Too Many Notes?

jt2929jt2929 Member Posts: 244 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi All, quick question. I'm currently reading the Conrad study guide in preparation for the CISSP exam in August, and i'm taking notes in a notebook while I read. The problem is that I feel like i'm constantly writing. I have 8 pages, front and back, of notes on the first domain alone. Is this too much? I took the McGraw-Hill quiz for the first domain when I was complete and scored in the mid 80s, so I guess I'm doing ok. Did everyone else take notes, and how much is too much? Thanks for the replies.


  • BGavnGBGavnG Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    IMO if you're getting TOO technical in your notes then yes it's overkill.

    Remember, as others have said ... this test is a mile wide and an inch deep.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,015 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I always take a ton of notes while studying (in general). It's very time-consuming and I'd def go thru my resources a lot faster if I didn't take as many notes. But I haven't found a better way to remember the material I'm studying.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • Spin LockSpin Lock Member Posts: 142
    I think this is very subjective - everyone learns differently, so you are likely to get a wide range of answers to this question. For example, I'm averaging 30 pages of notes per domain. Some folks might not bother taking notes at all.

    But rather than figure out what this group thinks is an optimal page count, I say go with what works best for you. I really think the process of creating the notes helps me more than actually reviewing the info. If you gave me someone else's notes, I don't think I'd get nearly as much out of them as I do creating my own, but that's just me.

    Finally - if you really want to test your retention, don't take the MH test right after you've completed the domain. The information is too fresh that way and that's not really emulating test conditions. For example, I'd complete my notes for Access Control, InfoSec Gov, and SAD. Then, I'd go back and take the Access Control MH exam. I found it a lot harder this way because you've got more info crammed in your head and the details about AC aren't so fresh. But this is what it's gonna be like on the test except you'll be juggling 10 domains.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I feel I take a ton of notes when studying any topic. I know it ends up adding ALOT of time to my studying. But I've tried just reading material and highlighting important topics but the information just doesn't stick nearly as well compared to me taking a ton of notes. Gotta do whatever works best.
  • dave0212dave0212 Member Posts: 287
    If it makes you feel any better I have just checked my typed notes from my CISSP studies (stored on Google docs) and there are 92 pages icon_eek.gif
    This week I have achieved unprecedented levels of unverifiable productivity

    Working on
    Learning Python and OSCP
  • beadsbeads Senior Member Member Posts: 1,523 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Taking notes in and of itself is a good thing. Question is are you simply copying notations down or are you spending significant time actually thinking about what your writing? Does the information jog a certain type of memory for you? If not your probably not getting much out of the exercise other than, well.. exercise.

    Stop and think about what your trying to communicate back to yourself. Think about what it is your writing about and why. Then come back in an hour and pass over the same notes and ask yourself how you feel about the information on the page. Does the information feel more familiar? Are you more comfortable with the material? More confident?

    If your writing just to write your not going to get much out of it. If you can learn to associate the learning with what is on the page - your learning something important.

    Break those sessions down to 20 minutes or less and start to review what you've already studied and reviewed. Short term memory is 20 minutes long. As a student of anything you want those memories to go long term.

    I do much the same.

    - b/eads
  • justjenjustjen Member Posts: 77 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I just added up all the pages of my typed notes, across the separate documents per domain. 75 pages total for the 10 domains, using two columns per page of 8 pt. font. (I study better with more on a page - less flipping.)

    So I'm another one that types up notes to learn. Thinking through how to recap the material on a page, in a way that makes sense to me, helps me retain it better - not that I don't still need to go back and do a couple refresh reviews before the exam.
  • jt2929jt2929 Member Posts: 244 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I've been reading a paragraph or two at a time, then writing the concept in my own words when I take notes. Definitions or quotes get written verbatim, but I try to put everything that I can into my own words. I'll try the suggestion about quizzing for a domain after some time has passed since domain completion. I study for about an hour at work and take notes, then review those notes at night when the kids go to bed. I'll also try beads' suggestion of 20 minutes study sessions instead of a solid hour.
  • fullcrowmoonfullcrowmoon Member Posts: 172
    FWIW, I'm another one who learns by re-writing the things I read and see. It helps me to manipulate the material being learned so that I can see it from a couple of different viewpoints, or the whole big picture, and that makes it easier for me to understand and remember what I've learned. I tended to study in 20 minute chunks as well, ala b/eads.
    "It's so stimulating being your hat!"
    "... but everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked."
  • beadsbeads Senior Member Member Posts: 1,523 ■■■■■■■■■□
    FWIW, I'm another one who learns by re-writing the things I read and see. It helps me to manipulate the material being learned so that I can see it from a couple of different viewpoints, or the whole big picture, and that makes it easier for me to understand and remember what I've learned. I tended to study in 20 minute chunks as well, ala b/eads.

    Don't get me wrong on the 20 minute thing. I can review and take tests for hours at a time, no problem. But actual genuine studying? I generally do in shorter chunks of 20 minutes or so. Quizzes, 10 questions or stop at two fails. I do this daily at work a couple of times a day. At least once in the evening but its a discipline. I suffer from the same foibles as anyone else in this industry. I can read all day long and still feel as though I am skimming the surface.

    Seventy-five pages over 10 domains sounds adequate. Again, there is no right or wrong answer but your answer that is the best answer. Its how you remember or learn from your notes. Still asking if it feels within reach or not can be helpful as well.

    Good luck and may the information be with you at exam time. Errr... some cool thing like that! Yeah! That's it!

    - b/eads
  • jt2929jt2929 Member Posts: 244 ■■■□□□□□□□
    If I've learned one thing on this site, it's don't listen to anything b/eads says ;)

    I've been trying the 20 minutes strategy the past couple of days, so we'll see how it works out come quiz time.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I didn' take much notes, I had the book and pdfs and was bookmarking chapters or pages I wanted to revisit. Worked on some problems for the networking domain just to better understand the math behind it but didn't take notes on it. Was just following cbt nuggets videos on that point.
Sign In or Register to comment.