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Things You Need to Know About the CISA Certification Exam

January 29, 2019 No Comments

Featured article by Sai Digbijay Patnaik, Independent Cybersecurity Consultant

Do you work as a security executive or an auditor in the Information Technology industry? If yes, then there are chances that you already know or have heard about the CISA certification exam. It is a popular certification exam and people rendering their services as security executive and auditors in the Information Technology industry take the CISA exam to provide a boost to their careers.

The CISA certification exam or the Certified Information Systems Auditor exam is conducted by ISACA and is undoubtedly one of the optimal certifications that has gained established international reputation. According to ISACA, there is a huge skill gap in the IT industry at present and the number of cybersecurity jobs outnumbers the candidates who are qualified to work in the industry. This has presented a great opportunity for professionals to take the CISA exam and boost their chances to get into the open cybersecurity positions.

While the opportunities present might be very intriguing, but clearing the CISA exam is not as easy as you might think. Reports suggest that only 40-50% of the candidates clear the exam. There are many reasons why it happens, including:

- It is a paper-based test that most candidates are not familiar with.
- The questions in the CISA exam are subjective and ambiguous most of the time.
- There are no official requirements for taking the exam, which means that anybody can take the exam that leads to increased competition.
- Lack of proper training that could let the candidates clear the exam.

Now that you know that the CISA certification exam is difficult to pass, there is a possibility that you might want to look out for ways that can help you clear the exam. If that’s the case, here are some of the things that you need to know about the CISA exam that you need to know about before appearing it. These are not the CISA exam tips but they can help you have a clear idea about the CISA certification exam, which can help you clear it in the first attempt itself.

Things you need to know about the CISA certification exam

Information on the CISA exam

Before appearing the CISA certification exam, you must have complete knowledge of the exam. The CISA certification exam by ISACA is conducted thrice a year in the months of June, September, and December. Each exam is for four hours and containing about 150 multiple choice questions carrying a total of 800 points. To pass the exam you need to score at least 450 points.

The five modules of CISA that you need to focus on

Now that you know the number of questions that you will come across in the CISA exam and the minimum marks that you need to score to pass the exam, you might want to know what topics are covered in the CISA questions. Well, the CISA course is divided into five modules. The modules offer comprehensive knowledge of IT security and auditing. The applicant is provided with professional credits after each unit, which can be seen in the final certification. Here are the five modules that you need to know about:


  • Module 1 – Auditing Information Systems - The first module covers how the IT auditors provide their services in accordance with the IT audit standards. It helps the applicant gain complete knowledge about auditing Information Systems. This helps you master the skills required to become an expert auditor.
  • Module 2 – Governance and management of Information technology - The second module focuses on the applicants getting a much deeper knowledge of the Information System Controls and how their security can be managed. This will help you provide efficient IT governance and vigilant monitoring of the IS.
  • Module 3 – IS Acquisition, Development, and Implementation - The third domain of CISA course comprises some of the most important practices that are required for the acquisition, development, testing, and implementation of Information Systems. In short, this module familiarizes you with the life infrastructure cycle management of the IS controls.
  • Module 4 – Information System Operations, Maintenance, and Support - This module focuses on providing assurance that the processes for IS operations, maintenance, and support meets the objectives and strategies of the organization. The module includes performing periodic evaluation and reviews of the IS.
  • Module 5 – Protection of Information Assets - The fifth and the last module of the CISA course focuses on how the IT auditors provide assurance that the organization’s standards, controls, security policies, and procedures ensure integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information assets. The module teaches you to evaluate the information security policies, procedures, and standards.



Retaking the exam

Owing to the difficulty of the CISA certification exam, if in case, you fail to secure 450 points in the exam, there is no need to worry. You can retake the CISA exam by registering for it again. As mentioned earlier, the certification exam is conducted three times a year, which means you have the opportunity to give another shot at the exam in a few months. The best part about the CISA certification exam is that there are no limitations on the number of times you can appear the test, which means you can appear it as many times you want.

How can you get your CISA certificate after passing the exam

Just passing the CISA exam will not ensure you the CISA certificate. For availing the certificate, you need to first fill and submit an application within five years of clearing the exam. With the application, you also need to send a copy of your experience certificate. Once they are received by the ISACA, they are verified and then only you can get your CISA certificate.

These are all the things that you need to know about the CISA exam before registering or appearing it. It must be clear to you now that this is not an exam that you can clear easily, It requires a deep understanding of IT auditing and security. While self-study is always an option, you can also choose to get yourself trained in CISA by choosing a good CISA certification training course. Certification training courses ensure that you have an in-depth knowledge of CISA and its nuances.

Do you know “Why Cyber Security Is Essential To Your Business Success?”. Read our recently published article.


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