing bodies to offer CIA Challenge Exams. Successful applicants holding specific certifications have the opportunity to earn the CIA through only one exam For more details, visit https://www.globaltraining.org/programs/cia-challenge-exam/.

How far in advance do I have to schedule an exam?

It is recommended that you schedule your exam at least 45 days in advance. Exam center schedules are based on a first come, first served basis.  The IIA is not the only client using Pearson VUE test centers so it is best to schedule as soon as possible to ensure your first choice for your exam appointment.

Can I reschedule an exam? If so, how?

You can reschedule your exam through Pearson VUE’s online system or by contacting their customer service team. There are fees associated with this and limits. Please visit:  https://global.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Pricing-Structure.aspx

After taking an exam, how long does it take until I find out whether I passed or not?

Unofficial results are available at the test center immediately after taking the exam. The unofficial score report will provide your score in numeric value if you did not pass the exam. If you passed the exam the score report will reflect “PASS” and no other information. This report is unofficial until the data is transmitted to The IIA and uploaded into your CCMS record. This generally takes 24–72 hours to complete. Once loaded into your CCMS record your results become your official results.

If I need to retake an exam, are there restrictions on when I can take the exam again? Is there a limit to the number of times I can retake an exam?

There is a 60-day waiting period that applies to all exam retakes to protect the integrity of the exam. Please reference the Candidate Handbook for additional information on this policy.

There is no limit to the number of times and exam part can be taken.

If I fail an exam and take it again in 60 days, will the exam be the same?

No, the exam will not be the same.

If I register and take an exam part in one country, can I take the remainder of the exam parts in another country such as the USA?

Yes you can. The CIA exam is a global exam and you can take that exam if more than 500 locations worldwide.

Do I need to be a member of The IIA to take the exam?

No, you do not have to be a member of The IIA to take the certification exam or to become certified. Please note however, that members can save significantly on exam and course fees. Membership requirements may differ in countries where the exams are administered through agreements with global IIA Affiliates. For more information, check the map and listings on https://global.theiia.org/certification/new/Pages/Steps-to-Certification.aspx

What is the difference between an basic and proficiency topic?

Basic level items are testing general knowledge of a topic, whereas proficiency level items are testing the ability to understand and apply concepts.

Where can I find out which exam topics are basic vs. proficiency?

Please access the following link: https://global.theiia.org/certification/CIA-Certification/Pages/Exam-Syllabus.aspx to view the content of each exam part.

Do we need to memorize standards and practice advisories in detail, or are summaries sufficient?

For proficiency level items, candidates should understand the IPPF and be able to apply the concepts; for basic level items related to the IPPF should have a general understanding.

Are your CIA exam scores displayed on your CIA certificate?

No, scores are not displayed.

What are the CIA Application and Exam Registration fees?

Please see following link for the most current information: https://na.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Pricing-Structure.aspx.

Is there financial support or fee adjustments for countries such as Nigeria with unfavorable exchange rates?

Unfortunately, the fees do not change based on country. However, we do advise you to contact your local IIA Institute (for Nigeria, visit http://www.iianigeria.org/contact-us/) and ask if any financial support is available in your region.

If my employer is an IIA member, do I get to pay the IIA price for my application and exam?

Not necessarily. Individuals would need to be part of a qualifying audit group or have individual membership.

Why are the Part 1 exam fees more expensive than Parts 2 and 3?

Exam costs are based on many things from the development cost, number of questions and how much time is allocated to sit for that exam part. Part 1 has 125 questions and an exam time of 2.5 hours and Parts 2 and 3 have 100 questions and 2.0 hours of seat time.

How long should I expect to wait from when I apply for the CIA program and receive approval? Is there a time limit to register after being accepted into the CCMS?

Candidates submit their application via the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS) and once the application is submitted it should be approved within 3-5 days. Candidates will receive an e-mail with the applications status once the application has been processed.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Customer Relations at [email protected].

Can I apply for a one-year extension to the four-year or three-year CIA window?

Certification candidates who are nearing the end of their three-year or four-year program eligibility window now have an opportunity to apply for an extension before their exam part(s) expire. This extension allows participating candidates who haven’t yet successfully completed their exam(s), or who have been accepted into the program but have not yet taken their exam(s), an opportunity to extend their program eligibility 12 months.

Candidates can take advantage of The IIA’s one-time Certification Candidate Program Extension* by completing the Program Extension form in CCMS and paying the applicable fee. To view the fee, visit the Pricing Structure page.

