Passed exam on 22/02/16

StamfordStamford Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Following my success yesterday,here's some more information regarding my exam experience and study methods..... it's a long post!

In terms of my exam experience, while I can't say too much for obvious reasons in terms of the content/questions, but I would say that overall it wasn't as 'scary' as I expected.

The key things to think about IMHO are as follows:

Timings - You 'should' have plenty of time for the exam - around 1:30 min per question approx, and there will be some you can answer straight away! Some questions will take longer but you should have more than enough time overall provided you have prepared and know the material well enough. I completed my exam in 3 hours - I have heard the average is around 4-4.5 hours............. the worst part was queuing up to get the printout with my result!

Nerves - You WILL be nervous (it's a serious exam after all and you want to pass!) so there will be adrenaline going around the system. Control your nerves and focus on what you have in front of you.....

Breaks - You should be able to have time for 2-3 breaks during the 6 hours. You should definitely take them as it's good to get yourself away from the screen for a few minutes (or a bit longer!) especially if you are struggling with a few questions... Take them after 50-60 questions and again at 130-140 (this will obviously vary depending on how you are doing..if you are on a roll keep going until you get 'stuck'!). Take some food/drinks/fruit etc with you for when you have a break.

Questions - READ THE QUESTION! READ THE QUESTION! Before you jump to an 'obvious' answer read the question again to double check what you are being asked for. Just remember there are the 'control' questions in there too so don't beat yourself up mentally if there are questions you have NO IDEA how to answer!

Changing answers - Quite often (after a bit of thinking) your first answer will probably be the right one - you may need to go with your gut feeling or even guesswork for some questions though :)

In terms of study, I was relatively relatively comfortable with most of the material having studied the proverbial s**t out of it as much as time allowed over the last few months :) I think it has helped that I've also been studying for an part-time MSc In Information Security (which I should be finishing this year!) which gave me a certain level of knowledge and confidence in most areas and also have previously gained the CompTIA Security+ cert!

From a CISSP study perspective, I used the following resources:

- CISSP ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional Official Study Guide, 7th Edition - my primary CISSP reference. I did the chapter quizzes but left the 4 x practice exams 'in reserve' until the two days before the test, as I read that they would be fairly realistic in style to the real thing. This book should be a good reference guide moving forwards now I have passed the exam!

- CISSP for Dummies. Relatively simplified in terms of detail but a good starter/introduction for unknown areas.

- CCCure CISSP CBT - you have to pay for this and in return get over 50 hours of CBT videos. Some might say this level of information is overkill, but sometimes its better to know more than you need, given you are not just looking to pass an exam but want to be an InfoSec Practitioner! You also get access to the slidepack and MP3s of the CBT recordings. I watched all 54 hours of this - took a while but was clearly worth it as today showed!

- CCCure - you have to pay for this but there are almost 1900 CISSP questions covering all domains. You also have access to Sec+, old CBK questions and CEH questions if you get bored :). I did ALL the questions!

- Larry Greenblatt's 8 Domains of CISSP - Free vids on YouTube (almost 40 hours I think) & PDF slide download. Good to cover the same material but with a different approach. I think Larry likes Star Trek! I watched all of these videos.

- Mindmaps were provided by Matheus Vasconcelos. An excellent way to visualise the material!

- Cue cards/Post-it notes - great for writing down key points! My living room wall was covered with them!

CISSP - aide memoires ('old' domains but still useful!)

Apps - Pocketprep CISSP. Good for getting used to different types of question. Some difficult questions!

Skillset - another good resource for question that I used- I tackled as many of these as time allowed.

Other FREE test resources as follows - I did all of them.

Elsevier FlashAutomate 3.0

Elsevier FlashAutomate 3.0

As far as the ISC2 official book is concerned, I did make a start but found the Sybex book far easier to read - it's still potentially good as the 'go-to resource' for checking points in the curriculum. Fortunately I didn't have to pay for it as I got it free with a 5-day QA course.

On the subject of QA, if you are in the UK, I would NOT personally recommend this course. I got it free (fortunately) as I had complained about one of their courses previously, and I'll be complaining about this one too as I did't feel that I learned ANYTHING from the week.

In summary, take as long as you think you need to master the 8 domains but set yourself a semi-fixed timetable or you will drift and drift. Take practice tests for each domain and then take ones for multiple ones.

Do longer tests when comfortable - you NEED to get used to longer tests as the real one WILL take it out of you mentally! Once you have started longer tests keep doing them, you need to get used to it! From my own perspective, I was getting a bit fed up with constant testing and just wanted to get it over with. When YOU feel like this I would say it's time to take the real test.

In terms of scheduling the real thing, try and arrange the test for a Monday if possible - you get two uninterrupted days of final revision/testing (i.e. the 4 Sybex exams) to make sure you are READY. Disappear to a quiet place for the weekend, turn off the TV, switch your phone off and get in the 'zone'. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS - it worked for me :))

If you want it bad enough you WILL put in the required effort to get it! Fail to prepare and you can prepare to fail......................

