Philip Cao

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A First-Hand Experience with CISSP CAT

2 min read

Patrick Strijkers is a 43-year-old information risk security officer at a pension funds firm in the Netherlands. He works in the IT security department in security incident management. Patrick’s employer runs a job rotation program, allowing him to gain experience in a variety of roles, with his next position coming invulnerability management this September. He holds the following security certifications:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker v8
  • EC-Council Certified Security Analyst v8
  • EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator v8
  • Rapid7 Nexpose
  • Rapid7 Metasploit Pro

Patrick’s goal last year was to earn his CISSP certification. He attended a five-day boot camp course and studied for two and a half months before sitting for his exam on August 11 of 2017. At that time, the format of the CISSP exam was only available in the linear format


“After fighting through 250 questions over the course of 320 minutes – including two brief breaks to clear my mind – it was devastating to read the ‘Sorry, you failed’ exam notice,” said Patrick. He decided to take some time away from studying and waited to prepare for his next attempt until February of 2018. With his exam scheduled for April 20, Patrick began to dive back into the material, although at first he was not aware of the new CAT exam format.

“After finding out about the new format in the beginning of April, it got me a bit frightened of what to expect of it,” said Patrick. He was unsure of the number of questions he would be answering, as well as how the difficulty of the exam might be affected by the format change. “In the end, it didn’t stop me from taking the shot.”

The night before the exam, Patrick checked into a hotel near his testing site and recalls being nervous before this attempt, whereas his nerves were calm back in August. The biggest challenge he felt with the CAT format was not being able to mark questions to review, but Patrick found that his time management was excellent this time around, as he completed the exam (at 150 questions) with time to spare.

Upon finding out he had passed, Patrick said “The second I was notified I asked to please see the paper, as I couldn’t believe it. But yes, I did pass my CISSP exam.”

Congratulations to Patrick for reaching his goal of becoming a CISSP! Welcome to the (ISC)family!

[(ISC)² Blog]

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