For (and from) all the newbies out there who want help for studying, there have been numerous questions about, well, questions. As in, "what's the best set of practice questions to use while studying for the exam?"
The answer is, none of them.
I have looked at an awful lot of practice question sets, and they are uniformly awful. Most try to be "hard" by bringing in trivia: that is not representative of the exam. Most concentrate on a bunch of facts: that is not representative of the exam.
So, from my own stash, collected and developed over the decades, I'm going to give you some samples that do represent the types of questions that you will probably see on the exam. Note that none of these questions will appear on the exam. You can't pass the CISSP exam by memorizing a brain dump. These will just give you a feel.
For each question I'll give the answer, what type of question this represents, and possibly ways to approach this type of question.
I'll be doing this over time, "replying" to this post to add questions. Others are free to add sample questions if they wish, but be ready to be (possibly severely) critiqued.
Which of the following is a key element during the initial security planning process?
a. Establish system review time frames
b. Implement a security awareness program
c. Defining reporting relationships
d. Institute a change management program
Reference: Handbook of Information Security Management, edited by Ruthberg and Tipton, Auerbach, 1993, pg 75
Right, a few initial notes. You will notice a reference. Every exam question is (or was) backed up by at least two references from source security literature. Note that CISSP study guides are not source security literature.
A key word in this question is "initial." Establishing system review time frames, security awareness programs, and change management programs are all important, but they come later in security planning.
Note also one rather important point. All of these answers are "correct" in a way. If you are confronted with four "right" answers, and one of them is the "management" answer, that one is probably the one that will get you the point. Defining reporting relationships is both something you want to establish early in planning, and it's also the "management" answer. (One person I helped coach through the exam said that this one tip applied to about 10% of the total exam.)
Which of the following is NOT an element of a security planning mission statement?
a. Objectives statement
b. Background statement
c. Scope statement
d. Confidentiality statement
Reference: Handbook of Information Security Management, edited by Ruthberg and Tipton, Auerbach, 1993, page 73
This is the type of question that ensures you do not just memorize a bunch of security buzzwords. You have to understand the concepts behind them. What is a "security planning mission statement"? Well, it's more simply known as a policy. What does a policy contain? Among other things, the background of your enterprise, your objectives, and the scope of what you are trying to protect. What you are going to do about confidentiality (unless you are an unusual company and either don't care about confidentiality, or it's really, really important) generally is in your subordinate standards or procedures.
Don't get hung up on whether the question has exactly the wording you have studied. That way lies failure. Make sure you understand the fundamentals behind the words.