Philip Cao

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Remaining Driven in Face of Obstacles

2 min read


Angela Thomas, MS-MIS, MBA, audit coordinator for DFA Office of Internal Audit, recently passed the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exam. Here, she shares her story on how not giving up led her to success.

I took the CISA Exam for the first time in December 2014. My preparation for the December 2014 exam included reading and studying the following material:

  • ISACA’s 2014 CISA Supplemental Manual containing 100 sample questions
  • IT Auditing Using Controls to Protect Information Assets, 2nd Edition, by Chris Davis
  • CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor Study Guide, by David L. Cannon
  • CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor All-in-One Exam Guide, 2nd Edition, by Peter Gregory

I did not pass the December 2014 exam—I was disappointed about that, but I did not give up! I dusted off the above study materials, began studying again and registered for the June 2015 exam.  In addition to the above study materials, I purchased ISACA’s 2015 CISA Review Manual (CRM) that contains 1,100 sample questions, joined ISACA’s CISA Study Community Discussion and joined ISACA’s Official LinkedIn Group.

I obtained many online resources via the CISA Study Community that helped enhance my knowledge and understanding. I also gained some resources from the LinkedIn Group. I read the ISACA 2015 CISA Review Manual three times. The first time I read each question slowly and thoroughly and studied why each correct answer was the correct answer and why each incorrect answer was the incorrect answer. My second and third readings consisted of reading each question to try and select the correct answer based upon knowledge and understanding—not memory. Whenever I selected the wrong answer, I re-read and reviewed why the correct answer was correct and why the incorrect answer was incorrect.

The important thing to remember to be successful on the exam is to focus on the key words such as “best,” “most,” “first.” I knew this when I took the exam the first time, but although I felt like I was prepared, I was very nervous and anxious.  I think that negatively affected my performance. I felt completely different when I took the exam for the second time in June 2015. I was not as nervous and anxious. I felt that I was much better prepared, and my score demonstrated that—I scored in the top 20 percent during my second sitting! Now I am looking forward to applying for the CISA certification, as I continue my CISA studies, so I will be a successful Certified Information Systems Auditor.

[ISACA Blog]

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