Passed CISSP today - Overwhelmed with joy

papadocpapadoc Posts: 154Member
All:

I will add more details tomorrow as I'm extremely tired.

I used the Eric Conrad (both books)
I did not read more than 1-2 chapters in the AIO nor did I do comprehensive questions from ther
I watched about 90% of the CBT Nugget videos
I used Transcender heavily and I'll expain more tomorrow



I promise I will take the time tonight to type a full review.

In short, I got to the Pearson Center at 8 am, started at 8:10, finished the exam in 2 hours 15 minutes, then spent another hour reviewing each and every answer. I have a lot of opinions on the exam that I will offer up tonight. Much easier than I expected, when they say concepts, they really mean concepts.

I am so freaking happy I got it done before any potential changes etc. to the material.

Quite a few people here helped me on this journey and I will thank them in their post tonight.

Off to a kids birthday party with my two toddlers now. Stuff I wasn't able to do for 7 months. I feel like I'm re-united with my family. The studying takes a lot out of you.
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Comments

  • seigexseigex Posts: 105Member
    Congrats on the pass!
  • philz1982philz1982 Posts: 978Member
    papadoc wrote: »
    I promise I will take the time tonight to type a full review.

    In short, I got to the Pearson Center at 8 am, started at 8:10, finished the exam in 2 hours 15 minutes, then spent another hour reviewing each and every answer. I have a lot of opinions on the exam that I will offer up tonight. Much easier than I expected, when they say concepts, they really mean concepts.

    I am so freaking happy I got it done before any potential changes etc. to the material.

    Quite a few people here helped me on this journey and I will thank them in their post tonight.

    Off to a kids birthday party with my two toddlers now. Stuff I wasn't able to do for 7 months. I feel like I'm re-united with my family. The studying takes a lot out of you.

    What'd I'd say... told you it was easy icon_razz.gif

    Gratz
  • papadocpapadoc Posts: 154Member
    philz1982 wrote: »
    What'd I'd say... told you it was easy icon_razz.gif

    Gratz

    There's a lot of hype. Seriously. The work experience counts for a lot. BCP took the lead in the exam in terms of material coverage.

    I understand there are some people that may need to prepare more because either they lack the XP or are relatively new to security. Wanted to thank you. Appreciate it.
  • jonwinterburnjonwinterburn Senior Member Posts: 161Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    Well done! The hard work always pays off :)
  • RobicusRobicus CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT Posts: 140Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wow-- I'm so happy for you. What a great feeling. Congratulations~!

    Can't wait for the full review. :)
    What's Next? Sans Cyber Security Master's Degree (MSISE) [Currently Enrolled]
    ... Progress { | | | | | | | | | . } // 95%

    CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT
  • dustervoicedustervoice ■■■■□□□□□□ Posts: 877Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    well done.. congrats!!
  • mjsinhsvmjsinhsv Posts: 167Member
    Congrats papadoc.
    Sounds like you were over prepared.
  • zme783zme783 ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations on making it through.

    I am appearing for exam on April 10th.

    Any suggestion and help is highly welcome.
  • ChuzpahChuzpah ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 68Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats!

    I hope to have a similar experience with the exam on the 14th. I have been studying for a long time as well.
  • tahjzhuantahjzhuan ■■■■□□□□□□ Posts: 274Member ■■■■□□□□□□
  • Spin LockSpin Lock Posts: 142Member
    I checked the TE CISSP forum this morning and thought to myself, I wonder how Papadoc did? Then I saw this post and let out a big "Woo Hoo!"

    Great job Papadoc, we were all pulling for you. Glad you went in there and owned that test. But lest anyone get the wrong impression, the reason you owned it was due to the lengthy and methodical preparation. You put the time in and it paid off.

    Go enjoy your kids, eat a lot of cake at that birthday party and enjoy the pass!
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,829Mod Mod
  • ccnpninjaccnpninja Senior Member EuropePosts: 1,008Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well done!
    من طلب عزائم الأمور ، هان عليه بذل النفس فيها - محمد إبن ابي عامر
    www.keyboardbanger.com
  • GForce75GForce75 Posts: 222Member
    Congrats brother! I knew you were hitting it hard. The biggest thing I say to pass the exam is having that positive attitude until the end!
    Doctoral Candidate - BA (33/60hrs) ~ MBA/Project Management ~ BA/Business-IT
  • wyntechwyntech ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 13Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats! Now you have to figure out what to do with all of your free time :)
  • E Double UE Double U ■■■■■■■■□□ Posts: 1,552Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I passed yesterday too. Congratulations to us both :D
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, etc

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • mjsinhsvmjsinhsv Posts: 167Member
    Congrats to you too EW.
    Was the test as tough as you thought it would be?
  • mdragonmdragon ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 8Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats on passing papadoc!!

