CISA / CISM Exam Preparation Tip #3 -- Arguing with the Answers

Many of you writing the CISA or CISM exam may have a great deal of real-world expertise in particular subject areas...securing systems, writing policies, managing projects, responding to incidents.  If that’s the case, you will no doubt find instances where you strongly disagree with an answer to one of the practice questions, based on your own direct experience.

Frustration and the odd profanity typically ensue.  How should you deal with this?

For one thing, as we know, even experts can disagree.  And the people submitting questions for the exam are typically very experienced in their own right.  So it may just come down to different perspectives: you both may be right, however the competing answer may be a better fit with ISACA’s principals of control, security, and audit, making it more right.  If that’s the case, try to understand how the indicated answer may be more in sync with core concepts expressed in the Review Manuals.

But there’s also a more practical question: do you want to be “right”, or do you want to score well on the exam?

Assuming you prefer the latter, there’s no point in arguing with the answer.  Accept that there can be a difference between exam theory and your practice, and go with the (perhaps more theoretical) answer that will get you the credit.  (99 times out of 100, it’s probably correct anyway.)

Once you’ve successfully obtained your CISM or CISA designation, you can celebrate by submitting your own exam questions that include the right answers.


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