CISA Review Manual 2019: Pros and Cons Analysis


cisa review manual

The CISA Review Manual, also known as CRM, was published with its latest version in 2015. This version includes updates on Domain 4 and 5 of the CISA exam syllabus.

Why Candidates Like the CISA Review Manual

1. Full of Information and Technical Details

It is a full-blown technical manual with all the facts, tables and charts, certainly the definitive guide to the CISA exam.

2. Updated Annually

This is the most up-to-date study guide in the market.

3. The ISACA Question Database has Good Reviews

In general candidates find the question database very helpful. Not everyone choose to study with the book (see the limitations below), but most work on questions using the ISACA database.

CISA Review Manual at Discount

These books are available at ISACA website, but you can usually get a discount (both new and second-hand) from Amazon:

 Text Book  Practice Questions

What’s Not So Great about the CRM

1. Lacking Explanation; Not Suitable for Everyone

While it contains lots of information, it lacks explanation and examples.This is possibly because the book is positioned as a manual. It is more suitable for those who have existing knowledge in the area, instead of those who rely on this book to understand the concept and need explanation behind all the listed info.

Because of this, some candidates find it hard to understand.

2. Dry and Too Technical

A related issue is that it is too technical and therefore very dry to read. In other books, in addition to the explanations, the authors give insights to tips on studying for the exam and some exam taking strategies. You will not find this in the CISA Review Manual.

My Recommendation: Get a Supplement

The CISA Review Manual is a great teaching material, but what it lacks is a way tool that helps you identify your weaker areas.

There are state-of-the-art online platforms that provide exactly that. Some have awesome videos that explain the concepts in detail, while others analyse your weaker areas as you work on the practice question, and feed you those until your score improves.

Check out the following review courses and aim to pass on your first try!CISA review course comparison

About the Author Stephanie

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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  • John Stewart says:

    Don’t be fooled… The ISACA manual is the BEST resource for passing the exam. The questions come directly from the manual (not verbatim, but indirectly).

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks for your sharing John.

      No one is trying to fool anyone here… people have different preferences, and that’s why both pros and cons are listed above. All readers are welcome to express their views on various providers.


  • Sujatha says:

    Hi Stephanie , I found your site very useful.. Although I did purchase the CRM and some other books. Reading all of them,, Hoping to clear the exam in June 2016. If you come across any other good resource for CISA , please mail me at ***DELETED UPON USER’S REQUEST***

    (From Stephanie: please drop a note in the comment section instead – thanks)

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks Sujatha, I will certainly keep this page updated with new info. Regards, Stephanie

      • Sujatha says:

        Dear Stephanie, Kindly remove this post of mine which mentions my email address as I’m getting lot of emails from unknown senders.

        • Stephanie says:

          Sure – removed. I added a bracket for you earlier but didn’t seem to help right? Next time I will just remove all readers’ email for their protection. Please let me know if you still experience problems. Regards, Stephanie

  • Cyberdx says:


    I have 2015 CRM will it allow me to pass 2016 Exam ?

  • Aishwarya says:


    I have 2014 material of ISACA. Should i invest in 2016 from ISACA or keep that as a base and purchase latest supplement books. I currently do not have any supplement material.


  • marsashik says:


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Marsashik,
      Unless it is approved by the provider, We do not share CISA review materials due to the respect of copyrights. Those who do may breach the professional ethics of ISACA. Regards, Stephanie

      I will remove your email for your protection.

  • Mubashir says:

    CISA RM 2016 is best for preparation. Study of any other study material will be time wastage. One topic is added in Chapter 3 and some topics are added in Ch 5.Other manual is about 99% of RM-2014 & 15 and in my opinion 98% of RM-2013.The change is minor. First read Section 2 of all Chapters at least 3 or 4 times carefully. Then move towards Official database. Don’t cram MCQs but minutely study reasons of every point given in MCQs answers.

    • Stephanie says:

      I probably wouldn’t use such strong words saying other study materials are a waste of time… but CISA Review Manual is one of the more popular guide. Regards, Stephanie

  • Gifty says:

    Can I still the 2016 review manual in 2017?

    • Stephanie says:

      Not 100% sure but there shouldn’t be big changes. Regards, Stephanie

      • Marelies says:

        Hi Stephanie,
        Any idea when the 27th ed will be out?

        • Stephanie says:

          Hmm… the 26th version was published on Oct 30, so it looks like a delay this year. Should be out soon, I hope…

          • Marelies says:

            Hi Stephanie,

            Thanks for the feedback.

            I actually also contacted the ISACA Bookstore. Seems there wont be a new manual for 2017, so we can use the 26th ed for next years exam.

            I however urge individuals to double check with the bookstore themselves, but I went ahead and purchased the 26th edition to start prep for next years exam.

            p.s. excited about the new electronic format of exams! 🙂

            Thanks again and Regards

          • Stephanie says:

            Great to know! Yes this reminds me… for this exam they don’t update the book every year. So you are most likely right. Thanks for leaving us a note. And yes, it’s about time to have the electronic format 😉 Stephanie

  • Mubashir says:

    CISA RM-2014 is 98% same as of RM-2016. CISA RM 2016 can be used confidently for June-17 Exam. Kindly read my posts in another thread of this site. i.e CIA vs. CISA.

  • Mubashir says:

    Kindly must read this thread.

  • Mam says:


    In addition to CISA manual, what other study material is advisable for passing CISA exams?

  • Marvick says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am planning to write CISA in June 2017 however i am using CRM 2015 (25th edition). Just wanted to know how much is the difference in CRM 2016 and CRM 2015? How much is the new CRM different from the 2015 one?

  • Nouman says:

    How to download this book, please any one help me.

    • Nouman says:

      On Official website very expansive, is there any cheaper way i can get the ebook?

      • Stephanie says:

        Hi Nouman,
        Not that I know of legally…
        They do put in the investment to develop and update the book. For cheaper options, you may want to check out review materials from other publishers.

  • NS says:


    Is it advisable to use one of the above mentioned course provider and supplement the same with CISA Review Questions, Answers & Explanations Database, say simplilearn.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi NS,
      In theory yes, but I’ll be in a better position to tell you soon as I am going to prepare for the CISA exam myself, hopefully in Jan. Stay tuned! Stephanie

  • Cosmas Ngwenya says:

    I am interested in getting CISA exam related information . I found this thread helpful, keep up the good work guys

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