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How To Pass The CISM Certification Exam

Tatianna Harris's profile image

By: Tatianna Harris

September 15, 2021

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credential from ISACA is one of the most esteemed certifications in cybersecurity today. Achieving the designation demonstrates that an IT professional is qualified to create and manage security systems. The official exam for this high-level certification is challenging, having a 40-50% first-time fail rate. However, it is a certification that is worth working for. There are numerous benefits that cybersecurity professionals will enjoy when they attain CISM certification.

Tips for Passing the CISM Certification Exam

The CISM skillset is in high demand and is a great choice for career advancement. Here are some practical tips to help prepare for the CISM certification exam:

Read the ISACA Candidate Guide

The ISACA exam candidate guide is updated every year, so be sure to read the most current version. It’s designed to present applicants with comprehensive information about the CISM certifications so they can prepare for the exam appropriately. The CISM exam guide is available for download on the ISACA website.

Create a Study Strategy

It’s important to have a study plan while preparing for the CISM exam. In doing so, be realistic about home and work obligations and schedule study times accordingly. It’s better to take a little longer to prepare than to feel overwhelmed and rushing through the material.

Consider the following when creating a study plan:

  • When do you plan on taking the certification exam? Check the ISACA website for testing times and locations.

  • What training materials are available to you? You can find textbooks, courses, practice tests, and other certified study materials to help you prepare for the exam. Most resources are available online, and some are free.

  • How do you learn best? Some people learn best individually, while others thrive in a classroom full of students. Some students are visual learners, and others need to write things down. Consider past learning experiences to help you decide which methods work best for you.

Do a CISM Training Course

For many CISM candidates, a training course is a great way to backup reading textbooks. There are numerous options for CISM courses that help prepare students for the certification exam. Look for one that will integrate with your work and home life. For example, a self-paced course is often a good option for individuals who have full-time jobs because it allows them to work on the course during their free time, no matter when that is.

Don’t leave a lot of time between completing a course and taking the exam. Instead, schedule your exam as closely as possible to the end of the course, so the material stays fresh.

Do a Lot of CISM Practice Test Questions

After completing a training course, it’s important to practice the skills you’ve learned before taking the official exam. Taking practice tests will help you determine where you need to focus additional study and know the material well. Please don’t wait until the last minute to take practice tests; it may not leave you enough time to work on the areas where improvement is needed.

On CISM Exam Day

On the day of the CISM certification exam, it’s important to be well-rested and not hungry. Here are some practical tips to help during the test:

  • Be mindful of the time. The hours can pass quickly during an exam, so it’s important to stay aware of the time remaining and how many questions are left.

  • Read questions thoroughly. Pay attention to questions and all of the answer options to fully understand what is being asked. Watch for words like Least, Most, All Not, Never, and always, as they can change the meaning of a sentence entirely.

  • Eliminate wrong answers. Remove the answers you know are not right and focus on narrowing the rest down to your final answer.

  • Don’t panic about difficult questions. Skip questions that you don’t know the answer to and come back to them later. Spending excessive time on any one question can waste time.

  • Try to stay relaxed. Try not to get worked up over difficult questions and limited time. A relaxed mind is better equipped to solve difficult questions.

  • Recheck answers if there’s time. If there is time left over after you finish the exam, make a quick review of your answers, but take care not to second guess your first instincts when you are fresh and not tired.

Are You Ready for the CISM Certification Exam?

Earning the CISM certification is the best way to demonstrate high levels of information security management skills and commitment to the industry to current and future employers. In addition, it shows that cybersecurity professionals have the knowledge and experience to develop and manage an entire information security program.

Using the above tips, you can develop your study strategy for preparing for the CISM certification exam. Cybrary should be part of that strategy. Our Certified Information Security Manager training course provides students with a self-paced, online course that is convenient and comprehensive. Students can take their time on the areas they find difficult, going back over the material as much as they need to. Cybrary also offers practice exams to identify strengths and weaknesses in their skillsets and get an idea of what to expect on their official exam. Enrolling in the CISM course from Cybrary is simple. Just click the Sign-Up button at the top right of your screen to get started.

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