CISSP Study Guide

CISSP Study Guide – 7 Steps to CISSP Success

14 min. read

CISSP is one of the world’s most renowned information security certifications. Becoming a CISSP is a solid choice if you have a few years of experience and want to move up. It is also a good choice for beginners to work toward the career they want. However, like any certification, CISSP requires a dedicated mind and motivation if you want to be successful in the CISSP certification exam. Earning this credential might be challenging if you do not plan for the exam preparation and do not set a deadline to complete your study. In other words, you have to follow a CISSP study guide.

So what are the 7 steps of the CISSP study guide?

  1. Set a Target Date to Complete Your CISSP Study
  2. Prepare Your CISSP Study Plan
  3. Take Notes During Your CISSP Exam Study
  4. Make Practice As Much As You Can
  5. Understand Your Wrong Answers
  6. Go Through Your Notes
  7. Go and Get CISSP!

A lot of CISSP aspirants have failed to complete their preparation successfully and eventually, they failed the exam too. If you hurry too much in the preparation, you don’t follow a CISSP study guide or you are too slow, either way, you are going to risk your CISSP exam. If you give too little time to the preparation, you will not be able to grasp the core and the details of the CISSP study material. And, if you will be going too slow, you will have a weak understanding and very little retention.

To help the CISSP aspirants be successful in their CISSP exam, in this CISSP study guide, we have listed 7 steps on how to prepare for the CISSP exam and be successful. So, continue reading this post for the details of the CISSP study guide.

CISSP Study Guide Step #1 – Set a Target Date to Complete Your CISSP Study

The first step in this CISSP study guide is about setting a target date for your CISSP exam. If you are satisfying the CISSP certification requirements, then, you can start gearing up for the CISSP exam. It’s a fact that all of us procrastinate. It’s human nature. Doesn’t matter what you have to achieve, if you do not have a deadline, you tend to continue to delay the work or put lesser effort into it than you should. When we have a set deadline, we are motivated by it. We then plan to complete our work by that date.

Learn more in our Free CISSP Training.

How the deadlines can really help you achieve goals? Well, you see the deadlines are effective because these make your goals more manageable and your learning activities stay in control. With deadlines, you can finish college projects, you can follow new year’s resolutions. You can do many things on time. The same goes for when you are preparing for your CISSP exam. For the exam, you are going to invest money. You are also going to be putting in a lot of effort. So, you don’t want this effort or investment to go wasted, right? Hence, the first step in this CISSP study guide is setting a deadline to complete your CISSP study.

How to set a deadline?

Now, you may wonder how to set a deadline. Well, it’s not difficult. First, analyze your situation, such as your availability in a day, in a week on month. Then ask yourself questions like how much time you actually have, how much work do you really need to do, what is your skillset and how well you can manage the deadline, considering your other day-to-day tasks also.

You should consider the time required for studying the exam preparation material, memorizing the important things, and going through the practice exam questions at least twice. Some people complete the preparation in 1 month and some even take up to 6 months. So, it really depends on how fast you can study, how competent you are in the subject and how much time you have.

CISSP Study Guide

So, set yourself a deadline. However, you should make sure that the deadline for your CISSP exam study should is meaningful, actionable, and achievable. If you have doubt about your availability or skills, then it is time to be more conservative on what you decide. Once you have set a deadline for your CISSP exam preparation, you will take control of your tasks and manage to achieve the deadline even when faced with interferences and obstructions.

Going forward, you should also set a target date for your CISSP exam. Now, you will have two constraints to comply with. The advantage of having a fixed date for your exam is that you will not delay your preparation at any cost. Since the exam date is fixed and that you cannot control it, you will make a full effort to complete your study so that you are fully ready before your exam. Also, make sure that you will have to spend some money and time to get CISSP. You can read about the CISSP certification cost.

And that’s it, you’ve completed the 1st step of your CISSP study guide!

