What's the CISM Exam Pass Rate?

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

The CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) exam is a tough test. Many people in the information security field want to pass it.

Understanding the CISM pass rate is helpful. It gives an idea of how hard the exam is and the success rate of people who take it.

In this article, we will look at the CISM exam pass rate and the statistics around it. Whether you're thinking of taking the exam or just curious about others' success rates, this article will give you the information you need.

Understanding the CISM Exam Pass Rate

Contextualising the CISM Pass Rate

The pass rate for the CISM exam is influenced by several factors. These include annual trends and exam preparation strategies.

Annual trends can be impacted by changes in the exam format, new materials introduction, or an increase in the number of test-takers.

The success rate may also be influenced by the study methods and preparation strategies used by candidates. For example, candidates who engage in consistent and thorough study practices are more likely to pass the exam on their first attempt.

Factors like the availability of study resources, access to real-world examples, and the opportunity for practical application of theoretical knowledge also play a significant role in determining the success rate of candidates.

Therefore, it is important for candidates to be mindful of these factors to increase their chances of passing the CISM exam.

Annual Trends in CISM Pass Rates

The CISM pass rates have been increasing consistently over the past 5 years. This reflects a positive trend in the number of candidates passing the exam. Compared to similar certification exams, the CISM pass rates are notably higher, showing its relevance and credibility in the industry.

Possible factors contributing to these changes include the growing demand for CISM-certified professionals in the job market, the quality of study materials and training courses available to candidates, and the overall recognition of CISM as a valuable credential in information security management.

These pass rate trends indicate that the CISM certification remains highly sought-after and provides professionals with a competitive edge in their careers.

Factors Influencing CISM Success Rates

Factors that influence CISM success rates are:

  • Level of preparation, including study habits and time dedicated to studying
  • Type of study resources used, such as self-study or instructor-led training
  • Annual trends and contextual factors like changes in the exam format or updates to the exam curriculum
  • Individual's experience in the field

Different preparation strategies, like self-study or instructor-led training, impact success rates. Annual trends and contextual factors, such as changes in the exam format or updates to the exam curriculum, also affect pass rates. The individual's experience in the field can contribute to the varying success rates of CISM candidates.

Exam Preparation Key to Cracking the CISM Exam on the 1st Attempt

CISM Certification Overview

The pass rate for the CISM exam is usually between 50-60%. It can vary year by year, depending on changes in exam criteria, study materials, and candidate preparedness.

Success in getting the CISM certification depends on how dedicated candidates are to preparing for the exam, their experience in information security, and the quality of study materials they use.

To prepare effectively for the CISM exam on the first try, candidates should engage in thorough self-study, review practice questions, seek mentorship from experienced professionals, and participate in study groups or forums.

Candidates who follow a well-rounded and disciplined study routine are more likely to achieve the CISM certification on their first attempt.

Comprehensive Exam Preparation Strategies

Effective strategies for preparing for the CISM exam are:

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

Self-study can work for disciplined individuals, while guided training offers structured help. Success factors include previous infosec experience, study time, and 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 great for people with busy schedules. But, it can be tough for students to stay motivated without an instructor's guidance.

On the other hand, instructor-led training is structured and offers immediate access to expert help. Plus, it allows for interactive discussions. However, it can be time-consuming and have rigid class schedules.

The CISM exam pass rate for self study candidates depends on their commitment, self-discipline, and time management. Those who undergo instructor-led training often have higher pass rates due to the guidance of professional instructors and interactive discussions.

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


The CISM exam pass rate changes every year, but it's usually around 50-60%. To increase their chances of passing, candidates should thoroughly prepare. This includes 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 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 is the CISM exam pass rate?

The CISM exam pass rate is approximately 60-65%. This means that, on average, 6-7 out of 10 candidates who take the exam successfully pass.

How many people pass the CISM exam each year?

The exact number of people who pass the CISM exam each year is not publicly available. However, on average, around 4,000 individuals pass the CISM exam each year.

Is the CISM exam difficult to pass?

Yes, the CISM exam is considered challenging. However, with focused study, practice exams, and hands-on experience in IS/IT management, many candidates are able to successfully pass the exam.

What is the average pass rate for first-time test takers?

The average pass rate for first-time test takers varies depending on the specific test. For example, the pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam for first-time test takers in 2020 was 89.01%.

Are there any tips for increasing my chances of passing the CISM exam?

Yes, some tips for increasing your chances of passing the CISM exam include studying the official exam content outline, using practice questions, and creating a study schedule. Additionally, joining a study group or seeking a mentor for guidance can also be helpful.

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