Passed CCSK and failed CCSP

san4usan4u Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
I would like to share my experience with CCSK and CCSP with you.

The reason I am writing this thread is everybody has different background and knowledge about security. No body knows how much should we study for the CCSK or CCSP. Everybody here is busy professional with job/jobs and family. The challenge here is how do I decide when am I ready for exam. I will answer soon.

There are so many resources floating on internet and everybody claiming they are the best. How do I optimize my time so I can passed in first or second attempt of my CCSK and first attempt of CCSP. I will answer soon.

I had two jobs and working 60 hrs a week and had planned to take CCSP.

Preparation for CCSP -

I contacted one of colleague who is already CCSP. She requested me to start with Official guide for CCSP from amazon. I started reading the guide and it was so boaring. I read through may be in month or so. I might have spent 50/60 hrs in reading. Really had hard time in understanding what's author's objective in book. Finally I competed the book.

Later went through -
ENISA guide from CSA
CSA security guidance V4 version
Browse through ENISA doc

I took quiz from cccure quiz after the reading.

I took CSP test and failed with margin of more than 100 points on scaled score. The CCSP uses scaled score. It's not absolute score and there are many trial question from ISC2 those don't count towards score. It's not adaptive test which throw questions based on your responses.

The exam is too hype and most of the questions were one liners and hardly had 4/5 scenarios questions. Exam is 4 hrs. You get enough time to complete the exam. Don't rush. Take you time and complete the exam.
I never heard anybody could not complete the exam in 4 hrs.

The reason for failure -

I did not prepare my self completely for exam and my study was incomplete. I studied less than 100 hrs (approx).

I accepted the fact that I have done enough to pass the exam and decided to take CCSK while coming back from exam from center for CCSP. Taking exam helps me understand I am lacking multiple areas and I need to concentrate on weakenesses. Also I was lacking in fundamental in few domains.

As I have already studied for CCSP and I don't wanted to waste my hours which I spent on CCSP. The best option for me was to take CCSK. For me to take CCSP, I had to wait 90 days. So I decided to take CCSK, I started reading CSA v3 guide. I had studied v4 guide for CCSP which is well organized compared to v3.

To understand concept, I started going through video for CCSP in cybrary. It is one of the best source to start CCSK or CCSP.
It helps me to get my fundamental right. I should have gone though first. That was my first mistake.

I read CSA v3 in week or so. Then browse through ENISA in 2/3 hours. This is open book test so it's important to understand concept in topics. It's also important to understand how topics are organized in document in case you are in doubt and you need to verify answers.

Also, read fast track CCSK book from amazon as its free for me. I could finish a book in 8/10 hours. This book is really cool book as it is simple to read and covers most of the topics for CCSK exam. This book is NOT enough to pass the exam. The book is good reading. I liked it because I like books cover lot in few pages.

I had not taken date for CCSK exam until I am comfortable with myself for exam. Anyway I had no bench mark for preparation. Also, I knew this exam is fail safe. I mean you have two attempts. After two week I took my exam and studying for may be another 20/30 hours, I booked my exam and took the CCSK exam. I failed exam with 76%.

During the exam, my windows machine hanged and when I started, it started installing patches, it took almost 10-15 mins of exam, on top of it, whatever open PDF for references got closed after restart. After the reboot, I completed the exam. I attempted all 60 questions. I lost 10/15 mins during exam because of my machine issue. I don't regret. Its part of life. I was not destined to clear exam in first attempt. After the exam, I sent email to CSA with my story. I was hoping they might allow me third attempt because of my misfortune. After failing with 4% margin, I studied the topic which I was weak. CSA gives you your score by domains. It helps. I read the topics of weakness thoroughly before next attempt. I was still waiting for CSA response for my query.

Next day, I took exam and I was confident that I could have cleared exam in first attempt but my luck did not with me. I kept the pace of my questions with minutes. I was completing almost a question a minute. Even in first attempt, I was going at rate of a question a minute. However, I didn't not get enough time to review questions. I completed exam almost in 70 mins with 11/12 questions to review. I reviewed almost all questions in next 20 mins.

I scored 93% in second attempt. CSA did not resound to my query whether I can get third attempt. Anyway, I don't need it now. Lol.

Few take always -

All CCSK questions are taken from study materia ( v3 and ENISA). If you keep the pace of a question a minute with decent study of 30/40 hours, with good verification tricks of answer then you can pass.

You should know where to search in case of doubt.

Would I able to clear the CCSK if it was not open book - probably no. I would have to spend at least another 50/60 hrs in studying. Verification of answers did help me. However, keep in mind, fundamentals of security, deployment model, service model, data security, application security, hypervisof fundamentals are must. You should understand fundamentals and then use pdfs for verification if you have time.

Now what's next. CSA will allow me take new version of exam v4 after 1st December. As per CSA, if you have taken v3 in last one year then they will give free coupon for v4 exam with two attempts.

I have to wait until 11 Feb (90 days ) to take CCSP. I will take my CCSK v4 in first week of Feb and will take CCSP later.

One more observation, CCSK exam is all about v3 and little ENISA. But CCSP is all about fundamentals and fundamentals. I won't surprise if someone clear CCSP exam without reading single CCSP book.

CCSK exam is more bookish. You can't remember 100 plus pages of CCSK v3, you will go back and verify answers for few questions. The questions don't test fundamentals but test content of document in v3.

Its my personal opinion. I respect everybody's opinion. Feel free to comments as long as we have heathy discussion.


  • TheFORCETheFORCE Member Posts: 2,297 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I read the first edition offical CCSP guide and past the exam on first attempt.

    You should study a bit more.
  • NEODREAMNEODREAM Member Posts: 124 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I will be attempting the CCSP next year around Feb - March and plan to begin my studies in Jan. I'll take your advice and start with some Cybrary and ITPro videos before reading the CCSP book I have already purchased.

    I guess the common thing to do when going for your CCSP is to just knock out the CCSK as well?
    Goal: eJPT Mar. 2020 | GDAT May 2020 | eCPPT Dec. 2020
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