CISA Review Manual 2019: Using the CISA Review Manual 27th Edition

cisa review manual

If you’re planning to pass the CISA exam, then you need study materials that will explain the exam content to you. Study materials that include all the information on which the CISA exam will test you are essential for success. And the creators of the CISA exam have developed some materials. Yes, ISACA, the organization that awards the CISA and other information systems certifications, has produced a review resource for CISA exam candidates called the CISA Review Manual. So, to best prepare for the CISA exam, learn more about ISACA’s publication and why this manual is not enough to pass the CISA exam.

CISA Review Manual 27th Edition

To aid CISA candidates in their exam studies, ISACA publishes the CISA Review Manual, also known as the CRM. The CRM covers the entire CISA exam syllabus. The 27th edition of the CISA Review Manual is the most recent edition of the manual. Therefore, it will prepare you for the CISA exam updated in June 2019. You can get the CRM as a 385-page ebook or printed book directly from ISACA.

If you’re an ISACA member, then either version of the CISA CRM will cost you $109. Non-ISACA members must pay $139 for either the ebook or the printed CRM.

Additional ISACA CISA Review Manual

Along with the CISA Review Manual, ISACA also publishes the CISA Review Questions, Answers & Explanations Manual (CRQM). ISACA updated the CRQM for the June 2019 CISA exam. Therefore, the 497-page CISA Review Questions Manual is in its 12th edition.

Furthermore, the CRQM features 1,000 multiple-choice study questions presented by job practice domain. It also contains a 150-question sample exam. These questions do not come from the real CISA exam. However, they do imitate the type and structure of questions you’ll see on the CISA exam.

You can get the CRQM from ISACA as a printed book that costs $129 for ISACA members and $159 for non-members.

Discounted CISA Books

If you are not an ISACA member, you can get the CRM and the CRQM on Amazon at a discounted price. You’ll save money even if you buy the CRM or the CRQM new. But, you’ll save even more if you buy a used edition. However, you should not buy any edition other than the 27th edition, as the older editions won’t adequately prepare you for the current CISA exam.

 Text Book Practice Questions

Accessing the CISA Review Manual 2019

If you purchase the ebook version of the CRM, then you must have the following items in order to access the CRM:

  • An internet-connected device
  • An eReader
    • Adobe Digital Edition for PCs
    • Bluefire for mobile devices
  • Permission to download eReader software

Once you have these items, you can download your eReader, purchase the CRM ebook, and download it.

Of course, if you purchase the printed version of the CRM, you simply need to wait for it to arrive.

ISACA has organized the CRM to address the essential concepts and key terms of each CISA exam domain. The CISA exam encompasses these 5 domains specifically:

  1. The Process of Auditing Information Systems (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%)

Furthermore, each domain divides a series of subtopics into 2 different categories. The CISA exam on the whole also discusses 39 supporting tasks related to the practice of information systems auditing, assurance, and control.

Finally, the CISA exam contains 150 multiple-choice questions that you must answer in 4 hours.

Pros of the CISA CRM

The CISA Review Manual is just one of your CISA study material options. You don’t have to buy it to prepare for the CISA exam, but it might be helpful to have for the following reasons:

1. The CRM Is Full of Information and Technical Details

The CISA Review Manual is very technical. It’s full of all facts, tables, and charts featuring all of the information the CISA exam covers. Because the CRM is so comprehensive, its value extends beyond just CISA exam prep. If you plan to work in a CISA-related field, you need this book to prepare for your job as well.

2.  ISACA Updates the CRM Annually

Because ISACA makes the CISA exam and the CISA Review Manual, the CISA Review Manual always contains the latest exam information. ISACA updates the CRM every year to account for policy changes and anything else that’s new in information systems audit, assurance, and control. Therefore, the CRM gives you a head start on learning about the CISA exam.

Cons of the CISA Manual

The CRM is a CISA exam resource, but it is not a complete course. Therefore, it suffers from the following limitations:

1. The CRM Lacks Explanations

While the CRM contains lots of information, it lacks explanation and examples of the CISA exam concepts. In this way, it actually fulfills the definition of a manual by serving as more of a reference you can flip through when you need to verify or remember information. Therefore, the CRM is most suitable for candidates with existing knowledge of the CISA exam topics. But, consequently, it doesn’t work as a study guide for CISA candidates who are new to this data.

