The path to becoming a certified internal auditor requires you to pass all three parts of the CIA exam. Very few – if any – candidates can pass this exam without using a CIA review course to learn the material and practice applying it to exam questions. However, most of these courses aren’t cheap. Thus, you want to purchase the one that gives you the best chance of passing the exam on the first try. Therefore, we’ll review your options and provide you with access to our exclusive CIA discounts.

Best CIA Review Courses

Firstly, here’s a quick breakdown of the certified internal auditor study material available in each company’s most comprehensive self-study CIA review course.

Gleim CIASurgent CIAHock CIAIIA Learn CIA
CIA Discount20%25% w/ code IPASS2540% None
BookPrint and digitalDigital onlyDigital (print costs extra)Digital (print costs extra)
Practice Questions3,000+2,500+2,705Unknown
Adaptive Learning Softwareincluded in cia prepincluded in cia prepnot includednot included
Audio Reviewincluded in cia prepnot includednot includednot included
Video Lectures45+ hoursnot included40+ hoursIPPF tutorial only
Mock Exam2not included61
SupportAccounting expertsTech support onlyTeach support & student forumsTech support only
Access LengthUntil you pass 18 monthsUntil you pass2 years
GuaranteeMoney-backMoney-backYou Pass or We PayNone

CIA Review Course Comparison


Gleim CIA Review Course

To start, Gleim is a well-known producer of test prep products. Similarly, its CIA material, like most of its other exam study material, uses a SmartAdapt learning platform. This adaptive learning software helps you study more efficiently by identifying your areas of weakness and giving you more practice questions in those areas. Accordingly, you won’t waste time studying the material you already know well.

Gleim Course Materials

In short, Gleim offers two full courses, called the Premium and Traditional Review Systems. However, you can also purchase the test bank and practice exams separately. Previously, Gleim used to advertise that its test bank had over 3,000 questions. Now it doesn’t give a number, though its CIA review course question bank is probably still quite large.

Gleim Premium CIAGleim Traditional CIAGleim CIA Test Bank
Price (all 3)$949$799$447
Price per part$339-$379$279-$319$139-169
TextbooksPrint and digitalPrint and digitalPrint OR digital
SmartAdapt learning platformincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cianot included
Interactive study plannerincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cianot included
CIA test bankincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cia
Unlimited practice examsincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cia
Final review modeincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cianot included
Exam emulationincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cia
Personal Counselorincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cianot included
Videos45+ hoursnot includednot included
Audio lecturesincluded in gleim ciaincluded in gleim cianot included
Digital flashcardsincluded in gleim cianot includednot included
Digital notebookincluded in gleim cianot includednot included
Money-back guaranteeincluded in gleim cianot includednot included
Help from accounting expertsincluded in gleim cianot includednot included
Access lengthUntil you pass18 months18 months

Gleim Pros & Cons

Gleim was the first company to produce a CIA exam prep course, and it remains one of the most popular and well-respected options. The SmartAdapt software is a big part of this reputation, as is the fact that the company offers a variety of study aids, including videos, audio files, and flashcards. Furthermore, you can buy the test bank a la carte. With every practice question, you’ll receive explanations for the wrong answer choices as well as the right ones, giving you a deeper understanding of the topics at hand.

However, all these CIA study materials come at a slightly higher price, particularly for the Premium Review System. Specifically, this option is more expensive than Surgent’s CIA online course. Do keep in mind that Surgent CIA is just a test bank, while the Gleim Premium Review System is a fully comprehensive course. Also, Gleim CIA is competitively priced compared to HOCK CIA or the IIA’s Learning System package.

Moreover, Gleim CIA assumes you have some background in accounting and auditing, so it skips elementary accounting concepts. If you’re new to accounting, regardless of which course you ultimately choose, you’ll need to study more diligently than someone with an accounting degree. Finally, remember that Gleim’s “Personal Counselors” are exam coordinators rather than subject experts. They won’t be able to answer your accounting questions directly. However, you can ask accounting experts questions via the online course, bypassing the personal counselors altogether.

Surgent CIA Review Course

Another CIA review course provider with an adaptive learning platform, Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology, will help you focus your study time. Additionally, it’s the only company that offers a product like ReadySCORE, which shows how likely you are to pass the exam at any given point in your studying. If your ReadySCORE is 75 or higher and you still fail the exam, you can receive your money back. Remember that while Surgent CIA’s cost is lower, it isn’t a full course with lectures and access to tutors. Instead, Surgent CIA’s platform is a test bank with highly-advanced AI.

Surgent Course Materials

Overall, Surgent offers a single CIA exam prep course called the CIA Review Essentials Pass ($599). Here’s what Surgent includes:

  • PDF textbook for each exam part
  • A.S.A.P. adaptive learning platform
  • ReadySCORE exam readiness indicator
  • CIA test bank with 2,500+ questions
  • Unlimited practice exams
  • 18 months of access
  • Pass or money-back guarantee

Moreover, you can also purchase CIA review materials for each section of the exam individually for $299 each. However, you won’t receive the pass guarantee with this option.

Surgent Pros & Cons

Of course, Surgent’s adaptive learning platform is a huge plus. However, you also have the option of turning that function off and progressing through the course linearly. Additionally, the combination of the ReadySCORE feature and the money-back guarantee makes this a low-risk investment. You’ll also get a wealth of practice questions at a relatively low price. Overall, this is the most budget-friendly complete course on our list.

Despite these advantages, Surgent’s CIA study material is entirely question-focused. Likewise, there’s not much in the way of actual lessons, and the textbooks are more like reference guides. There are also no video or audio lessons to help you learn the material. And there’s no exam simulation or personal support to help you through the test-taking experience. What notes there are seem to be pretty basic, so it might be challenging to make this your only CIA exam review course.

