CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional and is a certification for information security awarded to security analysts. It was introduced by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC). It was created to give a label to the professionals of having standardized knowledge of computer security. Having a CISSP certificate will help you have a successful career and be a well-known computer security professional.
CISSP is a six-hour-long exam and contains 250 questions. The areas of knowledge covered in this certificate are access control systems and methodology, business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning, physical security, operations, security, management practices, telecommunications, and networking security. Other areas covered in this certificate include cryptography, security architecture application and systems development, law, investigation, and ethics.
To be able to apply for CISSP, you must have five years of full-time, paid work as a security analyst in two or more domains that are covered in the CISSP. There will be 1000 marks in total, and you need at least 700 to pass. The annual maintenance fees for CISSP are $85 annually. To remain a member of the CISSP certified individuals, you will have to take the test again every three years. You can prepare for the CISSP certificate through its official material and other online and offline sources.
By having a CISSP certificate can make security analysts get quite successful in their career. It is considered a standard for security professionals. Security professional positions prefer individuals with a CISSP certificate for their security analyzations. The following are some tips you must follow to pass CISSP in the first attempt. Read through the following and keep them on your fingertips while you prepare for the CISSP exam.
1. Understand the ‘why’ part
Before starting to prepare for the CISSP exam, you must begin with proper knowledge of what you appear for. CISSP is a managerial exam. It is for the Information Security department. The risk managers, compliance officers, and the managers will call it a technical exam, whereas the engineers, architects, and other tech-related people call it not that very technical. But the CISSP experts call it a managerial exam. Knowing this is very important to be able to score well in CISSP because the questions here won’t be logical as they are in other IT related security exams. For CISSP, you will have to invest a good lot of time and money; hence you must know what you are putting yourself into.
2. Know the domains covered by CISSP exam
CISSP covers the following eight domains from the Common Body of Knowledge:
- Security and Risk Management
- Asset Security
- Security Engineering
- Communications and Access Management
- Identity and Access Management
- Security and Assessment Testing
- Security Operations
- Software Development Security
These domains must be kept in mind before applying for the CISSP exam, as you will be required to have had five years of full-time work experience in at least two of these domains. You must get 70% of the marks to pass this exam. You must not consider skipping any of these domains as they all are of high importance to pass the CISSP exam.
3. Don’t rely on a single study material
It is suggested that you begin with the official CISSP study guide to begin the preparation with. But once you get this, you should also begin preparing from other sources. The all-in-one guides cover the material for all the domains. You can also find many preparing materials online. You need to cover your preparation from multiple sources to grab a good hold over the exam knowledge.
4. Take practice exams and mock tests
CISSP requires a lot of our time and money, and hence you can not play a foul shot. You must be well prepared and must prepare as if it’s your actual exam. You should take many practice exams and mock tests to understand the basics of the question types you will be asked in the exam. You can assess your preparation from these online tests and know what part of your knowledge base still needs attention. For each domain, take practice tests. Until you do not get 80-90% marks on each domain practice test, then don’t move on. You must cover the whole material in sections but while scoring the highest in each of them. Keep revising and retesting each domain until you don’t get satisfactory marks in the practice exams for each. Spend half of your time on the study materials and the other half on the practice exams.
5. Create study groups or join them online
You might find CISSP boot camps and support groups expensive, but they are all worth it. You will get great group discussions and will be able to review the eight domains in a better, collaborative manner. You can also talk about the things you didn’t understand yourself. If you don’t want to buddy up with peers, you can join online groups and forums for the preparation of the CISSP exam on Facebook and LinkedIn. You will find experts and professionals in these communities who have passed the CISSP exam, and their worthy experiences can be of great benefit for you to avoid the mistake they made. This way, you can increase your chances of scoring high in your CISSP exam.
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6. Study with the best learning styles
Having so much to cover for a single exam needs your full attention and all your best practices for retaining knowledge better at work. You must know what the best ways you have been using in the past to keep more knowledge stored in your memory for long are. And additionally, you can start making mind amps. They will help you link the problems with actual real-world elements, and hence you will retain more information till the exam date. Start making flashcards and written notes of everything you study and find important to be remembered for long. You can start writing anything to remember it for longer times. Use the technique of underlining, highlighting in different colors, and also to make circles around important parts of the course material. All this will tackle your brain and will help to keep information afresh for long.
