How to Pass CISSP Certification in 2024

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


As technology evolves, the demand for trained personnel to protect these priceless assets has increased enormously. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) accreditation serves as a beacon of experience and proficiency in this regard. As the cyber realm becomes increasingly intricate, organizations seek individuals who can proficiently design, implement, and manage robust cybersecurity frameworks. The CISSP certification is a testament to one’s comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience in information security.

In 2024, the significance of earning the CISSP certification has never been more profound. With digital landscapes evolving, the demand for experts who can navigate and mitigate complex security challenges has reached new heights. The CISSP certification validates your expertise and opens the door to exclusive resources and networking opportunities, propelling your career to new pinnacles of success. By earning the CISSP certification, you showcase your proficiency and join the ranks of esteemed professionals as a member of ISC² (International Information System Security Certification Consortium). This affiliation grants you access to a treasure trove of specialized tools, educational materials, and a community of like-minded experts dedicated to supporting your growth.

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Pros and Cons


  • You will learn by studying anything
  • The money investment is minimal (and you often can get your job to sponsor it)
  • It is a common filter in many job searches for security roles


  • Requires 5 years of working experience in information security
  • The CPE process is a bit of an annoyance, but the CISSP is probably one of the easiest certifications to maintain.

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Understanding the CISSP Exam Requirements

Before embarking on your path to attain the prestigious CISSP certification, it’s crucial to grasp the prerequisites and eligibility criteria that pave the way for this accomplishment. The CISSP exam, a benchmark of excellence in cybersecurity, demands a specific professional experience and educational background. To qualify for the CISSP examination, candidates must satisfy a number of requirements:

Work Experience

A core prerequisite is five years of cumulative paid job experience in at least two of the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge’s eight domains (CBK). These domains encompass several crucial areas of cybersecurity, such as Security and Risk Management, Asset Security, Security Architecture and Engineering, Communication and Network Security, Identity and Access Management (IAM), Security Assessment and Testing, Security Operations, and Software Development Security.

Educational Background

Candidates with a four-year college degree or its regional equivalent, or those holding an additional credential from ISC²’s approved list, can substitute one year of the mandatory work experience. However, it’s important to note that education credit only applies to offsetting a single year of experience.

Overview of Eight CISSP Domains

CISSP Domains

The CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is structured around eight pivotal domains, constituting the cornerstone of this certification. These domains collectively encompass the vast cybersecurity expertise demanded in today’s dynamic digital environment. Each domain is significant, contributing to a well-rounded and adept CISSP-certified professional.

Security and Risk Management: This domain lays the foundation for effective cybersecurity by focusing on risk assessment, governance, and compliance – essential for informed decision-making.

Asset Security: Understanding and protecting crucial organizational assets, both physical and digital, is crucial for preserving confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility.

Security Architecture and Engineering: Designing and building secure systems and environments are paramount to thwarting cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Communication and Network Security: As data flows become increasingly vital, securing networks and communication channels ensures sensitive information’s confidentiality and integrity.

Identity and Access Management (IAM): Restricting access to resources reduces the dangers of unauthorized data leakage and breaches.

Security Assessment and Testing: Rigorous testing and assessment practices reveal vulnerabilities, allowing proactive measures against potential attacks.

Security Operations: Efficiently managing and responding to security incidents is critical to maintaining business continuity and minimizing potential damages.

Software Development Security: Integrating security measures throughout the software development lifecycle mitigates risks caused by defective code.

How to Create an Effective CISSP Study Plan

Creating an effective study plan is paramount to your success, especially toward CISSP certification; it requires meticulous planning and dedicated effort. Here’s a guide to help you structure your CISSP study plan for optimal results:

Set a Realistic Timeline

Typically, three to six months are suggested to prepare for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. Assess the time you have available for studying and set a timeline accordingly. Be honest about your commitments and allocate adequate time for preparation. For instance, if you plan to complete the CISSP exam within 3 months within the optimal window, consider a “Longer Method” method – dedicating around 2 hours per day with focused weekends. Avoid rushing through the material to ensure thorough understanding.

