CISSP resources: Books, practice exams and other study tools [updated 2022]
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional, or CISSP, is a certification intended for cybersecurity professionals who want to go above and beyond the basics of cybersecurity and other foundational cybersecurity skills. This certification verifies that the certification holder can design, implement and manage an effective, best-in-class cybersecurity program for an organization. To earn this certification, you will have to pass a challenging CISSP exam.
A good study resource can make all the difference when preparing for an exam, and the CISSP certification exam is no different. We will go through the study resources you want when preparing for the CISSP and will explore the different books, practice exam materials and online study materials that you should consider adding to your exam preparation roster.
When you’re done reading this, check out our CISSP certification hub for even more resources.
The CISSP books
The following sections explore the books you may want to use to study for the CISSP certification exam.
“(ISC)² CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional Official Study Guide, Ninth Edition” by Mike Chapple
This study guide is listed as “official” for a good reason — it may be the best of the bunch. A best-selling study guide, this book covers all of the material and comes packed with useful study aids to help rocket your score to the passing range. It offers key topics essential for the exam and chapter review questions to round out the knowledge learned in each chapter. This study guide glows when it comes to online interactive content, providing the following:
- Six unique practice exams amounting to 900 practice questions
- 700-plus electronic flashcards
- A searchable glossary (PDF)
You can find more information about the study guide here.
“CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Eighth Edition” by Shon Harris
As the name suggests, this book offers good overall coverage of everything you will need to master the CISSP certification exam. The one downside to this book is that since the 2021 exam is still unreleased, so is the 2021 version of this book. However, most of the material between the exams is identical, which should be kept in mind moving forward.
Its presentation is thoughtful — with learning objectives and exam tips offered for every chapter as well as 1400-plus practice questions and flashcards. This book offers an invaluable source of on-the-job reference. More information about the “CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide” can be found here.
“The Official (ISC)² Guide to the CISSP CBK Reference, Fifth Edition” by John Warsinke
Touted as the authoritative common body of knowledge (CBK) reference for the CISSP, this book is the official reference for the hosting organization of the CISSP, which means it should be given more than a passing glance. This book covers each of the eight domains in-depth, including all approximately 300 objectives and sub-objectives. Since this book is a reference book, you may not need it as much as the books above, but it will certainly be a useful addition to your library and an even better on-the-job source of information when you need it. Buy it here.
Practice exam materials
“(ISC)² CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional Official Practice Tests, Third Edition”
Fully updated for the 2021 edition of the CISSP, this is the (ISC)² gold standard for CISSP practice tests:
- Practice with 1,300 unique questions
- Test your knowledge with 100 questions per domain
- Four unique, 125-question practice tests
- Additional material available via Sybex’s test environment (online)
You can find this resource here.
A number of online CISSP training courses also include practice exam questions to round out the on-demand training and help prepare you for the real exam.
CISSP online study materials
Books and practice exams aren’t the only option you have for study resources — the internet houses some solid study materials you may want to consider if you shy away from books or simply need more study material.
Live CISSP certification boot camps
A number of organizations offer live CISSP training, but the Infosec CISSP Certification Boot Camp (available live online and in-person) is possibly the best resource available for preparing for your CISSP. This boot camp provides everything you need to train for your exam and get certified, including:
- Exam voucher with an Exam Pass Guarantee (if you don’t pass your exam on the first attempt, get a second attempt for free)
- Live instruction with a cybersecurity expert
- 1-year unlimited access to all training materials (recordings of live lessons, CISSP practice exams, CISSP support materials, etc.)
- 100s of supplemental courses and labs, including ISSAP, ISSEP and ISSMP training
CISSP on-demand training
You can also train for your CISSP via on-demand, self-paced training. This is more affordable than live instruction and is a great option for those with busy schedules. However, the lack of rigid guidelines can make it more difficult for some to stick to the training plan.
Again, a number of organizations offer this type of training, including Infosec, which has an in-depth CISSP Learning Path in its highly-rated Infosec Skills platform. The training includes a series of on-demand courses to prepare you for the exam as well as more than 1,500 CISSP practice exam questions.
(ISC)² also offers an online study course featuring on-demand videos and activities drawn from scenarios in the real world.
Study up and earn your CISSP certification
One of the largest obstacles to earning the CISSP certification is the certification exam, which can be daunting without the appropriate study resources. The new edition of the CISSP exam was released in May 2021, and those looking to get a leg up on the new exam material already have arguably enough resources available to them to realistically earn a passing score.
The early bird gets the worm, as they say; so get studying and earn this certification to progress your career.
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