    I have been studying for months and my exam is scheduled for April 7. I have been focusing my studies in these past couple of weeks by using the transcender questions, 11th hour by Eric Conrad and the updated 300 question practice exam book by harris (not the online version, the actual book). I also read the entire Harris book.

    Were the transcender questions helpful? Was the 11th hour book helpful? Any tips are much appreciated? I've been averaging 93 percent on my transcender practice exams.
  • E Double UE Double U ■■■■■■■■□□ Posts: 1,552Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    mjsinhsv wrote: »
    Congrats to you too EW.
    Was the test as tough as you thought it would be?

    I wouldn't say tough, but I wasn't as certain about passing as I was when I took Cisco exams. There was no choose the best answer on the CCNP Security exams - it was choose the one and only right answer lol. That was easier for me after years of hands on experience with Cisco equipment. That technical approach didn't work on my 1st two CISSP attempts which is probably why I didn't pass. This time around I actually chose the least technical option when I had to guess and an option that said business lol.
    Alphabet soup: CISSP, CCSP, CISM, CISA, GPEN, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, CEH, etc

    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • papadocpapadoc Posts: 154Member
    All, here is my promised write up of the exam and studying guide I did.

    What is your background: ~15 years in the InfoSec space. Currently a CISO for a major telecomms firm. I operate at the executive management level and report to the board. Previously was a CISO for a hedge fund with approx

    Why did you get certified?: I did not need the CISSP to advance in my career at the immediate time or make more money (as in get a raise if I got the cert). I did it since we are a service provider and are starting to get a lot more clients audits, I’ve seen questions start arising regarding the security certifications of your InfoSec management and technical teams. I did to be at parity with the expectation from clients. I also never believe further education and certification is ever a bad thing. A lot of the management I’ve been hiring have the CISSP, so it was good that I was at parity with them as well. Another reason is that I’ve been seeing the hiring industry with sources and recruiters always looking for those, so when I am ready to move to another position, I did not want that to be an impediment in anyway for future opportunities.

    How long did you study for?: I started studying last year end of August/early Sept, total of about 6-7 months. I did not get serious until January of this year and started committing daily and weekend schedules. I would say that I would study about 20-30 minutes on my daily train ride each way, so almost an hour a day on the train, then another 2-3 hours at night and during weekends about 8 hours total. I tend to get distracted easily and after reading, I either get sleepy or bored and start to context switch. I started playing an iPhone game during my studies. Weird, but it worked, it gave my brain a break and then I would hit the material again.

    What study materials did you use? Both Conrad books, the CBT Nugget videos (only watched 90% of them). I started a few chapters in the CISSP for Dummies books and dropped it. I’ve had the AIO Fourth Edition for years and barely cracked it open. I bought the 6th Edition of the AIO last year August when I started studying and used it to review the concepts at the end of each chapter (there is a 3-4 pager) on that, and attempted only two chapters of that.

    What testing materials did you use? I hit Transcender hard. I did buy Studiscope and used it get a good SWOT of where I was, that was a helpful chart, but I did not find that Studiscope was very enthralling. I also dabbled with Total Tester as well. I scored between 73% - 80% with Transcender. I found Transcender to be the most helpful. A lot of people guide you to stay, don’t worry about practice exams that much and stick to the reading.

    I disagree with that. The reading is important, but if you cannot conceptualize it into a test question, then you can read 3,000 pages across 3-4 books and not make use of the material.

    I really credit Transcender with helping me pass and get prepared. It acts as a “biofeedback” mechanism for me. I get a question wrong and upon reviewing the wrong answer at the end of the exam, you get a very descriptive explanation of the answers along with the REFERENCE page in AIO or what internet article they used. Copy/paste that to a text document (I use Google Docs so I could access it from any device/anywhere) and that becomes a REFACTORED study guide for you to use.

    Why keep reading multiple books on the same areas that you are strong in, rather than focus in on the areas that you are weak in? Stick to 2-3 study guides and test yourself.

    In the end, I think I covered over 1,500 Transcender questions. I had to stop because I don’t think their question bank is that huge and I was skewing the results by “remembering” answers to questions. When I got those, I really made I knew what the concept was.

    If any of you have seen the TV series, “Gold Rush,” where Tony Beets tells Parker to “DRILL, DRILL, DRILL and then DRILL some more before digging for gold, if you don’t DRILL you will never know what’s under there!”

    If you don’t aggressively test yourself, you will never know what is in your “brain.” Flashcards are great, but I never used any of those, I wanted test questions. You may be different, that is what worked for me.

    Why did you take so many Transcender practice exams? For the reasons described above along with the fact that it builds MENTAL stamina. If you can take a 250 question stack in the morning after waking up, finish it in 3 hours, have lunch and take another 250 question round in the afternoon and can stick to it, then you will have no worries about the exam. I deliberately took a few exams at 9 pm, after being tired from a long day at work to impose a stress on me that could possibly be felt during the exam.

    At a certain point, I was doing about 100-115 questions per hour. I knew that would not be reflected on the real world test, but it was interesting to see where the metric was.

