First time pass, May 2017

bluznvicebluznvice Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
I had been intimidated by the CISSP test for quite a while. Didn’t have the confidence to try the test and had been puttering around trying to figure out the right study path. I finally got fed up with myself and put a date on the calendar 60 days out – roughly. I went to the Pearson website and scheduled the exam for May 23. That single thing provided the motivation to really start preparing.

I’ll have to say that different people learn differently, so what worked for me may not work for you. But, most people preparing for CISSP have probably taken other cert tests and so probably have a good idea what works for them. For me, I usually learn best by live lecture and note taking augmented with a textbook (although I rarely read the whole thing). Practice tests are absolutely essential.


The first thing I did was sit down and develop my study plan and decide what resources I was going to focus on most. And here’s a tip – use the ISC2 Exam Outline. Read it, study it, and understand everything on it. By the time I got done, my copy was covered in notes.


I couldn’t afford to pay for a bootcamp style training (doing this on my own and unreimbursed), so here is what I used mostly:

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[FONT=&quot][/FONT]Ke + Kelly Handerhan’s videos on Cybrary.it were probably the single thing that swung the test results in my favor. Kelly teaches the material, but she also teaches the attitude/perspective you need to have for the test. A few of her little tips came in very handy during the test. I took 30 days to work through Kelly’s videos and took every micro certification test along the way. I also filled a complete notebook with notes which came in handy during cramming.

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+ Sari Greene’s videos on Safari. I paid for one month of Safari without knowing what all was there. It’s an awesome resource, but I pretty much only used Sari’s videos and browsed through the ISC2 Official text. I watched her videos at 1.5x speed to get through them faster. The best thing I got out of her videos were the end of module matching exercises. I saw a lot of those on the actual test, so having done many of them already was very helpful.

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+ Freepracticetests.org. Again, I paid for one month right before the test. I took them every day starting with 50 questions a pop on each domain working up to 100 questions across all domains, then a few 250 question practice tests to build endurance. I began to get irritated with the sheer volume of negatively/double-negatively stated questions. I understand the purpose is to prepare you for those questions on the test, but it began to hinder learning the material.

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+ [/FONT]Sybex Official CISSP Practice Tests book. I purchased the book but only used the online test engine instead of using the book and flipping back and forth, etc. The questions were pretty good – more technical than freepracticetests, but the test engine leaves a lot to be desired. It’s very poor at keeping your stats, like what domains you need to work on. You also have to use it in study mode and read the explanations at the time of the test. There’s no way to review the questions later.

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+ [/FONT]Lastly, Syngress CISSP Study Guide, Third Edition by Conrad, Misenar and Feldman. This is a VERY comprehensive book, less than 500 pages of information, but that information is packed into every sentence. I didn’t read this cover to cover, but used it along with Sari Greene’s videos and to study my weak areas identified by freepracticetests.


The last week before the test, I was completely immersed in the material almost 12 hours a day and I finally reached the point of burnout/information overload. I took tests right up until the morning of the test. I found that reviewing my notes from Kelly Handerhan’s videos was very helpful. Tried to study the Sunflower, but found that it was just too choppy. I got a good night’s sleep before the test, which I scheduled for 11am. Had a good breakfast and took a sandwich, water, apple, cookie in case I needed to refuel (which I did).


As for the test itself, it’s brutal but not difficult. I knew going in that I was well prepared. The hard part is staying focused for that length of time and reading every single question/answer. There are very few straightforward questions, probably less than 10 in my case. I don’t remember a single negative/double-negative stated question (e.g., “what is NOT the most…”), but almost every question was looking for the BEST, FIRST, or LAST. If there are steps to a process, you must understand all of the steps, and in what order, e.g., SDLC, evidence gathering, etc., etc. I came away with a strong impression of the test, that it is designed to test your skill and ability as a RISK ADVISOR.

Comments

  • mritorto2mritorto2 Member Posts: 61 ■■■□□□□□□□
    you studied for 12 hrs a day. how did you do that with a job
  • SteveLavoieSteveLavoie Member Posts: 759 ■■■■■■□□□□
    First congrats for the pass... Second, thanks you for sharing your experience. I have been studying on and off for CISSP for a few month.. I had other cert to renew or to be done before (VCP6, Veeam VMCE). I also wrote SSCP in March to prepare for the CISSP and experience the endorsement process. I think I will have to do as you, and set a date to commit myself.
  • DAVIS NGUYENDAVIS NGUYEN Member Posts: 1,472 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • CryptoQueCryptoQue PMP, CISSP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA, CCDA, CCENT, NET+, SEC+, ITILv3 VirginiaMember Posts: 205 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • bluznvicebluznvice Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    mritorto2 wrote: »
    you studied for 12 hrs a day. how did you do that with a job

    I was lucky enough to minimize my working engagements and work primarily from home. But, to be honest, I didn't do hardly any work. Just locked myself in my home office and just immersed myself. I did communicate beforehand that for the next couple of weeks, I would be focused on my studies.
  • bluznvicebluznvice Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    First congrats for the pass... Second, thanks you for sharing your experience. I have been studying on and off for CISSP for a few month.. I had other cert to renew or to be done before (VCP6, Veeam VMCE). I also wrote SSCP in March to prepare for the CISSP and experience the endorsement process. I think I will have to do as you, and set a date to commit myself.[/QUOTE

    Yeah, I finally admitted that unless I had a target date, I could go on "studying" forever. Not to mention that they're about due for a new revision to the test and I didn't want to go through that mess. Speaking of SSCP - there was a guy next to me taking the SSCP exam when I sat for my CISSP. He was NOT a happy camper, which I could tell by his frustrated grumblings, keyboard pounding, etc. I passed him in the hallway during a bathroom break and he had that 1000 yard stare and was just shaking his hear. It was a good reminder to me to just stay focused on each question and not get flustered.
    Y
  • forestgumpforestgump Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats!!!

    What practice tests did you find more helpful from the Official practice test book and Freepracticetests.org tests ?
  • sameojsameoj Member Posts: 366 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • shimasenseishimasensei BSc IT, CISSP, CCNP:RS, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:RS, CCENT, Sec+, P+, A+, L+/LPIC-1, CSSS, VCA6-DCV, ITILv3:F Member Posts: 241 ■■■□□□□□□□
    congratulations, and thanks for the insight!
    Current: BSc IT + CISSP, CCNP:RS, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:RS, CCENT, Sec+, P+, A+, L+/LPIC-1, CSSS, VCA6-DCV, ITILv3:F, MCSA:Win10
    Future Plans: MSc + PMP, CCIE/NPx, GIAC...
  • Deadly-DosageDeadly-Dosage Member Posts: 49 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Great write up for those on a budget! It's in the books and behind ya. Good on ya, bluznvice!
  • CosmicFishCosmicFish Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations, bluznvice! My experience was similar to yours. What's next on your certifications list?
  • CryptoQueCryptoQue PMP, CISSP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA, CCDA, CCENT, NET+, SEC+, ITILv3 VirginiaMember Posts: 205 ■■■□□□□□□□
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