7. Learn all by focusing more on weaker domains
The eight domains mentioned above are all important, and you must focus on them all. But focus more on the domains that you were weak on. You should delve deeper into the knowledge areas and domains you feel rather scared off at the moment. CISSP exam will include questions from all eight of them. If you study for 60-70 hours, then it will be adequate to clear the exam.
8. Schedule your time and learning
Without a proper schedule and planning, you will only be wasting your time. You must divide your days, weeks, and months over the whole material you are required to complete. You need to be sure of how much time you need for every domain you are studying. And once you formulate a plan, you should follow it religiously. Wasting one day and not following the plan will ruin your entire schedule. Stay focused and keep working hard till the day of your exam day.
9. Practice the scenario-based or judgment questions
In a CISSP exam, you will get almost half of the questions to be scenario/judgment type questions. This style will be referred to as Scenario-based questions. You will be given a certain scenario, and you will have to pick the best option out of BEST/MOST/LEAST multiple choices. In most cases, all of the provided options are correct, and you have to make a judgment between them to pick the best one out. The way all of these questions will be correct logically can take you off guard. Hence you must be well prepared for answering such questions based on your judgment skills and managerial perspective. Not much content is available related to this on the web, but the CCCure has the scenario-based questions on their website so that you can buy them.
10. Remove any limiting beliefs
A limiting belief is any negative thoughts or fears you get naturally about something challenging that you are going to do. Appearing in the CISSP exam will require you to remove any kind of limiting belief to pass it with good scores. Limiting belief may hinder an individual’s ability to do things that he would rather do efficiently without them. You can get rid of any pessimistic thought by writing down all of such beliefs. Then you can write down all of the ways to overcome these fears and make strategies of doing so. Remember, you can get any certificate if you have the right beliefs and the right to prepare strategies to solve any exam.
11.Know when you are ready
Following all these tips will get you time to time understanding of how much prepared you are for the exam. But to directly check it is to see how much you are scoring in your practice tests. If you are consecutively getting 90% scores in all of the eight of the domains, then you must consider yourself well prepared. Having less than a 90% average will decrease your chances of passing the CISSP exam.
12. Practice an exam strategy you will use in the exam
This is also an important part of preparing the CISSP exam. You must prepare about the strategies you will be using in the exam to get cleared with all the 250 questions at the highest scores. The best strategy you can use in the CISSP exam is to practice solving the best answers at first. The questions you are sure about at a scale of 100%. Then move on to those that you are not fully sure about. Try solving them with the knowledge you have and solve them accordingly. Next, move on to the questions you are least sure about. You would want to solve these with the most attention and a present mind. Your CISSP exam preparations must include solving the practice tests with this strategy of solving questions. It can help you get through form any question with a possibility to get every question right.
The CISSP certificate is a formal recognition that you have a good understanding of the industry. This certificate has granted many security analysts the success they desired in their careers. CISSP can make you a confident member of the information technology security systems and will help you get along with the C-levels execs in the organizations you will encounter. The cybersecurity needs, and the pros can well be understood by anyone who bears this certificate.
CISSP is not merely an exam; you will forget the knowledge of once you pass it. But it is a life long learning. It will not only help you get a distinguished position among your fellow security analysts in your organization but will also help you apply the knowledge you attained while preparing for it. Maintaining your CISSP will also help you in earning the CPE that is Continuing Professional Education. You will be able to tackle the problems with cybersecurity by applying your knowledge upon the issues. You will stay on top of the news and trends with this certification. Organizations prefer having CISSP certified professionals onboard for their Security Analyst positions.
You will need to be paying an annual fee to keep your CISSP certificate active. And you must appear in the CISSP exam every three years to be called a CISSP professional. This exam lasts for six hours and has 250 multiple-choice questions. You must know what you are getting into by assessing the time and money you have to spend on this certificate.