Passed on 5/21, first attempt, a few thoughts

4CHN84CHN8 Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
A lot of lists of how people studied on here. I will give a bit of what I did but I didn't go through nearly the effort most have and really want to say a few things about the exam and how I managed my time and worked my way through it.

The main source of study for me was a boot camp. I went to one of the trainingcamp boot camps and cannot say enough about it. I think the best part was the ability to sit the exam on the sixth day. No waiting, going anywhere else, etc. Same routine as I had all week with a review in the morning before the exam. It is not cheap but for something you will put so much effort into and emotionally wrap yourself up in, I felt it was the best way for me. The other thing I did was get the hotel for the week even though the class was local. I could have commuted but felt spending the week focused on the material was the way to go. No kids, no wife (she did come up for dinner one night), etc. to distract. Just class, dinner, study, sleep, repeat. I realize this is not an option for everyone, but if it is, DO IT. A few of us group reviewed a one or two nights. The hotel let us use one of their small meeting rooms for a two nights toward the end of the week and the instructor even came down and spent a few hours answering questions and providing a few extra thoughts of his own.

I did not do a lot of studying before the camp except watch some of the videos that came with the boot camp and read some stuff online. I do have over a decade of various levels of security experience ranging from code reviews to system accreditations to physical security reviews to risk assessments so quite a few aspects of domains are familiar to me.

The last thing I will say about studying/prep is that taking a bunch of practice tests to me is not worth the time. If you want to try a few to feel what a 250 question exam is like or try and get a feel for the questions then great. But the exam itself will not be like anything you find. Learn the concepts and think about how you would apply them from a managerial/leadership perspective (vs technical). This is just my opinion and your mileage may vary.

The exam:

Yes, it is hard. Very hard. And long. Very long. Possibly the hardest exam I have ever taken, certainly the hardest + longest. I have no desire to ever sit through it again. It is all people talk about and gets built up into this incredible thing. People were talking about it first thing in the morning on the first day of camp and it didn't stop the whole week.

This is how I approached the exam:

Went through the first 170 questions or so, giving my answer and marking those I wanted to review, then took a 10 minute break. Had a drink, walked around in the small little room and just did something other than sit in a chair answering exam questions. This was about 2:30 into the exam.

Went back in and finished the exam and reviewed all of the questions I had marked review. I gave my best answer and if I was confident I took the review flag off, if not left it on. I then took about a 20 minute break. This was about 4:00 into the exam. When i took this break I talked to the proctor and administrator for a little bit about ANYTHING BUT security or CISSP related stuff. Where do you work? Crappy weather outside (it rained on the day I took the exam). Stuff like that. Really anything to forget about the exam and let go of it for a f.

Finally when I went back in for the last time I started at 250 and worked backwards. I read each question, looked at my answer and if I was happy with it moved on and if not re-read it and gave it some more thought. I paid extra attention to any that still had the review flag. I think during this backward review I probably changed 4 or 5 answers and most were in the 150-250 question range. I have a feeling that on the first time through I was wearing down during the last 50-75 questions and they didn't get my best effort. After the 20 minute break, starting at 250 and going backward gave me a fresher look at the end questions and I think helped a lot.

As for techniques, I used the usual elimination of answers and tried to read answers bottom up in order to make myself really consider all the choices. I can't say I did that for all the questions but ones I had to pause on or review I definitely did both of those things.

Finally at about 5:15 I realized I had one all I could and finished.

Getting the results:
After i signed out and the administrator completed the exam process I heard the little printer start whirring and printing my results. I went into full panic mode. I didn't know what to do so I turned my back to her and stared at the floor and sort of reached my hand back behind me for her to give me the results. I have never experienced this type of anxiety (whatever you want to call it) over an exam. I was just mentally wiped out and wanted to get outside and breath some fresh air. When the admin came up behind me she said "Congratulations john". I turned around and asked, "Really?" and she said yes and handed me the pass letter. She tried to shake my hand and I said that wasn't going to cut it and gave her a hug. I might have surprised her a little bit when I did that but I was so happy I didn't care.


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