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Your CIA Exam Preparation Survival Guide

Posted on March 1, 2015 2:19 pm;

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So you’re on your way to your CIA exams, but before you get too stuck into your studies, take some time out to read Morgan’s helpful tips. You won’t regret it!

Think about timing early on

Since there’s some flexibility in how you spread your three CIA exams and how much time you take to complete them, it’s worth factoring into this a bit of strategy.  Don’t think that the longer you take, the better. For some people condensing them into a shorter timeframe can have its benefits. So think carefully about how you want to approach it all.

Consider live classes

You might feel that you’re perfectly able to follow the self study route, but don’t underestimate the value of live classes. You’ll come face to face with extremely skilled instructors who can not only condense learning via classroom-friendly formats, but also deliver valuable real-time feedback.

Strategize your exam decisions

The decision on which exam to sit first is usually a tactical one: some people select the one they feel most comfortable with first, while others deliberately target the one they feel is the most challenging.

However, keep in mind that 60% of candidates who pass the exam from the first attempt, sit for the exam after they have completed Parts I, II and III of the course. We strongly recommend you attempt the exam after completing the program.

Review, review… and review!

Once the program is over, it’s time to go over all of your lectures and practice questions. Remember, you can never review enough, and the more familiar you are with the material and what lies ahead, the greater your chances of passing. Don’t forget you’ll also need to practice applying concepts and not just read about them as you make your way through your review.

Plan well

Ideally you need to fit in one hundred study hours per part before you sit for the first exam. To ensure you make the most of your available time, you need to plan with regimental precision. Make sure you have a study calendar prepared that devotes plenty of time to all elements, especially your weak areas. More importantly, you need to commit to your plan and follow it!

Take advantage of time

Beyond your structured study plan, make use of what would otherwise be spare moments and find ways to insert study periods into your day – it could be over lunch, just before bed, or while standing in line at the bank – be creative in how you manage your time.

Pace yourself

It’s important to make sure you get enough sleep and rest, but it’s also important to keep at your studies. In other words, don’t do anything to excess, but instead approach your study plan and your sleeping habits with equal measure.

Break it down

Breaking down the subject matter into bite-size chunks is the best way to absorb information. If you find a particular topic overwhelming, divide it into sub topics that are manageable - this way you will learn more efficiently and with greater retention.

Get flash

Flash cards are always a great resource for learning and with the CIA exam they are particularly great for testing you on “awareness” level topics in Part III.

Keep going

Don’t give up. Yes, it might feel challenging at times, but focus on your end goal and keep going. If at times you feel overwhelmed, take a break and switch off for a while, or reach out to your peers for some mutual support.

Sleep well

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the exam. Put down the books, go to bed at a reasonable time, and wake up feeling on top form to do your best.

Need a little extra help?

Morgan’s P² Package  has been designed with your success in mind. Be sure to access Mi Question Bank (containing over 1,000 questions) for those last reviews.

A few more tips for exam day…

  • Answer the questions you are familiar with first.
  • Think how you would answer before you look at the choices.
  • Mark the difficult questions or those you are unsure of for later review.
  • Read each question carefully to make sure you understand it fully before answering (pay attention to negatively worded questions and clues such as ‘most’, ‘all’, ‘except’ and ‘not’).
  • If you are uncertain about your answer, make an educated guess.
  • Think beyond your own professional experience to give answers that are broader in perspective.
  • Don’t leave any question unanswered. Remember: you do not get penalized for incorrect answers.
  • Us the full time allotted to you, there is no advantage in ending the test early so take the time to review your work, make corrections or dedicate the time to the more difficult questions.
  • Allow an average of 72 seconds per question – budget your time accordingly.
  • And finally, trust your first instinct. Don’t be tempted to change your answer on an objective exam, because the first answer is usually the right one.

Get practicing now with sample CIA exam questions.

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