Note: This offer may not be valid in all affiliate countries. Candidates in these countries should contact their local IIA representatives.

Can I apply for an extension to the 180-day exam registration?

Yes, you can apply for an extension for the 180-day exam registration. There are fees associated with this. Please visit https://global.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Pricing-Structure.aspx for the most complete and current details.

Do I have to pay the application fee again if I have to retake an exam?

No, you do not have to pay the application fee again as long as you have not expired from the program However, an exam part registration fee is due with each exam part that is submitted. Visit https://na.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Pricing-Structure.aspx for registration fees.

To show “verified experience” does the document need to be personalized or simply show the job description/history? Does my employer have to sign the document?

In order to show “verified experience” the current employer needs to submit a letter of recommendation, and the candidate needs to submit a resume showing job description/history.

Does my reference have to hold a CIA or other designation? Does the reference have to be a current or former employer?

No, your reference does not have to hold a CIA or other IIA designation. The reference should be either your supervisor, your professor, or an IIA-certified individual.

What qualifies for professional employment/experience?

Acceptable experience includes experience in audit/assessment disciplines, external auditing, quality assurance, compliance, and internal control. Visit https://global.theiia.org/certification/cia-certification/Pages/Eligibility-Requirements.aspx for more information.

Do internal audit internship hours count for the experience requirement?

Yes, internship hours do count for the CIA experience requirement.

What is a character reference and what is the purpose?

To be eligible for an IIA certification, an applicant must exhibit high moral and professional character and agree to abide by The IIA’s Code of Ethics. Please download the Certification Candidate Handbook for all the details at:  https://global.theiia.org/certification/Pages/Certification-Candidate-Handbook.aspx

Candidates may apply to the CIA program and sit for the CIA exam prior to submitting the Character Reference Form, but will not be certified until all program requirements have been met.

Are scanned versions of documents accepted in the application process?

Yes, scanned versions are acceptable.

I plan on getting married in the coming year and will be changing my legal name. Should I wait until my name is officially changed before registering?

In order to change your name in the CCMS system, please log an incident in your CCMS record and provide a government issued form of ID that shows the new name.

If I already hold another IIA certification such as CFSA, do I have to resubmit the work experience, character reference and proof of education for each subsequent certification application?

No, you do not need to resubmit this information. However, we ask that you submit a request to the Certification staff to apply your supporting documentation from one program to another by submitting and incident in your CCMS record.

How many Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours must be earned annually? Is CPE earned on a calendar year or a rolling 12 month year from when I received my CIA certification?

CPE is earned on a calendar year cycle and must be reported by December 31st of the candidate’s reporting year. Practicing CIAs must complete 40 hours of CPE every year. For complete details visit https://na.theiia.org/certification/certified/Pages/CPE-Requirements.aspx.

You will automatically earn 40 hours of CPE the year you become a CIA. You will also receive 40 hours of CPE the following year. You must self-report your CPEs and keep your documentation in case you are audited.

Are CPEs awarded after the passing of each CIA exam part or only after completing all three parts and earning the CIA certification?

You do not receive CPEs for completing an individual CIA exam part. You will earn 40 hours of CPE the year you become a CIA. You will also receive 40 hours of CPE the following year.

What happens if I don’t earn/report my CPE as required after earning my CIA? Do I have to take the CIA exam again?

If you do not report your required CPEs, your certification status will be moved to “inactive” for a grace period. If your status is inactive for less than 12 months, you must complete the prior years’ CPE reporting form and report the appropriate number of CPE hours to reinstate. If your status is inactive for more than 12 months, you must report the necessary hours of CPE and pay a reinstatement fee.

What do I do if my CIA has expired?

If it has been less than one year, please complete the prior year’s CPE reporting form which can be found inside your CCMS record by clicking on the COMPLETE A FORM link. If it has been more than one year that your designation has been inactive please complete the REINSTATEMENT form.  Please visit https://global.theiia.org/certification/certified/Pages/CPE-Reporting-Steps.aspx for all the details

CIA Learning System FAQs

How can I take advantage of the 25% savings offer from the November 2021 webinar?

To take advantage of the 25% savings featured on the Nov. 12 webinar, order online by Dec. 3, 2021 using discount code WEBFRIDAY25 at checkout.

What is the price for The IIA’s CIA Learning System?