Break Down the Material

 The CISSP curriculum is vast. Divide it into manageable segments to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Focus on one domain at a time, mastering its concepts before moving on. Breaking down the material enables more profound understanding and retention.

Create and Stick to a Schedule

Establish a consistent study schedule to maintain discipline and prevent procrastination. Designate specific times each day or week for studying. Consistency will keep you on track and prevent last-minute cramming.

Diversify Study Materials

Utilize various study resources to cater to different learning styles. Incorporate the official CISSP study guide, practice exams, video tutorials, and online forums. Varied resources enhance your grasp of the material from multiple angles.

Regular Practice Tests

Regularly take practice exams to gauge your progress and pinpoint areas that need further attention. These tests simulate exam conditions, helping you become familiar with the format and identify weak spots.

Leverage Peer Support

Seek assistance from fellow CISSP aspirants. Engage in online study groups, forums, or discussion platforms. Sharing insights and doubts with peers can provide fresh perspectives and boost motivation.

Self-Care Matters

In the midst of intense study, remember to prioritize your health. To keep your mind and body in peak form, get appropriate rest, eat a balanced diet, and engage in regular physical activity.

Sample 3-Month CISSP Study Plan

1st Month

Week 1-2: Familiarize yourself with the 8 CISSP domains and assess strengths and weaknesses.

Weeks 3-4: Deep dive into two domains, allocating one week to each, using diverse resources.

2nd Month

Weeks 5-6:

  • Progress to the following two domains.
  • Dedicate one week to each.
  • Regularly take practice tests.

Week 7-8: Review notes and practice test results from the first four domains, addressing knowledge gaps.

3rd Month

Weeks 9-10: Cover the remaining four domains, and continue with practice tests.

Week 11: Review all domains, focusing on integration and critical concepts.

Week 12: Review notes, practice tests, and weak areas identified throughout the study.

Week 13: Final comprehensive review and preparation, solidifying confidence for the CISSP exam.

Recommended Books for CISSP Certification

Having reliable and effective study resources is crucial when preparing for the CISSP certification. Below is a list of highly recommended books that can significantly aid your CISSP exam preparation:

(ISC)² CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional Official Study Guide, 9th Edition by Ronald L. Krutz and James M. Fisher: This official study guide, endorsed by ISC², thoroughly covers all eight domains of the CISSP exam. It provides in-depth explanations and insights into the core concepts, making it an essential resource for comprehensive preparation.

CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Eighth Edition by Shon Harris: Authored by a renowned security expert, this guide comprehensively addresses each domain of the CISSP exam. Its clear and concise content aids understanding, making it suitable for beginners and experienced professionals.

CISSP for Dummies by Lawrence C. Miller: Ideal for those new to information security, this book offers an easily digestible overview of the CISSP exam domains. It simplifies complex topics, ensuring a solid foundation for deeper study.

Eleventh Hour CISSP: Study Guide by Eric Conrad: When time is limited, this concise study guide serves as a last-minute refresher, focusing on key concepts essential for the CISSP exam. It’s an efficient resource for quick revision.

Recommended Boot Camps and Training for CISSP Certification

Harnessing the power of specialized boot camps and training courses can significantly amplify your preparation efforts. The following are some of the most recommended options:

(ISC)² Official CISSP Boot Camp: An immersive training program covering all eight CISSP domains, this boot camp offers hands-on exercises and practice exams under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Infosec CISSP Boot Camp: This boot camp provides live online training with seasoned instructors, access to practice examinations, study materials, and a 100% pass guarantee.

Cybrary CISSP Training: A comprehensive online course covering all CISSP domains. With video lectures, practice exams, and a user-friendly learning management system, it’s a valuable resource.

Udemy CISSP Training: Udemy offers a range of CISSP training courses, both live and self-paced, from various instructors. This variety enables you to select the most suitable learning style.

