This post was originally published here by  (ISC)² Management.

Starting December 18, 2017 all English CISSP exams will be administered in a Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) format. But what does this actually mean for those preparing for the exam? Let’s look at 4 things to expect when you sit for the CISSP CAT exam:


  1. The passing score is the same.

You still need to score 700 out of 1000 to pass the CISSP exam. The content is exactly the same as the “old” (linear-based) exam format. The questions come from the same bank, and the pass rate will be unchanged by this format update.

  1. You can still take breaks.

An exam like the CISSP can be mentally exhausting, regardless of format. We understand that you may need to step away from the computer, stretch your legs and clear your mind before returning to the questions. However, it is important to understand that any amount of time spent on breaks is part of the total testing time.

  1. The CISSP exam takes half the time.

You’ll need to manage your time wisely – just as before – as the time limit for the CAT format is three hours, as opposed to six with the linear exam. But don’t panic! Instead of 250 items, the CAT format is down to 150 – at the most. And if you really know your stuff, you could pass the exam in as little as 100 questions. . Hopefully, cutting down the exam length means you’ll be celebrating earlier!

  1. Take it one question at a time.

CISSP CAT is a more precise and efficient evaluation of your competency. Following your response to an item, the CAT scoring algorithm will re-estimate your ability based on the difficulty of all items presented to you and all the previous answers provided for those items. Because the CISSP CAT exam is a variable-length computerized adaptive examination and the difficulty of items presented to you is based on your previous responses, item review is not permitted. Once you finalize an answer, it may not be reviewed or changed.


So why did (ISC)² make the change from linear to CISSP CAT? The CAT format is a more precise way of measuring whether you will pass the exam. After each answer, an algorithm for scoring re-estimates your ability, based on the difficulty and accuracy of previous answers. Everyone’s path through the exam – from question 1 to 100 (or 150) – will be slightly different. We know how busy you are, and we hope this change puts you on the path to certification just a little bit quicker.



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