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Newcomer I

Exam settings

Hi all,

I would like to know if we are allowed to write down important notes in the exam hall before the exam start.

If we have some formulas, or protocols in our mind and would like to write it down as this will help us to answer better when those questions popped up is this permitted?

Are we given any plain papers during the exam and if we need to use calculator how is this possible?


Kindly share your experience.

Thank you.




6 Replies
Newcomer III

I'm sure that someone else will know for sure and reply back as I have yet to take the CISSP, but I recall from my CCSP, SSCP, and countless other security exams that they do let you use scrap paper or a dry erase card. However, also remember when finished them asking (and witnessing) to erase it (both sides) and the time with scrap paper on another exam, they collected the notes and I think shredded them. The fear is that you leave the exam with some of the questions and that is restricted confidential information - only allowed for your exam. 


Not to scare you buy you really don't have a lot of time so better to practice w/o relying on notes. Note taking may also make you over think your answers? The only time I do use notes is if I have to calculate a cider block address range or some other math based problem. That is MO anyways...


Good luck!

Advocate II

You won't be able to write things down in the ISC(2) exams, due to the test regimen.  The testing is now computerised and you may not take pens or paper or indeed any other items into the exams.  The best advice is to learn the material thoroughly.


Community Manager



Candidates may not take anything in with them when they sit for an exam. Pearson can provide candidates with either a small dry erase board or paper for note taking/calculations. Upon exam completion, those items are returned to the Test Admin. 


Please note to be mindful of time allotted to read and agree to the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which is on screen prior to exam start. If it is not agreed to in time, the test concludes. You can read it in advance: 

ISC2 Community Manager
Newcomer III

Short answer is no - you aren't allowed to take anything into the exam room other than you, your ID, and a dry erase page / marker they give you. If there are tables or graphics you have memorized beforehand on certain topics (eg, the Bibo / Bell-LaPadula models), then you can just take a minute or two to write those down before you start on the questions or even right after that.

However, I would posit that the preparation you do *before* you go in is way more important than that. Truly understanding the major concepts through your studying and reinforcement is probably the defining factor in passing.

If you would like to see what worked for me and what didn't, please feel free to check out my original post on passing.

Hope that helped. Good luck!
Newcomer I

No outside materials - period.  In fact, they even checked my glasses in case I laser etched the entire 9th Edition onto my lenses.


I passed last month - 100 Questions, 90 Minutes.  Studied intensely for 1 month.


A couple of test strategies.


1.  If the question seems insane, it might be a test question that is not scored.  Don't get upset - keep your cool.  Many questions are poorly written or lack critical information in the modern era.  Just choose the least worst answer.

2.  Don't get too involved in the Stump the Chump minutia trivia questions while studying - they end up being less important than you think.   The Official Study guide is full of questions/factoids that will never come up.  I think it still contains information from the 1980s.

3.  Don't shoot for perfect - I passed with the minimum number of questions and I am sure I did not score perfectly.  Don't waste time - you might need it.

4.  If you are doing well, the computer gives you harder questions with more point values and an expected 50% correct answer rate.  Don't get discouraged during the test.  The thoughts I was having in my head towards ISC2 and the Pearsonvue test were strictly R-Rated for vulgarity.  So if the test is getting harder - you are doing better.

5.  Go to the bathroom BEFORE the test

6.  Think like your CIO or CISO (or a good one if yours is an idiot).

7.  They take your picture at the beginning of the test - Look Good!! Not like you were studying all night in a Jeep with the top off while doing 80 MPH

8.  Don't worry about - if you don't pass, there is always becoming a software programmer.



Community Manager

Hysterical. Great humor! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice. 


"In fact, they even checked my glasses in case I laser etched the entire 9th Edition onto my lenses." 🤣

ISC2 Community Manager