Failed the CISSP twice - studying for the 3rd and final time - any good advice

zapkzapk Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
I have been pointed to this forum by a colleague who holds multiple certifications. I am an Information Assurance professional working in the Government Contracting industry where it is required to hold 8570 level 3 certifications. I have been doing this for 10 years now. I took a boot camp in July 2015, studied for 6 weeks before my first exam on October 19 2015 - got a 629 with lots of questions on CHAP, PCI-DSS, and Networking. Studied again for 8 weeks using the ISC2 official study guide and Shon Harris 5th edition and took exam on April 18 2016 - got a 669. For the 2nd exam I felt prepared and confident, had quickly gone through the exam and marked 27 questions to go back and review. I took 2 breaks at the 125 and 250 question mark. Then I made a major mistake and reviewed all my answers and made changes (breaking my cardinal rule). After 4 days of my pity party and I am more determined to be the subject matter expert with all things CISSP. Having been pointed to this forum is a good start. I see that I should go and get the Sybex 7th edition book and plan on reading cover to cover word for word.
I am not a good test taker. Knowing this I am also going to do a mind mapping exercises for the test taking and the 10 domains. My weak domains are NETWORKING, COMMUNICATIONS, & SECURITY MODELS. My strong subjects SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, LAW, PHYSICAL SECURITY.
I welcome any advice and a kick in the ass.


  • Options
    Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
  • Options
    havoc64havoc64 Member Posts: 213 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Good Morning Zapk

    This is the advice I gave another member, but I think it holds still for you, esp the test taking strategies. One of the great parts of the CISSP Traning Camp for me was how Buzz Murphy gave us advice on test taking. The only change I had to that advice was to read the answers first. Now on to the advice I gave another member.

    The CISSP exam is not a memorization or definition exam. I see some who fail the CISSP who have other certifications. The CISSP exam is more than a Factual exam, it's an Understanding the concept exam. Seen it time and time again in these forums....it's a Managerial exam.

    When taking the test, do not read the questions in the wrong frame of mind, don't argue with the question. Determine what the question wants and then give it the best answer of what it provided. Don't think like a technician, think like a manager.

    READ THE QUESTION LAST! This is what I do and I preach this over and over...Read the answers first, then read the question. In the question look at the Adverbs and Adjectives and descriptive words, i.e. Physical, Administrative, Best, Most Likely, Least, Worst. Defining these will eliminate one or more of the possible answers leaving you with fewer possible answers.

    And most importantly, There is no single place to read or garner all the knowledge you need for this test. You will need experience in the field of Information Assurance (Information Security) and you will have to study many different sources.

    If you look at this forum for the "CISSP Passed" threads you will see a lot of study questions and material mentioned. Additionally it has been mentioned SEVERAL times that there are ZERO question banks that are just like the test exam. The practice exams only test your knowledge and not your understanding of all the material you need to know to pass the CISSP exam. The CISSP certification is more of a Managerial Certification rather than a Technical..hence the stringent prerequisites. With all that being said, below is my list of study material.

    icon_study.gif Books and study Material in order of my purchase and reading. icon_study.gif
    (ISC)2 Official CBK - Hardest book I have ever read, so much fluff..
    CISSP Study Guide, 2E by Eric Conrad
    CISSP Study Guide 11th Hour by Eric Conrad
    **CCCure Practice Exam
    CCCure Review Notes
    **Transcender Practice Exams
    Sunflower Review Notes
    **(ISC)2 Official Study Guide 7th Edition - Sybex
    **Cybrary CISSP videos and MP3s.
    **Combined Notes from this forum.
    **Quizlet (ISC)2 Official Flash Cards (These are free and are the exact same flash cards they gave us at the class)
    **Official (ISC)2 Traning Guide CISSP CBK - Official Training Guide from the class.

    I read them all, cover to cover. The ones with the ** are what I think were most beneficial to my passing the exam. These along with the class, is what I believe helped me pass the exam. I took the official (ISC)2 Class November 2-7th, taught by Buzz Murphy from Training Camp. I took the exam on the 7th of November. It took me 4 hours to get through the first pass and an additional 44 minutes to go over the 40 flagged questions, if which I changed 11 of them.

    There are a great many people who think they can read the Shon Harris book and pass the test. Maybe they can, but I don't recommend it. The majority of people who pass the test use several different resources and have years of experience.

    Hope this helps, and good luck on the re-test.
  • Options
    webpriestesswebpriestess Member Posts: 82 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I am so sorry to hear that the CISSP is a tough nut to crack for you. I wish you all the best of luck on your re-test - don't give up hope! Your persistence is so admirable.

    Thank you to the other two posters on your advice. I will absolutely take it into consideration.

Sign In or Register to comment.