A lot of the site members have been panicking at the introduction of CAT testing for the English version of the CISSP Exam.    There is no need to panic, just continue your studies as you were.    The CBK® has NOT changed and will not change until April 2018.    The style of questions on the exam is the same, it is a mix of multiple choices, hotspot, drag & drop, and Scenario-based questions.

As mention on the (ISC)² website at http://blog.isc2.org/isc2_blog/2017/12/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-isc²-cissp-cat-exam.html 

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.

2. 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.

3. 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!

4. 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.


Multiple site members and students of mine have taken the exam in the new format.   Many have reported getting only 100 questions on their exam before getting a passing mark.  There was a few who received up to 150 questions and they were notified they failed.

After looking at how hard people that have passed their exams worked on their studies, a clear pattern emerged.  The students who did their homework and studied in depth using the holistic approach passed their exam with only 100 questions.  One student took only one hour to complete his test and got a passing mark.  So this new style seems to favor people who have studied the CBK® in depth. 

The students who failed did only a few hundreds question on our quiz engine, did not study in depth, and severely underestimated the exam difficulty.

In short:  Do your homework, work hard on your preparation and you will get a passing mark.

Best regards


Site Owner and Founder


NOTE:  If you have taken the exam lately, take a minute to leave your feedback about your experience with this new format.