How To Pass CIA Exam?

There are four things you need to pass the CIA exam: mindset, commitment, good study habits, and quality materials.

At the risk of sounding like an “old fart” … back in my day when I took the CIA exams it was still paper and pencil. We had two times a year when one could take the exam, so we had to finish studying in a short period of time. Two times a year, that was all we got so we had to be ready.

Now you have the option of taking the online exams in a testing center when you “feel” ready.

Most people study too long, or not consistently, resulting in them failing the CIA exams many times.

In fact, only about 40% of people pass an exam each quarter.

And let’s be honest. If you are in the 60% that didn’t pass it sucks!

It’s embarrassing!

But there is hope when you focus on mindset, commitment, developing good study habits, and using quality materials.

So let’s dig into those.

Read on through until the end, because the information I will give you will save you 100s of hours, and $10,000+.


The CIA exams are as much mental as they are academic.

If you are only focused on the academic, you are setting yourself up to fail.

Most people I’ve coached who struggle with passing the exam had mental blocks … especially when they’ve failed exams.

The more times you fail the exam, the more mental block you subconsciously create.

Wouldn’t it be great to remove those mental blocks so you pass next time!

Mindset isn’t something other CIA review courses discuss, but I do.

In fact, I’ve spend a lot of years studying psychology, adult learning, and coaching to get performance … and it all comes down to mindset in the end, which is why my courses are structured to help remove those mental blocks, improve your mindset and your confidence.

In fact, mindset issues are the #1 reason I see why people fail the exams.

How do you get rid of the mental mindset blocks?

You condition yourself for success using sub-conscious re-programming.

Sound a little daunting or crazy? Don’t worry. It’s actually backed in science and can be taught to anyone.

As part of the Mefford CIA Review course I provide you with tools to help you improve your mindset and confidence each day, and each week as you study.

You feel more confident in your ability to pass the exams and thus are better prepared … removing the mental blocks that usually cause people to fail the exams.

When you are ready to remove your mental blocks and improve your confidence, register for the Mefford CIA Review Course and I will give you the step-by-step process.


Passing 3 exams and spending a significant amount of time studying takes commitment. Many people are not consistent in studying and end up giving up before they get through the process.

They start off very committed to studying and go for 1-2 weeks and then stop.

They let “life” get in the way.

Are you letting life get in the way of passing?

Spreading out study over a long period of time (more than 90 days) significantly increases the likelihood that you will forget what you learned due to the curve of forgetting, a phenomenon studied by scientists showing we forget about 40% of what we learn the next day and 60% by day 2 without repetition.

Short-term memory in, and then most of it’s lost within a few days.

This is one reason teach you how to incorporate multi-sensory learning process I developed into your studying … which stores the information in multiple places in the brain to help with recall later.

I also encourage repetition of the important material, which reduces the curve of forgetting (e.g. watching the instructional videos more than one time, which is much less boring than reading anyway).

But even still, no matter how good we may be at studying the truth is … it is very difficult to remember much of what happened months ago … so imagine if you study for a whole year how much you’ve forgotten before you take the exam.

To shorten your study time, I created a step-by-step process for how exactly to pass each exam in 90-days or less: The 90-Day CIA Success Plan.

I know some of you may be saying it just can’t be done, but here is my story.

I passed all four parts of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exams in 6 months, the first time, using this method. I was a full-time student finishing my undergraduate degree, working 30+ hours a week and was married with a small child. It can be done.

I passed all 3 parts of the CIA exam in 4 months, the first time, using this method. I was a new Chief Audit Executive (CAE) working 50+ hours a week and was married with 4 small children. It can be done.

I don’t share my story to brag, but to show you it can be done when you are committed. I was committed and knew I only had to “make” the time to get it done. I didn’t have any other choice.

I’ve had students pass all 3 parts of the exam in 6 months using this method. It can be done.

“I passed all 3 exams on my first attempt (within 6 months) using the Mefford CIA Review Course. Getting my CIA also allowed me to get a new position as Head of Internal Audit” – Husam

Following the 90-Day Success Plan I include with the Mefford CIA Course is exactly the step-by-step process to help you learn and retain the information so you are ready to take the exams every 90 days.

You have to be committed to doing the necessary work and follow the plan. It works!

Isn’t it more important to be fully committed for one year of your life and get certified, or be somewhat committed for 5 years or more struggling and failing exams?

Whenever you are committed to your success and willing to put in the work necessary, register for the Mefford CIA Review Course and you can get the 90-Day CIA Success Plan.

Quality Materials

Most people studying for the CIA exams have to take the exams many, many times over the course of many, many years.

To me that is a big waste of your time and money.

Why does it take most people so many attempts to pass the exams?

There are actually quite a few reasons, and here are the ones that related to quality materials:

  • Only relying on reading a book and doing practice questions.
  • Trying to pass by themselves using self-study methods.

I get it. Most people are trying to do the minimum necessary to pass, but …

If you invest in the cheapest option for studying (usually a self-study book or practice questions) you will get the cheapest results.

The more you invest, the better quality and the quicker you pass the exams.

Really successful people know when they invest more, they get better, quicker results and more value.

Reading typically results in only about a 10% retention rate.

Using a quality video course (like the Mefford CIA Review Course) gets you up to 50-60% retention just from watching the video lectures, and when you incorporate the multi-sensory learning method I developed you can get up to 70-80%.

That’s like reading the book 7 or 8 times.

