Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What to expect in SSCP exam?

It’s the D-Day and you are ready for the exam. Days of hard work will now be put to test. You have prepared hard and are ready to take the exam. So what to expect in SSCP exam? Read on to find out.

Quick Pointers:

  • Check you have kept 2 identification cards.
  • The ID cards must have a signature on them. One of them must be an address proof.
  • You have the booking confirmation from Pearson Vue.
  • Reach the center 30-40 minutes in advance.
  • Attempt all questions. The wrong answers don’t count against you.

Know Your Enemy

SSCP is a 3-hour long exam offered by (ISC)2. It has 125 questions which are based on 7 domains. 

Following are the domains along with their weight:

1. Access Controls (16%)
2. Security Operations and Administration (17%)
3. Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis (12%)
4. Incident Response and Recovery (13%)
5. Cryptography (9%)
6. Network and Communications Security (16%)
7. Systems and Application Security (17%)

Many people are experts only in 1 or 2 domains. It is important to understand that (ISC)2 wants you to have an understanding of all these aspects in this exam. If you are feeling this is too much, you would like to read Quick Tips for the SSCP exam.

Although SSCP is not like the CISSP exam, yet it is a difficult exam. The exam material and blogs out there are very less in comparison to the extensive coverage done on CISSP. Having given the exam myself and passed in the first attempt, I will share with you the challenges and strategy for the exam.

3 Hour long exam – You have 125 questions to attempt. Mathematically speaking, you have precisely 1.44 minutes for each question. This gets reduced to 88 seconds per question if you decide to take a break of 10 minutes each, two times in the exam. You need to do time management accordingly.

Mock Tests – There is not even an iota of similarity to the level of questions which you attempt in mock tests in comparison to the real test. Do not just depend on those mock or sample test papers. They are only a good preparation tool.

Experience – I had just 1.5 years of experience before appearing for this exam. Even if you do have enough experience for this exam, not to worry. If your concepts are clear, you will be able to clear the exam.

Let the Games Begin

You are sitting in front of the screen, where you are being asked to sign the NDA. Remember, you need to sign the NDA within 5 minutes. 

Quick Pointers:
  • ISC2 has a huge bank of questions so the questions asked in your exam will be totally different from my exam.
  • As soon as you accept the NDA, your exam will begin.
  • There is a timer which shows 180 minutes. There is an option to flag the question. 
  • Questions will be from all the domains. Do not fall prey to mock tests which may focus only on some of the domains.
  • The questions will NOT be difficult. They will only be tricky. You need to choose the best option from the choices given. Even though you may find that all the options are correct or wrong, but the best one needs to be chosen.
  • Do NOT answer the questions basis the best practices in your organization. 
It’s a personal choice as to how you want to attempt this exam. I am sharing my exam strategy with you. The point I wish to make here is you should aim for attempting all the questions and flag and review it.

Answer & Flag – Glance through every question as soon as possible and if you know it, answer it. If you have a doubt, flag it. Try to answer all the questions or just glancing it in around 100 minutes. Time is very important.

Review Flagged – You have finished viewing all the questions. Now it’s time to review all the flagged ones. Take your time and read it again and again. Try to understand the question and more importantly the choices presented to you. 
I found this activity extremely helpful as it helped me answer a lot of questions.

Review ALL – I know you are tired. But it’s time for that final blow. If you have time, review all of them. If you have a doubt even at the last moment, not to worry. Read it again and try to understand what made you think about this alternate choice.

Checking, double checking and triple checking your answers will help you to squeeze every mark you can out of the exam, and it could be one question that makes all the difference between a pass and a fail!

If you are still preparing for this exam, read “How to pass the SSCP exam in First Attempt”.

Remember, it’s a difficult exam no matter whatever people say and hence staying focused and calm will be the key to slaying this beast and come out victorious.

Would love to hear your experiences in the comment(s) section below. Sharing is Caring :)

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