For complete pricing, visit https://store.partnerrc.com/iia/.

Please note, IIA members save $30 on individual parts or $100 on full kits (parts 1-3).

Volume pricing is also available on purchases of 2+ programs. Contact Mike Downs for details at +1-651-905-2609 or [email protected].

Can I purchase the online software separate from the reading materials?

The program is available as “Online Only” for those who prefer to read and study on a device and don’t require printed materials. All reading materials are available via an online e-reader and may be downloaded to your device. This option also saves shipping costs.

If I purchase the online only program, but later decide I'd like printed books, can I order those separately?

Yes, you can add printed books to your program as long as your online access is still valid. Follow these links to place your order:

Full Kit ($100 + taxes & shipping)
Part 1 ($40 + taxes & shipping)
Part 2 ($40 + taxes & shipping)
Part 3 ($40 + taxes & shipping)

Can I purchase The IIA’s CIA Learning System in installments?

Customers in the U.S. can choose PayPal Credit for their purchase. This gives you 6 months to pay, interest-free. For details, visit https://store.partnerrc.com/iia/payment-plan.html. Unfortunately, this option is not currently available outside the U.S.

If I’ve already purchased The IIA’s CIA Learning System materials, but would like to enroll in an Online Seminar, is there a discount since I already own the study materials?

Yes, if you own the Learning System and your online account is still valid, you can qualify for a reduction in the cost of your Online Seminar registration fees. Please contact The IIA’s Customer Relations team at +1 (407) 937-1111 for details.

Does the price of the Learning System include CIA exam fees?

No, CIA application, registration and exam fees are NOT included in the price of the review materials.

Can I buy the flashcards separately from the rest of The IIA’s CIA Learning System materials?

No, the flashcards are part of the entire Learning System and are not available separately.

Why should I choose The IIA CIA Learning System over the other available CIA review programs?

No other study tool aligns The IIA’s professional knowledge, training, and certification expertise. Other providers do not have access to the wide range of expertise and resources that The IIA has access to.

  • Personalized Study Experience: Leverage an individualized study plan that prioritizes content based on your personal knowledge gaps and follows your progress through quiz scores and activities.
  • Microlearning: Focus on smaller content segments, with estimated study times, to make the most efficient use of your available time and ensure you have a clear understanding of each topic.
  • Convenience: Travel light with online access via any mobile device, tablet, or computer. Just log in and continue where you left off. Take advantage of downtime with study tools that are accessible 24/7.
  • IIA Member Benefit: IIA members can click-through to members-only recommended guidance directly from the Learning System’s online study tools!

Is Version 6.0 still a valid study tool for the current CIA exam?

Yes, while a new version (7.0) is now available, the CIA exam syllabi did not change therefore Version 6.0 is still a valid and excellent preparation resource for the current CIA exam.

Version 7.0 was redesigned to provide more focused, personalized, and efficient exam preparation. If you own Version 6.0 and your online access has not expired, you can upgrade to the new version. Details can be found at www.LearnCIA.com/upgrade.

How long can I access the online study tools? Can I extend or purchase longer?

Those who purchase a full kit (parts 1-3) can access the online tools for 2 years from purchase. Individual part purchasers have access for 1 year.

If your online access has expired, 6 month extensions can be requested and may be granted for special circumstances. Visit LearnCIA.com/extension to learn more or apply for an extension.

In which languages are the Learning System materials available?

Version 7.0 is currently available in English only.

Candidates in China wishing to study in Simplified Chinese should contact IIA China.

How many online test questions are available?

Thousands of online test questions are available. New questions were added with the release of Version 7.0. All questions were written specifically for CIA exam preparation as opposed to other review programs that contain may contain CPA and CMA review questions.

Will I see questions on the CIA exam that are different from those in The IIA’s CIA Learning System?

Yes, the questions on the CIA exam and those found in The IIA’s CIA Learning System are different from one another. International certification guidelines require strict separation between the CIA exam and exam prep providers. Our subject matter experts follow the same Standards (IPPF) and the same methodology as CIA exam question writers, however there is no overlap in writers. The IIA’s CIA Learning System does, however, include retired CIA exam questions in addition to questions written specifically for the Learning System therefore some questions will feel very similar to those on the actual CIA exam.

Why do the basic and proficient topics not appear in the Learning System when they are shown on the CIA exam syllabus?

