When you arrive at the location of the exam, you need to sign in. You will be asked to show your exam confirmation and photo identification. You cannot take the exam without a photo ID and your exam confirmation number. After you've signed in, find a seat, get comfortable, and wait for the exam to begin.
The exam is completely closed book. In fact, you will not be permitted to take any study materials into the testing area; you will be given scratch paper to use that must be returned at the completion of the exam. The exam room usually contains a number of tables where the candidates will sit. Because the test has a 6-hour time limit, ISC2 tries to make the candidates as comfortable as possible and allows you to bring bottled water and a snack. ISC2 allows you to make comments regarding the training environment at the completion of the exam.
During the 6-hour time limit, you will need to complete 250 questions. This provides plenty of time to complete the exam and even provides some time to go back and review your answers. The exam moderator will also keep you informed of how much time you have left to complete the exam.
All questions on the exam are multiple choice, and the exam contains 250 questions. Twenty-five of the questions are for research purposes, so only 225 questions are actually scored for certification. Counting the number of good questions you have answered isn't an indicator of success because of the research questions and because the questions are weighted. Because you are not penalized for wrong questions, you should attempt all the questions, even if you need to guess the answer. The exam questions are developed by an ISC2 committee and are always being updated and changed.
In the next section, you learn more about how CISSP test questions look and how they must be answered.