CISA is an acronym for Certified Information Systems Auditor that refers to a position issued by ISACA, i.e., Information System Audit and Control Association. The designation is for a global standard for the people that are professionals who have a career in information systems. The careers, in particular, include auditing, control, and security. People who have gained a CISA certificate show that they have the knowledge, skill, and the ability to meet the challenging and changing factors of modern organizations.
To pass the exam for attaining a CISA certificate, the candidates will have to pass an exhaustive exam that satisfies the required industry work experience needs. This exam contains 150 multiple choice questions that test the knowledge of the candidate about the five domains of job practice. These domains are
• Process of Auditing Information Systems
• Government and Management of IT
• Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
• Information Systems Operations
• Protection of Information Assets
The candidates appearing for this exam must score a total of 450 marks to pass the exam. The exam scores are between 200 and 800 scales. One may perform this exam in June, September, or December in the testing centers made worldwide. To be able to sit in this exam, you must have an experience of work of a minimum of five years in Information Systems Auditing, control, or in the security. The fee for appearing in the exam for CISA is $575 for ISACA members and $760 for non-members. Once the candidate acquires the CISA, he is required to keep taking 20 hours of training each year and a minimum of 120 hours in three years. The annual fee of certificate maintenance is $45 for ISACA members and $85 for non-members. To pass the CISA exam, you will have to follow the following tips and stick them while preparing for the exam.
1. Consult The Official Coursebooks
To pass the tests for information security exams, you need to consult the official coursebooks suggested by ISACA. There are many other ways to benefit from while preparing for the exam, but the official book will have all the topics covered that can be asked in the CISA exam. The CISA Review Manual and the CISA requirements will have all that you need to study and prepare to attempt the CISA exam questions in the first try. Passing CISA is not an easy task, and you need to prepare your very best form the appropriate course books to pass it with the best marks and also in the first attempt.
2. Remember That IS In IS Auditor Stands For Information Systems
Many candidates mix up the meaning behind the IS auditor as the information security auditor. You should know that information security is a central subject in the CISA domains, but it only covers 25 percent of the whole knowledge in the exam. Other domains include the process of auditing information systems governance and management of IT IS acquisition development and implementation, information systems operations and service management, and maintenance. You must make sure that you do not confuse the IS in the IS Auditor, and if you want to go to the information security field, you better choose the CISM exam that is also another top-level certificate of ISACA that is based on the information security management.
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3. Take Prep Exams And Practice Tests
You need to take practice tests and exams to understand what the CISA exam will be about. Many tests are available in the official resources by ISACA, and many other tests can be found in online resources. You need to perform these self-assessment tests provided form the CISA self-assessing question sheet that includes 50 questions to match the exam blueprint of the CISA. You can also consult the ISACA glossary that includes the complete definitions of each term used in the course. With the help of this glossary, you will be able to understand and absorb most of the information provided in the CISA course. Appearing in the practice tests will make you realize what the actual tests will be like. You can also get a know-how of the weaker concepts. You can be confident of appearing in the actual exam when you score more than 90% in the practice exams.
4. Read The ISACA Exam Candidate Information Guide
Each year ISACA releases updated information for the candidates appearing in the CISA exam in the Candidate Information Guide. You can download this guide from online resources. This guide is of high importance for the CISA candidate sand. You must not take the chance fo appearing in the exam before reading this guide. It is updated every year with the most recent information about the current year’s CISA exam requirements and details. You can get the know-how of certain topics such as the exam registration process, deadlines, and certain important dates, and also some of the key details about the exam day administration. You also get access to some of the other valuable information, such as the exam domains, the number of questions, and the lengths and languages that are available for the CISA exam candidate belonging to different regions.
5. Devise A Study Plan
In the CISA exam, you will be assessed upon your knowledge of five domains. These domains will then be covering many different areas and subjects. To clear your CISA exam in the first attempt, you will be able to cover all the domains at least once. Having enough time will do the trick to help you touch each concept available in all of these domains. You need to have a study plan so that you cover each topic in time and also have spare time to appear in practice tests and do a self-assessment. To plan better, you should know what your rate of studying per day is and how much information you can absorb in one session. Then you can devise a study plan for yourself with the help of the following factors
•When Will You Be Taking The CISA Exam?