Way less effort, in way less time.

In-person courses provide the best learning environment, but they are the most expensive and require time away from work and your family. When you are done with the class, you don’t get to hear the lecture again and support from the instructor usually stops when you walk out the door.

A video lecture format course, provides you with the benefits of an instructor, but gives you the ability to watch it over and over again as needed.

A quality video lecture format course, is also developed to take advantage of scientifically proven adult learning methods to help you learn quicker and retain more of the information.

Plus, it’s way more exciting than reading a boring book.

In fact, one student said “having a lecture with slides is really motivating, makes one feel like they are in an actual class and keeps my attention.”

I understand that as humans we need repetition to learn and have questions. Videos allow you the repetition, and I provide support for students through their CIA study process.

I know how lonely it can be when it’s just you studying.

That’s why I offer group Q&A calls each quarter.

My commitment to you doesn’t end when you register for the course. It doesn’t even end when you pass the exams, but I’ll be there with you to provide support and answer questions on your CIA journey.

Practicing study questions over-and-over again usually leads people to believe they are better prepared for the exam since they score well on the questions.

I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to that were very discouraged after failing the exam and said “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I was scoring 90%+ on the questions but didn’t pass.”

The reason is the questions you studied will not be on your exam. It is more important to understand and learn the topics, and allow you mindset work to help you remember the correct answer when taking the exam.

The bottom line is you will be much more successful when you invest in quality study materials.

When you are ready to invest in quality materials, with support along the way, register for the Mefford CIA Review Course.

You either invest now, or pay later.

Good Study Habits

Along with mindset and commitment we discussed before, you need to develop good study habits.

You not only need to develop them, but you also have to practice them every day.

I see people who study really diligently for a week or two and then just stop. They let life get in the way, as we discussed before.

Included in the step-by-step process with the 90-Day CIA Success Plan are instructions for how to schedule you studying each day, and exactly how to study.

Just follow the plan every day and you will develop and practice the good study habits.

When you are ready to develop and practice good study habits, register for the Mefford CIA Review Course.

The Elephant in the Room

And now for the elephant in the room … your financial investment.

The CIA certification requires a degree, years of experience, an application process, and multiple exams that take most people 1-2+ years and $10,000+ at a minimum to obtain.

If you are a little skeptical, here’s the math for the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA):

  • Application fee = $250
  • Testing fee for 3 exam parts = $750
  • Re-testing fee for 2 parts (less than 40% pass the first time) = $500+
  • Preparation materials or courses = $1,000-$12,000+
  • 500+ hours of studying at $20 per hour for your time = $10,000+

And that doesn’t include all the time and money invested to get a university degree and years of experience.

Most people have invested $2,000 just to file an application and pay testing fees with the CIA, before even considering the 500+ hours of studying (usually over several years).

I hear people say they don’t “have” the money to invest in anything more than the cheaper reading materials and question data banks, but the cheapest financial investment actually costs you much more in the end.

Haver considered what it costs you if you don’t invest in quality study materials?

Paying re-testing fees, adding 100s of hours of study, and the feeling of being not good enough, or not smart enough to pass … not to count the embarrassment factor too … means you spend much more in the long-term.

Would it be worth $5,000 to avoid those negative feelings and the embarrassment?

Would it be worth $5,000 to spend more time with your family instead of studying for the next 5 years?

Would it be worth $5,000 to increase your compensation by $300,000 over the next 10 years?

Instead of believing you don’t “have” the money, or can’t “afford” it, you should be thinking what do you lose if you don’t invest in yourself?

What could you be missing out on?

Can you afford not to invest in yourself?

What if in as little as 3 months of becoming a CIA:

  • you could qualify for a promotion
  • could apply for a position at a new company
  • could increase your earning potential

And we are not talking about a little increase in your earning potential.

Certified individuals earn up to 40% more than those without a certification, and that usually translates into a $10,000 – $30,000+ annual increase.

That means you could easily earn an additional $300,000+ over your career.

Would investing $5,000 now be worth an additional $300,000?

What would an additional $300,000 do for you and your family?

When you are ready to invest in yourself, register for the Mefford CIA Review Course.

Other Options

If you’ve finished reading this and have instead decided to give up on the CIA, you still need to consider getting certified.

Remember all of the benefits of being certified we discussed before, and the significant increased earning potential?

Really at this point you have three options.

  1. Stay stuck exactly where you are.
  2. Invest in yourself and commit to passing the CIA exams with the Mefford CIA Review Course, or
  3. Get another certification.

When you are ready to learn how to select the best certifications for your career register for this special training: Selecting the Best Certifications for Your Career. Normally this 4 hour course is $99, but if you use the special link, you can register for only $9.

The training shows you exactly how to find the best certification for YOU.

Here’s an example of another certification you could consider.

With the Certified Risk-Based Internal Auditor (cRBIA) professional designation, you avoid a 1-2+ year struggle, and investing $10,000+ in time and money.

Instead with the Certified Risk-Based Internal Auditor (cRBIA) within 1-2 weeks of investment you feel qualified, confident, and hopeful.

You also have a professional designation certification you can use on your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile to help you land your next job.

When you are ready to move from traditional internal audit to a more progressive risk-based methods, and earn a certification in 1-2 weeks, register for the Certified Risk-Based Internal Auditor (cRBIA) course.

AND … since you stayed until the end, when you use this special link, you can save $1,000 in the next 14 days.