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Newcomer III

CCSP Exam Fail

Hi all, 


I sat for the CCSP exam this morning and failed miserably. I was below proficient in 4 domains and near in 2. This is really frustrating as I did not feel I was a reflection of my understanding of the material. Plus, there is not a lot of detail on the results. I have my CISSP and CISM certifications and am somewhat familiar with the ISC testing process. Knowing what I know about the ISC exams, and the cost, I did not take this exam lightly. I studied for over 2 months using the following materials:


Ben Maslow' s ISC Official Study Guide - Second edition. Read cover to cover.

InfoSec's Online CCSP course with over 12hrs or videos, study material, etc.

Browsed the contents of "Official CCSP CBK" by Gordon.


I did all the test questions in both books as well as the Wiley database that comes when you register the book. The InfoSec course had a lot of questions and exams. Udemy practice exams with over 300 questions, and Pocket Prep. I was doing fairly well with those scoring in the 80% area.


Sitting for the exam I felt pretty comfortable with the questions. A few zingers here and there, but all in all I didn't feel horrible. I felt when I finished I had passed. I received only one page from the proctor and thought that's good..if I had failed there might be multiple pages with domains to improve in. Nope!


Anyway, a little frustrated and trying to formulate a new plan since obviously my last one didn't work. I will scour through here but was looking for some guidance or where to start again. 

27 Replies
Contributor I

I'm sorry you didn't pass.


It's deffo not an exam to take lightly, I agree with you on that.


I found that having spend time reviewing external materials referenced in the official study guide (for example PCI-DSS standards, NIST standards, CSA CCM etc) helped me.


Only other thing I used which you don't mention was the official companion book of questions, these give a great additional test bank.


Fingers crossed for you next time!


Newcomer III

I think practice tests helped me a lot. By the time I took this exam, I had topped 14 IT and security certifications in under 2 years. I have done a lot of practice questions from different groups including ISC2, ITIL, CompTia, EC-Council, CIW, and others. So the various test formats helped me a lot. 


While subject matter is important, I often think that is the most easiest to study for and understand; especially if you are working with it daily. However, there are parts that are outside of what we do for sure. Unless you are teaching this stuff, there will be areas we need to study for. 


Regarding practice questions, it is not the answers that you are using to study, it is the questions themselves. ..and when you answer, you have to know what chair you are sitting in (engineer, manager, architect, etc). 


The CCSP is different than the others as it is in the middle of being technical and management based. More of and architect chair? 


Hope this helps! Don't get discouraged. I feel that when we fail at something then concur it, we come out stronger than if we barely met our goals. 


Good luck.

Advocate II

I took a week long training course on the CCSP, but didn't do the exam.  The observation I'd make is that if you've got an infrastructure, operations and hosting provider background then much of it will seem very familiar, but if you haven't you'll find it hard to relate to.  


Newcomer III

Which domains were you below proficient and near proficient in?

Newcomer I

The quality of your preparation reveals to me the complexity of this exam.
Do not be discouraged now. Everything is possible for those who believe and work wisely.
I have just started my preparation for CISSP

Newcomer III



I took the 3 month retake waiting period for this exam seriously, reviewing in detail the CBK, AIO and ISC materials and Adam Gordan's discord. Felt I was much better prepared, even did the Cybrary videos, etc. Sat for the exam 11/21 and failed again. Really, really frustrating. 


Below in two domains - Cloud Concepts and Architecture and Design and Cloud Security Operations

Near in three domains - Cloud Data Security, and Legal, Risk and Compliance, Cloud Application Security

Above in one domain - Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Security improvement in 4 domains and improvement in 2. 


It's clear that I am not understanding what the test is asking of me, as I feel I have a strong understanding of the material. I was scoring well on all ISC practice material, CCCure, etc, etc. The exam questions are nothing like any practice questions. I'm at a loss. Not sure if I can change my strategy to answer the way they want me to answer. Also not sure if spending another $600 for this is worth it. 

Contributor II

I have been considering taking this exam as well but haven't yet so can't really offer you any practical advice but do you have one of the other ISC2 certifications? I ask because I am curious to know if the CCSP is, content aside, substantially different test wise in some way that makes it more difficult.


I would say if it isn't a financial hardship take it again but agree it is important to isolate what it is you are "missing" as far as the CCSP goes.


I've also been using Adam Gordon's material. CBK etc and Ben Malisow but now wondering if that isn't adequate.

Community Champion

I passed every CompTIA and (ISC)2 exam the first time with UCertify. They have quizzes, videos, and lesson checks throughout the chapters. I'll reiterate what others have said, don't memorize the questions and answers because you will not see them on the test. You have to know the content and understand when to apply certain concepts in their various scenarios.



Newcomer III

Yes, I do hold CISSP and CISM certifications. So I am familiar with these types of exams, questions, scenarios, etc.


I've been scrolling through some older posts here and see that others have had the same experience with this exam and the questions that are posed.