CISSP For Dummies, 7th Edition
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The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)certification is based upon a Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) determined by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC)². It is defined through eight tested domains: Security and Risk Management; Asset Security; Security Engineering; Communication and Network Security; Identity and Access Management; Security Assessment and Testing; Security Operations; and Software Development Security.

Put the following CISSP test prep tips to good use and prove that you have mastered these domains.

The best ways to prepare for the CISSP exam

Not only does “chance favor the prepared mind” — the CISSP exam does too. So, make sure that you’ve prepared yourself well for your upcoming CISSP exam. This may seem a bit overwhelming, but take things one step at a time and be sure to heed the following tips for CISSP exam success:

  • Register now. Go online and register for the CISSP exam as soon as possible. Committing yourself to a test date is the best cure for procrastination and setting your date can help you plan and focus your study efforts. If, after scheduling your exam, you realize there’s absolutely no way you’ll be ready by your test date — or you’re otherwise unable to make your test date, you can simply reschedule. Just be sure to reschedule — no-shows forfeit their exam fee.

  • Make a 60-Day study plan. After you register for the CISSP exam, commit yourself to a 60-day study plan. Of course, your work experience and professional reading should span a much greater period, but for your final preparations leading up to the CISSP exam, plan on a 60-day period of intense study.

  • Get organized and read. A wealth of security information is available for the CISSP candidate. However, studying everything is impractical. Instead, get organized, determine your strengths and weaknesses, and then read. You’ll find a lot of study materials on the (ISC)2 website.

  • Join a Study Group. Joining a study group or creating your own can help you stay focused and provide a wealth of information from the broad perspectives and experiences of other security professionals. You can find a study group, discussion forums, and many other helpful resources at Also, your local chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) may be sponsoring CISSP study groups. You can find their contact information at the ISSA website.

CISSP exam day tips

The CISSP exam is demanding, but if you’ve worked your way through the Common Body of Knowledge and know your stuff when it comes to areas such as network security and disaster recovery, you should do fine. Here are some tips to prepare for exam day:

  • Get a good night’s rest. The night before the exam isn’t the time to do any last-minute cramming. Getting a good night’s rest is essential.

  • Dress comfortably. You should dress in attire that’s comfortable and appropriate — remember, this is a three-hour exam for professional certification.

  • Eat a good meal. No matter how anxious you may be feeling, try to get something down before the exam. You have up to three hours to complete the CISSP exam — that’s a long time to go on an empty stomach.

  • Bring your photo ID. You need to bring your driver’s license, government-issued ID, or passport — these are the only forms of ID that are accepted.

  • Bring snacks and drinks. If your testing center allows it, consider bringing a small snack and a few drinks (water, juice, or soda) to get you through the exam. Be sure you know the testing center’s rules and procedures for taking breaks and eating/drinking during the exam.

  • Bring prescription or over-the-counter medications. Again, check with your testing center and notify the test administrator if you’re taking any prescription medication that must be taken during the exam. Nothing can ruin your chances of succeeding on the CISSP exam like a medical emergency! Also, if you’re taking any over-the-counter meds, such as acetaminophen, nasal spray, or antacids to eliminate any annoying inconveniences such as headaches, heartburn, or a gastrointestinal malady, be sure to take them before you start the exam.

  • Leave your mobile phone behind or turn it off. Turn off your mobile phone and anything else that goes beep or buzz.

  • Take frequent breaks. Three hours is a long time. Be sure to get up and walk around during the exam, if permitted. If not, at least stretch your legs, curl your toes, crack your knuckles, rest your eyes (but don’t fall asleep!), roll your neck — or whatever you need to do (within reason) to keep the blood flowing throughout your body. Be sure to take a few short breaks during the exam.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Lawrence Miller, CISSP, is a security consultant with experience in consulting, defense, legal, nonprofit, retail, and telecommunications. Peter H. Gregory, CISSP, is an executive advisor at a global security advisory firm. He is also a cybersecurity advisor and adjunct instructor for the University of Washington and the University of South Florida and the author of more than 40 books.

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