Passed CISA with 2.5 weeks of studying

Hukuta_KydecHukHukuta_KydecHuk Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Successfully passed CISA with ~600/800 on a really short notice in the end of May.
I was planning to pass year earlier but heavy work schedule in audit forced me to postpone. This year I also had very little free time to study, but I was able to find some just 2.5 weeks before exam. I have a 3 year IT Audit background, which helped me a lot. To prepare for exam I bought the book and CISA database on isaca website.

I started with reading the guidebook but I quickly realised that it's not an option for me. CISA book is super-detailed and it was really challenging to read as english is not my native. I'd say that if you are new to the IS audit, then you should definitely read it just to understand the basics. From my point of view, book will take you at least 5-6 weeks to read, as it's hard to stay focused due to very IT specific text which constantly forced me to google words.

So, due to the short time and my background I decided to take the database road. I started of with hitting 50-60% which really embarassed me as I thought I'm good in IS audit methodology. It took me couple of days to understand and adapt to ISACA logic and things got much better. I studied around 3-4 hours every day including weekends and spent around 60 hours in total with the database. First week I was just doing random 20-30-40 question tests, just to get an understanding of CISA. After the first week I started doing questions that I haven't seen yet (available database setting) and it took me another 3 or 4 days. After that, I focused on trouble questions and areas that I got least percent of correct answers. 3 days before the exam I knew almost every question and every answer from the database, scoring at least 95%.

On the exam day, I answered all 150 questions in 100 mins. Even when I was preparing, I set myself to spend not more than a minute on a question and I stuck to this plan on exam too. I got ~30 questions which I marked (I was unsure about my answer) and it took me around hour to carefully read them and think about the answer. After that, I still had 90 mins left and I started checking all my answers from the end to beginning. After reviewing them, I think I changed around 10 answers.

About exam itself. I knew almost every question in the database. My friend who passed CISA 2 years ago told me there were some questions from the database, but not many. I was hoping to get at least 10-15% correct just because I knew the database by heart. But trust me, there were none! I'd say 5-7 questions were very similar to what I've seen in DB, but differently formulated. Exam questions were really focused on understanding CISA methodology. DB has lots of tech questions like what is the most advanced encryption method or network protocol, etc. There were none like this in the actual exam. Almost every question was describing specific audit situations regarding system integration, auditor decisions, auditor independence, etc etc. So I'd say exam was 90% theoretical, not techy at all.

Hope it helps. I can answer some questions while my experience is fresh.

Comments

  • cisanutcisanut Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations! Impressive score in only a short period of study time!

    Sounds like your 3 years of IT Audit background helped a lot! Your exam experience sounded similar to mine. I took mine in Dec 2017, where very few questions were recognizable from the ISACA Database as well!
  • Info_Sec_WannabeInfo_Sec_Wannabe Senior Member Member Posts: 400 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Only 2.5 weeks preparation? Wow! Nice job there! icon_cheers.gif
    Three year plan: (2018) CISSP [X] and eJPT [ ]; (2019) eCPPT [ ]; (2020) OSCP [ ]
  • Hukuta_KydecHukHukuta_KydecHuk Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    cisanut wrote: »
    Congratulations! Impressive score in only a short period of study time!

    Sounds like your 3 years of IT Audit background helped a lot! Your exam experience sounded similar to mine. I took mine in Dec 2017, where very few questions were recognizable from the ISACA Database as well!

    Thanks! Yeah, background helped a lot. It was kinda funny because I was basically answering questions on what I do everyday at work. It was interesting to learn how ISACA sees it, some things were unsual to me
  • Hukuta_KydecHukHukuta_KydecHuk Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Only 2.5 weeks preparation? Wow! Nice job there! icon_cheers.gif

    Thanks! In the end I thought 2.5 weeks is optimal time with around 4 hours each day. I felt like one more week and I would burn out with that schedule.
    And for everyone who will read my post - I advice to take full preparation cycle and study at least 2-2.5 months for this exam. It's absolutely not that easy, just my experience helped a lot.
  • roxerroxer Member Posts: 130 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congratulations on the pass!
  • LordQarlynLordQarlyn Member Posts: 648 ■■■■■□□□□□
    That's pretty impressive, just 2.5 weeks of preparation. Clearly your extensive real world experience paid off for the exam. Haha yes that is common, having to adjust real world practices to answer exams correctly. When preparing for my Microsoft exams, I was given the tip: there is the right answer, wrong answer, and Microsoft answer.
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