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How tough is the CISA exam?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Have this coming up. No idea what to expect, have a study guide and will use it next week. Is it comparable to the Bar or CPA exam? I would think not, but some of the stuff online seems to indicate it's gotten pretty difficult recently.
post #2 of 13
Certainly in no way as difficult as the Bar exam, and from what I have seen not as difficult as the CPA. Although I did the CISM several years ago so maybe they beefed it up in the interval. If you have experience in information security and understand compliance it's easy. The whole security certification thing has become devalued and beyond making the first cut with a headhunter it doesn't make a lot of difference. We push all our staff through the CISSP route as it has broader coverage.
post #3 of 13

the CPA exam is national and difficult, 45-50% pass rate

the bar exam ranges from 55 to 90% pass rate, national avg seems to be ~70%

 

National statistics are not yet available for 2010. In 2009, only four states — Iowa, Missouri, Montana and South Dakota — had passage rates 90 percent or above for an administration of the bar exam. California, reputed with good reason to have the country’s toughest bar exam, had only a 56 percent passage rate for that same test.

 

I've taken several PE tests in different disciplines and did not consider them difficult (pass rate 50-70 depending on discipline)

 

these tests are basically administered to verify minimum competency

 

you can find the pass rates for your test perhaps

CISA rate ~50% http://www.vascan.org/webdocs/07confdocs/CertsFinaFinal.pdf

which would seem to make it pretty difficult

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur PE View Post

the CPA exam is national and difficult, 45-50% pass rate
the bar exam ranges from 55 to 90% pass rate, national avg seems to be ~70%

National statistics are not yet available for 2010. In 2009, only four states — Iowa, Missouri, Montana and South Dakota — had passage rates 90 percent or above for an administration of the bar exam. California, reputed with good reason to have the country’s toughest bar exam, had only a 56 percent passage rate for that same test.

I've taken several PE tests in different disciplines and did not consider them difficult (pass rate 50-70 depending on discipline)

these tests are basically administered to verify minimum competency

you can find the pass rates for your test perhaps
CISA rate ~50% http://www.vascan.org/webdocs/07confdocs/CertsFinaFinal.pdf
which would seem to make it pretty difficult

Thank you for the information. I hate to say this after you were so kind, but I'm not sure you included self-selection bias in your interpretation of that data. But thank you for the reponse.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post


Thank you for the information. I hate to say this after you were so kind, but I'm not sure you included self-selection bias in your interpretation of that data. But thank you for the reponse.

 

the law data: national conference of bar examiners

the engineering: NCEES

the CISA the link

 

the point is the CISA has the lowest pass rate, so assuming all are prepared equally, one would conclude it must be a fairly difficult test

assuming the takers prepared for the test

 

as far as self selection bias, they are the only professional tests I've taken and like most others are not devised to fail people, but to verify minimun competentcy, hence the high pass rates approaching 70%

 

for law/engineering many steps precede these tests

education

an initial certification test after graduation

4 years post grad experience for engineering under a qualified professional (lawyers, clerk, intern, whatever)

numerous references

criminal background check

etc.

those take years, basically 8 for law or engineering

 

the licensure tests are to weed out the incompetent

this is borne out by successively lower pass rates for repeat takers

post #6 of 13
If the CISA is only getting a 50% success rate there are some stunningly terrible candidates out there. The problem with these sort of certifications is that there is no filter process, anyone can plunk down the cash and have a go, and from the results it looks like that is the case. In the case of professional qualifications like the bar exam or medical board exams there are serious hurdles you have to get over before you get anywhere near the exam so simply comparing pass rates is fairly meaningless.
post #7 of 13

looks like the medical board first time pass rate is ~90%

 

I agree that some tests takers have much more prep and a much more restricted sample

 

but one would assume anybody taking any certification test would have some sort of qual and experience for the tests along with preperation for it

 

obviously the tests are harder the more education/training/etc. that is required, but it would seem relative

for the respective audiance 50% would seem like a difficult test

if what you are saying is that anybody can take the CISA test, without being vetted to take the test, that is a flawed certification

post #8 of 13
CISA is quite easy actually if you're doing the work.

The only thing you really need to get is the questions database from ISACA, do a random 150 question test and find out which sections you're weak on and focus on those.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraiche View Post

CISA is quite easy actually if you're doing the work.
The only thing you really need to get is the questions database from ISACA, do a random 150 question test and find out which sections you're weak on and focus on those.

Thanks, will do.
post #10 of 13

Passed recently the CISA exam and here are some advices that helped me pass the exam. Try to learn from any video course provider for CISA. Personally I did use CBT Nuggets. They are good and short. You can complete their Video Course for 12 hours. I did run the video course for 4 weekends in a month.

Additionally you should practice with the Exam Prep's there are a lot and pretty much all are the same. Personally I did use an app from app store called CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor - Exam Prep. It is very convenient and practical to have the practice exam in your hands at all time "I was literally practicing even when I went to the toilet" the benefits of technology.

You should be able to pass after all of this. I hope this was helpful enough.

Serpil 

post #11 of 13

AndiK ... Did the exam help with getting a job?  I am looking to write this exam.  Thanks.

post #12 of 13

It Depends. I have had recruiters immediately disqualify me because i didn't have my CISA and others wanted to make sure i was "actively pursuing" it before we could continue talking. Then i landed my current job without it and during the interview there was only a brief discussion about being "sufficiently credentialed". I think we can all agree that any certification doesn't make you any better or worse. I have met some pretty terrible IT Auditors that had their CISA and some great ones without it. 

 

I think having it is worth it. It will get you past the first hurdle for some jobs that require it where otherwise you would not have a chance. 

 

Now with all of that said. I am studying right now and am finding that the questions and answers are way more subjective than any other test i have ever taken. It is very frustrating because the concepts seem to be open to interpretation and I am seeing only sporadic consistency between the training documents and the practice questions. 

 

I have spoken to many peers across multiple industries with a range of experience and they all say the same thing about the info. Like the CPA, a lot is open to interpretation. 

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhennon View Post

It Depends. I have had recruiters immediately disqualify me because i didn't have my CISA and others wanted to make sure i was "actively pursuing" it before we could continue talking. Then i landed my current job without it and during the interview there was only a brief discussion about being "sufficiently credentialed". I think we can all agree that any certification doesn't make you any better or worse. I have met some pretty terrible IT Auditors that had their CISA and some great ones without it. 

I think having it is worth it. It will get you past the first hurdle for some jobs that require it where otherwise you would not have a chance. 

Now with all of that said. I am studying right now and am finding that the questions and answers are way more subjective than any other test i have ever taken. It is very frustrating because the concepts seem to be open to interpretation and I am seeing only sporadic consistency between the training documents and the practice questions. 

I have spoken to many peers across multiple industries with a range of experience and they all say the same thing about the info. Like the CPA, a lot is open to interpretation. 

What irritated me about the test is a large portion of it is memorizing nomenclature. I passed it, but it seems to focus a lot on memorizing what they think certain process and procedures should be called. Which is good, I suppose, for standardizing parctices in an industry, but I'm not sure if it really works to weed out the unqualified.
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