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Tips and Tricks on How to Pass CISM

Jan. 20, 2020

Tips and Tricks on How to Pass CISM

The Certified Information Security Manager or CISM is an advanced certification that is offered by ISACA. CISM is a very advanced level certification that is very well known and sought after because it is one of the highest-paying certifications in the cybersecurity industry. Currently, the national average salary of CISM certified cybersecurity professionals is $134,220 a year according to Zip Recruiter. CISM is very popular because it is a management-focused certification that targets C – level positions and the CISM certification can also be a deciding factor regarding a promotion into a management position.

Know the Exam

The exam consists of 150 questions, and a score of 450 out of 800 is needed to pass the exam. Currently, the CISM exam consists of four different domains and each domain is weighted differently so it is important to study accordingly. The full duration of the exam is four hours and it is important to use as much time as needed to ensure all the questions have been answered thoroughly. A useful study tip is to take some tests that will mimic the conditions for the actual exam, for example, try to complete 150 different questions within 4 hours and analyze your results after. Whilst taking the exam it is important to remember to think like a manager since this is a management level exam. Sometimes the most technically appropriate solution may not be the best answer to the question being asked, so it is best to use a business-oriented approach to ensure all the questions are being answered properly.

Study the Domains

The CISM exam covers 4 different domains and each domain is weighted differently.

  1. Information Security Governance – 24%
  2. Information Risk Management and Compliance – 30%
  3. Information Security Program Development and Management – 27%
  4. Information Security Incident Management – 19%

A good way to study and master all the domains is to assess yourself regularly while studying. While conducting self-assessments you will be able to see which domains you are confident in and it will show you which domains you are struggling in. Currently, the highest weighted domain on the exam is Information Risk Management and Compliance, so naturally, you should spend more time preparing for questions about that domain.

Take a Practice Exam

The internet offers endless study materials and practice exams for CISM. ISACA offers a free 50 questions practice exam as well as an online quiz portal in which you can take several practice exams with over 1000 different questions. Using the right resources is vital to becoming certified so it is important to verify the source of question banks to make sure that they are legitimate. Remember, CISM is a very advanced level course that is meant for C-level managers, so the exam is not going to be easy; however, if you study accordingly, use verified study materials, and attend a quick training boot camp – you can easily pass the exam.  

How Can I Become Certified?

In order to officially become a CISM certified professional you must complete the following four steps.

  1. Pass the CISM exam with 450/800 or higher.
  2. Comply with the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics.
  3. Meet the minimum experience requirement.
  4. Submit a full application on ISACA’s website.

After passing the CISM exam you must follow these steps in order to successfully submit your application of becoming a CISM. The ISACA code of professional ethics can be found here, and it must be signed for you to receive your certification.  You will also need to meet the minimum experience requirement of showing proof of five years or more of working within an information security environment. The work experience must also be relevant in terms of modern technology and a minimum of three out of the five years must relate to one of the four exam domains in one way or another. More information and experience substitutions can be found on ISACA’s website or by clicking here. Finally, once all the previous steps have been completed you must submit a full application to ISACA with a 50$ onetime fee to finally become CISM certified. More steps on the application process and where to pay can also be found on ISACA’s website or by clicking here.

Bottom Line

I hope you found this blog post helpful. I tried to give you the information that you would find useful if you are going to use self-study as your primary method to prepare for the CISM exam, but not everyone learns the same and some prefer a classroom-based session. SecureNinja is here to help and with our CISSP Certification boot camp, you can be certified in less than 5 days.

Ready to get started? Enroll in our CISM 5-day training Bootcamp today and receive $400 off or a $400 Amazon gift card! Call 703-535-8600 today to qualify for this special promotion and get enrolled in less than 5 minutes!

SecureNinja is an award-winning training and certification school, and SecureNinja has a proven track record of assisting Fortune 100, Government, and Military organizations. For more information on how SecureNinja can benefit you or your organization fill out the form to the right of this post or visit