Certified Information Systems Auditor

The CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) certification is renowned all across the globe as a standard for Business Systems and Information technology professionals who audit, monitor, access, and control data. Being CISA certified helps employers identify candidates with professional experience, knowledge, and skills including expertise in managing vulnerabilities, instituting control, and ensuring compliance.

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Read the ISACA’s Exam Candidate Information Guide

Every year, ISACA publishes an updated version of its candidate guide. It provides lots of practical information for the CISA exam. The latest version is freely available from the ISACA website.This should be used to review important topics such as exam registration, deadlines and key details for exam-day administration. It even contains valuable information such as the exam domains, the number of exam questions, exam length and languages. No candidate should take the CISA exam without reading this guide.

ISACA - Exam Prep Training Study Solutions

CISA Review Manual, 27th Editionis a comprehensive reference guide designed to help individuals prepare for the CISA exam and that has been revised according to the 2019 CISA Job Practice; While CISA® Review Questions, Answers & Explanations is a comprehensive 1,000-question pool of items that contains the questions from the CISA® Review Questions, Answers & Explanations Manual.


CISA Course Contents

The CISA course is divided into five modules that cover the complete scope of IS audits and review. Each of these modules comes with individual professional credits that are reflected in the final certificate.

Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Get the best of both worlds: personal interaction with expert instructors and the convenience of an online classroom. Expand your understanding of everything from audit and assurance to information security, cybersecurity, and managing reporting on risk. Our expert training will guide you through the critical concepts needed to master the CISA exam.

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CISA Exam Content - Difficulty Level

CISA primarily is designed for professionals with work exposure in Information System Auditing and it is a way to distinguish these professionals from those who are not qualified and certified. It can assist you in gaining higher quality for a new position or a raise or employment at a new organization or at your company, besides other benefits. As compared to other exams in the niche, it isn't considered particularly very tough to crack. If we talk about the exam content and syllabus, the exam consists of only 150 questions, which is a lighter one that most aspirants and successful professionals would agree to. It covers basic knowledge on a wide range of topics versus the specific knowledge in a particular topic. It depends on your learning style and previous experience; it could be both easy and tough. Interestingly, since this certification requires 5 years of experience and therefore is not intended for that information on the exam that is easier and for someone who is just starting their career.

Critical Success Factors to Pass

It has been observed that individuals with technical background constantly encounter complications in understanding the concepts of governance and auditing, as they concentrate more on the technical aspects. This is a strong reason for not being able to perform as an individual must also look at the holistic approach to thinking from a manager’s or an auditor’s perspective.

And on the other hand, it becomes difficult for an individual with auditing and accounting background to understand the technical topics. Such students/candidates need to work on the core concepts and objective of a technology being developed.

Whereas, the most experienced professionals try to apply their own techniques which turn out to be unreliable. It is recommended for you to solely consider ISACA’s techniques as these are globally accepted, practical and is standardized.

Many candidates have the knowledge required to pass the CISA exam, but about half failed on their first try. Your knowledge, and probably, more importantly, your ability to pick the correct answer, is the key to success.

For the purpose of the exam, answer the question the “ISACA way”. Don’t answer questions based on your personal experience unless it is in line with ISACA thinking. This is all about thinking like the test creators. If you’re ever unsure about a question, or feel like there could be more than one right answer, use this policy to guide you.

Familiarize with the Exam Question Format

The CISA Exam Questions can be broadly categorized as Conceptual that tests your knowledge of fundamentals related to technology and auditing standards and Practical that tests your ability to understand a scenario and apply concepts in real business situations.

There may be few questions on core technologies, such as encryption, EDI, internet security and telecommunications control. You are however not required to study specific technology platforms, such as SAP, Oracle, and SQL.

Put on the ISACA Hat when Answering Questions

As you go through the practice questions, learn how ISACA asks the questions. First, read the questions very carefully – quickly but word by word. They can be quite wordy, tricky and sometimes, even appear subjective. Most tricky questions have at least one choice as the “distractor”. People fall into the trap if they don’t read the question carefully, not clear on the concepts, or rely on “gut feeling” when answering questions.
Therefore, for each question, you should read the question carefully, eliminate the distractor and obviously incorrect answer(s) to narrow the choice and pick the best answer.

Time Management

Next, you want to consider your time management on the day of. There are 150 (down from 200 previously) questions to be answered in four hours. This means that you have ~70 seconds per question. You may answer some quick, and you may take longer for others. Therefore, you must track the time periodically. There will be a clock in the exam room to help you keep track.

My suggestion is to allow 1 hour for every 50 questions. Depending on how fast/slow you progress, you can slow down/speed up accordingly. You can get an idea for how you will do on the mock exam practices, but you won’t know for certain until you’re in there on exam day.

Also, the questions do not appear based on the sequence of the domains, so don’t waste time figuring out which domain a question belongs. Just answer and move along.

Job Profiles: Difficulty Levels

So, when talking about the job profiles for those who are starting out, it is always easier for those who have a couple of years experience than people who have no relevant experience in the field. It is known for a fact, that people who take CISA have already been working in the industry for 5 years and their perception or experience of the exam will vary. So, in the CISA exam also, it is completely a subjective matter. Although, it is known that they have increased the difficulty level over the years has been increased with the evolving times and standards in the industry and hence the opinions can vary significantly.

Seasoned IT auditing professionals : You probably only need a month to prepare. Start skimming through the CISA book and get familiar with the terms used by ISACA. Then, focus on practice questions and mock exam.

Candidates with some audit or IT experience : You may need around 3 months for exam preparation. If you are an auditor, get the technology perspective; if you are an IT professional, get the audit perspective. Then, read the book and spend sufficient time in practice questions.

Candidates with neither audit nor IT experience : Studying for the actual exam may take up to 6 months. There are reference books listed at the bottom of this page if you need background information on IT auditing. It is better if you can get both the official CISA Review Manual for core studying, and one of the supplementary books for further explanation on the concepts. The ISACA Questions Database is a must for lots of practice.

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