Supplementary Resources for Effective Exam Preparation

In addition to formal training and study guides, two more categories of resources can enhance your CISSP exam preparation:

Practice Test Resources: Utilize practice tests from reputable sources to assess your knowledge and identify improvement areas. Websites, books like CISSP Practice Exams, Ultimate Edition by WileyCISSP Practice Exams, Deluxe Edition by Boson, etc., and online platforms offer a range of practice questions that simulate the exam, helping you build confidence and refine your understanding of key concepts.

Last-Minute Resources: When time is limited, lean on concise summaries, cheat sheets, and flashcards tailored to the CISSP domains. These resources provide quick refreshers and can be invaluable in the days leading up to the exam, reinforcing critical points and boosting your memory retention.

Essential Tips for Passing the CISSP Exam

Mastering the CISSP exam demands a strategic approach that encompasses both mindset and method:

Approaching the Exam with the Right Mindset: Embrace confidence tempered with humility. Trust in your preparation, but also acknowledge areas for improvement. Maintain a positive attitude, manage stress, and tackle each question thoughtfully.

Time Management during the Exam: The CISSP exam is lengthy, so allocate time wisely. Divide your time equally among the questions and flag those requiring more thought. Avoid getting stuck on a single question – keep the pace steady to maximize coverage.

Understanding the CISSP Exam Frameworks: Grasp the structure of the exam, which follows a domain-based approach. This aids navigation and ensures comprehensive coverage of all domains. Answer questions within each domain cluster before moving on.

Roles of CISSP in Cybersecurity Careers

CISSP certification paves the way for diverse and impactful roles in the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity as follows

Security Architects: Designing and implementing robust security systems to safeguard digital assets.

Security Consultants: Providing strategic advice to organizations, shaping their security posture.

Security Managers: Overseeing security teams, ensuring effective risk management and compliance.

Security Auditors: Evaluating systems for vulnerabilities and ensuring adherence to security standards.

CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers): Guiding overall security strategies and managing security initiatives.

Intrusion Analysts: Detecting and responding to security breaches and investigating incidents.

Security Engineers: Developing and implementing security solutions, from firewalls to encryption.

Digital Forensics Experts: Investigating cybercrimes, collecting and analyzing digital evidence.

Vital Details Regarding the CISSP Exam

Exam Expenses

The CISSP certification examination demands a fee of $749. In the event of an initial failure, a standard CISSP exam fee of $749 is required, accompanied by an additional $199. This supplementary fee grants a reattempt at the same exam. To secure a passing grade, candidates must achieve a minimum score of 700 out of 1000.

Exam Locations

Administered primarily by (ISC)², the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, the CISSP exam is accessible. Pearson VUE testing centers, present in diverse countries across the globe, serve as the venues for the examination. Locating a Pearson VUE testing center in your vicinity and securing your CISSP examination date can be accomplished through the Pearson VUE website. The website guides you on center selection and exam date reservation.

What to Expect on the Day of the Exam

On the day of your examination, it’s a good idea to wake up early and have a hearty breakfast. You’ll need all the energy you can get for the exam ahead. Plan to head to the exam center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. This will help you avoid any last-minute surprises and jitters. This is the breakdown of what to expect on the exam day.


Aim to arrive at the testing facility half an hour before your scheduled exam commencement. The check-in procedure necessitates the following:

  1. Displaying two forms of acceptable identification.
  2. Providing your signature.
  3. Undergoing a palm vein scan unless legally prohibited. If you harbor reservations about this identification method, it’s recommended that you communicate with Exam Administration before confirming your exam reservation.
  4. Capturing your photograph. Remember that headgear, scarves, and outerwear are prohibited during the photo session or in the examination room.
  5. Storing your personal belongings outside the examination area. While secure storage is available, space is limited, prompting the need for prudent planning. Pearson VUE test centers do not assume liability for personal items.
  6. A brief orientation will be provided by the Test Administrator (TA), after which you will be escorted to a designated computer terminal.

Pre-Exam Preparations

You will be granted five minutes to peruse and accept the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). It’s vital to acknowledge these terms to proceed with the exam. Please sign the NDA to avoid a non-refundable forfeit of your Exam Application fee.

