I read many posts from people who failed the new CISSP adaptive exam. I myself failed it on 3/5/18. I expected to do 250 questions but I was very shocked that I got knocked out after 99/100 questions. I asked the proctor whether I was given the wrong exam. The proctor explained to me that because it is an adaptive exam the so it stopped because I didn't answer a certain number of questions correctly; I was absolutely horrified what I experienced. I could not sleep all night after the exam day, I've been studying for it for over 3 months and I scored between 77% - 85% of dozens of practice tests of over 3,000 questions. I went beyond by reading front to back cover of the Sybex - 7th Edition book and I completed all the chapter tests as well as all of the online practice tests that Sybex offered me and I did well. In addition I also went through all of Cybrary training videos, figuring that with all that studying I was well prepared to take the exam. Not to mention that I have a master degree in IT and in Information Assurance field with the company for over 9 years.
I find the adaptive exam questions and answers are so abstract that I feel my English comprehension isn't good enough for it. I have reached out to ISC2 for their support and advice. I am so sad and disappointed that I am not sure if I ever want to take any test in the adaptive format.
I have heard of grown men who cry when the find out that they failed the CISSP examination. I empathize completely! Please allow me to share my method of passing the CISSP exam.
Here is how I passed my CISSP examination on the first try; this was back-in-the-day when the exams were on paper with the little circles you fill in with pencil, like an SAT test.
I know how I learn, so I used a multi-pronged approach.
1 Purchase a good All-in-One CISSP Study Guide (by McMillan Publishing). Shon Harris launched that series in the early 2000’s, and others now carry on her legacy. (Shon passed away in 2014; only in her 40’s). Read through the book; maybe even get more than one book, and take notes. Writing notes on what you read helps it to stay in your mind more readily (or, it did for me).
2 Find practice exams online, or find practice sites. Even blog sites help. A great site that is now paid is CCCure.org. Clement Dupis passed recently, and his family is carrying on his great work of providing sample exams and written resources for CISSP exam students.
3 Purchase your own practice exam and start taking practice exams (maybe even before the class). The CISSP exam contains information that is ‘an inch deep and a mile wide,’ and can be overwhelming. Any introduction that you can give yourself now will help when you take the class.
I still have my Transcender CISSP practice exam install CD. Kaplan learning took Transcender over in 2003, and it looks like they no longer provide a CISSP sample exam set. That makes me sad (Actually, I found a site that still offers the 2015 Transcender practice exams. What is applicable is that the Transcender exams use grammar and English similar to the way the exams are written, very important).
Since Transcender is now gone, and Kaplan does not sell a CISSP practice exam, search the reviews and purchase a set of practice tests. Or use CCCure.org, they do provide tests.
4 Get physical (paper) copies of the sample tests and read them out loud, first the question, and only the correct answer into an audio file. Make an MP3 file and intersperse your own music every 10 questions or so. Listen to your audio files while driving to work, relaxing in the evening, or even if you wake up at night and cannot go back to sleep.
That fourth-listed learning tool really helped me to pass the CISSP exam on the first try. When taking that paper test, I would read a question and ‘hear’ the answer in my mind. I vouch that the listening method has been one of the more effective learning tools for me in my career.
I once mentored a colleague who had failed their first try, and provided my audio files to him, introducing my multi-pronged approach. He passed the second time with flying colors.
Best wishes to you,
Dr. Jan Shuyler Buitron
Doctorate of Computer Science in Cybersecurity, minor in Management
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
CISSP, MCSE, ITIL v2, v3
Senior Cybersecurity Systems Engineer\Lead)
I hope that by now everyone knows that Clement Dupuis had a stroke in late fall 2021 and passed away.
His wisdom, guidance, knowledge, and contributions remain in our world to remind us of his lasting positive effect on the world of cybersecurity professionals.
Clement Dupuis, ever shining as our guide.