Best Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) Prep Courses [Updated for 2020]

You’ve made the decision to become a Certified Internal Auditor Accountant (CIA) and have started researching the best CIA Review Course for you to begin your exam preparation. When choosing a review course, there are a lot of factors to consider. Some people might be looking first at the price, while others might select a course based upon the sheer tonnage of total content, without any regard as to the instructional design of the course. While less expensive is always nice, it might mean that the CIA Exam Prep Course provider does not invest enough in the course to provide the best content. All of these are factors in your decision to choose a CIA Review Course, but another factor you should consider is the time spent - Surgent is transparent about how real students fare using our online course and how we can reduce your study time by 73% over other CIA Course Review providers. Let’s see how other CIA Exam Review Courses stack up against Surgent:
Certified Internal Auditor Surgent CIA Review Course IIA CIA Review Course Gleim CIA Review Course Wiley CIA Review Course
Price - Full Course $499 $895-$995 $949 $375
Price Per Section $189 $325-365 N/A $125
Level of Adaptive Learning Premium Leader some some none
Exam Readiness Indicator Yes No No No
Multiple Choice Question Count 2,982 Unknown 3,500 6,800
Finance Options from $44 per month N/A from $67 per month N/A
Mobile Enabled yes yes yes yes
Length of Access 18 months 12 or 24 months 18 months 24 months

Independent Research

We know that independent reviews are what you really care about, because it gives you an unbiased idea of whether or not a review course is going to work for you. Surgent is consistently listed as one of the top CIA Exam Review Courses by independent, third-party reviewers. We’ll discuss the highlights of these reviews, as well as include the related link so you can see exactly what each site has to say about Surgent.

Crush the CIA Exam

Bryce Welker started Crush the CIA Exam to help candidates find the best review course to help them pass, and his rating for Surgent is 5 out of 5 stars. Specifically, Crush the CIA Exam likes that “Surgent’s review course is a laser-guided study tool that can help students prepare for the exam in record time.” The frequent content updates and flexible pricing are also highlights in the review. The 5-star review shows that Surgent is one of the best courses out there, especially for “those with limited amounts of free time due to work or school”.  

I Pass the CIA Exam

Stephanie Ng started I Pass the CIA Exam after many years of helping candidates to pass the CPA Exam, on her other site I Pass the CPA Exam. Stephanie outlines seven ‘best features’ of Surgent CIA Review, the highlights of which are that the course is tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, it’s the only course that offers an exam readiness indicator, and the fact that there are free content updates included with purchase for 18 months.

CPA Exam Guy

CPA Exam Guy’s Team is there to help you learn about the best test-taking strategies and study materials out there to come out on top of the CPA Exam - as well as the CIA Exam. They give Surgent CIA Review a #1 ranking when compared to competitor products. They love that Surgent has a dashboard updated daily with your progress and goals. They say: “Surgent is designed to accommodate as many learning styles as they can. Their adaptive technology means that the course will always be tailored to your needs and shoring up your weak areas. On top of that, their digital materials are top notch and easily read on the go. Because of these features, and their low price point, Surgent easily takes the top spot of this list!”  

Accounting Institute for Success

  The Accounting Institute for Success (AIS) wants to help CIA Candidates take control of the exam process and pass the exam on their first try, and help candidates pass the exam without having to put their entire lives on hold. The Accounting Institute calls Surgent CIA Review “a benchmark prep course”, calling out the signature adaptive learning technology, ample practice questions and exams, PDF textbooks, and a pass guarantee as the highlights. Just like all of the other independent reviewers, the AIS lists Surgent’s unique A.S.A.P. Technology as one of the best features of the course.  

How to Know What CIA Review Course You Should Get

  When you’re looking at prep courses for the three parts of the CIA exam, there are a few features you’ll want to compare between the materials:

Adaptive Technology

Check to see if the course truly is adaptive. An adaptive course should automatically update based on your progress; you shouldn’t have to manually change your study schedule or what you study on any given day.

Test Prep Materials

You have a specific learning style, so you’ll want to make sure you get a course that’s conducive to that style; mobile app, self-study, video lectures, or flashcards are a few examples.


The CIA Exam isn’t static; the exam is updated corresponding to updates to standards and innovation in the industry. So you want CIA Exam Review materials that automatically update, so you aren’t stuck with old materials that don’t teach you everything you need to know.

Practice Exams

Having unlimited mock exams or practice tests will help you get familiar with the exam format and exam questions in your final review. Your CIA study materials should come with plenty of practice exams to help you prepare for exam day. Make sure they’re meant to simulate the actual exam and help you get familiar with all of the relevant tools.

Pricing and Payment

We all want to make sure we’re getting the best value for the money, especially since the full price for the CIA Exam and review materials can cost so much. Read reviews about courses and check pass rates to make sure the value is there. Also, many courses offer payment plans, allowing you to pay over time as opposed to making one large payment upfront.

Pass Guarantees

Nobody wants to go headfirst into an exam and then not pass - but it can happen, so look for a course that offers a pass guarantee. Either in exchange for continued course access or a refund if you don’t pass!

Competitor Hidden Truths

Surgent has truly adaptive technology, but there are several other courses that also claim to have adaptive learning technology. So how can you really tell what is adaptive and what isn’t? There are several key areas to look at, such as how (and if) you take an initial assessment to discover your stronger areas, how the study planner is created and adjusted throughout the course, and how the content adapts to your strengths and weaknesses as you learn.

Surgent students get exam-ready 73% faster! Try our groundbreaking software for free. Sign up for a 5-day free trial!