CCSP exam details and process [updated 2021]

December 27, 2021 by Lester Obbayi

The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification by (ISC)² is the certification of choice for candidates aspiring to be cloud security experts. It is one of the most sought-after cloud security certifications and sets you apart from the competition in the industry. In this article, we address specific questions that you as an aspiring CCSP candidate might have concerning the exam.

What is the goal of the CCSP exam?

The CCSP exam is designed to ensure that cloud security professionals have the required knowledge, skills and abilities in cloud security design, implementation, architecture, operations, controls and compliance with regulatory frameworks.

The credential complements and builds upon existing credentials, including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) by (ISC)² and CSA’s Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK). Even though having prior knowledge in these certifications will enhance your understanding of much of the content, it is not a requirement, although it is certainly an added advantage.

Once you have acquired the CCSP credential, you will be able to apply information security expertise to a cloud computing environment and demonstrate competence in cloud security architecture, design, operations and service orchestration.

CCSP exam schedule, duration and format

You should schedule your exam after the 120 days of video access that you will be granted on payment for the exam. The exam is intense and is designed to take you three hours to complete. It comprises 125 multiple-choice questions and is offered in English. In order to pass the exam, you will need to accumulate a minimum of seven hundred out of a thousand points.

Booking and taking the exam

To register for the exam, you need to create an account with Pearson VUE, which is a leading provider of global computer-based training for certification and licensure exams. You can find much more about the testing locations, policies and accommodations on the link they provide over here.

You need to choose the right study method in order to adequately prepare for the exam and thus be in a better position to pass. (ISC)² has designed its official preparation materials that can be used to study as discussed above. Different study methods will work differently for different people, so make sure you go with what you are comfortable with. And always remember, it’s all about determination and commitment. If you put in more hours in a day to study, you will get the right results.

The following steps should be followed in creating your Pearson VUE account:

  1. Create an account with Pearson VUE
  2. Select the (ISC)² certification exam you are pursuing (in your case, CCSP).
  3. Schedule your exam and testing location

What are the identification requirements for testing?

When coming in for the exam, (ISC)² requires that you bring multiple forms of proper identification. These will include a primary and secondary ID. You will also be required to take a palm-vein scan for better identification.

The following are things you should take note of concerning your ID:

  • Your IDs must be valid (not expired).
  • IDs must be original documents (not photocopies or faxes).
  • Your primary ID must include your photo and signature (The photo needs to be permanently affixed to the document)
  • Your secondary ID must include your signature

The documents that will qualify as your primary ID must contain your photograph and signature and must not have expired. They will include the following:

  • Government-issued driver’s license or identification card
  • U.S. Department of State driver’s license
  • U.S. learner’s permit (card only with photo and signature)
  • National/state/country Identification card
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Military ID for spouses and dependents
  • Alien registration card (green card; permanent resident visa)
  • Government-issued local language ID (plastic card with photo and signature)
  • Employee ID
  • School ID
  • Credit card

The documents that will qualify as your secondary ID must contain your signature and must not have expired. They include the following:

  • U.S. Social Security card
  • Debit/ATM card
  • Credit card
  • Any form of ID on the primary ID list

You should note that the instances where a credit card is mentioned means that it can only be used as long as it contains both your photo and a signature. Your credit card can be used as your secondary ID as long as your signature is on it and it isn’t expired. Major credit cards, department store and gasoline credit cards qualify.

Arrival time for the exam

Getting to the examination center early enough is important, as you will have extra time to familiarize yourself with the environment and get yourself into the exam mood. The CCSP exam requires that you arrive at the examination center at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam.

Policies on rescheduling, late arrivals and cancellations

In the event that you arrive 15 minutes after the exam has begun, you will be considered late. In this case, you may forfeit your assigned seat. It is, however, up to the test center to decide whether or not to allow you to take the exam without affecting others’ start times. Pearson VUE understands that sometimes unavoidable circumstances may lead to you getting late; they will thus make all possible attempts to accommodate you if you are late, but if all attempts fail you then will be turned away. Under those circumstances, your results will read within the system as a no-show. You will have to forfeit your exam fee.

In order for you to cancel or reschedule your exam, you need to contact Pearson VUE either online at least 48 hours prior to your exam or by phone at least 24 hours before your exam. There are charges that you will incur. Pearson VUE will charge $50 as a reschedule fee and a cancellation fee of $100.

Scheduling your exam: when to do it

Immediately after you make your payment, you will get 120 days of access to useful recordings and course content. These will amount to a total of 40 hours of study material that you should make use of before the 120 days are up. It can’t be overemphasized that you should make use of these materials, and only schedule your exam for after the full 120 days of review.

You failed the test. When can you retake the CCSP?

Pearson VUE will grant you a chance to retake your failed exam. You can sit the exam up to three times in a 12-month period. However, some candidates may still be unable to pass the exam even after retaking it. The following are the rules that concern retaking of exams:

  • If you don’t pass the exam the first time, you can retest after 90 days
  • If you don’t pass a second time, you can retest after an additional 90 days
  • If you don’t pass a third time, you can retest after 180 days from your most recent exam attempt

You should also note that every exam take is full price, regardless of whether it’s a retake or a first-time take.

What is the current cost of taking the CCSP exam?

The exam is currently priced at USD $599.

Exam scoring: what does it take to pass the CCSP exam?

In order to pass the exam, you need to accumulate a minimum of seven hundred out of a thousand points. This will require adequate preparation by making use of the available materials for study. These will include official textbooks, official study guides, the official study app and flashcards and official practice tests. (ISC)² provides official study tools that are a supplement to your courseware and can be accessed here.


After reading the article, we hope that most of the questions that you had concerning the CCSP exam have been addressed. It’s not possible to answer all possible questions in just one article, so we have picked the most common questions that aspiring candidates always often find themselves trying to find answers to. We encourage you to visit the community forum here, where more questions are addressed. Good luck with your exam!



Posted: December 27, 2021
Lester Obbayi
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Lester Obbayi is a Cyber Security Consultant with one of the largest Cyber Security Companies in East and Central Africa. He has a deep interest in Cyber Security and spends most of his free time doing freelance Penetration Tests and Vulnerability Assessments for numerous organizations.

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