The Flatline Cohesion Principle

This week’s CCSP class pointed out that one of the multiple-choice answers in my book of practice tests included the term “flatline cohesion principle.” They asked me what it meant, and I had to admit that I had no clue…maybe it meant that I was drinking too much scotch when I wrote the book?

Turns out, it was a nonsense term I invented as a distractor from the correct answer to that specific question. So we discussed the idea, and decided we had to come up with a definition for the completely blank term.

The consensus was that it should mean: “When you write a book of practice tests that may or may not have complicated, misleading questions in it, then use your class to crowdsource how worthy the material is for study purposes.”

I do like this. But I am very open to alternative uses for the term. If someone comes up with something better, put it in the Comments section, and I’ll send you a free copy of the book. I will be the sole judge of what constitutes “better.”

In the meantime: everyone should follow the flatline cohesion principle.

And many, many thanks to this week’s CCSP class participants: y’all were awesome, and I think you’re all gonna to conquer the exam.

CCSP Test Feedback

From a recent student:

”I found it to be quite challenging, mostly because more than a few of the questions and / or answers were so tersely worded that it was very hard to determine what was being asked.  I also ran into some test questions on concepts that weren’t covered in the course material, or if they were,  it was in passing and didn’t really justify the attention it got on the exam.  However, I passed, so it’s all behind me now.  :^) “

New Year, New CISSP Exam

Just in time for 2018, the CISSP exam from ISC2 has converted from standard multiple-choice format to a Computerized Adaptive Testing model for exams delivered in English (foreign-language versions of the test currently remain in the traditional format). This means that instead of the grueling 6-hour, 250-question test, CISSP candidates now face only 100 to 150 questions, in a maximum of three hours.

Depending on your success with multiple-choice tests, and your personal technique, the new experience could be either a massive boon or a ridiculous hurdle to get the certification.

I got my CISSP back when the test was in the traditional format...and done with pencil and paper. I have no clue how I'd do on the current version.

I have, however, received feedback from the first of my students to take the new version of the test: they passed! Their exam was also only 100 questions long (meaning the student demonstrated sufficient command of the material so that the testing engine didn't have to throw more questions at the student), and it took the student an hour to complete. Perhaps most interesting, this particular student is not an IT practitioner, but is familiar with the industry in other roles. Main impression? The student repeated what I always try to stress to anyone taking one of the certification tests: READ. THE. FULL. QUESTION. Make sure you read it completely, and understand what's being asked, and that you read all of the possible responses.

The exam is still being administered by PearsonVUE, and you can download the outline from ISC2's website.

Have you taken the exam in the new format? Please add some feedback about your experience in the Comments!