iStock_000056896956_MediumPassing the Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA) exam is no easy feat. It’s estimated that roughly 40 percent of candidates people pass the CIA exam each year. But don’t stress: We’ve compiled this list of 10 great CIA exam study tips to help you boost your score.

Here are 10 great CIA exam study tips:

  1. Become familiar with the test. There are three parts to the CIA exam. Each part includes between 100 and 125 questions, which must be answered in two and a half hours or less. All of the questions are multiple-choice questions. Part three is said to be the most difficult, and the questions are more likely to be conceptual and trickier to figure out. Understanding the ins and outs of the exam will allow you to customize your study plan accordingly, with no unexpected surprises.
  2. Study on a schedule. You know you have to make time to study to be prepared by a certain date, but how you schedule your study time can make a difference. It’s easier to remember and digest information when it’s learned gradually over time, rather than all at once.[1]To get the edge, build a small amount of study time into your daily schedule, and make sure to take that time seriously (meaning remove distractions and really get to work). Cramming will be your worst enemy when it comes to studying for the CIA exam. You can find online calendars and spreadsheets tailored to the test to help you get started. This is likely the best and most useful of our CIA exam study tips.
  3. Create a system for notes. Whether you are marking notes in the margins of your test prep guide, highlighting or creating tabs for the portions that are most challenging, or jotting down reminders from things you’ve read online, develop a system for keeping track of notes and information.
  4. Find the study tool that fit your needs. There are plenty of tools available to help you study, Make sure you select a thorough exam prep program, such as UWorld CIA Review, which features the biggest test bank with more than 6,000 practice questions. You can try it for free by registering here.
  5. Be a strategic reader. To prepare yourself for taking the test, it’s important to know what to read and how carefully. Former testers advise reading the question part first, rather than focusing on the introductory text. You may know the answer right away and not need to read all of the expositions. That said, you should read the question carefully and understand what’s being asked. Think about how you would answer before looking at the multiple choices.
  6. Prepare for multiple choices. One benefit of a multiple-choice test is that there is always one correct answer in the mix, so a guess gives you a reasonable chance of being right (which is why you should never leave anything blank). Patterns behind multiple-choice tests also tell us that there will be one obviously incorrect answer, and another that may be factually correct but is irrelevant. If you can find and eliminate those options for consideration, you’ve greatly increased your odds of getting the question right.
  7. Learn to spot the unlikely. Because the subject matter is complex, few things happen “always” or “never.” Responses that include these types of definitive terms are not likely to be correct. Similarly, you can quickly rule out any choice that is partly true, only true in very specific circumstances or irrelevant.
  8. Know how to apply what you know.This exam is specifically designed to gauge your ability to apply the information. So understanding concepts is important, but it’s even more important to know how to apply those concepts in real-world scenarios. Keep this in mind when you are studying.
  9. Track any difficulties during prep. The questions that you never get correct on practice quizzes, the topic areas that you tend to get stymied by? Track those as closely as anything else. If you can define which topic areas are most difficult for you, you can focus on tackling them now and avoid having to take the test a second time.
  10. Familiarize yourself with real-life audit experience. To get a better practical understanding of internal audits, try to review famous cases or those that you are familiar with.