How To Earn The CISSP Certification: What You Need To Know

  • 7 August 2019
  • Author: NH marketing
  • Number of views: 580

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is one of the most sought-after and stringent certifications in the IT industry. 

CISSPs are lauded for their ability to design, implement and manage best-in-class cybersecurity programs – something many organizations severely lack today. As a result, companies eagerly seek out CISSP-certified professionals. 


Passing the exam requires extensive knowledge about cybersecurity and hands-on experience in the field. Here’s what you need to know to be adequately prepared for the exam so you can earn the CISSP certification on your first attempt.

Want to start preparing for the CISSP today? Explore CISSP training here.

What Is the CISSP?

The CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification is a globally recognized standard in information security certification governed and bestowed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)2. It was the first information security credential accredited by the international ANSI ISO/IEC Standard 17024:2003.

One of the benefits of the CISSP is that it’s vendor neutral. It allows you to gain crucial experience in managing and implementing a security program without needing to stick with one platform. 

As of December 18, 2017, all English CISSP exams worldwide use CAT (Computer Adaptive Testing). The CISSP CAT exam is 3 hours long. It contains 100 - 150 multiple choice and advanced questions meant to assess your knowledge and understanding of the eight domains within the (ISC)² Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).

Who Is the CISSP Meant For?

The CISSP is advanced certification intended for experienced IT security-related practitioners, auditors, consultants, investigators, or instructors, including network or security analysts and engineers, network administrators, information security specialists, and risk management professionals.

The CISSP is ideal for information security professionals seeking to prove their understanding of cybersecurity strategy and hands-on implementation. It shows you have the advanced knowledge and technical skills to design, develop and manage an organization’s overall security posture.

How Much Does the CISSP Certification Cost?

The CISSP certification exam typically costs $699 (640EUR), but the exact pricing and additional fees will change depending on where you take it. If you have to reschedule your test, you’ll have to pay a $50 fine. If you need to cancel, you’ll pay $100. 

After you pass the exam, you get to keep your certification for the next three years. You’ll need to pay an annual maintenance fee and submit 40 continuing professional education (CPE) credits each year during that time. Once your three years are up, you’ll have to get recertified. 

What Does the CISSP Exam Cover?

The CISSP exam evaluates expertise across eight CBK security domains. (Think of domains as topics you need to master based on your professional experience and education.) Passing the exam proves you have the advanced knowledge and technical skills to effectively design, implement and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program

No matter how much experience you have with each domain, you will probably encounter unfamiliar terminology and new concepts in the exam questions. Preparing for the CISSP with training, courseware and self-study aids is the best way to master the eight CBK domains. 

Tip: The exam material regularly updates, which is one reason you have to recertify every three years. Make sure any study materials you use are recent. 

What Are the CISSP Certification Exam Requirements?

Before taking the CISSP exam, you need to prove that you have at least five years of direct professional work experience in two or more fields related to the eight CBK security domains, or a college degree and four years of direct professional experience.

After you pass the CISSP exam, you need to gain an endorsement form signed by an (ISC)² certified professional and subscribe to the (ISC)² Code of Ethics. 

Tip: Make sure you submit the signed endorsement form within 9 months of passing your exam to become fully certified. Passing the test doesn’t automatically grant you certification status. 

3 Tips for Passing the CISSP Certification Exam

The CISSP certification exam is notoriously grueling. To demonstrate your expertise in each domain and pass the certification, you have to earn at least 700 points out of a 1,000-point maximum.

Here are three tips to make studying easier and help you pass the CISSP certification exam: 

1. Seek Out Multiple Study Sources

The (ISC)² provides a few resources to help you study for the exam, including an outline, a study guide, practice tests and more. You can also download an official study app, purchase the official textbook and use the CISSP flash cards. But while all of these guides are helpful, it’s not easy to get by on self-study alone. 

Multiple study sources, including online and in-person professional training, are your best bet for passing the CISSP exam.

You can take a course in a classroom setting with other professionals, opt for private one-on-one training or enroll in a small group course with people you know.

Recommended Training:

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

2. Partner Up With Your Peers

Studying with other people can foster great group discussions and help you talk through concepts you don’t understand. If you’re planning to attend a training course, you’ll be able to connect with individuals going through the same material. 

You can also look for online forums or create a study group of your own. Attend security professionals meetups to connect with people who have already taken the exam and get advice from others. 

3. Balance Your Time

Preparing for the CISSP certification exam can take a lot out of you. You’re likely balancing studying with your full-time job and any other personal responsibilities you might have. The best strategy is to set aside specific hours for studying. 

Make sure you balance studying with taking practice tests so you’re prepared for all types of questions that will be thrown your way. Plan to study for at least a month or two so you don’t end up cramming the week before your exam date. 

Get Ready for the CISSP With New Horizons Training

Are you ready to become a CISSP and prove your skills to potential employers?

New Horizons, the world’s largest IT training company, provides expert-led CISSP training to help you prepare for the exam with confidence. Check out our CISSP course and learn how it can help you turn a three-hour CAT format test into a lasting accomplishment in your career. 

Unsure if you should take CISSP? Contact us and learn more about Cybersecurity certification from New Horizons of Prague. Or just see the New Horizons cybersecurity roadmap.

(source: adapted from blog)

Categories: IT Security
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NH marketingAnton Andrejko

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