Exam Strategy

A well-known principle when taking fixed-length exams is to first read the entire exam from start to finish while answering only those questions you feel absolutely sure of. On subsequent passes, you can dive into more complex questions more deeply, knowing how many questions you have left.

Unlike most other exams, this exam is paper based. Each candidate is issued a test booklet and answer sheet before the exam begins. Exam candidates are allowed to write on the exam booklet. You should circle keywords such as not, maybe, could, and should. Draw an arrow to the right when the question states "from greatest to smallest." Draw an arrow to the left when the question mentions "smallest to greatest." These strategies can help you successfully master the exam.

As you read each question, if you answer only those you're sure of and mark for review those that you're not sure of, you can keep working through a decreasing list of questions as you answer the trickier ones in order.

There's at least one potential benefit to reading the exam completely before answering the trickier questions: Sometimes information supplied in later questions sheds more light on earlier questions. At other times, information you read in later questions might jog your memory about earlier questions. Either way, you'll come out ahead if you defer those questions about which you're not absolutely sure.

Here are some question-handling strategies that apply to fixed-length and short-form tests. Use these tips whenever you can:

  • When returning to a question after your initial read-through, read every word again; otherwise, you might get confused. Sometimes revisiting a question after turning your attention elsewhere lets you see something you missed, but the strong tendency is to see what you've seen before.
  • If you return to a question more than twice, try to articulate to yourself what you don't understand about the question, why answers don't appear to make sense, or what appears to be missing. If you chew on the subject a while, your subconscious might provide the details you lack or you might notice a "trick" that points to the right answer. If there is more than one good answer, usually the more general answer that encompasses the other one will take precedence and be the correct answer.
  • As you work your way through the exam, it's wise to budget your time. Don't forget to leave time to fill in the dots on the answer sheet. Ensure that you do not skip one question on the answer sheet, or all the following answers could be wrong.
  • If you're not finished when only 5 minutes remain, use that time to guess your way through any remaining questions. Remember, guessing is potentially more valuable than not answering because blank answers are always wrong, but a guess might turn out to be right. If you don't have a clue about any of the remaining questions, pick answers at random or choose all A's, B's, and so on. The important thing is to submit an exam for scoring that has an answer for every question.

When you have completed the exam, take a moment to go back through the questions to compare the answers you have entered on the answer sheet. Make sure you did not miss anything or transcribe something incorrectly.

The CISSP Cram Sheet

A Note from Series Editor Ed Tittel

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The CISSP Certification Exam

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CISSP Exam Cram 2
CISSP Exam Cram 2
ISBN: 078973446X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 204
Authors: Michael Gregg
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