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CISM Difficulty Level: Exam Format and Study Guide

17th Jan, 2024
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    CISM Difficulty Level: Exam Format and Study Guide

    There is a high regard for the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification among cybersecurity professionals. Obtaining the CISM will validate that you thoroughly understand information security management objectives. In addition, the CISM certification will add credibility and confidence to your interactions with employers, colleagues, and regulators. Suppose you wish to earn the CISM designation. In that case, you must first take and pass a certification exam that proves you have a thorough understanding of how information security programs impact the broader objectives of your organization. However, the CISM certification difficulty is quite tough, and taking part in a CISM course to hone your skills is necessary.

    It has been reported that test-takers find that the CISM difficulty is much more than other cybersecurity exams. As a result, you must be fully prepared before scheduling your official exam. Furthermore, if you want to pass the exam the first time you try, you must be very determined. Let's take a quick look at the exam details before we talk any further. 

    CISM Exam Difficulty Level - An Overview  

    Certified Information Security Managers demonstrate their knowledge of the relationship between information security programs and the larger organizational objectives by passing the CISM exam. In addition, certified Information Security Managers promote international security practices through the CISM certification. By training employees to be CISM-certified, businesses are also allowing their employees to receive a certificate recognized worldwide by organizations and clients.

    To earn the CISM credential, one must demonstrate they have sufficient skills that enable them to design, manage, and assess an organization's information security program. This credential is one of the most sought-after and most valuable in the world of cybersecurity. However, the CISM exam difficulty is quite incredible. Candidates interested in taking the official CISM exam must have at least five years of work experience in the field of information security management. Take the cyber security training to hone your information security skills and earn the CISM certificate. Moreover, there is also the option of applying for a waiver based on experience for up to two (2) years. However, there are exceptions in some cases. 

    CISM Exam Format  

    It requires a significant amount of time, effort, and money to prepare for a certification exam because of the CISM difficulty level. You must do everything within your power to make sure that you can pass it on your first try. CISM exam preparation involves thoroughly understanding how the test is structured, the length, the types of questions, and other aspects of the exam. This certification is offered by ISACA, an independent, nonprofit organization that provides training and support to IT professionals in the fields of information security, governance, risk management, and assurance. 

    In the CISM exam, candidates will cover the following four domains: 

    • Information Security Incident Management 
    • Information Security Governance 
    • Information Risk Management 
    • Information Security Program Development and Management 

    Candidates will be given four hours to complete the exam, which consists of 150 questions. Multiple-choice questions are used in this examination, and performance-based questions are not included. 450 points are considered to be a passing score out of 800 points. To appear for the certification exam, members of ISACA must pay $575, and nonmembers must pay $760. Once the candidate has passed the certification exam, they can request certification and must submit proof of the work experience required to qualify for the certificate. 

    It is important to note that CISM certifications are valid for three years. Upon expiration, a new application must be submitted, along with additional requirements. In addition to the up-to-date filing of maintenance fees, earning continuing professional education credits, and adhering to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics, CISM is also required to maintain its membership. 

    CISM Difficulty Level  

    Certification in the field of Information Security Management is highly sought after and will provide you with global recognition. Nonetheless, passing the exam is not a simple task. There is clear evidence that CISM difficulty is incredible, based on the fact that only 50-60% of first-time test-takers succeed. It is a challenging exam with many questions that will test your technical understanding. Passing this exam is not impossible. As a result, becoming certified is a difficult process. Moreover, it takes time to become certified. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to put forth the effort and persevere. 

    Learning to study smarter rather than harder is the key to efficiently getting ready for your exam. For you to pass the exam, you need to have a good study plan in place. Furthermore, you need access to a wide range of resources that best match your level of understanding. Moreover, to succeed, you must put in the necessary time and effort, as it is the only way to grow. 

    You must invest time, effort, and money to pass the CISM certification exam. Even though it is a tough test to pass, it is one of the most valuable credentials you can obtain and well worth your hard work and determination. 

