About the CIA exam

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification is the only internationally recognized credential for internal auditors. The CIA exam, administered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), is a three-part test that measures candidates’ knowledge of internal auditing disciplines. 

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Education and Experience

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) candidates must meet at least one of the following requirements: 

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, along with at least two years of verified professional experience in internal audit, or its equivalent. (A master’s degree may count towards one of the two years of professional experience.)
  • Complete at least two years of post-secondary education and five years of verified experience in internal audit, or its equivalent.
  • Complete at least seven years of verified experience in internal audit, or its equivalent.

Note: Though candidates may sit for the exam at any time, they may not be certified until their professional education requirement is met.  

Exam Requirements:

The CIA exam consists of three separate exams that must be completed within a three-year eligibility window:

Part 1 – Essentials of Internal Auditing

Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing

Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

What is on the CIA exam?

The CIA exam measures candidates’ knowledge of disciplines related to and affecting the practice of internal auditing, including technical competencies. Candidates must be able to apply and organize their knowledge in a logical manner and be able to communicate their conclusions clearly and concisely.  

Part 1: Essentials of Internal Auditing

Duration: 2.5 Hours

Exam question count: 125 questions 

Sections:

1. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%)  

2. Independence and Objectivity (15%)  

3. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%)  

4. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%)  

5. Governance, Risk Management and Control (35%)  

6. Fraud Risks (10%)

Part 2: Practice of Internal Auditing

Duration: 2 Hours

Exam question count: 100 questions 

Sections:

1. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%)  

2. Planning the Engagement (20%)  

3. Performing the Engagement (40%)  

4. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%)

Part 3: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing

Duration: 2 Hours

Exam question count: 100 questions

Sections:

1. Business Acumen (35%)  

2. Information Security (25%)  

3. Information Technology (20%) 

4. Financial Management (20%)

What is the CIA certification?

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is the only internationally recognized credential for internal auditors. The CIA certification is granted by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) upon passing the CIA exam.  

What types of questions are on the CIA exam?

The CIA exam is made up of three parts, with 125 questions on Part 1 and 100 questions on both Part 2 and Part 3. All of these questions are multiple choice questions.  

How much does it cost to take the CIA exam?

The cost of the CIA exam depends on whether you’re a member of the IIA or not. But at most (not including the member’s discount), the cost is:

Application fee: $230

CIA exam Part 1 fee: $395

CIA exam Part 2 fee: $345

CIA exam Part 3 fee: $345

A membership to the IIA is typically recommended for CIA candidates. Discounts aside, membership offers networking opportunities within the professional community.

How difficult is the CIA exam?

The CIA exam’s global pass rate hovers at around ​42% — and has since at least 2016, according to the IIA. Surgent’s programs offer candidates distinct advantages to help them pass the first time:

  • A.S.A.P.® Technology, which evaluates each student’s level of knowledge and adjusts course content accordingly.
  • ReadySCORE — Surgent’s exam readiness indicator that lets candidates know how they would perform on the exam in real time.
  • Pass Guarantee — Surgent students pass the first time, or their money is refunded.

Surgent students are exam-ready 73% faster than students using other courses.