Decidedly mundane…

Tips for Passing the CISA Exam

[Image]Having passed the CISA exam myself back at December 2005, here’s what I learned from the experience:

  • Study the CISA review manual religiously. Yup, I used only the CRM as my learning material.
  • Use the sample exam questions from the CISA CDs. Get your hands on previous year’s CDs too, if possible. Use the mock-up exam generator provided with the CDs. Try to answer the questions yourself first, then learn the answers. Do not memorize the answers, but try to understand the reasoning behind it. Even if you answered right on a question, study the answers anyway. This way, you should get the feel on how the questions on a CISA exam should be answered.
  • Experience in audit is an advantage. IT audit is just like any other audit, but with a different scope. All the processes behind an IT audit is just the same with other audits: business process understanding, audit scope definition, audit planning, the audit itself, and reporting. The knowledge of these processes will get you to a running start.
  • Experience in IT is an even greater advantage. The Company has sent numerous people before to the exam but most of them failed. The reason: they have no IT background nor experience. Whether you like it or not, CISA is about IT. Many of the questions will relate to the IT world.
  • Arrive early at the exam location. Nothing will wreak havoc on your mental state like arriving late on the d-day. Provide some time to locate your classroom -my exam location was a school – and seat number.
  • Skip the preparation courses. I did attend a course at the expense of The Company. I don’t think it helped me very much, though. You can only gain so much from the speakers, who talked about their experience in the field rather than the exam materials themselves. The only way it helped me was in the form of mock-up exam sessions. I also think that these courses will bring some good for you if you don’t have any experience in auditing.
  • Have a hearty breakfast first. The test takes four hours, you know – mine lasted from 10 AM to 2 PM– so you’d better prepare yourself for a good fight.

Now here’s a few additional tips for you taking the exam in Jakarta, which will be held in Jakarta International School (JIS) on Jalan Sekolah Duta near Pondok Indah, if I’m not mistaken:

  • Leave your car vehicles at home. JIS won’t let you park on their premises, so you’ll have to park on its neighbours’ premises, which are in kinda short supply. Good news for you guys with motorcycles, JIS allows you to park there. Last time I heard, no vehicles are allowed inside.
  • Wear jackets and, perhaps, headwear. The classrooms are very cold. You’ll be there for at least 3 hours, so do yourself a favor.
  • Take a careful note of your designated classroom. The rooms are sparsely located, so if you get into the wrong one, you’ll take much time locating the real one.
  • Have your photo ID card ready. The proctors will really compare yourself with the photograph. I have a friend who was questioned by his proctor because he changed his hairstyle when he took his exam.

That’s it. Best of luck to you guys taking the exam!

25 Responses to “Tips for Passing the CISA Exam”

  1. http://passcisa.blogspot.com is a very good site for cisa preparation. i thank this forum for providing this information.


  2. I liked the suggetion of skipping preparatory courses as Iam planning to take the next Exam even after undergoing a preparatory course. Always try to prepare by thoroughly reading the CRM and develop and clarify doubts with CISA’s.

  3. @ Surendran:
    I whole-heartedly agree. I also joined several CISA mailing lists back then. The community was very helpful when I posted several questions.

  4. Great Site however if you want interactive videos , go to http://cisa-2007.blogspot.com

  5. Kayanya ada temen yang harus baca nih. Ngebet banget dia pengen ujian CISA. Tapi pengennya gratis. Hihihi.

  6. Hi ,
    If some one could please send me the CISA review manual 2009 on junaidp@gmail.com
    I’ll be really thankful

  7. @ JUNAID:
    I don’t think your request is in accordance with ISACA Code of Professional Ethics, though. Just saying.

  8. I agree with JUNAIDs comments. If you plan to be an IT auditor, you should spend a small amount to buy Cisa Review Manual 2009, which will contribute to our evergrowing ISACA community in long way.


  9. Wow.. good information..
    I worked at JIS at 2006-2008, but I never know that JIS has opened CISA training class..
    It has surprised me..
    Oh ya.. The correct address of JIS on Jalan Terogong Raya #33, Cilandak Barat..
    The Class use Smart Board… wow u will have wonderful experience study in better place that u have ever seen in Jakarta..
    Good Luck…!

  10. @ wisnu:
    No no. JIS never opens a CISA training class, but it is the designated exam site for the CISA certification in Jakarta.

  11. Oh.. ok.. thanks for confirm..
    So where do we can get the CISA training class in Jakarta…??
    And why did ISACA choose JIS as exam site only…??

  12. @ wisnu:
    I know two places that offers CISA preparation course: one is at Magister Teknologi Informasi Universitas Indonesia and Bina Nusantara EDP. I think there are several lesser known course providers, but I don’t have the details.

  13. hi
    v helpful. thanks

  14. It took me two tries to pass the CISA. I always tell people to get field experience before taking the test because the content seems the same as what you learned in school. But applying the practices is different, and that is what the CISA focuses on.

    • @ Adam:
      I agree to that, Adam. I was an IT auditor for two years before I finally took that test. I have to admit, the experience did help. Unfortunately, not many of us have that kind of luxury. A great number of people wants to take the test as a stepping stone to get a real job instead.

  15. thank you for the tips. i’ll take the test next Saturday, but i only have short time to prepare myself for the exam due to this hectic audit and advisory engagement time >< i'm still struggling to finish all chapters on the CRM and only spend my spare time to do answer question database from 2008's CD that my firm provided. could you give some advise to boost up my confidence? and also, what is the approximate score/percentage to pass the exam (from 200 questions given)? thanks a bunch!

    • @ amanda:
      I hope you got it easy on Saturday. I’m reading your comment the next Tuesday, sorry. I also have no clue about ISACA’s current passing grade, since I took the test in 2006.

  16. pls, enlighten me…i am yemi from nigeria n i am planning to write cisa exams june 2012 diet….pls can i use d cisa review manual of 2011 cos i heard that dia is only a little difference btw current manual n the preceding year manual….

  17. Thanks a lot for this.
    I’ll be writing from Abuja, NIgeria. This June, 2013.

    Been practicing a lot of questions from the database, to be honest, a little more than I go through my manual. Is that a good idea?


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