Passed! 12/12/2015. Some tips

aaronandshagaaronandshag Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi, First time poster here. I've lurked on this forum for a while and wanted to write up my method. I also used this forum for passing the Security+ exam but did not write about it, as it isn't quite as extreme or broad.

As a precursor, I have around 2 years of dedicated Security Ops experience, and other computer/tech experience for about 5 years. College graduate with a bachelors in IT.

Here is some information on what I have done to study to pass this exam without a bootcamp etc. Here are some resources.

· Set a date, If you don’t set a date there’s no goal. ($600 for the exam) Set it like 4-5 months out. Realizing you’ll lose all the money you put into it and fail is an overwhelming incentive to study hard.
· I don’t have a family or children to obligate to, so that gave me a LOT more study time.
· I didn’t play video games or computer games hardly at all, this was now my life until it was over.

· Shon Harris All in One study guide: ($60) This one is the boxed set with separate questions. Take notes on stuff that you would have a hard time remembering for review later. I Read the whole thing cover to cover (but it’s not necessary). Notice there are even newer books with newer questions as well on Amazon. I did all the review tests/questions/answers in both books. I also did many of the practice questions with the included CD.
· (Free! I donated $20) ~16 Hours of video. Kelly Handerhan is amazing. What she talks about what to focus on and what NOT to focus on is SPOT ON. Take notes! Review them. Cybrary’s App is great for Tablets with Autoplay to the next video.
· Sunflower PDF: Great resource on reviewing the basics.
· 11th Hour CISSP: (~$9.00/Mo for Kindle app rental/ Great book to rent a month before the exam to read on your tablet and take notes.
· CCCure Practice Tests: (1 Month, $50) These help you get you into the mindset of test taking. I did over 1800+ Questions. Be sure to pick only ones you have not been tested on every time and take notes and review them. The important thing is always to spend the time to read the questions CAREFULLY, rule out two, and pick the best of the residual other answers. This is the mindset that really helped. I sent out an e-mail regarding credentials for this that expire this month. Note: Many questions plain ol’ don't make sense and are misspelled and are sometimes super weird. Just deal with it, it’s more to help to train your brain haha!

· These forums you are viewing RIGHT NOW are great because you see what people have said about what they did to pass, and what they did not do. This is also a good post detailing what the questions are like. Be sure to look at the latest techniques for more help as you get closer to the exam date.

During the last week, I pretty much locked myself up in my room, re-read my notes, re-read the Sunflower PDF and the 11th hour study guide. As Kelly says, the exam is pretty much looking at things from a managerial perspective, high level, not overwhelmingly technical in all facets but just enough. As Kelly Handerhan says, the top 3 to focus on are 1: Application development (Security Architecture and Design), 2. Business Continuity, 3. Telecommunications and networking. I did not memorize all of the different Orange Book/ISO/IEC document types, I did not all memorize the super exact technical details of encryption types. What I did do is learn and understand the PROCESS/CONCEPTS of the domains well. That’s what’s important. I actually read all of my notes out loud and slowly repeated to myself bits and pieces of the process of things. If you have a particular method of learning, use it. Figure out how you learn best and remember stuff and use that methodology.

For the exam itself, I went to the building the day before, found the room, and drove back just to know where it was. I reviewed the 3 big domains again in the Sunflower PDF/11th hour CISSP. I came back the next day, had a light breakfast (not heavy, or else you’ll be tired), had already taken an Advil right before I walked in, to prevent a headache. They gave me earplugs, which was priceless for the sneezing/sick people doing their GED tests for school. When I encountered difficult questions I marked them for review while I still had focus. When I was tired/unable to understand the question(s) I would lay my head down for about 45 seconds, close my eyes, and take a short break. I did not get up for any breaks for 5 ½ hours, and went through the entire thing in one shot. I'm crazy but most people will probably need breaks. Practicing the methodology of doing tests on CCCure tests or other testing sites/methods is vital for staying focused and learning to rule out certain answers for better ones.

Good luck for those attempting it later!


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