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You’ve nailed down that degree, clocked in some serious work experience, worked your butt off for that good reference letter, and are now ready to tackle the CIA exam. This is your final step in becoming a Certified Internal Auditor and starting your new career.
To adequately prepare for this exam you’ll need to create a solid study schedule, review all of your study material in an efficient way, and get yourself in the right mindset.
Here are a few ideas to help you succeed on all 3 parts of the CIA exam.
Top 5 CIA Exam-Taking Tips
Create a Study Schedule
The CIA exam is a self-study exam, which means you must maintain a certain level of motivation and willpower to succeed. Creating a study schedule as part of your CIA exam prep is crucial because it will keep you accountable and organized. You should consider the following 4 points to create an effective schedule:
1. Create a chart of your current obligations
Whether it’s a part-time job, relationships, children, or church -- you need to acknowledge these activities and write them down. Being able to see how much time you currently have available will help you move on to step 2.
2. Add studying to your time chart
Now that you know when you are available to study, add in blocks of dedicated study time. This action will help hold you accountable and act as a reminder. This is also a great way to determine which subject you should be studying and when.
3. Create study goals for yourself
Creating goals gives you something to look forward to and work towards. What do you want to accomplish with this study schedule? Do you want to be prepared for the CIA exam by a certain date? If so, writing down your goals and sticking to them will help you get there.
4. Stick to your schedule
A CIA exam study schedule is worthless if you don’t actually follow it. Pushing yourself to follow it each day will form a habit that is certain to turn into success. Consider reserving some blocks of time to “catch up” on study materials for those weeks when your schedule is busier than usual. This makes it less likely that you’ll fall behind and will keep you from becoming discouraged if you do.
CIA Study Materials
Now that you have your schedule down, it’s time to get your hands on all the necessary CIA study materials. Several resources out there will help you get the most out of your study time. These include CIA review courses, flashcards, practice tests, workbooks, and audio lectures. You should choose your study materials based on your learning style and preferences.
Each review course is a bit different and has various tools and training methods. Most offer demos that allow you to test out their course before you make a purchase. You should definitely try out various options until you find the one that best suits your needs.
Gleim CIA Review offers audio downloads and a computerized test that is identical to the exam itself.
Wiley CIA Review has a software program that has over 4,000 questions very similar to those you will see on the CIA exam.
Essential Study Tips
You’ve got the schedule and resources to succeed, so now it’s time to wrap your head around the entire process. Maintaining a positive mindset will increase your chances of passing all parts of the CIA Exam.
Here are 3 simple study tips worth following:
1. Be realistic
You can’t learn everything in a week, so it’s important to manage your expectations and give yourself enough time to study all the material. Keep things fresh in your brain by absorbing smaller chunks of information each day. Before starting on a new day of studying, quickly review the previous day’s information.
2. Stay focused
Avoid using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, turn off your phone, and close all other open windows on your computer. This allows you to keep your focus and give your studying 100% of your attention. If you must check email or social media, schedule specific breaks in your study time to do so -- and then stick to them.
3. Give yourself a break
Life is hectic enough, you don’t need to put too much additional stress on yourself. Make sure to take some time off from studying to relax and recharge. This can be as simple as hitting the movies with a friend or zoning out to your favorite television show. Take one day off from all that work and studying each week, and do the things that make you happy.