Tips For Passing the CCSP Exam


A few months ago I passed the Cloud Certified Security Professional (CCSP) exam from ISC2.org and afterword's a lot friends and colleagues were interested in my experience. The one questions that most people studying for the CCSP exam want to know is "How does this exam compare in difficulty to the CISSP?" If you're unfamiliar with the CISSP exam, it's considered the elite Cyber Security exam and the most globally recognized standard of achievement in the industry. It's a grueling 6 hours test that takes weeks of preparation.

What is CCSP?

The CCSP is a global credential that represents the highest standard for cloud security expertise. It was co-created by (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance — leading stewards for information security and cloud computing security. When you earn this cloud security certification, you prove you have deep knowledge and hands-on experience with cloud security architecture, design, operations and service orchestration.

To qualify for the CISSP certification, you must have:

  • A minimum of five years cumulative, paid, full-time work experience in information technology
  • Of which five years must be in information security and one year in two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

To qualify for the CCSP certification, you must have:

  • A minimum of five years cumulative, paid, full-time work experience in information technology
  • Of which three years must be in information security and one year in one or more of the six domains of the CCSP Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

How does the CCSP compare to the CISSP?

Ok, so this is the one question everyone wants to know and is somewhat subjective. I invested 2 months of focused studying to the CISSP exam and after answering the last question on the test, I thought I'd failed. It was difficult and there were a lot of questions that I felt had two answers. Surprising, and thankfully I passed the exam! So, what worked the first time to pass the CISSP exam must also work for the CCSP. For the CCSP exam I also dedicated 2 months of study the exam. Even though there are only 6 domains for the CCSP compared to 8 for the CISSP you need to take each domain seriously. Chances are if you fail a single domain you'll fail the exam.

Below is a comparison table between the CISSP and CCSP. Of course, the study time and difficulty rating is based on my own experience and will vary by individual.

Topic

CISSP

CCSP

Number of questions

250

200

Exam Hours

6

4

Domains

8

6

Exam Costs

$599

$549

Preparation\Study Time

300 hrs

300 hrs

Difficulty on 1-10 scale

9

5

How did I prepare for the CCSP?

In preparation for the CCSP exam I used the following resources to successfully pass the exam.

Official (ISC)2 CCSP Self-Paced Training

This is the official training material provided by (ISC)2 and available for sale on their website. There often special deals for this training and can be purchased for $295.

  • Official (ISC)² CCSP student workbook (electronic version)
  • Interactive flash cards.
  • Post-assessment practice questions to gauge exam readiness
  • 120 days of access to the recordings and course content from time of purchase

Opinion: I found the Official (ISC)² CCSP student workbook to be the best resource of material that aligns with the exam questions. The 120 days of access to recordings contained 40 hours of videos. However, I found the Official student workbook to be the best reading material and content that aligned with the test.

Official (ISC)2 CCSP Official Study Guide

This is the official study guide reviewed and endorsed by (ISC)2 and contains:

  • 334 pages of reading content
  • Exercises, and chapter review
  • Hundreds of flashcards
  • Two complete practice exams
  • PDF glossary

Opinion: I used the CCSP Official Study Guide as a second major resource in preparation. The content was much deeper than that of the Student Workbook and the exam questions at the end of each chapter were a resource to reinforce your learning. However, after taking the exam I personally felt the level of detail in this guide was much deeper than the questions asked on the exam.

Quizlet

Quizlet is a mobile & web-based study application with tons of CCSP flash cards publicly available. https://quizlet.com/

Opinion: I found Quizlet to be extremely valuable in learning definitions. The mobile app is very easy to use and has several methods for learning that I found to be fun and helpful. I created my own set of personalized practice questions, but there are quite a few publicly available flash sets readily available.

Final Thoughts

The CCSP exam is not as difficult as the CISSP exam but that doesn't mean you should take it lightly. Study, study, and then study some more. If you use the study material presented above, you have an excellent chance at passing the exam on your first attempt. Similar to the CISSP, the exam content is a "mile wide and an inch deep" so it's important that you study all the domains equally.

The official testing center for (ISC)2 is PearsonVue. https://home.pearsonvue.com/test-taker.aspx. I found when scheduling my exam that seats were extremely limited and the first available was 3 weeks out in my city. I've heard from others similar scheduling challenges. On this note, I recommend scheduling your exam well in advance. Not only will you be able to get the date and time that you want, but it will reinforce your commitment to your study plan.

Please let me know if you found this exam prep guide helpful and good luck on your way to becoming a CCSP.

Source - https://www.isc2.org/Certifications/CCSP

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