Why is the CISSP exam so fearsome?

Are you preparing to take the CISSP exam in the next few months?

The (ISC)2 CISSP examination has a global reputation for being difficult to pass first time. In theory, CISSP is just a written or online test of your awareness of the following eight information security Knowledge Domains:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Asset Security
  • Security Engineering
  • Communications and Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Security Operations
  • Software Development Security

Let’s look at the basic CISSP exam facts

  • Length of exam: 6 hours
  • Number of questions: 250
  • Question format: Multiple-choice + advanced innovative questions
  • Passing grade: 700 out of 1000 points
  • Testing centre: Pearson Vue Testing

I am sure a couple of these facts have caught your eye!

At six hours, it’s a long exam, although most delegates appear to finish before the maximum time. With 250 questions, that’s roughly 42 questions an hour, or 0.7 questions per minute.

Not sure what advanced innovative questions are? They are basically more demanding questions looking for the order, priority or positioning of the correct solution. See the New CISSP Exam Questions page for further explanation.

And I know that you will have noticed that the pass mark is a demanding 70%…

The secret to passing CISSP first time

Add these numbers up and you will, of course, have worked out that the secret to passing CISSP first time is to have a broad knowledge of all the required domains, and the skill and stamina to answer multiple-choice questions very quickly.

That all sounds simple enough but finding the time in your work schedule to study the books and practise your exam technique can be very difficult for a busy information security manager.

The CISSP exam preparation course

Attending a CISSP exam prep course is known to significantly increase your chances of success.  While (ISC)2 does not publish the results for candidates who prepare this way, our own experience shows that 85% of the delegates who attend our CISSP Accelerated Training Programme passed the exam at the first attempt. Some have commented that attending this 5-day course was more intensive than taking the exam, but we do have a reputation for being very demanding!

Our CISSP Accelerated Training Programme is next scheduled to run in Manchester on 7-11 December, and in London on 18-22 January 2016.


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