    CISM Study Guide  

    The best way to prepare for a test is to study with the best learning resources available. They will also enable you to take innovative and efficient steps and increase your knowledge base. To make your CISM exam preparation as productive and effective as it can be, here are a few materials that you should consider: 

    1. Resources for Self Study  

    ISACA provides you with self-study material to enhance your revisions. It is the purpose of this manual and additional products to help CISM candidates prepare for exam day by hand-selecting those that will be most useful for CISM candidates. 

    2. Online Course  

    In addition to being an online video course, the Certified Information Security Manager Online course also covers all four domains of the CISM exam. One hundred fifty-seven videos are included, covering the entire course in detail. You are also able to access material that has recently been updated and newly released. As well as Lifetime Access, this is also a great online course that is sure to help you pass your exams. 

    3. Training Facilitated by Instructors  

    You can improve your test-taking skills by taking training courses. Our CISM exam prep training courses have been created by industry experts currently working in the field, bringing years of experience and insight along with them. We can also provide you and the other professionals taking the CISM exam with expert instruction in information systems audit, assurance, security, cyber-security, governance, and risk concepts that are crucial to mastering this exam. 

    4. Join the Community for CISM Preparation  

    Candidate access to the ISACA online forums is relatively straightforward, providing candidates with access to them. Online forums provide an excellent place for students to share their study methods, exam tips, and questions. Due to this fact, they are an excellent source of information about the exam day, so you are prepared. As well as that, it is entirely free, and candidates can submit questions and receive answers. In addition, it makes it possible to communicate directly with other professionals who share similar interests to help solve a problem. 

    5. Evaluate Through Practice Tests  

    By taking practice tests, a candidate can get a clear view of where they need to improve. Is it time for you to step back and evaluate yourself? To pass your CISM test, one must go through the entire curriculum and practice CISM test questions. In addition, all practice tests are created in such a way that the user is immersed in the characteristics of the actual exam. Therefore, these exams will significantly assist you in analyzing your performance and improving your confidence. 


    You need to have all the tools you need to pass the CISM certification exam. So take the CISM training course to get started with your preparation for the CISM exam, and you will be on your way to advancing your career in no time. Take the knowledgehut CISM course today and learn how to become a qualified CISM certified information security manager. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Can I clear the CISM exam on the first attempt?

    You can clear the CISM exam on your first attempt if you prepare accordingly. Make sure you study using good references, prepare a 30-day exam preparation journey, subscribe to online courses, etc. 

    2Is the CISM exam easy to crack?

    In addition to being high in demand, the CISM certification provides you with international recognition. It is, however, no easy task to pass the exam. This is a challenging exam, as only 50-60% of candidates managed to pass it on their first try. In addition, you will have to prove your technical expertise when dealing with exam questions. 

    3What is the exam format for CISM?

    As mentioned earlier, the CISM exam is a multiple-choice test on a computer. This test consists of 150 questions, each with four possible answers, and all must be answered within a four-hour time limit. Scores are calculated on a scale of 200 to 800 points; to pass the exam, you must achieve at least 450/800. 

    4What is the CISM exam difficulty?

    Many professionals who have taken the CISM exam consider it challenging, as this is a management-level certification. Further, the pass rate for the first-time candidates is only 50-60%, which indicates to me that it is one of the more challenging exams in the industry. 


    Vitesh Sharma

    Blog Author

    Vitesh Sharma, a distinguished Cyber Security expert with a wealth of experience exceeding 6 years in the Telecom & Networking Industry. Armed with a CCIE and CISA certification, Vitesh possesses expertise in MPLS, Wi-Fi Planning & Designing, High Availability, QoS, IPv6, and IP KPIs. With a robust background in evaluating and optimizing MPLS security for telecom giants, Vitesh has been instrumental in driving large service provider engagements, emphasizing planning, designing, assessment, and optimization. His experience spans prestigious organizations like Barclays, Protiviti, EY, PwC India, Tata Consultancy Services, and more. With a unique blend of technical prowess and management acumen, Vitesh remains at the forefront of ensuring secure and efficient networking solutions, solidifying his position as a notable figure in the cybersecurity landscape.

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