Exam Preparation: I went with the standard exam-prep strategy. I obtained ISACA’s official review manual and practice-exam questions. As I studied, I realized that experience alone would not be enough to successfully pass this exam. I also leveraged ISACA’s LinkedIn CRISC group, which was helpful in discussing various questions and exam subjects. I ended up dedicating about 15 hours a week to my preparation.
Taking the Exam: D-Day. As usual I had the pre-exam butterflies and a slight headache from thinking about the many topics that could be tested. To be honest, I was dreading the four-hour session. I was fortunate enough to have already experienced an ISACA exam—CISM—so my expectations were already in place. During the test, I made my first pass answering those questions I knew I would get right. My second pass was a process of elimination, crossing out obviously wrong answers then starting the reasoning process looking for the relationship between the question and the answers. I do admit some questions left me completely stumped and I had to make a best guess, as both answers and relationships looked equally right.
Waiting for Results: Waiting for results is not as bad in the first few weeks. The anxiety kicked in nearing week seven upon reading LinkedIn posts about potential results-release dates. I found myself checking email multiple times a day. Lo and behold, early one morning I saw an email with the subject “CRISC Exam Result Notification.” As I am sure most of us do, I took a moment and hoped I passed. The result—I passed!
Certification Process: The certification process was straightforward. It took two-and-a-half weeks from the time I submitted my application to being granted certification. Upon receiving the great news, I informed my employer, updated my LinkedIn profile and shared the news with just about everyone.
This was a challenging and rewarding journey. For those prepping for an ISACA exam or just thinking about taking one, my advice is to pace yourself. Do not assume that your experience will be enough to bypass studying. I suggest that you create and stay on course with your strategy and stay calm. As hard as it is, do not study the day before the exam. Taking days off is okay. We all have other priorities, but do not defocus from the ultimate goal of obtaining the certification.