Buy Unlimited Training licenses in June and get an extra 3 months for free! ☀️

How to Ace Your CISM Exam!

  • CISM exam
  • Published by: André Hammer on Feb 01, 2024

Are you thinking of taking the CISM exam? The demand for qualified information security managers is rising. Passing the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) exam is now a valuable achievement.

In this article, you'll learn tips and strategies to help you prepare for and pass this exam. If you're ready to advance your career in information security management, read on to learn how to ace your CISM exam with confidence.

Understanding the CISM Certification

What is CISM

CISM websiteThe CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) exam certifies individuals who manage, design, oversee and assess an enterprise's information security. CISM is a globally respected credential in the security industry that demonstrates a professional's understanding of business and IT alignment. This certification is important because it showcases expertise in information security governance, program development, and management.

Professionals who obtain the CISM certification can elevate theircareer and demonstrate their ability to handle information security. The benefits of this certification are numerous—it increases individual value to the organisation and provides a competitive edge in the job market. With the growing demand for skilled information security management professionals, CISM offers practical knowledge and experience in managing, designing, and assessing an enterprise's information security.

The Importance of CISM in the Security Field

The CISM certification is important for professionals in security. It ensures they have the skills to handle information security. Certified professionals can identify and manage security risks, helping their organizations protect data and mitigate threats.

Having a CISM certification shows dedication to learning and professional growth, staying updated with industry practices. Employing CISM-certified individuals benefits organizations with better security, improved risk management, and more resilience against cyber threats.

Benefits of Earning the CISM Credential

Earning the CISM credential can open up a variety of career opportunities in the security field. Such as security manager, security consultant, and chief information security officer.

This credential enhances an individual's credibility and expertise by demonstrating a deep understanding of information security management and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct.

It also shows a dedication to continuous professional development and advancement in the security industry. CISM holders are required to adhere to a strict code of professional ethics and engage in ongoing training and education to maintain their certification.

Additionally, holding the CISM credential signifies an individual's ability to manage, design, and assess an enterprise's information security program. This is highly valued by employers seeking to protect their organizations from evolving cyber threats and security risks in today's digital age.

Prerequisites for the CISM Exam

Educational Requirements

To qualify for the CISM certification, candidates need at least five years of experience in information security management. They must have a minimum of three years in the role of information security manager. Candidates must also adhere to the Code of Professional Ethics and provide verified evidence of relevant work experience.

While specific academic qualifications or degrees are not mandatory, having a bachelor's degree in related fields such as information security, computer science, or business administration can fulfil one year of the required work experience. The educational background of an individual is significant for their eligibility for the CISM certification, as it can contribute to meeting the work experience requirement. This means that individuals without a bachelor's degree require an additional year of relevant work experience.

This ensures that CISM certified professionals possess a combination of relevant academic knowledge and practical experience, making them well-equipped to handle the responsibilities associated with information security management.

Necessary Work Experience

Candidates pursuing the CISM certification need at least five years of experience in information security management. This experience must be within the ten years before the exam or within five years after passing it. The work experience ensures a solid understanding of information security management concepts, principles, and best practices.

Having practical experience can significantly help candidates prepare for the CISM exam by providing real-world examples to relate to and draw upon. It also demonstrates the candidate's proficiency in information security management by showing their ability to apply knowledge and skills in a professional setting. This shows readiness for the CISM certification.

Continuing Education for CISM Certification Maintenance

To keep their CISM certification, individuals need to complete 120 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours over 3 years, with at least 20 CPE hours annually. These can be earned by attending conferences, webinars, e-learning, or relevant academic coursework. Other ways to earn CPE hours include writing publications, volunteering in information security roles, or teaching in the field. It's important to keep track of earned CPE hours as ISACA may perform random audits.

By actively participating in educational activities, individuals can meet the requirements to maintain their CISM certification.

Exam Details: What to Expect

Overview of the CISM Exam Structure

The CISM exam has 150 multiple-choice questions. You have four hours to complete it.

The exam covers different sections: Information Security Governance, Risk Management, Information Security Program Development, and Information Security Incident Management.