What’s more, candidates who haven’t mastered the material find the CRM hard to understand. So, the CISA Review Manual is most helpful once you have a foundation of knowledge in information systems audit, assurance, and control. And if you don’t yet have this foundation, you can use a CISA review course to build it.

2. The CRM Is Too Dry and Technical

Unfortunately, even candidates who are familiar with information systems audit, assurance, and control struggle to get through the CRM because it is very dull. The books you’ll find in CISA review courses usually include explanations as well as insights on the topics and tips for learning. However, the CISA Review Manual is void of such content variety.

So, if you’re not the most hardcore of linguistic learners and don’t love cuddling up with esoteric literature, then you won’t be able to rely on the CRM alone for your CISA exam prep. And thankfully, because of the presence of CISA review courses, you won’t have to.

Additional CISA Review Materials

While the CISA Review Manual is available to you, it is not sufficient to prepare you for the CISA exam. Within its pages, you won’t find a way to identify your weak areas with the CISA exam content. Furthermore, it doesn’t equip you to develop your information systems knowledge from scratch. Consequently, you’ll need a more interactive study experience to prepare you for the exam.

For this reason, I recommend supplementing the CRM with a CISA review course. CISA review courses supply you with an assortment of study materials and support from CISA experts to ensure that you have everything you need to succeed on the exam. These courses start at the beginning of the exam concepts and then develop deeper until you’ve achieved complete comprehension. Additionally, CISA review courses test your knowledge with practice questions and exam simulations so you can familiarize yourself with the exam environment and improve your performance before you sit.

Knowing that CISA candidates need more than the CRM, I’ve researched and interacted with some of the most popular CISA review courses on the market to help you find the best one for you. I don’t want you to waste your money on something that won’t meet your needs, so I’ve included my analysis of these courses in my CISA review course comparison. The CISA review courses I recommend the most is CISA SuperReview (with globally renowned CISA expert Allen Keele!). However, I also like Surgent CISA Review and Simplilearn CISA Review.

CISA SuperReview

Allen Keele and Certified Information Security (CIS) launched CISA SuperReview in 2006. Since then, more than 8,200 CISA candidates have used this course to prepare for the CISA exam. CISA asserts that this course gives you everything you need to pass the CISA exam, and I completely agree.

According to my knowledge, CISA SuperReview is the only course that conveniently integrates video instruction, practice exams, and exam simulations into one easy-to-use package. Specifically, the CISA SuperReview course contains over 650 slides and over 900 practice questions in total. This course also includes dozens of practice exams and 4 exam simulations. Furthermore, CIS updates CISA SuperReview twice a year so it always addresses the latest exam content. For these reasons, I believe that CISA SuperReview is the most comprehensive CISA review course available.

This course also comes with a great support system, as you can speak directly to Allen Keele at their offices. Additionally, CIS offers an exam pass guarantee on CISA SuperReview. If you don’t pass the CISA exam within 6 months of completing the course, CIS will give you access to a normal subscription of the same training within 6 months of the original purchase at no extra charge.

In light of all the user-friendly guidance and instruction CISA SuperReview offers, I find this course to be the best on the market and highly recommend it as your CISA Review Manual supplement.

Surgent CISA Review (Previously Exammatrix)

The Surgent CISA Review course is the result of Surgent buying out ExamMatrix in 2015 and combining the ExamMatrix adaptive technology with the comprehensive accounting and tax content of Surgent’s exceptional CPE courses. Consequently, Surgent CISA Review is the only CISA course to feature adaptive learning technology. This technology assesses your current knowledge of the CISA exam content and then provides you with the information you need to strengthen your weak areas. To further measure your progress, the course platform serves you questions about the topics you struggle with until your performance improves.

Surgent has also enhanced its adaptive technology with the ReadySCORE function. Your ReadySCORE tells you how well you would do on the CISA exam if you were to sit for it at that point in your studies. Surgent has programmed ReadySCOREs to trend a bit lower than the actual CISA exam scores its candidates receive. Therefore, if your ReadySCORE says you’re prepared to pass the CISA exam, then you can be confident that you really are.

Another beneficial aspect of Surgent’ CISA course is the test bank. Surgent CISA Review offers a full database of over 1,650 practice multiple-choice questions with full-text answers. This course also comes with unlimited practice exams. So, you can get super familiar with the CISA exam format and environment.