HOCK International CIA Review Course

HOCK International offers a unique guarantee: if you use the company’s certified internal auditor review materials but don’t pass the exam, they’ll pay the fees for your next retake. In terms of support, you’ll get email access to accounting experts as well as posting access to a student forum.

HOCK Course Materials

Overall, HOCK International offers three CIA review courses: the Complete, the Standard, and a package consisting of only practice questions.

Hock CIA CompleteHock CIA Standard
Price (all 3)$1,499$779
Price per part$619$359
Practice questions2,7052,705
Mock exams66
Digital flashcards689689
Pass Map study guideincluded in hock ciaincluded in hock cia
Teacher supportincluded in hock ciaincluded in hock cia
Printable PDF textbooksincluded in hock ciaincluded in hock cia
Printed textbook+$250+$250
CIA video lectures40+ hoursnot included
Guaranteeincluded in hock cianot included

Additionally, you can purchase the video lessons for $199 for each test part or $499 for all three.

HOCK Pros & Cons

In short, students know HOCK’s video lessons are some of the best in the business, and the ones for its CIA courses are no exception. In fact, they’re the equivalent of a live-taught course, covering all the material in the syllabus. In general, HOCK’s study materials are comprehensive and well-explained, and they’re guaranteed to be up-to-date for as long as you need them. While only the CIA Review Complete package comes with the You Pass or We Pay guarantee, all materials are accessible until you pass the actual exam.

Unfortunately, some CIA exam candidates find the HOCK CIA complete package pricey, especially considering the lack of adaptive learning software. Additionally, it has an average number of practice questions, and it would be nice to see more.

The IIA’s CIA Learning System

Finally, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the organization that creates the CIA exam, markets a series of review materials called the CIA Learning System, or Learn CIA. However, the IIA doesn’t actually write the CIA review course materials. As with other CIA exam prep courses, the IIA produces the syllabus. But a third party – in this case, the Holmes Corporation – actually creates the study materials for the IIA. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are sub-par materials. However, you shouldn’t assume they’re the best CIA study materials because they’re “official.” The Holmes Corporation does not receive inside information or unique previously-released exam questions. Ultimately, Holmes gets the exact same content from the IIA that Gleim, Hock, Surgent, and other third-party courses do. You’ll receive no benefits from the IIA CIA Learn Course as far as passing the exam goes. Again, the IIA simply markets the Holmes course, although the IIA isn’t very forthcoming that they contract the publication of IIA CIA Learn to a third-party company.

IIA’s Learn CIA Course Materials

Although there’s an option for instructor-led sessions, we’ll focus on the CIA Learning System Version 7.0’s self-study tools. Essentially, a single self-study package costs $$295-365 per part or $795-$995 for all three parts. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Digital textbooks (print costs $100 extra)
  • Video tutorial
  • Pre-test and quizzes
  • Digital flashcards
  • Practice exam
  • StudyPLUS exam prep guide
  • Two years of access if buying all three parts, one year if purchased by part

Alternatively, the instructor-led sessions cost $995-$1,695 and include all of the above plus eLearning seminars.

IIA’s Learn CIA Pros & Cons

Overall, this is the only certified internal auditor exam prep option on our list that offers live teaching sessions. Thus, if that’s something you need, this may be the right prep course for you. Additionally, the textbooks are well-organized and easy to read. They’re more geared toward actually teaching you the material than just getting you ready for the exam.

However, as a self-study program, the CIA Learning System is significantly overpriced. You’ll see practice questions in the lesson quizzes and practice exam, but there’s no separate test bank that allows you to make practice exams based on what you need to study. Additionally, there are no audio or video lessons to help you connect concepts in the books and the format of the test questions. And you’re not receiving any special inside information by using the CIA exam study materials with “IIA” printed on the cover. The course writers are working from the same syllabus as everyone else. Finally, you can purchase Gleim CIA for around the same price, which has a much better reputation for helping candidates pass the CIA exam. And unlike the course the IIA markets but doesn’t write, Gleim’s course includes lectures, access until you pass, and a direct way to ask accounting experts your questions.

Best CIA Prep Courses for Different Study Needs

In summary, picking the best study material for the CIA exam requires you to know how you learn best. Some people may get all they need from a textbook, while others may require video lessons or numerous practice questions to do their best. Therefore, we’ll present our breakdown of who each CIA test prep company is best for.

Gleim CIA is best for exam candidates who…

  • Already have some accounting knowledge.
  • Like a variety of study materials and formats.
  • Want to work with adaptive learning software.
Begin studying with Gleim CIA.

Surgent is best for those who

  • Have already failed one or more exam parts and want to retake it.
  • Learn best from practice questions.
  • Want a test bank-only course at the lowest price.
Get extra practice with the Surgent CIA test bank.

HOCK International CIA Review is best for those who…

  • Learn best from video lectures.
  • Like to study materials linearly.
  • Want access to accounting experts and a student forum.
Start watching the best CIA lectures we’ve found to date.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the best CIA exam prep for you is the course that fits your budget and provides the material in a format that matches your learning style. Overall, Gleim gets our top recommendation, but there are valid reasons why Surgent or Hock International may be a better fit for you. Alternatively, you can take IIA’s CIA Learning System course if you want live instruction. However, its self-study CIA exam materials are overpriced and may be insufficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get a discount on certified internal auditor study material?

You can receive discounted CIA exam preparation material using our links and discount codes to get the best prices on the courses reviewed above.