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  1. Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default CISM Exam Experience

    I recently took the CISM exam and currently waiting for the results. I have several certifications including CISA and CISSP. CISM was indeed tricky and personally, I rely a lot of my working experience to answer the exam questions. I head up the IT Security function and am a Deputy CISO in my organisation so I appreciate all the contents in CISM.

    I used the CISM Review Manual and the QAE database to study for the exams. I read the entire manual only once but I did not absorb anything from there as it was really very dry to my liking. I loved the QAE database, and though not many questions in the exam came from the database, you more or less will have an idea on how to answer the questions when you experience the QAE database.

    The computer based exam was interesting for me; the remote proctor was there to monitor and help you if you face any technical issues during the exam. There's a camera on the computer. The room was very cold so I put one of my hand in the pocket, and the other to control the mouse. The remote proctor told me via the chat window to put my hand on the desk. When I start the exam, I was reciting some prayers for the exam to go smoothly, and the remote proctor told me to stop talking. According to the proctor, the camera was able to detect mouth movements and if the hands were away from the desk for a long time. Thank god for my jacket! Please bring a jacket to the exam, you never know if the testing centre/room gets too cold. But overall, the remote proctor was very helpful.

    The exam experience was great but the testing centre was not so fantastic. I was in the same room with few other guys who were probably writing other exams. There was this one guy behind me possibly writing an essay exam and he was hammering the keyboard away like no one's business. I wanted to tell the proctor that I would like to speak to the guy behind me to be more considerate but I gave up that idea. The testing room was just outside the reception area; the receptionist was loud on the phone and there were groups of people congregating at the reception and happily chatting loudly. I had to re-read the questions many times because of all these noises and that frustrates me so I was appreciative of the generous time ISACA allocated to us for the exams.

    Actually, this was the second testing centre as the first one which I chose emailed me a month ago saying that they no longer provide the testing for CISM exam. As a result of that, I had to move my exam dates earlier as there was no later slot and I have until 30 June to sit for the exam. It was indeed a blessing in disguise.

    When I started with the first few questions of the exam, I was shocked. These questions were not in the database, and the worst part I can't remember a single thing from the CISM review manual. I panicked and started to plan the next time to re-sit the exam. After a few minutes and telling myself to just try my best, I calm myself down and use my working experience instead to answer the questions. In fact, for the most part of the exam, I was relying on my experience which came in pretty handy. I really took my time to answer the questions and finished in 2.5hrs. Then, I took another 1hr to check all my answers one by one and oh boy, I was so glad I did that. I amended quite a bit of my answers.

    I finally ended the exam in 3.5hrs with a message saying on screen that I preliminary passed the exam and the official results will be emailed to me in 10 days time.

    Next I'm intending to sit for ISC2's CCSP. If any of you have any good tips on passing the exam, please share it with the group.

    All the best, folks!
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  2. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Surf City USA
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    CISSP, SSCP, CEH (revoked), GSEC, EnCE, CASP, CCNA, CCENT, CWSP, CWNA, CWTS, Security+, Server+, Network+, A+, DHTI+, PDI+, MSIT InfoSec
    Congratulations on your pass and thanks for the great review!

    It's my understanding that the practice questions in the QAE database are made from retired exam items and material written specifically for the database. Exam candidates shouldn't expect to see exactly those questions on the current ISACA exams.
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