The only downside to Surgent’s course is its lack of video lectures. Without this additional form of instruction, Surgent CISA Review is more like a test bank than a full course. However, if you’re already knowledgable about information systems audit, assurance, and control, then you might not need much more than a test bank and the CRM. So, Surgent CISA Review could still be the course for you.

Simplilearn CISA Review

Simplilearn Solutions is similar to Surgent in that both companies offer more than just CISA review courses. However, Simplilearn has expanded its certification reach a bit farther than Surgent by creating review courses for more than 40 global accreditations in comparison to the 5 Surgent covers. However, as a CISA candidate, the most important part about Simplilearn for you is their CISA review course.

The Simplilearn CISA Review course has a lot of strong points but a few sizeable flaws as well. The areas in which Simplilearn excels are video instruction, quizzes and case studies, access lengths, and guarantees. The Simplilearn course presents 27 hours of audio and video content covering all of the subject matter of the CISA exam syllabus. These videos look good, are easy to navigate, and include the clear, uncomplicated expertise of Chuck Easttom. What’s more, Simplilearn addresses each CISA exam domain with a series of bite-sized lessons that end with a few practice questions and case studies for you to work through. Then, your study of the entire domain concludes with an exam simulation to take. So, you can apply what you’ve learned about that domain right away.

However, the Simplilearn doesn’t have a real test bank. So, you’ll only find the practice questions within the video lessons and the exam simulations. Furthermore, with lifetime access, Simplilearn does provide the best course access period on the market. But unfortunately, the price of Simplilearn CISA Review is much higher than that of the other 2 courses I recommend. Therefore, you definitely pay much more to use your Simplilearn course much longer. If you have the money, you can make the investment in the Simplilearn. But, you’ll get a better value by going with the CISA SuperReview course instead.

Studying with the CISA Review Manual

As you can see, these CISA review courses are completely comprehensive. They also supply you with an all-encompassing learning experience to ensure you’re fully prepared for the CISA exam. Therefore, you really don’t need to purchase any other CISA study materials once you’ve invested in a CISA review course.

But, if you insist on having the CRM on hand, you can use it in tandem with your CISA review course in the following ways:

First, because the CRM is really more of a reference tool, you should follow the study system of your CISA review course. Allow the course to guide your learning process for each domain so that you can achieve a deep comprehension of the exam content. Then, once you finish the instructional portion of your course’s domain coverage, you can read the corresponding section in the CRM. That way, you can verify that you now understand everything the CRM says about that domain.

Or, secondly, you can wait to refer to the CRM until you’ve answered the practice questions and/or completed the practice exams as well. If you open the CRM at that point, you can use it to get a fresh perspective on your troublesome topics. In the event that you prepare for the CISA exam with Surgent, which supplies less instruction than the other courses, you may find yourself flipping through the CRM more often after taking practice quizzes, as you won’t have many other resources available to you.

My Conclusions About the CISA Review Manual

So, you may consider the CISA Review Manual useful to have. It tells you exactly what the CISA exam will cover and goes into detail about each topic. Moreover, its technical nature can help you prepare for both the CISA exam and your career in information security audit, assurance, and control.

However, you’ll need more help than the CRM offers to actually pass the CISA exam. Specifically, you need a full CISA review course that goes back to the basics of information systems and assesses your knowledge with exams and quizzes. Because of this, you should pair the CRM with a CISA course so that your exam training is complete. And thankfully, you can use my comparison of CISA review courses to not only get the right one for you but also to save money on your CISA exam prep.

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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.

      Regards
      Stephanie

  • 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)

  • Cyberdx says:

    Hi,

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

  • Aishwarya says:

    Hi,

    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.

    Thanks,
    Aishwarya

  • marsashik says:

    @Stephanie , ANY PDF VERSION OF CRM 2016 IS AVAILABLE. KINDLY MAIL TO ME AT THE BELOW MENTION ADDRESS *** deleted***

    • 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?
        Thanks

        • 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.

  • Mam says:

    Hi,

    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.

  • NS says:

    Hi,

    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.

  • Cosmas Ngwenya says:

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

  • Andrew says:

    Hi. Can I use the 2013 CISA Review Manual for studying?

    • Meghan D says:

      I wouldn’t recommend it because the syllabus changed in June 2019. Therefore, any older materials are going to be outdated. I hope this helps!

      -Meghan
      I Pass the CIA Exam

  • Tinkhani says:

    Is the ISACA Manual 2019 edition relevant for 2020 exams

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