CISA Study Guide


CISA Study Guide

If you’re looking at a study guide to help you become a Certified Information Systems Auditor, we can probably assume that you know that a CISA Certification is the standard of achievement for those who audit and assess an organization’s information technology.

So, to become one – you need to be pretty knowledgeable. Here, you’ll find answers to your top questions to ensure your test prep is as effective as it can be. Spot something we didn’t cover? Send us your question to, and we’ll do our best to answer it for you!

What’s Inside the CISA Exam?

Here at Surgent, we always recommend that candidates take some extra time to prepare for the exam by making sure they understand the basics of what the CISA Exam really looks like. If you know what to expect, you have a higher chance of passing on your first try!
So, let’s take a look at what the CISA Exam is made up of then.

Unlike many other Accounting Certification Exams, CISA is just one four-hour-long exam with 150 multiple choice questions – but it’s split into 5 sections.

1. Information System Auditing Process (21%)
2. Governance and Management of IT (17%)
3. Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation (12%)
4. Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience (23%)
5. Protection of Information Assets (27%)

Top Tips on How to Pass the CISA Exam

Make the Most of CISA Exam Practice Tests

While understanding the makeup of the exam is important, it’s important during your exam preparation that you’re comfortable with the formatting of it too. That’s where practice exams come in.

Not only do they give you critical exposure to the tools and features you can expect to see on exam day, but they will help to alleviate that testing anxiety that everybody has while eliminating questions about the exam interface. Practice tests should be timed to match the actual CISA Exam, as well as feature accurate practice test questions.

As for where you can find them? Well – ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) has its very own 10-question CISA practice test on its site here. But your CISA Review Course should also have the feature – while the questions won’t be the exact questions you’ll sit there, you’ll have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with real prior exam questions in exam-like conditions to ensure that you’re prepared come exam day.

Study Intelligently

There’s no doubt about it, the CISA Exam is tough – and it requires a pretty high score just to pass. That’s why the studying you do needs to be effective – and why your course review provider matters. It could be the difference between passing and failing.

That’s why Surgent CISA Review is not like the typical review course. In fact, Surgent prides itself on being the only adaptive CISA course on the market. That’s right – we identify your weak areas and create a personalized study plan based on what you need to know. From there, we constantly adapt and update based on your progress to make sure you’re always studying the most effective material for you.

That’s how Surgent students are passing the CISA exam in just 78 hours.

Make Use of Existing Knowledge

It’s a total misconception that CISA candidates need to start from scratch when studying for the exam – it’s just not true. The CISA Exam requires a substantial amount of prior work experience in the information systems sector, or audit experience – a whole five years of it in fact, and that’s not for no reason!

Candidates should harness the basis they already have from both the work experience and the knowledge gained from their Bachelor’s degree, and seek out a review course that helps identify and fill the knowledge gaps. To do this, it’s important to try out as many free trials as possible before settling on one course – try Surgent’s Exam Review course for free here.

Check Your ReadySCORE™ Ahead of Exam Day

No matter how many times you get the correct answers on a practice test, it can still feel like you’re not ready to sit for the CISA Exam – especially when you know there are so many questions you need to be ready for within one sitting. That’s the very reason that Surgent created ReadySCORE™ – a one-of-a-kind exam-readiness metric that tells you what you would score if you sat for the CISA Exam today to 99% accuracy. No more going in blind! Try Surgent CISA Exam Prep Review and practice questions for free today.


1. What job roles are common among CISA?
While there are a lot of different roles that can benefit from the skillset that CISAs have, the most common job titles that CISAs hold and pursue are:

Internal auditor.
Public accounting auditor.
IS analyst.
IT audit manager.
IT project manager.
IT security officer.
Network operation security engineer.
Cyber security professional.

2. What kind of salary do CISAs typically earn?
We all know that when you’re investing time and money into something, we want to see a valuable return. But relax – because cybersecurity and financial scandals have risen since the early 2000s, the demand for CISA-certified employees has also risen – and that popularity is only continuing to grow. In fact, employers are willing to pay six-figure salaries to hire this kind of talent. Check out our salary guide for more info!

3. Will there be continuing education required to keep my CISA?
Yes. CISAs must complete a total of 120 continuing education hours every three years, with at least 20 hours completed per year.

4. Should I become an ISACA member?
While being a member of ISACA isn’t required to sit for the exam, it can be beneficial for many reasons – while it is an ISACA certification, you’re able to network with like minded people or even receive a discounted exam fee.