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Viewer II

CISSP failed Sept 9 2021

Hi Guys,


I failed the CISSP exam the other day. I ran out of time by question 120.


My results show:
Domain 8 - Below Proficiency
Domain 2,7,3 - Near Proficiency
Domain 1,4,6,5 - Above Proficiency 

I'm wondering if you guys have an idea if I was close and if so how much, and how soon do you think I should re-take the exam. I plan to really master D8, then 2,7, and 3, then lastly brush up on the rest. 


The exam questions were truly devilishly crafted with the intention to confuse the exam taker IMO. I have to admit, I wasn't physically prepared for the exam. My exam was supposed to be 3:00pm but the test center called at 9:30am asking if I could come earlier 12:30pm because they have some system maintenance. So I did and by doing so I wasn't able to get a decent meal and got hungry during the exam. I believe it affected my ability to think thru the questions and choices and do the elimination method.


I'd greatly appreciate your tips and encouragement. I'm a network manager/architect who's in love with cybersecurity.


7 Replies
Community Champion

One should needs to get "above proficiency" in all domains to pass.  "Near Proficiency" means that you were almost good enough, but still below the required mark, and "Below Proficiency" means that you have lots of studying to do.




Community Champion

I discard the domain discussion first.


CISSP is a CAT exam with 100-150 questions.
Discard the CAT element first, I use simple math.
Using 150 question as a baseline, this means on average you need 1.2 minute to answer each question. When you say you are running out of time at 120 question (you have used up your time but not being kick out for other reasons), this means you are using 1.5 minute to answer 1 question which already exceed  (you spend 25% more time on average) the allowed time (unless you use 1.5 minute and answer all the 100-120 question correctly, then you are likely able to pass)


The basic question you need to ask yourself is

  • why you are taking this long to complete 1 question,
  • what take you so long? 
  • What's your weakness?
  • Are you spending too much time in reading / understanding the question or you understand the question but you are spending too much time in choosing the right answer?


Some people want to claim, they finish with 100 question , some finish within 110, some may finish 150 question and got a pass. I like ISC2 exam where you are not given the exact score and in this way I don't need to compare or completing with other on who is scoring higher mark. Regardless 100%, 80%, a pass is a pass to me.


But to the people who did not pass the CISSP, the number of question you attempted reveal something. Just my interpretation, I could be wrong.
1) if you are being kicked out of the exam within 100-120, and saying you have failed, this mean you really need to brush up, because the system foresee you are unable to pass the exam even you answer the rest correctly ( ie too many wrongs).
2) if you able to finish 150 question but failed, then looking at the testing result and the domain proficiency make sense and work harder on those domain below Proficiency.


You case is neither 1 and 2.

I can only say

  • either you spending too much time on reading the question in general or;and 
  • you are not familiar with the topic/domain ( even for the correct ones - domains with above proficiency because you can be too unsure what is the right answer and spend too much time but you got the right answer eventually)  or;and

you may need to improve time management on the question.


And there is simply not enough "data" to see which domain you are under Proficiency because if you speed up, your "Above Proficiency" domains could become near/below Proficiency because you have less time to answer.

Good luck.

Newcomer I

Hi. To increase my speed in answering questions I used a timer set to 1 min. 15 seconds for each practice question I took. When the timer went off I had to pick an answer no matter what I was still trying to figure out in my mind. This routine trained me to process the questions faster and forced me to pick an answer and move on. This also helped me to see what domains required me to think more about the questions which tipped me off to the domains I was weaker in. I hope this little tip helps you!


Kevin Graham

Newcomer III

Did you pass the exam?
Viewer II

I haven’t re-taken the exam yet. Hard to find time to prepare for it due to
Thank you,
Joey Lee
0949 889 8326

@denbesten its not all domains, if you do perform well in some domains and not in others but overall score is above 700, you will pass. 


Community Champion

Thanks for bring this old post to my attention.  I have updated it to better reflect what we have learned (and how the FAQs have been updated) over the past two+ years.  Although there is possibility to "squeak by" when close to the edge, relying on that does not seem like good strategy.  


The important point is that "near" means "almost, but not quite".  In other words, achieving "near proficiency" on all domains, results in a failure.  From a studying perspective, one is best advised to strive for "above proficiency" in all domains.


Also keep in mind that one does not see scoring details -- neither during nor after the exam. The points do not really matter.   "Above/Near/Below" are really only meant to help you focus your studies where they are needed most.