What Happens if you Fail CISSP?

Are you preparing for the CISSP certification exam? Well, industry-recognized certifications like the Certified Information Systems Security Professional or CISSP are actually difficult and require dedicated efforts towards achieving it. When you are trying your best to learn all the important concepts and prepare well, an unavoidable question always crops up in an individual’s mind –  What if I fail CISSP? Do I get another chance to appear for the CISSP exam? Well, the good news is Yes! You can retake the CISSP exam if you fail on your first attempt. However, there is a time cap after each failed attempt. We will get into more details, but first, know what CISSP certification is all about. 

CISSP Certification – What is it?

If you want to land a job that is high-paying, comes with promising career growth, whose demand will only increase in the future, and ensures higher job satisfaction, then the cybersecurity field is best suited for you. You may have some experience in the field of IT security, but what can open your doors to your dream job in this field? The answer is simple – CISSP certification, a credential offered by ISC2. 

In the IT sector, you must have heard about the importance hiring managers give to industry-recognized certifications. As there is huge competition for every job role in the IT industry, companies trust candidates with valuable certifications over others to find skilled people for their open positions. The same holds true in the field of cybersecurity. Considered an elite in this domain, the CISSP certification is all you need to climb the ladder of success. Professionals who take CISSP course, pass the exam and achieve the certification pave their way towards a rewarding career. 

It comes as no surprise that the CISSP certification ranked high in the list of Most In-Demand IT certifications of 2021, as per the 2021 Technology Salary Guide survey conducted by the global staffing firm Robert Half. The survey highlighted the fact that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees started working remotely, and the need for security experts increased drastically to help companies defend an extended security perimeter and comply with strict regulatory mandates.   

Additionally, the CISSP certification was named the most valuable security certification for 2021 by the Information Security Careers Network (ISCN) when it surveyed over 60,000 cybersecurity professionals on the professional networking site LinkedIn. Now that the demand for skilled professionals who can identify and remediate security holes has increased, it makes sense to opt for the CISSP certification.  

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Being a CISSP certification holder means that you have the expertise to design, implement, manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program effectively. It was the first credential in the field of IT security to meet the stringent requirements of ANSI/ISO/IEC Standard 17024. 

Here are the eight domains on which you will be tested in the CISSP exam:

  • Domain 1. Security and Risk Management
  • Domain 2. Asset Security
  • Domain 3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  • Domain 4. Communication and Network Security
  • Domain 5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Domain 6. Security Assessment and Testing
  • Domain 7. Security Operations
  • Domain 8. Software Development Security

As per the updates provided by ISC2, the CISSP exam will be based on a new exam outline. The CISSP exam uses Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) for all English exams. The exam duration is 3 hours, and the number of questions asked ranges between 100 to 150. You can expect multiple choice and advanced innovative type questions in the exam. The passing score is 700 out of 1000 points. 

What if you fail CISSP (retake policy)?

The ISC2 website mentions that a candidate can sit for the CISSP exam up to 4 times within a 12-month period. Here is what one needs to keep in mind:

  • If you fail the exam on your first attempt, you can retake it after 30 test-free days.
  • If you fail in the second attempt as well, you can retake the exam after an additional 60 test-free days. 
  • If you fail even in the third attempt, you can take the test again after 90 test-free days from the most recent exam attempt. 

Regarding the pricing, you should note that you need to register again and pay the full exam fee whenever you take the exam again. 

Why do people fail the CISSP exam?

Here are some of the reasons we found why people failed the CISSP exam through certain communities and forums:

  • Some participants only focused on the technical aspects of the exam and performed poorly on the management side of security processes. 
  • Some focused on the theoretical concepts but didn’t learn how to apply them in real-world scenarios.
  • Some faced difficulty in solving scenario-based questions.
  • Some only approached a problem as a manager with logical thought but didn’t know when to apply what from a non-technical perspective.
  • Some didn’t pay equal dedication to all the domains covered in the exam. It is necessary that one scores above 80% in all the domains when attempting the practice tests. 

To conclude, you should not get disheartened in case you fail the CISSP exam in your initial attempt. Though the actual numbers are not revealed, you will find in some forums that the pass rate of CISSP is around 20%. So, you should definitely try for the second time as it is worth the career benefits you will get to reap later. You can also take online CISSP courses to learn from industry experts and strengthen your preparation.