Have you considered that being a student your whole life doesn’t make you an expert in studying and taking tests? Fortunately, the right exam prep partner can help you manage your time, prepare you to pass the CIA Exam and be your ticket to a brighter future.  

Study tips for passing the CIA Exam

This is not the time to fall back on all-nighters and scribbled notes – especially if you have been working in the accounting and finance industry for several years. Take a strategic approach to studying and passing the CIA Exam takes far less time than you think. Here are some study tips for passing the CIA Exam.   

Find the right CIA Exam study material

The CIA Exam syllabus is a good place to start, but ideally, you need review materials specific to the CIA Exam. Ideally, the review course will be personalized, have plenty of multiple-choice questions in the test bank, many practice tests, and five-star customer reviews.  

Know your study style

Do you sip knowledge or gulp it? Are you a visual, verbal, reading or experiential learner – or a combination? Take a close look at your history, learning style and motivators. Then, line them up with a CIA review course that matches your needs (and of course, your budget).  

Build a study plan

Do not skip this step. Think carefully about your long-range timeline and priorities. Do the math and determine how many hours a week you can spend studying. Then plug that time into specific points of every day. You can be traditional and pencil out a study plan or look for review courses with built-in study planners.  

If you decide to build your own study plan, make sure to account for knowledge gaps in your competencies. If one area is harder for you, make more time in the schedule for that section or content area. A CIA review course that charts a study plan by gauging your existing knowledge levels is a big time saver.  

For instance, Surgent CIA Review accounts for your strengths and knowledge gaps through its adaptive A.S.A.P.® Technology that builds a solid base for all CIA-required knowledge. Because Surgent focuses on what you need to know versus what you already know, you save hundreds of hours of study time.  

Take breaks, but avoid distractions

Think of studying as mental Olympics. Even elite athletes know all about the importance of rest. Take plenty of study breaks, and you’ll return to the task feeling refreshed. Consider taking off one full day per week, just to relax or spend time with family and friends. Your brain will thank you when you return to studying feeling reinvigorated.  

On the flip side, those friends and family need to know you’re working on professional development. Make it clear that you might not be available for afternoon barbecues or impromptu road trips as you prepare for the CIA Exam. They will miss you, but they also will be there to celebrate – maybe with that long-delayed road trip – when you achieve your goal. 

Make a study spot

Carve out a place in your home that tells your mind and body it’s time to study. If you need quiet, make sure it’s quiet, or wear noise-cancelling headphones. If hustle and bustle are more your thing, set up on the kitchen island – but make sure that everyone knows you’re there to study, not to chat.  

Consider changing the scenery sometimes with other places that soothe your spirit – perhaps a favorite coffee shop, a corner of the public library or a lakeside spot at a state park. Today’s learning can go where you go. 

Stay healthy

You remember all the things that seemed to get you through school. The caffeine. The junk food. The sleepless nights.  

It’s time to forget all that. Feed your body relatively healthy foods and write physical activity into your weekly study schedule. There will be days when you just won’t have time for a workout, but don’t let them become the norm. Put on your workout gear and get moving, even if it’s just for a few minutes to keep the habit going. 

‘Snack’ on study

Back in school, cramming might have helped you pass your tests, but did you actually retain that information, let alone get any value out of it? Probably not.  

The CIA Exam tests your practical grasp of knowledge you will need on the job, so it never pays to jam it into your brain. Build a study plan that lets you “snack” on knowledge, for better retention of the material, plus better use of your time. Find a few minutes in every day where the phone isn’t ringing or texts aren’t pouring in, and nibble on knowledge. By the end of every week, those minutes could add up to another hour that gets you closer to scheduling the exam. 

Monitor your progress

The most nerve-wracking part of any credentialing exam is wondering whether you’re ready. Do you risk failure by scheduling too soon? Is uncertainty forcing you to dawdle and postpone setting an exam date? 

Neither situation is helpful, which is why readiness tools in today’s CIA review courses were greeted with hallelujahs. Surgent’s award-winning ReadySCORE™ tool gauges your answers to practice questions, for a continuously updated, real-time look into how you’re performing in all topics of the CIA Exam. The higher your ReadySCORE, the better your chances of passing the exam. You won’t schedule too soon or too late. It’ll be just right. 

Sweat the details

CIA certification is an exacting process. Of course, you wouldn’t be in accounting if you weren’t organized and meticulous, so this is the time to harness that talent for maximum efficiency. The closer you adhere to each step along the way, the less likely you’ll be to encounter snags that throw your timeline off track. 

Pay close attention to these demands: 

  • Meet exam requirements. Before you are accepted into the program, there are education and ethics requirements to document. Read the IIA guidelines and documentation requirements carefully. 
  • Know how to register. The IIA website presents a series of steps needed to register for the CIA Exam. First, create a profile in the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS), which allows you to apply for certification programs, register for exams and keep track of progress. Second, apply for the CIA program. Third, upload required documents within 90 days. When everything is uploaded and approved, you’ll receive an emailed “Authorization to Test” notification with instructions on contacting the Pearson Vue testing facility to schedule your exam. 
  • Know the CIA Exam format. Take time to learn what to expect – the format, where to find resources such as spreadsheet tools, time limitations. Surprises can throw you off your game. A good CIA review course offers practice tests that mimic the format and teach you to manage your time. Take plenty of practice tests, such as the CIA Exam-aligned practice tests form Surgent CIA Review, to help you prepare.  
  • Arrive prepared. Think of test day like going to the airport, and triple check everything before you leave the house. Valid photo ID. Pearson Vue exam confirmation on paper. Arrive early so you can calmly go through the check-in and seating process. With Surgent CIA Review’s 100% pass guarantee, it’s nice to know that your investment in a review course is safe, but it’s even nicer to know that Surgent students have a 96% pass rate, for overwhelming odds of success. 
  • Know what you need to get certified. Don’t neglect to think about what comes after the test. Chances are, you’ll need to accumulate work experience – a designated number of years that depends on your education level. You’ll have to complete the experience within four years, so start lining up employment while the clock is ticking.  

Surgent provides tools to help you pass the CIA Exam

There are three keys to success. Design a study plan that works for you. Have the discipline to stick to it. Find a CIA Exam review course that applies technology to save time and get maximum results for your efforts.  

Surgent CIA Review strategically gauges your knowledge levels when you start and adapts as you go, for targeted studies that build capabilities methodically. Surgent’s ReadySCORE informs you when you’re prepared, so you enter test day with the confidence of knowing that you’ve got this. Explore Surgent CIA Review with a free trial and follow the CIA credential toward a brighter future.