To register, you need to pay an application fee and exam fee. ISACA members get discounted rates. The cost varies based on membership status and early-bird deadlines.

Understanding the Course Curriculum

The course curriculum for CISM certification covers topics such as information security governance, risk management, and incident management.

It prepares candidates for the CISM exam by providing them with in-depth knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles related to information security and risk management.

The course curriculum helps candidates develop the necessary skills to identify and address security issues within an organization, as well as to effectively manage and mitigate security risks.

The key learning objectives of the course curriculum include gaining a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between information security and business goals, developing strategies for risk management, and implementing security policies and procedures that align with industry best practices.

Additionally, the course curriculum equips candidates with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively communicate and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of information security measures within an organization.

Exam Registration and Cost

Candidates interested in taking the CISM exam should start by completing the exam registration process. This can be done through the official website or a certified testing centre.

The cost for registration varies based on membership status with the exam board. Non-members may have to pay a higher fee, so it's something to consider.

There are prerequisites for the exam, including relevant work experience in information security. It's essential to meet these qualifications.

It's important to note that there may be extra fees for rescheduling or cancelling exam appointments. So, candidates should review all associated costs carefully.

Thoroughly reviewing the registration process and costs is crucial for a smooth and successful exam journey.

CISM Exam Preparation Guide

Getting Started with CISM Exam Studies

Earning the CISM credential is important in the security field because it shows expertise in managing, designing, and assessing information security. It also demonstrates the ability to develop and oversee an information security program.

To qualify for the CISM exam, candidates need at least five years of work experience in information security, with three years in management roles. They also need a 3-year post-secondary degree, an approved certification, or a 4-year degree from an accredited university.

To get started with CISM exam studies, it's a good idea to use study resources like textbooks, practice exams, and online courses. Creating a study schedule and focusing on the key exam domains, as well as seeking guidance from experienced professionals, can also help prepare for the exam successfully.


To prepare for your CISM exam:

  • Study the official materials and take practice tests.
  • Set a clear study schedule and allocate time to each domain.
  • Stay updated on the latest exam trends.
  • Focus on understanding key concepts and principles.
  • Practice time management and prioritization during the exam.
  • Seek support from professional organizations and study groups for guidance.

Readynez offers a 4-day CISM Course and Certification Program, providing you with all the learning and support you need to successfully prepare for the exam and certification. The CISM course, and all our other ISACA courses, are also included in our unique Unlimited Security Training offer, where you can attend the CISM and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month, the most flexible and affordable way to get your Security Certifications.

Please reach out to us with any questions or if you would like a chat about your opportunity with the CISM certification and how you best achieve it. 


What are some tips for studying effectively for the CISM exam?

Tips for studying effectively for the CISM exam include creating a study schedule, practicing with sample exam questions, and seeking out study materials such as review books and online courses.

How can I best prepare for the different domains of the CISM exam?

Focus on studying the official CISM review manual and practice exams, attend review courses, and use various study resources such as flashcards and study groups. Example: Set a study schedule with specific time blocks for each domain, and use flashcards to memorize key concepts.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when taking the CISM exam?

Some common mistakes to avoid when taking the CISM exam include not thoroughly understanding the exam content outline, not practicing with sample questions, and not managing time effectively during the exam.

Are there any recommended resources or study materials for the CISM exam?

Yes, ISACA offers official study materials such as review manuals, practice questions, and online forums. Additionally, third-party resources like CISM exam prep courses and study guides are also available.

What are some strategies for managing time during the CISM exam?

Some strategies for managing time during the CISM exam include:

  1. Prioritize the questions and allocate time accordingly.
  2. Skip difficult questions and return to them later.
  3. Use the exam clock to monitor progress.
Two people monitoring systems for security breaches

Unlimited Security Training

Get Unlimited access to ALL the LIVE Instructor-led Security courses you want - all for the price of less than one course. 

  • 60+ LIVE Instructor-led courses
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Access to 50+ seasoned instructors
  • Trained 50,000+ IT Pro's



Price: {{item.ItemPriceExVatFormatted}} {{item.Currency}}