CISSP Study Guide Step #2 – Prepare Your CISSP Study Plan

Let’s move to the second step in the CISSP study guide. Everyone has their own way of studying. Some may plan their study and some do random study, with no defined plan and schedule to follow. However, those who follow a timeline and a plan have more chances of success. It is because when you have a plan to do something, you are in control. Moreover, you can see how much you have progressed towards your goal and how far you are from the destination. Your plan is actually the motivational force that continuously drives you to follow the proper steps to reach your goal. Hence it is an important part of the CISSP study guide. You must determine a comprehensive CISSP certification training program to attend as well. You can take a look at our 30 mins Free CISSP Training demo.

To prepare for the CISSP exam, you should have a good study plan ahead of time. It is necessary because there are many things you need to study. It is true that no one can be excellent in all of the 8 CISSP domains, but you need to adequately prepare if you want to pass the CISSP exam with ease. Your study plan should have a studying methodology, a practicing method, and a list of study materials of your choice. Moreover, you also need a schedule to follow. A schedule will help you not diverge from your plan and you will be going in a systemic way towards your goal.

How to prepare a study plan?

So, list down the books, reference guides, practice tests, or any other study material that you will need during CISSP exam preparation. If you will be needing to download or purchase some material, make a plan when and where you will get these things from. Ensure that you create a realistic schedule of the tasks that you will be doing and that it is achievable.

CISSP Study Guide

To study for the CISSP exam, you may even need to watch some online tutorials on YouTube or other websites. Maybe you also want to sit with your friends for a group study. So, think of everything, which will be helpful in your exam preparation and the ones that you will really need. Write everything down in your CISSP study plan. You can list down the activities with the estimated number of hours or days that you will require to complete those activities. We can’t always create a very realistic schedule but prepare your activity schedule, which you think is achievable by you.

And, once you have done with creating your CISSP study plan, make sure you follow that plan and do not be afraid of challenging yourself. If you fail to take this step of the CISSP Study guide, in other words, if you don’t prepare a good study plan or don’t comply with this plan, remember that without a proper plan, earning this certification would not be an easy game for you.

CISSP Study Guide Step #3 – Take Notes During Your CISSP Exam Study

When you have nicely written notes, these will help you later in remembering concepts and gaining a better understanding of a topic so it is another important step of your CISSP study guide. Sometimes, taking notes is necessary to summarize the difficult or lengthy paragraphs in your own words, for easy understanding. While writing notes, you engage more with your study material and are more focused. Furthermore, taking notes will help boost comprehension and retention. It’s in fact a proven method for memory retention. So, whether you are watching an online tutorial video or reading a CISSP study book or you are involved in CISSP group study discussion, write notes!

Notes are not only about writing text. In notes, you can include many other things. For example, you can draw a mind map. It will help you get a handle on how certain topics relate to each other, or to go in-depth with one particular idea. You can also create bullet points, or write a summary of something or write any other things that you think will facilitate you later in preparing for the CISSP exam.

In the 3rd step of the CISSP study guide, when writing notes, be careful of how you write down things. If your notes are messy, unorganized, or unclear at first glance, you will not be getting much use of these. This has nothing to do with your handwriting but it is important to have good notes, which will be worthy of writing.

We have recently seen the evolution of note-taking. You now even have the e-notes option. If you have a tablet device, for instance, you can type or write notes even on that. The introduction of e-note taking has actually made it easier for us to better organize and manage the notes.

CISSP Study Guide Step #4 – Make Practice As Much As You Can

You cannot say that you have completed the preparation just after reading the CISSP books. So this will be the 4th step of the CISSP study guide. You’ll not know how much you are lacking in one particular area. You will also not know if there is anything that you have missed to study. So, what should you do? Attempt a practice test! You can see our CISSP Practice Exam.

By attempting a practice test, you will know where you are currently standing. Set a goal. For example, the target for a 95% score in a practice test. Remember, if you are getting 95% in a practice test attempted at your home, in the exam, you will be getting maybe less than 90%. It is because, in the real exam, you are bound with the time constraint. So, you are taking the exam under pressure, which limits your capability to think more and you can also make mistakes. So aim for getting maximum score while you are practicing the exam at your home.

Master of Project Academy offers free CISSP Exam simulator. It is available to try for free. The free CISSP exam simulator has 15 CISSP practice exam questions and these let you get an idea of the quality of our CISSP questions in the paid simulator.