Exam Support and Breaks

Throughout the exam, you are expected to remain seated unless instructed otherwise by staff. Relocation to a different computer terminal requires direct guidance from a TA. Raising your hand is permissible in cases such as:

  1. Suspected computer issues.
  2. Requesting replacement note boards.
  3. Needing a break.
  4. Requiring assistance from the administrator.

Notably, all unscheduled breaks contribute to your total exam time. Leaving the testing room during breaks is mandatory, while exiting the building or accessing personal belongings is discouraged, except for essential purposes like retrieving medication. Each break necessitates a pre- and post-break palm vein scan.

Required Documents for the Test Center

For proper identification, ISC2 mandates the presentation of two forms of identification (ID) for admission to your exam. Upon arrival at the test center, you will be requested to furnish a primary and a secondary ID. Additionally, ISC2 enforces the submission of a palm vein scan. The following points are essential:

  1. Your IDs should be currently valid. Your IDs should be currently valid, and the valid copies must be originals; photocopies or facsimiles are unacceptable.
  2. Your primary ID must feature both your photograph and signature. The photo should be permanently affixed to the document.
  3. Your secondary ID must bear your signature.

Accepted Primary ID (contains photograph and signature; not expired):

Government-issued driver’s license or identification card

Driver’s license from the U.S. Department of State

U.S. learner’s permit (card with photo and signature only)

National/state/country identification card


Military ID

Military ID for spouses and dependents

Alien registration card (green card; permanent resident visa)

Government-issued local language ID (plastic card with photo and signature)

Employee ID

School ID

Credit card*

Accepted Secondary ID (contains signature; not expired):

U.S. Social Security card

Debit/ATM card

Credit card*

Any form of ID listed in the primary ID category

Please note: A credit card can function as your primary ID only if it incorporates your photo and a signature. It must also be valid, valid. Any credit card is suitable as your secondary ID if it bears your signature and remains unexpired. This encompasses significant credit cards, department stores, and gasoline credit cards.

Certification Procedure after passing the exam


After successfully passing the exam, the next step is to seek endorsement from a certified professional of (ISC)² who can validate your work experience and position in cybersecurity. The endorser must complete an endorsement form and submit it to (ISC)² for verification.

Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF)

You must pay an annual maintenance fee (AMF) of $125 to uphold your certification. This fee is due on the anniversary of your certification date each year.

Adherence to Code of Ethics

You must commit to observing the (ISC)² Code of Ethics. This code establishes principles every (ISC)² certified professional must uphold.

Upon fulfilling these stages, you will attain the status of a certified CISSP. Your certification remains valid for three years. To sustain your certification, you must undergo a renewal process every three years, which entails submitting 40 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. These credits indicate your ongoing professional development and engagement in the field.

 What If You Don’t Pass?

Review Your Results: The CISSP exam supplies you with a comprehensive report detailing your performance, pinpointing the domains requiring improvement. This feedback guides your studies toward the areas demanding the most attention.

Accrue Further Experience: Should you fall short of the CISSP experience prerequisites, consider gaining more experience by working in a cybersecurity role. Practical experience equips you with the necessary knowledge and competencies for successful exam completion.

Reattempt the Exam: You can retake the CISSP exam after a 30-day interval. This gives you the chance to concentrate on the areas demanding enhancement.

Utilize Study Groups: Participating in a study group can keep you motivated and committed. Furthermore, you can learn from others who have previously undertaken the exam.

Seek Professional Guidance: Numerous organizations offer CISSP exam preparation courses and resources. These resources aid in mastering the material and adequately preparing for the exam.

Final Note

CISSP certification signifies expertise, validating knowledge, and experience in information security. Thorough preparation is essential if you want to pass the CISSP certification exam. Craft a pragmatic study plan, allocate time wisely, and engage diverse resources. Master the eight domains of CISSP and comprehend exam requisites.

The CISSP certification showcases proficiency and connects with a community of experts and resources. Amid cybersecurity breaches, CISSP-certified professionals are sought after for their prowess in designing and executing security measures. CISSP certification in 2023 opens doors to cybersecurity success.

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