The basic and proficient references have to do with the type of item that is written for the CIA exam and not the difficulty of the subject matter.  There was the perception that basic topics are easier or less rigorous but that isn’t the case.  While preparing for the exam, all of the material needs to be studied and learned, regardless of the syllabus basic/proficient label.

Are there printed quizzes or tests to use when I don’t have internet access?

The IIA’s CIA Learning System offers optional printed reading materials. Printable flashcards can be downloaded and printed for offline study. However, the quizzes and tests are offered exclusively online to allow for progress tracking and immediate feedback.

Are The IIA’s CIA Learning System materials updated/changed every year?

An update may or may not happen every year. The program will be updated when there is a CIA syllabi update. Version 7.0, released in November 2020, was updated to to provide a more flexible, personalized and efficient study experience. It was not prompted by a syllabi change.

Are there different versions of the quizzes available, in the event that I want to quiz myself more than once for each part of the exam?

If you complete quizzes multiple times, you will see new questions until you exhaust the test bank. Eventually, you will see repeat questions.

The questions you receive in the Practice Exam will be new questions that you have not encountered in the quizzes.

How can I tell what version of The IIA’s CIA Learning System I have?

If you have printed books, simply look in the page footer to find your version. If you still have an active online license, your version number is displayed on your product selection page after login.

Are the glossaries for Parts 1, 2, and 3 the same?

Yes, due to the crossover of terminology, Parts 1, 2, and 3 of The IIA’s CIA Learning System utilize the same glossary. However, the flashcards reflect only the part-specific terms to ensure maximum study efficiency.

Does the online CIA Practice Exam use the same varying point scale as the actual CIA exam?

No, the online CIA Practice Exam questions are not scaled. You will receive a percentage score (0% – 100%).

Why are there reading materials and online study tools? Are the online tools necessary?

This is a SYSTEM of learning. The reading materials teach the concepts, principles and exam syllabi. The interactive online tools and tests reinforce those concepts through application. Since the CIA exam tests your ability to apply concepts, the online components are extremely important. The online tests also help prepare you for the computer-based CIA exam.

The most successful candidates are those who study the reading materials thoroughly, complete all of the online quizzes, tests, flashcards, and Practice Exam.

Do you guarantee success?

No, since we can’t control study behavior, we do not guarantee success.

We encourage you to research the pass guarantees offered by other providers. There are very strict requirements in order to receive a refund. Please visit our website for more information on our return policy.

What are your pass rates?

While The IIA does not publish the official pass rates of individual course providers, our independent surveys have shown that The IIA’s CIA Learning System’s pass rate is, on average, significantly higher than the published global pass rate.

Do you have audio recordings or video lectures of your materials?

No, audio recordings and video lectures are not available with The IIA’s CIA Learning System study tools. If you are interested in video lectures, The IIA and several global education partners offer online courses and seminars. Find an online course now.

Can I earn CPEs for completing The IIA’s CIA Learning System?

Completing the self-study course does not qualify for CPE credit, however you may earn CPE credit by completing an instructor-led course through an accredited college/university or The IIA. Check with the course provider for details.

How long does it typically take to prepare for each exam part?

Study times vary on years of experience, accounting and IT expertise, how quickly you read, how recently you’ve graduated from college, and the study method you choose. However, we suggest you budget a minimum of the following hours to your CIA studies:

  • Part 1: 40 hours
  • Part 2: 40 hours
  • Part 3: 50 hours

Can I purchase the study materials and begin my review before I enroll in the CIA program or register for the CIA exam?

Yes, many candidates choose to review the study material before committing to the CIA exam.

It is recommended that you register for and schedule your exam early into your study process to curb the urge to procrastinate. If you’re committed to earning the CIA, schedule your exam, set a study schedule and stick with your plan.

How do I determine my strengths and weaknesses?

Your first study step will be to assess your strengths and weaknesses with a 50-question online pre-test. Following the pre-test, you will be given a summary of your scores by topic.

If I do not have an accounting background, how do I get help understanding the concepts? Would an instructor-led course be best?

An instructor-led course would give you access to an expert instructor who could answer your accounting questions as class time allows. However if you have no accounting education or experience, we advise that you enroll in an Accounting 101 course.

What scores should I be getting on my online practices quizzes to feel prepared enough to schedule my CIA exam?

First, you should schedule your exam early in your studies to give yourself a goal to work towards. This will help you avoid procrastination and stay motivated.

You should work toward getting 80-95% on the quizzes and tests before taking the CIA exam.