We also have a paid CISSP exam simulator. Our paid CISSP exam simulator contains 1,050 sample real-like CISSP exam questions. The simulator offers you seven CISSP mock exams to help you achieve the best result.

CISSP-Practice-Exam-Simulator CISSP Practice Exam - FREE 20 Questions and Answers

When you use a practice test, never be done with just one practice. At least try the test two times so that you will get to know all your weaknesses and strengths. If you find out that you are scoring much less in the exam than how much you should be, read the CISSP books again. And then again take a practice test. The more you practice, the better results you will achieve. So, do not risk your exam by finishing your preparation by just reaching CISSP books.

It is also a good idea not to practice the test before you have completed studying the CISSP study material. It is because you will not have grasped the whole picture of the CISSP course content in your mind yet. In such a scenario, you may not be able to understand the practice test questions correctly and your answers may also be wrong. So, we recommend you complete your study and then practice the test questions.

CISSP Study Guide

Where to find practice tests?

On the internet, you will find many free CISSP practice tests. However, most of these will be outdated practice tests. Some tests will have incorrect answers and they may be without rationales. So, you should be careful when choosing to use the free CISSP practice exam. If you really want to use an updated and useful practice test, we recommend you invest a little money in the paid practice tests.

We, at Master of Project Academy, offer you a free CISSP exam simulator, which contains 15 sample questions. Using this free version of our simulator, you will have an idea of the quality of the CISSP questions that we have prepared and their usefulness in your exam preparation.

We also have a paid CISSP exam simulator. It comes with 1050 sample questions for your practice. You can practice these questions through the mock exam in the simulator. And, the provided answers also give rationales, for your better understanding of the concepts.

CISSP Study Guide Step #5 –  Go Through Your Wrong Answers

During your practice, you will be answering many questions right but there may many wrong answers. Do not be disappointed with your incorrect answers. This will be an opportunity for you to look at your study material again and correct your concepts where you are lacking.

So in the 5th step of the CISSP study guide, go through your wrong answers again and understand where and why you did it wrong. Read the rationales also. The rationales given with the answers will explain to you the topic right and there. And, if you think you need further study, you can always go back to your study material.

It is possible that you will find out that you didn’t study a particular topic. It happens sometimes that we overlook something because it seems so simple. Or probably you because you think you know it well but in fact, you do not know it much. It could be serious because you may have overlooked the important stuff. So your wrong answers will let you know how well really your preparation was and what you should study again.

CISSP Study Guide Step #6 –  Go Through Your Notes

In step 3 of the CISSP study guide, we mentioned the importance of taking notes. Now in the 6th step of the CISSP study guide, you have your notes with you, so go through them. You might have written some summaries or bullet points for easy memorization. You might have drawn a mind map or other things for your future reference. Go through these and make the maximum benefit out of these.

You may even find it helpful to go through your notes more than once. Since, we have a tendency to overlook study material, thinking that we know it already, we often miss out on very important things. Moreover, going through the notes more than once will give you a better understanding of the concepts or the terminologies that you have written down in your notes.

CISSP Study Guide

Step #7 – Go and Get CISSP!

Once you have made your CISSP study guide and followed it well, you should now be confident enough to take the CISSP exam. If you have followed the 7 steps of the CISSP study guide properly, you are then good to go. Schedule your CISSP exam now and breathe a sigh of relief!


Like any certification, for CISSP too, there are no shortcuts to pass the exam. It is not enough just to go and attend a CISSP training. It is not enough to just study the CISSP books. And it is also not enough to just attempt a CISSP practice test. You should go through all of these. Not just this, if you think you need extra reading or extra learning, you will also need to refer to video tutorials, reference guides, and other useful material to pass the exam easily.

During CISSP exam preparation, since you will be dealing with 8 domains. The chance that you have mastered more than five of these is very small. Some domains might be challenging for you, and you may need to put much extra effort to get a good grasp on those. It is important that you do not stress and keep your momentum going. Take it easy with your preparation. If you follow your study plan, you will feel confident throughout your journey that you will reach your milestone.

To make your CISSP exam preparation easy, we created this 7-step CISSP study guide. If you follow this CISSP study guide, you will surely find that your efforts are going in the right direction and that you will succeed!