The 2021 revised version of the CISSP (Certified Information System Security Practitioner), certification exam will be available on May 1, 2021. The new version of the popular CISSP exam, which will be released on May 1, 2021, will contain minor revisions and reorganizations of topics that were previously included, but will also include a significant number new topics.
The test is still adaptive, so preparing for the CISSP exam may prove more difficult than ever. To pass, you will need to be proficient in all eight domains.
This article identifies changes in topics, discusses complexity of adaptive testing format and offers preparation guidance to help with your CISSP exam success.
Domain weighting changes
Domains are groups of topics that (ISC)2 has organized based on their survey of cybersecurity industry (previously known as the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK), and their annual Cybersecurity Workforce Survey (a.k.a. Job Task Analysis (JTA).
There are eight domains in the CISSP exam. These domain names and numbers are unchanged between the 2018 exam version and the 2020 exam version. Only domain-level changes occur in the adjustment of the weighting for domain focused questions. Domain 4 is reduced by 1% and Domain 8 is increased one percent, as shown in this table.
2018 CISSP Exam2021 CISSP Exam1. Security and Risk Management 15%1. Security and Risk Management 15%2. Asset Security 10%2. Asset Security 10% Security Architecture and Engineering 13% Security Architecture and Engineering 13% Communication and Network Security 14% Communication and Network Security 13%5. Identity and Access Management (IAM), 13%5. Identity and Access Management (IAM), 13%6. Security Assessment and Testing 13%. Security Assessment and Testing 12%Security Operations 3%Security Operations 3%Software Development Security 10%Software Development Security 1%The Official Certification Exam Outline
The 2021 update of the CISSP exam includes many new topics and revisions to topics that were present on the previous version. The official Certification Exam Outline provides the main source of information on the latest CISSP exam. You can obtain your own copy of the Certification Exam Outline (which was previously known as the Candidate Information Bulletin or CIB) by visiting the CISSP section of the (ISC)2’s website (https://www.isc2.org/Certifications/CISSP) and scrolling down the page to the section titled “Your Pathway to Certification.”
Register and Prepare for the Exam.” This reveals not only the current list of domains but also offers a download link for the Certification Exam Outline in various languages. This page will display both the 2018 and 2021 versions of Exam Outline until May 1, 2021. Please make sure you choose carefully. (Note: Although the title of the PDF document is “Certification ExamOutline”, many references to this document on (ISC.2) use the name “CISSP ExamOutline”.
The Certification Exam Outline (sometimes referred to as an objective listing) is the presentation of the topics that (ISC.2) will be covering on the CISSP exam. It is divided into eight domains. Each domain is sub-divided into numbered Sub-Objectives or Sub-Domains. These are often broken down into many bullet point items.
These bullet items are provided by (ISC.2) as examples. Many items in the Exam Outline also include parenthetical lists that list related topics. As a topic of interest for an exam question, you can use any topic on the Exam Outline. The Exam Outline does not contain all the information. (ISC.2) reserves the right not to mention in the Exam Outline related topics or similar topics.
Master new topics
Many new features were added to the CISSP 2021 revision.