Ready for the New ISC2 Computer-Based CISSP Exam?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Michael Gregg


For almost 20 years, the only way to obtain the CISSP certification was by completing a six-hour, 250 question, paper-based exam.

The paper-based exam is being phased out and replaced with an electronic version. This change in test delivery should have exam candidates thinking about how to successfully deal with the new electronic format.

In the past, paper-based exam candidates were sometimes required to sign-up for the exam months in advance as the test was only held in their area once or twice a year.

With the electronic exam, the candidate has the ability to attempt the exam the next day after scheduling. While the test delivery has changed one thing that remains the same is the exam scoring.  It is scored as pass/fail, and the passing score remains 700 points out of 1000.

The real difference with computer based testing is the test delivery system. People usually complete computerized tests faster than the paper-based exams. Just keep in mind that this is not a race, with six hours to complete the exam, you have plenty of time to read all the questions carefully. You can also mark a question and return to it later in the exam.

Another change is finding out your results. While the paper-based exam could take weeks to find out your score, this is not the case with the electronic version. As soon as the test is completed, you will immediately know your score.

However, if you fail, the retake policy has changed. Candidates cannot reattempt the exam for 30 days. If for some reason the candidate failed on the second attempt, you cannot retake the exam for 90 days and if that attempt was unsuccessful, you must wait 180 days to attempt the exam again.

The move to the electronic version of the exam is actually a good one in that it will make it easier for you to schedule the exam, test at a location that is closer to home, and give you instant feedback on whether you passed or failed.

Keep in mind that this is not an easy certification to achieve and most describe it as difficult. At almost $600.00 per attempt, do not schedule the exam until you are ready and make sure you spent sufficient time studying so that you are fully prepared. 

Contributed by Superior Solutions, Inc.

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