CISSP Retake Policy (Know Before You Try)

The CISSP is a hard exam, so you’ll be forgiven if you don’t pass the first time.  Estimates put the failure rate at between 50% and 60%, so you’re in good company if you don’t manage a pass during your initial attempt.

If you have failed, then you’ll probably want to get back on the horse and resit the CISSP.  Before you do, you need to know the CISSP retake policy as it’s slightly convoluted.

You can sit the CISSP a maximum of 3 times over a 12-month period.  However, there are some additional restrictions in place that impact the frequency in which you can make those attempts.

  • If you fail the CISSP on your first attempt, you need to wait 30 days to attempt a reset. 
  • If you don’t pass on your second attempt, you need to wait 90 days from the date of your second attempt.
  • If you don’t pass on your third attempt, you’ll need to wait 180 days from the date of your third attempt. 
  • You cannot take the CISSP more than 3 times in 1 calendar year.  

Obviously, this will cost you a whole lot of money as well as time, so to save both, you need to make sure you’re maximizing your chances of exam success. 

How to Avoid CISSP Retakes

You of course want to pass as soon as possible, but even if you do fail, then you can improve your chances of passing the next time around by understanding why you might have failed the last time.

In this article here, I cover some of the most common reasons why somebody might fail the CISSP.  But by far the most common reason that I’ve come across is issues with how the exam words and phrases questions.

The best way to overcome this is by carrying out as many practice tests as possible and then researching and understanding why you got questions wrong.

You should be spending as much time as possible with practice tests, working out where your weaknesses are and how the CISSP exam questions are phrased.  It’s a mindset you need to get into to be successful. 

How Much Does The CISSP Retake Cost?

A CISSP retake costs exactly the same amount as scheduling the CISSP normally, there is no retake discount for the CISSP.

At the time of writing this article the price to pass the CISSP was $599.  All the other normal fees apply as well such as $50 to reschedule the exam or $100 to cancel it completely.

Do You Have To Retake The CISSP Every Three Years?

The CISSP is renewed every three years by submitting 120 CPE credits and by ensuring your account remains in good standing with ISC2.

This means paying your annual maintenance fees, ensuring you’ve met the ISC2 code of ethics requirements, and finally that you have evidence to prove that you’ve completed enough further learning to have 120 CPE credits. 

There is no requirement to retake the CISSP if you’ve already passed.  

Final Thoughts

Retaking the CISSP is an incredibly expensive and time-consuming process, so it’s better to pass as soon as you possibly can.

If you do fail, all is not lost, simply try and figure out where you went wrong and sit the exam again. 

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Hertfordshire and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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