CISSP Passed - 1st Attempt 4/2/17

AaronsmityAaronsmity Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
Me: 3.5 years IT Audit experience

Study Sources:
Shon Harris AIO
Sybex Official
Eric Conrad CISSP Study Guide
Official ISC2 Practice Questions
Transcender (the only thing in this list I do not recommend)

I studied for about 5 months total for this test and went through a fairly thorough process of studying that worked out well for me, I tend to over-prepare but it gives me peace of mind.

Months 1-3:

I read AIO cover to cover without taking any notes just to get a feel for the material. I then re-read AIO taking a lot of notes. Next, read Eric Conrad and Sybex cover to cover filling in any gaps not covered by AIO or adding in better/more thorough explanations. Honestly this came out to like 200 pages of notes in a word document although there were quite a lot of diagrams and figures I had taken screenshots of (both Sybex and AIO come with pdf copies). THIS is what I used to read and study over and over - my combined notes for the 3 main books everyone seems to use. This took probably 3 months for me to compile to ensure I was satisfied with its comprehensive coverage. I just read this over and over until I thought I had a solid understanding of the material.

Month 4:
LOTS of practice questions… and only go through them ONCE to avoid artificially upping my scores because I am just memorizing the answers. I went through probably 5000 questions through all my study sources and online resources and was averaging low to mid 80s on my tests on the first pass. Any questions I got wrong or was not familiar with would get researched and would add any relevant information in my notes.

Month 5:
Went through my massive notes document highlighting anything that was not sticking in my mind. This widdled down the content that was the hardest for me to remember and was easy to go through quickly. I studied only my highlighted content up to the day before the test. The night before the test I made a quick power-through of the entire notes document.

Test Time:
I finished my first pass of the test in 3 hours flat, and spent the next 30 minutes going over my flagged questions I was not completely sure about (I think I only ended up changing maybe 3 answers). I took one short break at question 150. I received my folded up results, walked out to my car (to find my windows rolled down lol), took a deep breath and opened them. Pass! All the work was worth it.

I was very anxious about this test (apparently so much so that I forgot to roll the windows up in my car before I went in). After getting through the first 50 questions my nerves were really easing as I felt confident I understood what they were asking, picking up on those key words, and weeding out those incorrect answers. Im such a worrier that I thought getting through it that quickly meant I was missing something. Some questions were a struggle with the wording and some had terms I had never come across, I just assumed those were the “discovery” questions or whatever and did the best I could. This is a very doable test for people with only a few years or even a few months of work experience. Just find a plan that works for you and try not to stress too much like me.


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