By Dwayne Natwick, CISSP, CCSP, CGRC, CC, ISC2 Authorized Trainer
You want to take the Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) exam with the hopes of earning your first (ISC)² certification. So, what are the best ways to prepare for this exam? People prepare and learn differently. You may prefer a study guidebook, you may test your skills through on-demand courses and quizzes, or maybe you prefer preparation through a full instructor-led training course. Whatever your preference, this article will provide you with some of the tools and materials that you can use in your exam preparation.
Who should take the CC exam?
The Certified in Cybersecurity certification is a foundational exam from ISC2. This exam is great for someone that wants to get their start in cybersecurity. This certification becomes a starting point for becoming a member of (ISC)² and to a new career.
There are no pre-requisite requirements to earning the CC. As soon as you pass the exam, you can complete your application for certification, commit to abide by the ISC2 Code of Ethics, and will be awarded your certification once you have paid your first Annual Maintenance Fee (AMF) of U.S. $50. Obtaining the CC proves an entry-level knowledge of cybersecurity architecture, design and operations.
How do you prepare for the CC?
There are options that you can consider when preparing for the CC exam. Since ISC2 certification carries a considerable amount of respect within the industry, you want to do your best to ensure success. You should take your preparation seriously and utilize the resources that are available. While preparing for your exam, you can connect with others in the ISC2 Study Group on Community . ISC2 has provided some great tools that are fiscally responsible for you as the candidate. These are outlined below.
Skill-Builders are a new method for accelerating your skills. ISC2 has a path for entry-level cybersecurity Skill-Builders that includes:
- Cybersecurity Strategy
- Developing an API Security Strategy
- Preventing and Mitigating API Data Breaches
- Supply Change Risk Management (SCRM) through Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Anyone can purchase the Skill-Builder courses and ISC2 members can complete these courses at no charge. The Skill-Builder courses are new and are continuing to be added to the ISC2 training catalog.
The Skill-Builder courses provide a helpful start to your exam preparation and are a great path to begin and then move to the certificate path for cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity certificate program
ISC2 launched their professional certificate programs in early 2023. These courses provide CPE credits for completion and are an on-demand method for developing your cybersecurity knowledge and expertise.
Existing credential holders will receive CPE credit for completing these courses, and everyone that completes the courses and passes the final quiz with a 70% or higher will receive a Credly badge for each certificate.
The certificate courses provide information and documentation that can be reviewed for your CC preparation. Earning the various certificates help you prepare for the CC exam while also allowing you to earn credentials which support your knowledge and credibility.
ISC2 authorized instructor-led and on-demand training
You may be someone that prefers to hear an instructor’s perspective on the material with their real-world examples and experience. Interaction that is part of an instructor-led course is an invaluable way to prepare for an exam and to learn the application of the concepts. ISC2 has developed an in-depth course for the CC exam with exercises, flashcards and a helpful student guide. ISC2 Authorized Instructors deliver the material with a focus on what is needed to pass the exam, while also preparing you for the use of the framework and guides. The assessment questions at the end of each domain and the final assessment provide a simulated test scenario that prepares you for what to expect when taking the exam.
You may not have the time or ability to attend a live or virtual training. (ISC)² has an on-demand course that is delivered by ISC2 Authorized Instructors. This on-demand course is the same material that you would receive with a live course, but you can take it at your own pace. The same student guide, exercises, flashcards and assessments are included in the on-demand course.
Attending a training course of any kind with an Authorized Instructor will help you with your preparation and understanding for the exam. Do not get too focused on the practice assessments. Take them to test your knowledge and identify areas that you need to improve your level of understanding. Be cautious that taking a practice assessment multiple times may lead to you memorizing the responses rather than learning the concepts. The CC exam focuses on the following domains :
- Security Principles
- Incident Response, Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) Concepts
- Access Controls Concepts
- Network Security
- Security Operations
Taking the exam and what you do after you pass
In-person testing is required for all ISC2 exams, so you must go to a Pearson VUE testing facility for these exams. You should choose an exam location that is comfortable for you to travel to and leave early enough to find parking and get checked in. Follow the directions that are provided by the testing facility, take the exam and then find out your results.
Use these tips and you should be successful in your CC exam. Good luck! Once you pass the exam and become fully certified after the endorsement period, you can join your fellow certification holders in the CC Certification Group on the ISC2 Community .
Dwayne Natwick, CISSP, CCSP, CGRC, CC is an ISC2 Authorized Trainer, author and product manager with 30+ years of experience in the IT industry.