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Newcomer I

CISSP exam failed today | 07-Oct-2017

Hi All,


I took my CISSP exam today and failed with very bad score 460/1000. I have Started Studying from last December 2016 and took exam today (07-Oct-2017) but failed. 


Below are the study materials I have used and all the practices questions I worked out in understanding of each questions however I have failed with very bad score.


1) CISSP CBK 4th Edition Official Book.

2) CISSP Sybex 7th Edition.

3) CISSP Sybes Official Practice Questions book and Application (Both Same Question Bank).

4) Cybrary CISSP Online training Videos.

5) CISSP Sybex Online Practice Questions.

6) CISSP Boson Practice Questions.

7) CISSP 60 Seconds YouTube Practice Questions.

😎 Syngress cissp practice tests


I am writing this blog to know where I went wrong and wanted to know which study material I need use.

Even if I take any fresh practice questions likes in GoCertify and Skillset, I would be getting more than 85% score.



Planning to retake probably in Jan / Feb.



Thank You...


Best Regards

Prashanth M

49 Replies
Viewer III



I have found errors in all texts, except for the Officil (ISC)2 CBK - it is worth its weight in gold, especially in clarifying concepts. 


Ex:  7th Edition by Sybex, although a great text, has False Pos. and False Neg. reversed, amongst a few others


When in doubt, go to the Official (ISC)2 CBK.


You WILL pass this exam!  Chin up!




Newcomer I

Just remember - a failed attempt is ultimately an opportunity to concentrate on the areas where you can improve and learn more.  It's great that you're hanging in there and not giving up, and believe it or not, many people have this experience as the exam can be very tough (as it should be - if it were easy, there would be no value in the certification).


From your post, you referenced the materials that you used, but what is key here are the domains where you needed improvement - when you fail one of the exams you are typically presented with a breakdown of the domains where you were strongest vs. weakest in.  You should use that as a guideline.  Also, I noticed in some of the other posts that the Shon Harris All-In-One book was referenced.  This is a very good source of material and worked very well for me. 


One other thing that I think is important is the approach to studying.  Most books and materials that I used were geared more towards passing the exam through employing a test-taking strategy vs. thoroughly absorbing the material.  For myself and other CISSPs that I know, this may not be the best approach.  One of the key elements of Shon Harris' book is that it's designed in a way that you learn the material, which is the ultimate purpose of any certification (the cert is not really worth much if you simply pass the exam, but aren't able to utilize the knowledge gained).  I'd suggest first reviewing those domains where you weren't as strong, and then approach studying those domains from an aspect of taking your time and learning the material as a longterm skillset vs. studying it for an exam (the difference here is in the approach).  


It may also help to review your exam experience relative to your approach to taking the test (some people are great at studying, but simply don't test well).  I would look at the time you spent (did you rush, felt like you took too much time, etc.), were you relaxed or overly nervous, etc.  Reviewing this while it's fresh on your mind may help.  One trap that some people fall in is that they are able to take practice tests very quickly and expect the real exams to move at the same pace, which is not always the case.  It's important to take your time, have a set focus, be relaxed, etc. on the real exam. 


One other thing you could also try to do is to take a CISSP class where you could ask questions  regarding items that you don't understand and get clarification - sometimes that environment helps to further enrich and expand the information.  Keep in mind that everyone learns in their own way, so if you aren't getting a particular subject through one method - try another until you feel that you have a good grasp of the information. 


Hope that helps.



Newcomer I



Sorry to hear you didn't pass this time and certainly encourage you to do as you are and reflect with a view to passing next time. One study technique I found incredibly useful was to create mind maps of each domain and use these to document in note form key subject matter from each domain. Using a tool such as xmind or similar are free and provide a great deal of flexibility in structuring notes the way you may prefer, I scanned the official material in a few waves using this technique. I then used these after taking practice exams to expand on areas and more focused learning in that area. 


All the best for next time.




Newcomer I

I am due to take my exam in November (end of) and I always include taking the exam as part of the learning process, since there are things you cant re-create at home while studying. I don't think there is anything wrong with failing an exam as you have done more than most people.


Just don't give up!!!



Newcomer III

I look at your resources and I really don't see an issue.  I just passed on Sept 30th, endorsed and sent up to ISC2 for final certification so I'm just a provisional right now.  If you were trying to memorize topics, subjects, etc... to pass that's not going to work.  You must truly understand the concepts and how to apply them.  It's a cognitive exam that requires critical thinking.  Are you strong on encryption?  It's generally the toughest subject to get a good handle on.  As other have indicated, not sure about your background.  Yes there is a minimum of needing 5 years in at least 2 domains, but having more experience in the other 6 would surely help.  You're not the first to fail nor will you be the last.  Stick with it.  This is a good start reaching out to others.  Build a study group or become part of someone else's.  Below are the list of resources I used.  You'll see a lot of overlap.


  • Adam Gordon ISC2 Video’s
  • David Miller videos on SafariBooksOnline
  • Transcenders w\Flash Cards bought through CYBRARY at a great price
  • BOSON Exams
  • Shon Harris Video Mentor
  • Shon Harris AIO 7th edition
  • Shon Harris 7th edition Hot Spot & Drag & Drop Quiz
  • Shon Harris 7th edition Total Tester Exams
  • Eric Conrad Practice Exams A & B
  • Shon Harris 2010 Video \Audio
  • SYBEX ISC2 7th edition
  • SYBEX ISC2 7th edition Chapter tests
  • SYBEXT ISC2 7th edition Practice Exams (4 exams)
  • Eric Conrad 11th Hour 3rd edition.


