What's the CISM Exam Pass Rate?

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

The Certified Information Security Manager exam (CISM) is not an easy one to pass. Everyone in the information security field looks forward to passing it.

Understanding the CISM pass rate is helpful. It tells you how tough the CISM exam is and how you will fair in it.

In this article, we will discuss the CISM exam pass rate and related statistics. So, if you are planning to sit the exam or would like to know more about how to increase your success rate, this article is for you.

What factors influence the CISM Exam Pass Rate?

There are several factors that influence the CISM exam pass rate. They include annual trends and the strategies you use to prepare for the exam.

The annual trends are generally affected by variations in the exam’s format, the new material that is brought in, or a change in the number of people taking the test.

Success rate may also be influenced by how you prepare or study. Passing the first time is possible with consistency and if you are thorough in how you prepare.

Other things that also influence success rate are access to study resources, availability of practical examples, and the candidate’s capacity to apply theoretical information.

So take note of these factors if you wish to increase your chances of passing the CISM exam.

What are the Trends in CISM Pass Rates?

In the last 5 years, the CISM pass rate has gone up. This shows that there is an increasing number of candidates who are passing the exam. The CISM pass rate is much higher when compared to other similar exams. This is an indication of its relevance and that it is credible in its industry.

Several factors contribute to the trends in the CISM pass rate. They include the increasing need for CISM-certified professionals in the job market, availability of quality study materials and training courses, and the recognition of CISM as an important credential to have in the information security management market.

These pass rate trends show that the CISM certification is highly sought-after as it makes professionals very competitive in their jobs.

What Factors Influence CISM Success Rates?

The following are factors that generally influence the CISM success rates are:

  • A candidate’s level of preparation, including how they study and the time they put into studying
  • The type of study resources a candidate uses, like self-study or instructor-led training
  • Annual patterns and changes in exam format or what they test
  • What you have learn in your job over the years you have worked

How to Prepare and Pass the CISM Exam on the 1st Attempt

Overview of CISM Certification

About 60% to 65% percent of the candidates who sit the exam pass. The pass rate varies from year to year. This variability is influenced by changes in exam criteria, study materials, and how well a candidate prepared.

To pass the CISM exam on your first try, you should study thoroughly, go through as many practice questions as possible, find and work with experienced professionals, and take part in study groups.

Keeping a disciplined study schedule gives you a higher chance of achieving CISM certification when you sit the exam the first time.

Strategies for Preparing for the CISM Exam

The following are strategies for preparing for your CISM exam:

  • Create a study schedule
  • Use practice exams
  • Focus on weak areas

Self-study works really well for disciplined candidates, while guided training offers structured help. Success factors include previous infosec experience, study time, and using quality materials. Candidates who prepare well and use different strategies generally do better, despite varying pass rates.

Self Study Vs. Instructor-Led Training

Self study has many benefits. It's flexible and allows learners to go at their own pace. This is a great option for a candidate with a tough schedules. However, it is often challenging for students to remain motivated without the guidance of an instructor.

In contrast, instructor-led training is properly organized and candidates can access expert help right away when they need it. Additionally, it facilitates interactive discussions and exchanges between candidates and their instructors. The problem with instructor-led studying is it requires a lot of time, and class schedules are not flexible.

The effectiveness of each method really comes down to the individual's preferred learning style, discipline, and the quality of self-study materials as well as the instructor's expertise.


The CISM exam pass rate changes from year to the next, but it's generally between 60% and 65%. A test-takers needs lots of preparation to increase their success rate. Preparation should include studying official materials, taking practice exams, and finding extra resources or courses. Understanding the exam content and being familiar with ISACA's approach to information security management is important for success.

Readynez provides a 4-day CISM Course and Certification Program, that will provide candidates with learning and support they need to prepare for the exam and certification. Our unique Unlimited Security Training offer includes the CISM course, and all our other ISACA courses. You can attend our CISM and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month. Ours programs offer a lot of flexibility and are an affordable way to achieve your Security Certifications.

Contact Us with any questions or to talk about your opportunity with the CISM certification and how you can increase your success rate. 


What is the CISM exam success rate?

The pass rate for the CISM exam is about 60-65%. This means that about 6 to 7 out of any 10 people who sit for the exam pass successfully.

What is the CISM exam yearly pass rate?

Information on the specific number of those who sit and pass the CISM exam annually is not available. However, it is estimated that about 4,000 candidates sit and pass the exam every year.

Is the CISM exam hard to pass?

Yes, the CISM exam is said to be tough to pass. However, with plenty of focused studying, working through practice exams, and IS/IT management experience, most test-takers successfully pass and qualify for certification.

On average how many first-time test takers pass the exam?

This is dependent based on the type of test. As an example, in the 2020 NCLEX-RN exam, the pass rate was about 89%.

How can I increasing my chances of passing the CISM exam?

Make sure to study the official exam content outline, use practice questions, and create your own study schedule. Additionally, join a study group or find a mentor for guidance.

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