    The Transcender test questions were more difficult than the actual exam. Transcender also gives you up to 8 answers, some of which are combination of multiple choices.

    What supplements/study aids did you use? I regularly stack nootropics with caffeine for cognitive enhancement (smart drug) and ability to operate faster at work. If you don’t know what this is, just Google it, I don’t want to turn this into a cognitive supplement discussion and go OT. I’m not recommending you run out and try this unless you do your research first.

    What did you do the week before the test? Heavy review of all the compiled study guides, Sunflower, Trottet etc. Anything that didn’t look familiar or I couldn’t remember, I went back to AIO/Conrad just to read a few pages on that area.

    What did you do the night before the test? I took one last Transcender in the evening. Any questions that I missed, I printed out and reviewed them. I did not CRAM. I was not nervous, I was relaxed as it was a confidence booster for me to be able to see where I was still weak as I could cover those the morning before the test so the weakest areas would remain the freshest for me. I went to bed at 11:00 pm.

    What did you do on test day? Woke up at 5:00 am, had about six hours of sleep. That helped a lot. I was very refreshed and ready to go. I got my Dunkin Donuts breakfast and a medium iced tea which was about 190mg of caffeine (not a lot), but enough to give a “push” and erase the morning brain fog along with staying alert for the next few hours.

    My test was at 8 am. I got to the parking lot at 6:49 am. I used multiple review guides in the car. I also used them in the test center, you can review anything you’d like before you actually enter the testing area.

    What was your experience of the test? I did not freak out, get nervous or anything. I went in with a POSITIVE mindset. I was NOT worried about failing because I mentally told myself, “No matter what happens, this is an experience and life is what we take from our experiences, it can only make me stronger. If I have to take this again, I could consider the $600 as the opportunity to preview the real world exam.” The mental state you approach the test with is a HUGE factor in your success. So many test takers undervalue this.

    I found the exam much EASIER than I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, there are some questions that I know I got wrong.

    It really is a CONCEPT based test. I highly doubt you would get a question with a chart showing numbers and a list of encryption algorithms, asking you to pick how many rounds this specific symmetric one has etc. Instead you may get a question about how to encrypt files and what the most appropriate encryption tech would be the best, versus a list.

    What advice can you give me? I can’t design a study program for you, everyone is different in their skill level. However, in the commercial sector doing InfoSec for a while, I had never come across any of the security models, Bell La-Padula, Biba etc. That was a whole new world to me. I understood the *concept* but didn’t know the terminology.

    Rote memorization will help you only in certain parts of this exam. You will get questions scattered on straight up technical knowledge such as “What access model would best suit this scenario X?”

    BCP is big in this exam. I saw more BCP than other areas. It could have been the specific form I received but I feel I would have seen it even on other forms. You will want to know the BCP concepts down straight. The same goes with incident response. I have a feeling that ISC2 might have might slight sequencing modifications due to the amount of business impactful events/breaches we’ve been seeing lately.

    Also, in keeping with the NDA, I can’t say which question it is, but there were two Transcender questions that showed up on the exam, 99% word for word even with the same names of the people, with a very slight twist. I was blown away and shocked at that.

    That’s all for now. I want to thank GForce75, SpinLock, mjsinhsv and philz1982 and anyone else I forgot!
  • ChuzpahChuzpah ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 68Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Wow! Thanks Papadoc for a great write up.
  • mdragonmdragon ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 8Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    That was really a good write up Papadoc. Thank you so much for providing all of the details! It helps me a lot in my last week of prep for the exam. Congratulations again and I hope you have a great week!!!!
  • ArchonArchon ■■■□□□□□□□ Posts: 180Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats.

    Thanks for the well written summary.
  • harrym1harrym1 ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 27Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations.

    Summary is excellent. You have not only passed the exam, your summary is definitely going to help others.
    THANK YOU.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Posts: 2,799Mod Mod
    Congrats on the pass!
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • successrealmsuccessrealm ■■□□□□□□□□ Posts: 104Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats! This fires me up, papadoc! icon_study.gif
  • chickenlicken09chickenlicken09 Senior Member Posts: 509Member ■■■□□□□□□□
  • GForce75GForce75 Posts: 222Member
    Again Brother! I am happy you passed and great right up! What's next on the docket?
    Doctoral Candidate - BA (33/60hrs) ~ MBA/Project Management ~ BA/Business-IT
  • BGavnGBGavnG ■□□□□□□□□□ Posts: 13Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    congrats.

    I sit on the 9th.
  • RobicusRobicus CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT Posts: 140Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congratulations, papadoc! It sounds like you smoked that test. All your hard work paid off and we all appreciate the thoughtful, thorough, and triumphant review.

    Cheers,
    What's Next? Sans Cyber Security Master's Degree (MSISE) [Currently Enrolled]
    ... Progress { | | | | | | | | | . } // 95%

    CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT
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