How to prepare for the CIA exam if English is not your native language

The Certified Internal Auditor exam is available in 13 languages: (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish). As an international candidate or non-native English speaker, you have a critical decision to make before you start preparing for the exam; which language are you going to take the exam in?

Here is our recommendation: If your proficiency level in English is intermediate or above, it is preferable to take the exam in English. If English is not your first language, and your level of proficiency is below intermediate, you should consider taking the CIA exam in your native language if this choice is available. Taking the exam in your language will be easier. You will minimize the possibility of misreading the questions on the exam and will reduce the time required to prepare for the exams.

CIA review materials generally available in English

English is an international language, so it is more convenient to provide content in English. Most CIA review materials are available in English and most of the content about auditing, accounting and business in general is in English. PRC is the only review material that offers review material in German, Japanese and Arabic.

CIA exam translation issues

Although the IIA offers the CIA exam in different languages, English is the primary language in which exam questions are written. That causes some of the content to be lost when translating questions to other languages.

Exam Language Availability

Not all testing centers offer the CIA exam in all languages. For example, only Thai testing centers offer the Thai language option.

Exam format

The CIA exam includes multiple-choice questions only. This means that speaking, listening and writing skills are not required to pass the exam. You only need to have good reading and comprehension skills. Therefore, a good plan is to focus on improving this particular skill that is important for the exam. The exam preparation process itself is going to help you improve your reading and comprehension skills. Start slow and notice how you will gradually improve with time.

Tips for taking the exam in English

Here are some tips to help you overcome the linguistic difficulties of preparing for the CIA exam if English is not your native language:

  • Start early and give yourself more time. Take the time necessary to improve your English language skills and get familiar with the material and the exam format. If it takes a native speaker 50 hours of study to prepare for Part 1, you might need 70 or even 100, depending on your current level. This number will improve over time as your language skills improve.
  • Do not try to translate content. Instead, read and understand the material in English.
  • Practice, practice, and practice. The more you get familiar with the exam content and format, the higher your chance of passing the exam on the first attempt.
  • Before answering any question on the CIA exam, carefully read and understand the question and the answer options. Questions can be tricky, so take your time and ensure that you understand what is being asked before submitting your answers.
  • Stay motivated. The CIA exam is challenging; always remember the goals that drive you to take the exam and what you hope to achieve by passing it.
  • Asking for help is ok. When you struggle with a particular concept, don't hesitate to ask for help from your tutor or colleagues.
  • Create a solid study plan. PRC has developed a helpful guide to assist you in creating your own study strategy, access it here.

Always remember, with careful preparation, you can successfully pass the CIA exam in any language. Are you ready to challenge yourself and pass the CIA exam? Try out our free demo here and start your journey to success.