The Certified Internal Auditor Exam (CIA)

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is a professional organization that provides information and guidance relating to the internal auditing profession. The IIA offers the professional designation of Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to those who successfully complete their CIA examination and meet several other certification requirements, including satisfying a minimum of two years of internal auditing work experience. The CIA examination tests an auditor’s level of expertise regarding current auditing standards and practices. In addition, the auditor must demonstrate knowledge of audit risks and applicable solutions.

The CIA examination is divided into three parts, the first lasting 2.5 hours and the others lasting 2 hours. The first section contains 125 multiple-choice questions while the other two have 100 questions each. Scoring of the test is done on a scale basis, with a range of 250 to 750 points. Results, however, are reported to the examinees on a pass/fail basis. If an examinee fails any one part of the examination, he/she must wait at least 90 days before being able to re-take that section of the examination.

Professionals who have registered to take the CIA examination have the flexibility of being able to take one or more of the test sections at a time and in the order they choose. Note that, even if the professional has not yet met the two year’s work experience requirement for CIA certification, he/she is still able to take the CIA examination. Further, an individual who takes the CIA examination does not need to be a member of the IIA.

There are, however, several CIA examination-related benefits for those examinee’s who are members of the IIA professional association. Members receive discounted rates on CIA examination review materials and courses. Members also have ready access to the latest IIA information, much of which is found on the official IIA website, which may be useful when preparing for the examination. The IIA makes several examination study resources available, including review manuals and software, review courses, and sample examination questions. The IIA website also posts CIA examination review materials provided by other vendors.

The four parts of the CIA examination are as follows:

  • Part I – Internal Audit Basics
  • Part II – Internal Audit Practice
  • Part III – Internal Audit Knowledge Elements

The IIA considers the first three parts of the examination as covering a core syllabus that emphasizes corporate governance and issues involving risk. The course of study required for Parts I, II, and III align with what the IIA deems to be its Professional Practices Framework. The Professional Certification Board can, however, approve changes to the examination topics and format.

To facilitate testing at any time of the year, the CIA examination is available via a computer-based testing system. This method of testing means the examination is available at hundreds of locations around the world. The IIA offers an online Certification Candidate Management System which allows candidates to register for examinations and also access their records online.

Certified Internal Auditor Examination Logistics

Certified Internal Auditor Examination LogisticsThe Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is a professional organization that provides information and guidance relating to the internal auditing profession. The IIA offers the professional designation of Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to those who successfully complete their CIA examination. To facilitate testing at any time of the year, the CIA examination is available via a computer-based testing system. This method of testing means the examination is available at hundreds of Pearson VUE testing locations around the world. The IIA offers an online Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS) which allows candidates to register for examinations and also access their records online.

Individuals interested in taking the CIA examination must submit proper registration and payment for the examination through IIA’s Certification Candidate Management System. If the professional is an IIA member, there will be special member pricing which may offer a discount on the examination registration fee. Upon approval of the registration, IIA will send the registrant an email notification containing an “authorization to test”. This notice will provide instructions on how and when to contact Pearson VUE in order to schedule the CIA examination.
Once the examination registration has been approved, there is a 180 day examination eligibility period. Upon receiving the authorization to test notice, the individual will then be able to create an account on the Pearson VUE website. On this site the individual can schedule, change, or cancel examination appointments, locate a testing center, and also view testing history. During this time, registrants can change their examination appointment through Pearson VUE as many times as they like without penalty up to five days prior to the examination appointment. Rescheduling an examination appointment within the five day window will result in a $50 fee being assessed. The IIA will allow an extension to the 180-day eligibility period in limited circumstances such as a family emergency or death, a serious medical condition, or if a natural disaster caused the registrant to be displaced and unavailable to take the examination. Supporting documentation that substantiates the request may be required.

Once the CIA examination appointment has been scheduled registrants will receive a site authorization/admittance letter. If the registrant has not received the authorization/admittance letter within two weeks of the examination date, he/she should contact IIA headquarters. However, registrants can also gain entrance to the examination site by showing the confirmation letter they received upon first registering for the examination along with valid photograph identification.

Individuals who pass the CIA examination will receive notice that they have passed; they will not receive a number grade. Because the examination questions are confidential, IIA will not share the questions or detailed examination scores or percentages. If an examinee fails any one of the four parts of the CIA examination, he/she must wait a minimum period of 90 days before being able to re-take that part. Once the examination results are posted in the CCMS, the examinee will be able to re-register to take the part of the examination that they failed, but they will not be given an appointment date to re-take the test earlier than 90 days from the date the examination was last taken.

Preparing for Part I of the Certified Internal Auditor Examination

Internal auditors who aspire to obtain the designation of Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) must meet several certification requirements. One of the certification requirements is to successfully complete the CIA examination. The CIA examination tests an auditor’s level of expertise regarding current auditing standards and practices. In addition, the auditor must demonstrate knowledge of audit risks and applicable solutions.

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