2024 Edition

CIA Test Guide

The CIA Exam Summary
What: Exams from the IIA certify internal auditors.
Who: Professional auditors who wish to bolster their credentials can take IIA exams for certification.
Where: Tests are offered Pearson VUE Test Centers nationwide.
When: Exams are offered in May and November.
How: The exams are given via a computer.
Type: Exams are multiple choice.
Why: The CIA exam is required for certification as an internal auditor.
Time: Three hours and 15 minutes are offered for the specialty exams. Two hours and 45 minutes are given for each section of the CIA exam.
Language: English
Preparation: Many test booklets, online practice exams and other study materials are available for purchase.
Cost: Each exam bears a fee of $70.

By Erin Hasinger, Tests.com


Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The CIA designation is the only certification for internal auditors that is recognized worldwide. Certification helps internal auditors demonstrate to employers, peers and clients that they have successfully achieved universal standards as set forth by the IIA.


Certification is granted following successful completion of the CIA four-part exam. In addition to general CIA certification, IIA also offers specialty certifications, including Certification in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) and Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA). Specialty exams can be used in place of the general CIA exam’s part IV, or they can be taken alone.


Each exam has its own experience requirements, which must be verified by past employers:


·         CIA: Two years (24 months) of internal auditing experience

·         CCSA: One year (12 months) of control-related experience, such as auditing, environmental auditing, quality assurance or risk management

·         CGAP: Two years (24 months) of government auditing experience

·         CFSA: Two years (24 months) of financial services auditing experience


Exam Content


The CIA exam includes four sections, each with 100 multiple-choice questions:


·         Part I – The Internal Audit Activity's Role in Governance, Risk and Control

o   Comply with the IIA’s Attribute Standards (comprises 15-25% of this section)

o   Establish a Risk-based Plan to Determine the Priorities of the Internal Audit Activity (15-25%)

o   Understand the Internal Audit Activity's Role in Organizational Governance (10-20%)

o   Perform Other Internal Audit Roles and Responsibilities (0-10%)

o   Governance, Risk, and Control Knowledge Elements (15-25%)

o   Plan Engagements (15-25%)

·         Part II – Conducting the Internal Audit Engagement

o   Conduct Engagements (25-35%)

o   Conduct Specific Engagements (25-35%)

o   Monitor Engagement Outcomes (5-15%)

o   Fraud Knowledge Elements (5-15%)

o   Engagement Tools (15-25%)


·         Part III – Business Analysis and Information Technology

o   Information Technology (30-40%)

o   Business Processes (15-25%)

o   Financial Accounting and Finance (15-25%)

o   Managerial Accounting (10-20%)

o   Regulatory, Legal and Economics (5-15%)


·         Part IV – Business Management Skills

o   Strategic Management (20-30%)

o   Management Skills (20-30%)

o   Global Business Environments (15-25%)

o   Organizational Behavior (15-25%)

o   Negotiating (5-15%)

The CCSA specialty exam includes 125 multiple-choice questions. Three hours and 15 minutes are allotted for completion of this exam. Questions will cover the following topics:

·         Control Theory and Application (20-25%)

·         CSA Program Integration (15-25%)

·         Elements of the CSA Process (15-25%)

·         Risk Identification and Assessment (15-20%)

·         Business Objectives and Organizational Performance (10-15%)

·         CSA Fundamentals (5-10%)

The CGAP specialty exam also includes 125 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within three hours and 15 minutes. Topics include:

·         Government Auditing Practice (35-45%)

·         Government Auditing Skills and Techniques (20-25%)

·         Government Auditing Environment (20-25%)

·         Standards, Governance, and Risk/Control Frameworks (10-20%)

o    Institute of Internal Auditors Professional Practices Framework

o    International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions Standards and Code of Ethics

o    Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards



Like the other two specialty exams, the CFSA specialty exam includes 125 multiple-choice questions that are to be completed in three hours and 15 minutes. The exam’s first 100 questions cover banking, securities and insurance, while the 25 remaining questions are tailored to the candidate’s proficiency level and discipline. Exam questions will cover four domains:


·         Financial Services Auditing (25-35%)

·         Auditing Financial Services Products (25-35%)

·         Auditing Financial Service Processes (25-35%)

·         Regulatory Environment (10-20%)


Registration and Scores


 Registration may be done online through www.theiia.org for each exam. Exams are computer-based and offered at more than 500 Pearson VUE Test Centers around the world. Exams are offered in May and November each year.


Scores are mailed by July 15 for May exams and by January 15 for exams taken in November. Scores range from 250 to 750, while a score of 600 is required to pass the CIA exam. Following successful completion of the exam, candidates are mailed their certificates.

For more information on the CIA exam or CIA specialty exams, please consult our CIA Test Directory.