You will have to check the official site of ISACA to find out the nearest location and time of the exam so that you can choose what suits you best.
•How Much Time Can I Put In Training And Preparation Material?
If you are in your career and are already working, then you will have to put out adequate time into the training and preparing sessions each day. You will have to spare out time for covering CISA syllabus topics, taking practice tests for CISA, and also fo reviewing the simulations. To make sure that you have a thorough understanding and knowledge of all the topics covered in the CISA exam, you must find reliable and credible sources of preparation for the CISA exam. You can choose to have the CISA official candidate guide to create a solid basis to develop a skill and also to pass the exam.
•How Aware Am I Of The CISA Exam Subjects?
By being aware of how much understanding you have of the CISA subjects, you will know which subjects require more attention and time from your schedule. If you are well experienced in many subjects still, then do not opt for leaving the preparation of any part of the course on your experience. Instead, you must make sure that you touch every subject at least once in all the five domains.
6. Join Study Groups
Study groups are a great way to connect with people with the same goal. These groups will allow you to share your knowledge with the community and also benefit from what they have acquired. People who have passed the CISA exam are always at such groups on online spaces to share their experience with the tests. These tips can help you in acquiring the most knowledge about the subjects in CISA and help you pass the exams in the first attempt. Such groups can be found on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can join these groups and ask for personal notes from people who have passed the CISA exam in the past. Staying updated is also a factor to help you while preparing for the exam.
7. Join CISA Community
CISA forums are there to help the candidates with the official announcement and news about the exam. Through these communities, online candidates can access other candidates and also certified professionals in the field. But before you avail and use any source available in these communities, you must first make sure that these are credible sources. Take as an example that if you are looking for a formal definition of any concept, then you must first refer to CISA books, guidelines, and other official publications. You can also find CISA success stories in these communities reading, which can help you boost your confidence in clearing the exam after the perfect amount of preparation.
8. Use ISACA Resources
ISACA has official publications that always prove to be of great help for candidates appearing in the exam. Many experts suggest referring to the CRM, which is a comprehensive guide that is specifically created to help CISA candidates to clear the exam. The 26th edition of CRM is updated and has all the information required to acquire the skill of the CISA job practice. It provides the most authentic, complete, and recent IS audit, assurance, security, and control resources available for the exam.
For practicing the questions asked in the CISA review questionnaire, you should use the ISACA CISA Review Questions Answers & Explanation Manual. This consists of 1000 MCQs that can help the CISA candidate to get not only a fine understanding of the real exam questions type but also the structure of them. You can also get a detailed explanation of the questions and answers asked in the CISA exam. And also an explanation of the incorrect options so that you get an understanding of both sides of the coin. This manual is available on the web due to which CISA candidates can carry it anywhere and avail of its benefits during preparation. Due to the web version of this manual, you can create custom test questions that will be concentrated upon the subjects you think you are weak at. This way, you will be able to get a clear understanding of what subjects you are good at and what needs preparation and focus time.
9. Learn To Think Like An IS Auditor
The CISA exam is mainly intended for the IS Auditors. People who have a vast technical background but not as much in the audit work experience, you must pay special attention to have an auditor perspective right from the beginning. And also, on the other hand, auditors that have a short technical knowledge should focus on getting a proper understanding of the basic technical concepts that will be covered in the five domains of CISA. Your experiences in the field may be of no use if it does not adhere to the ISACA’s way of thinking. You must develop a way of thinking that adheres to how ISACA will be thinking while preparing your exam questions.
These were some of the tips that must be followed to pass the CISA exam. These tips will help you clear the exam in the first attempt. By having a CISA certification, you will stand at a distinguished position among your peers in the field of information security. You will not only get this position through a CISA certificate but will also develop technical skills that will help you in your career and your future. This exam is not a simple task and hence requires a complete focus on the preparation steps. You need to follow your study schedules religiously and must have a complete guide to know where you stand at any point in your preparation cycle.