I hope information helps you - Good Luck. Don't forget to reward yourself WHEN you pass - you will have earned it!


  • DAVIS NGUYENDAVIS NGUYEN Member Posts: 1,472 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • CLICKCLICK Member Posts: 88 ■■■□□□□□□□
    BIG Congrats, you are sooo right on!!!! READ, READ, READ, take time and understand the questions. Just got back from my test and finally PASSED!!! Separate post paraphrasing yours forthcoming!!! Congrats and to all who are still on their way, if i can do it, so can you, it took me 3 tries but finally got it. Now on to endorsement :)

    I need a Beer :)

  • Terminator XTerminator X Member Posts: 60 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congratulations on passing the exam. Not an easy exam by any means. I took this thing twice and passed on the 2nd try. Just waiting to hear back from ISC2 on my endorsement. I tried to read the CBK and after about 10 pages I never looked at it again. Just stuck with Shon Harris 6th edition and also her MP3. Listened to that religiously in the car to and from work and everywhere I drove. Also I wrote out many many many index cards.
    -Tact is for those not witty enough to be sarcastic-
  • sameojsameoj Member Posts: 366 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • schuchzschuchz Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats! Can you please send me the CISSP mind maps of Matheus?
  • havoc64havoc64 Member Posts: 213 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats and great write up...
  • clarkincnetclarkincnet Member Posts: 257 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Give a hacker an exploit, and they will have access for a day, BUT teach them to phish, and they will have access for the rest of their lives!

  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Member Posts: 1,460 ■■■■■■■■□□
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • gncsmithgncsmith Senior Member Member Posts: 459 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • binaybhusannbinaybhusann Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Could anyone please send me the Mindmaps provided by Matheus Vasconcelos?
  • mkohimkohi Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    "As far as the ISC2 official book is concerned, I did make a start but found the Sybex book far easier to read" I thought they were the same book?

    -Also I'm currently using the Sybex Official Study guide to study, how useful is this book as far as its chapter quizzes and 4 final exams compared to the actual test?

    -What areas did you have a hard time on?

  • virtualizationGvirtualizationG Member Posts: 19 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats man! passed mine as well on 4/22/16 just by reviewing my CEH notes and my CISSP notes from previous study efforts. 125 questions in about 1.25hrs. I didn't review they just seemed pretty straight forward to me. I will say you must read the whole questions, they give a tech response and a management response to trick you. By reading the question you can determine which point of view they are looking to hear a response from.
    Again congrats and welcome to the group icon_cheers.gif
  • protacticusprotacticus Member Posts: 91 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Please share Mindmaps were provided by Matheus Vasconcelos.Thx
  • CLICKCLICK Member Posts: 88 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Big Congrats and job well done !!! Cheers !!
  • sameojsameoj Member Posts: 366 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • tam9tam9 Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    If anyone has the mind maps that they could share that would be great!
  • BlueShadowBlueShadow Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    That is way over board, now that it has been a year, how much of all that studying do you remember? I just passed the CISSP today with very little prep and no review, but to be fair I have plenty of other security certs and I have been in the security industry for a little while. CISSP exam has nothing on GIAC exams, those are the real deal. I almost want to say this was just as hard as Security+. I literally read one book, and took ~40 practice questions, I was planning on taking thousand of practice questions because I have enough practice engines and questions to last me a lifetime but I ran out of time and did not want to reschedule the exam for $50. However I did listen to the entire Kelly Handerhan, it is free and is around 15 hours but totally worth it. I'm not trying to be a blowhard but rather give encouragement to those who might be intimidated. I know I heard the same stories about how rough and hard it was etc. Don't listen to them go in with confidence and the key is be totally relaxed, when your not relaxed you will do worse and second guess yourself. Go in there with the attitude that you have nothing to lose and own it. Summary: * 15 hours of Kelly Handerhan mp3s in my car before and after work, excellent source, nothing but love and respect for Shon Harris (RIP), she was an original member of the network warfare squadron that I am in but the Kelly mp3s nailed every domain. * Simple CISSP (Free Kindle Book for Prime) This will surprise a lot of you, it's actual a free book if your a Amazon Prime member, $10 if not. This book also nailed it out the park. Notice the title Simple CISSP Guide; it is 633 pages, haha. The great thing about the kindle book is you can highlight key concepts then print them or save them to a document for later review. Description: " The CISSP certification is the gold standard for security professionals. This exam resource is up to date for the 2015 CISSP Common Body of Knowledge created by ISC2. SIMPLE CISSP has been intentionally kept as brief as possible without the 'fluff' many other tomes include. In the appendix is a complete outline of each domain including all terms and concepts that you will need to know for the exam. Each outline follows the chapters exactly so you can easily find more detail on each topic when you need to."
  •[email protected] Member Posts: 63 ■■□□□□□□□□
  • 7255carl7255carl Member Posts: 1,544 ■■■□□□□□□□
    W.I.P CCNA Cyber Ops
  • AndyLien79AndyLien79 Member Posts: 30 ■■■□□□□□□□
Sign In or Register to comment.