Passed CISA on 23 January 2019
Hi all, just a quickie to say thanks to this forum. A lot of insights and tips for the exam. I completed the CISA test on 23 Jan and got the temporary pass screen. - and finally got the official email today, 3 Feb 2019.
In terms of background, I am a chartered accountant (CA) and work in internal audit of a financial institution in Sydney. I am normally involved in financial, compliance audits but was working on IT audit perhaps once. For CISA, it took me approx. 4 months with average 2 - 3 hours a day before the exam. I just booked the last available date for Testing Window 1 - with the idea that if I failed, I would be able to re-take the exam straight away (Testing window 2 follows)....so do not have to wait. I was a bit nervous so only when I felt confident with the mock questions, I paid for the exam fee and booked the date. So yes, I booked the test just 5 days in advance. Needless to say, I could not sleep the night before until around 3.00 am. Also it helps in a way that nobody in my family or work colleagues know that I take the test. I feel less pressured.
In terms of documents I used, here they are:
1. The ISACA CISA Exam Database - highly recommended. I have done the tests many times. I always started with 30 questions in each domain. In the last week before exam, I scored 80 to 90. The score might be misleading, as you actually memorize some questions already.
2. CISA Review Manual - I used 2014 version (I bought it in 2014 but was never confident enough to write the exam). This manual is very useful as it actually covers all concepts.
3. CISA Study Guide (Sybex) - 3rd Edition, David Cannon. I mainly use the PDF version to search for quick reference of certain topics. In general, it's good - but you still need the official review manual.
4. CISA Exam Study Guide (Hemang Doshi) - This one is free from but very good and provides you with key points on certain subjects. Unfortunately, the book only covers major concepts....but its like you get everything explained in a logical way and easy to remember. This is actually very good.
I have to say that exam is way harder than the database questions. There are a lot of questions on governance, systems and audits. The number of technical questions around protocols in the OSI model, cryptography and the likes are limited. Also questions are very ambiguous - I feed confident with about 5 questions.
Also I made good use of the "review" questions. I finished all 150 questions after 150 minutes - then I just went through the "review"ones until last minutes. I actually flagged about 50% of the questions for further review.
My next target is CISSP and CFA. I will do CISSP in the 1H 2019 then do Level 1 CFA in December. I know it's a wrong forum but I have different focus from time to time. Wish you all good luck.