Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Newcomer II

CISSP test taking strategy

Greetings all,

I’m one of the CISSP candidate and I have just finished the study group organized with ISSA-NOVA and would like any advice on test taking strategies from your experience.

I know some of the domain are more deeper than the other ones, however I have read the book not entirely yet, listen lectures and I still need to do the practice test over and over. Anything you might shade light for me and my fellow candidate would be really greatly appreciated.



21 Replies
Newcomer II

I would change the subject of this topic, it is misleading and you may not get the answers you are looking for.

Viewer III

Hi Kwara,

I too am currently studying for my CISSP exam and have found the ISC2 online practice tests really useful. It covers all ten domains and is great way to identify areas that you are weakest on.

When you buy the 'ISC2 Official Practise Tests' book it gives you free access to the online test portal.  Each test is timed (just like the real exam) and this helps to acclimatise you to the conditions you will experience on the day of your exam.

Hope this is helpful and good luck!


Newcomer II

Thank you again Viewer for the advice, I have the official ISC2 book and practice test and hope that would help as well.

Thank you again for the feed back.

Newcomer II

Thank you again Harooldwong for the suggestion, for some reason, the system changed it when I post the message.
thank you again for the suggestion.



Viewer II

I just got my CISSP on the 2nd of this month. I did the boot camp through Infosec institute (6 days), worked with some of the other class participants in study. Here are some thoughts:

Give yourself some time between the Boot Camp and the test if you need to.

The guidance is that if you are attaining a 90% on the practice tests, you are prepared for the exam. I avg. mid to upper 80s and did fine.

If you do the chapter tests in the Sybex CISSP Study guide, do not take the following chapter tests:
4, 9, 15, 19, 20.

When you take the test, do not think like you are a technician, think like a manager. Take a higher elevation view of the material.

The tests will be multiple choice, T/F and drag-drop formats.

There are 250 questions however, only 225 will be graded. The other 25 are beta questions which are being evaluated for future use.

Beware of distractors. Distractors may be terms or part of the questions themselves.

Cryptography and DR are two subjects that are, apparently, very popular subjects for the test.

Make the OSI model your friend. It will help you get through the networking questions:

Application 7
Presentation 6
Session 5
Transport 4
Network 3
Data Link 2
Physical 1

Many phrases can help you remember this like:

Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away
People Dont Need Those Stinking Packets Anyway

Questions that have a long explaination are called essay questions. There is a strategy to taking those questions. Read the last sentence in the question, then read the options.
If an option makes sense to answer the question, chances are the remaining explaination is a distractor. If you cannot fit the answers to the last sentence, you will need to go back and read the remainder of the question, until the answers make sense.


The last 3 days before the test, I signed up for (fee for questions). I paid a discounted price for a 30 day period and did test after test after test. Try to go through, at least, 100 test questions daily.


Dont think you will feel confident that you are passing. I have never guessed so much on a test, much less guessed and passed!! If you are getting down to two selections on the questions, youre doing great!


Good Luck!

Viewer II

- 5 days training

- Read the book

- Practice with sample questions from (good questions)

Newcomer I

My two bits,


  • 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.

These are the things on top of the practice, review and there is no substitute for experience which may not be available to you.  If not, see if you can volunteer a couple of hours.  I have mentored quite a few in my time and they have all moved on to IT Security careers.  Not because of me mind you but more so because of their perseverance.


Good luck brother!

Newcomer I

I like tip about reading the answers from the bottom up. I will try it tonight on a practise test and see if it works for me or not.


Newcomer II

Thank you abatraw3 so much and it's defiantly helpful tip, I do really appreciated for the tip once again.