Failed CISSP test first attempt!

morningsilencemorningsilence Member Posts: 2 ■■□□□□□□□□
edited May 2022 in CISSP
Hey Guys and Girls!

This happened yesterday. I started the test and for first 30 questions, i was feeling great and feeling i am kicking butt. I think i got at least 26 of them correct. 

Not sure what happened when i started looking at the clock and got nervous. It was already one hour over.

From there on I was not able to concentrate and was not understanding questions as what they are asking? Basically i started giving up at that point. 

I was wearing some headset they provided, it was kind of hurting my both ears. Anyhoo i passed 100 question mark and i had only 30 minutes left. I panicked in think and was not thinking clearly. Questions started feeling much more strange and vague. I was also thinking i will be dumped now but i went on till last  few minutes up to 128 questions. Last 3-4 questions before i ran out of time i did not even read and clicked on random answers and test kicked me out. I knew i did not do well.

Now thinking about the experience.

Here is what i went through please share your valuable input so i don't make this same mistakes.

I was thinking what i studied using Mike Chappel's linkedin Video Course. All the videos from Prabh Nair, Dojo, Pete and Rob's videos many times. I did not see much of technical questions. I did not read the books. I cannot study using the books anymore. 

I only studied from the video learnings and some tests from Boson and Wiley.

I must say questions were like Boson tests. I was also not understanding which domain questions are being asked. I was completely in psychological paralysis LOL.

There was one student invariably coughing while giving the test. That also added in my lack of concentration. I think i did not prepare for the test mindset like i have to finish this in a certain time. I cannot just sit there and take my own time. I lacked in that aspect.

I have 25 years of technical IT experience, with unix, linux, platform engineering, application servers, monitoring tools etc. I think i prepared well on the technical side. But i did not took timed tests. I took 40 questions here and 30 questions here. So that is something i can do next time. What do you feel?

Also they say the test plays with your mind, it is kind of true. I was not worried about if my last answer was wrong but i was worried about i am going too slow and that clock was scaring me. How should i correct this please help me.

I registered again to take the 2nd attempt 30 days later.

I am now determined i want to get this done. At the same time, i am bit scared what if i repeat my last performance? I want to get out of it with a strategy. 

The last 3-4 questions i randomly clicked the answered - did that hurt anywhere? I am just thinking. I will not do that again! 

Here's how I did:

  1. Communication and Network Security Below Proficiency Level
  2. Identity and Access Management Below Proficiency Level
  3. Software Development Security Below Proficiency Level
  4. Security Architecture and Engineering Near Proficiency Level
  5. Asset Security Near Proficiency Level
  6. Security Assessment and Testing Above Proficiency Level
  7. Security Operations Above Proficiency Level
  8. Security and Risk Management Below Proficiency Level
Thank you gladiators! 


  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,229 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Sucks to hear you did not pass, but you are not alone. I passed on the third attempt so hang in there.

    I passed the exam in 2015 and the exam has been modified since then, but you can still read about my experience here which includes the materials that I used (

    One thing that made a difference for me was escaping my purely technical mindset. I had a decade-plus hands-on IT experience (lumping networking and information security in there) when I went for that exam and every exam that I had taken up until that point was technical (CompTIA, Cisco). I think being so knee-deep in operations prevented me from looking at the bigger picture while taking the exam. My manager at the time, the CISO, advised that I approach each question asking what would he do. The answers that I selected were definitely different with that approach. 

    I have Boson experience, but not with CISSP so cannot say how good their and Wiley's practice questions are. Also not familiar with the names you mentioned regarding the videos you watched. Maybe you need to switch up your study material. Focus on your weak areas and go for it again. Good luck!
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, CompTIA, AWS
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,025 Admin
    Exam anxiety is real and there's no way to experience it fully except by taking real exams. You counter anxiety by relaxing, breathing, closing your eyes and meditating for a few seconds to calm yourself, think reassuring affirmations, etc. You must have felt this way in other (school)  exams that you have taken and used some of these techniques to help yourself. If the clock on the screen is a real bother to you, ask the proctor if you can have a sticky note to put on the screen over the clock. I've used this technique before, but you need to check the time every so often or you could find yourself in a real panic situation.
  • beadsbeads Member Posts: 1,531 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Taking certification exams is a bit of an art and requires some practice, like building up callous on one's hands while doing manual work. Eventually, you will get a rhythm to taking these exams and it will become second nature.

    Suggest finding both a good quiz book on the CISSP and any online resources and practice for both speed and accuracy at the same time. You will get to the point where you almost institutionally know the answer before finishing the question because of practicing for both. Obviously, you will slow down for the real exam but not by much as what we are looking for here is concentration and question answering rhythm or stress testing/proofing yourself.

    If you need more time between attempts find a simple cert for less money like an Azure or AWS basics exam that will run you 85-100 dollars. I have found over the years it only takes one successful exam with students to bolster their confidence and find that testing rhythm.

    Practice, practice, practice.

    Good luck!
Sign In or Register to comment.