Good luck and keep trying!

Best regards,

Hello, I share in your concerns as I too took the exam on the 27th and did not pass it.  I achieved a 643 out of the required 700 to pass.  I attended an online course hosted by Global Knowledge in May of this year and since then, I have studied the student handbooks as well as the Sybek Study Guide and practice tests.  I am going to retake the test but have heard that the test may be changing in January.  Is this true, will the test be changing January of 2018 and if so, what will be the new format?

Newcomer III

I think the test is slated for a change in April or June, but that shouldn't matter much.  The content will be very similar, but the format is due for an update.  More adaptive than scantron.


Just keep up with the practice tests and give yourself some time to decompress before taking the test again.  Good luck!

You only say it's impossible because nobody's done it and lived.
Newcomer I

Don't give up....really!  I failed this test back in 2000 with a 475.  Seventeen years later I pass (I don't even care about the score) but I can only imagine where I would be if I persevered.  I just left this on another post regarding tips:


  • When taking the test, read the answers from the bottom up.  Sounds weird but my problem is I read into the question.  I jump to conclusions, it may be dyslexia but regardless, breaking up the routine will have you looking at the answers a whole different way.  I got this tip from my CISSP instructor and for me, it worked.
  • Read the question, read the answers from the bottom up (e. to a.) and then read the question again.  When I took the test I wondered more if I were taking an English test.  Wording is everything so read the question carefully, don't worry you have time.
  • Get lots of sleep the nights before, drink plenty of water a couple of days before (not the same day or you will waste time being ushered to the bathroom), and have a light breakfast.  No carbs and don't bulk up on sugars.  Non-fat yogurt with a little granola or berries.  Nutrition is key, water is the fuel so hydrate well.
  • Last but not least, pace yourself.  Get familiar with the mental time.  You don't know an answer to a question, mark it and come back later.  I have been testing out lately so I don't remember if the CISSP exam allows this but don't waste time worrying over one question.

Keep going and don't stop.  This career will pay off for those who want it bad enough.


Good luck

Viewer II

Hi Sir,


I got failed as well today after taking the bad CBT, the bad things were below:


- Unknown how many questions I will need to take;

- No review mechanism which means once clicking NEXT, you should have no regard with what you choose;

- No final score in the testing summary so hard to prepare which domain you need more effort


I have taken Official ISC2 CISSP questions and Skillset, but still failed.

Viewer II

Dear Prashanth,


First, I sorry for you failing the exam and I hope that you'll be successful next time. I really wish this.

Secondly, I would like to share my thoughts and experience with you after taking the CISSP CBK exam recently.


I used the following materials for my preparation:

  • CISSP Sybex 7th Edition (fully read through and processed)
  • CISSP CBK 4th Edition Official Book (partially read through and processed)
  • ISC2 CISSP Official Tests (Android version)
    • several short domain tests (20 questions)
    • numerous mock tests in all domains with 10, 25, 50 and 100 questions
    • both full practice tests with 250 questions

I took the exam 2-3 weeks ago and according to the printout after the test at the exam centre I successfully passed. Nevertheless, I'm still waiting for the official confirmation of ISC2.


I've been in the information security industry for around 30 years and this was the first time to take the CISSP CBK exam even if I had purchased the official ISC2 and All-In-One books several times in the last 10-15 years. I have other international organizations' certificates but I always missed CISSP so that's why I've taken it.


I took the mock exams (250 questions) using less then 4 hours but for the real exam I needed almost all the 6 hours. One reason why the real exam took so long for me was the use of mouse. I think taking the exam with a touch screen is much quicker and comfortable. Please don't get me wrong, I use mouse every day but taking the mock exams with mobile phone was much quicker and easier.


The following comments I have to the exam:

  • Some questions did not make too much sense even if I knew the subject area very well. At these scenarios I always had the feeling that the answer was only obvious for the one who figured the question out. (for example: selecting the worst answer to a question. Here the "correct" answer mainly depends on the exam taker's experience and priority.) This approach might be good for some very limited scenarios but here just for wasting your chance to pass.
  • Several questions did not test my real knowledge in information security but my full attention to the details and my English skills (I'm not a native English speaker). Here, I really thought that the intention was not testing the candidate's knowledge but trick him/her to fail.
  • and last but not least testing your knowledge with information security terms. The fact is that numerous questions at the mock exams (and the real one) referred to terms as REAL TERMs that I've never even heard of before and did not found them in the official CISSP exam books (I have the electronic versions of these books so it did not take too much time searching for them in the digital versions of the books BUT with no success). Other questions referred to terms as "we-just-made-up" terms that actually exist and widely used on the Internet communities. Of course they might not have been established by ISC2 but certainly exist.

The areas above are definitely GAPs that ISC2 SHOULD handle/fix and remove from the exams.


Nevertheless, the mobile app certainly helped me a lot even if some further development is strongly recommended to this app (e.g.: the app accidentally starts an exam if you touch the display at a wrong place and sometime it crashes at the very end of a mock exam that was very annoying).


Naturally, the above are probably true for any other knowledge testing exams but I would expect more attention to the details from ISC2. Hopefully the new exam structure will address some of my concerns above.


Kind Regards and best luck to you at the next (and I'm sure your second and successful) exam.