CISSP Pass - Review

trustmeiglowtrustmeiglow Member Posts: 3 ■■□□□□□□□□
edited May 2020 in (ISC)²

Well, The time has finally arrived. I thought I’d do what I usually don’t do and that’s write a review. Writing a review when something is bad, is something that I am quick to do. But, during times like this, writing a review when something is good can be beneficial. I am going to share with you all what I did/used to prepare for the CISSP Exam. Stay tuned because I am going to save the best for last.

April 22, 2020 is when I first started reading the Official Study Guide. I finished on May 9. May 10 I started the AIO. May 22nd on page 504 I couldn't take any more I started semi-watching free videos online. I probably skipped 100 pages in the AIO that was either dry or I was pretty confident I knew the material.


  1. I downloaded the Pocket Prep CISSP application, which is now a combined IT & Security App. Whatever price it was to pay for extra exam questions I paid it.

  2. I downloaded the ISC2 application. Whatever price it was to pay for extra exam questions I paid it.


  1. AIO

  2. Official

  3. Official Practice Test

  4. 11th Hour

Online Practice Test: 0

Application Review: I went through a good majority of the practice questions on PP. I did maybe 200 on the ISC2 app. With regards to practice questions on your mobile and/or your computer go through them once, twice max. The reasoning for that is, memorization. I’ve seen people write about going through X practice test and the results kept increasing. How often does someone go through a practice test 2-4 times and the percentage decreases? People start to memorize questions and especially answers. After you answer the question and review it, then on the second pass answer and review it you will more than likely not miss that question on the third review. So, the maximum amount of times I suggest someone to go through a complete set of practice questions is 2. I want to say one but I’ll be comfortable at two. Remember, a practice question is a practice question. Don’t think for a second that the question will be worded exactly like they are on the actual exam. A practice question is going to beat topics and concepts in your head. Remember topics and concepts. Once you have the topics and concepts, no matter how that topic or concept is presented to you in a question you’ll be able to answer it.

Book Review: Official. This book is really all you need to understand the various topics that could be presented to you on the exam. I went through this book and was able to not only understand but comprehend. It’s a difference between reading something and comprehending the information. My attention was kept throughout this book. I suggest it. It’s an easy read.

AIO. I’ve seen people complain about this book. Well, let me add on to the list of complaints. This was a tuff read. This book is like watching ants build ant hills on the sidewalk. This book is like watching snow melt off of a tree. But I knew what I was getting myself into and kept reading, page after page. Then it came a time where I just couldn’t read anymore.

After my eyes couldn’t take reading the AIO, I semi-regularly watched various CISSP videos online.

Official Practice Test. I didn’t look at one question.

11th Hour. I glanced at it. I would not say I went through page by page.

My Thoughts:

You can use one source and pass. You can use one book and one set of practice questions. Yes, a few weeks ago Boson had a sale and I glanced at the practice questions but believe me I don’t see what the hype is about. A lot of the Boson questions were like, what two colors combined will make yellow. I am sitting here like, this won’t be on the exam. I think Boson, like a lot of these apps and the other 3-5 CISSP books on the web hit you on concepts and topics you might or might not see. The topics you might see is fine. The topics you might not see, that you are studying will cause you problems down the road.

I found no practice question was close to any exam question. But, if you no 2x2=4 no matter how the question is presented to you you’ll answer it correctly. What I will say is, some of the questions were a lot longer than I expected. My advice that worked for me, read every question twice and read every answer selection twice. Look for key words. Trust me, it’s a key word in every question that will help you either eliminate the wrong answer, or specifically pick the wrong answer. It was many of times where I looked at the question and looked at A and knew that was the answer, until I looked at all the answer choices and picked C or D. So, read all the answers and look for keywords before making a selection.

Example: Which type of device will produce the MOST amount of flame and heat inside of a server room? A. Box of Matches B. Lighter C. Candle D. Flamethrower

See, if you never went to answer choice D you would have never came across the right answer. This is why I say, read the question and answer twice. The exam is not easy and I would not say it is hard. If you went front to back in a book and actually understood the material and did a set or two of practice questions you could use the process of elimination to narrow down at least 2 wrong answers. I had less than 10 minutes left on the exam. Guess what? A pass is a Pass.


It’s been people with 10+ years of whatever they call experience that have failed this exam. It’s people with (less than) a couple years of experience that have passed this exam. Look on LinkedIn. It’s more than a few Associate holders. Gauge your comfortability with understanding topics and the ability to use the process of elimination and you’ll be alright. It’s not as hard as people say it is if you apply yourself and grasp the material. I am sure I spent more than most, especially on material I didn’t adequately use. Don’t be scared of the test, they aren’t out to intentionally fail you. You can do it!


  1. May 28 – Pass

  2. May 29 – Received Confirmation Email

  3. May 29 – Submitted for Endorsement and paid fee.

After passing I thought of the people I work with that had CISSP. We aren’t necessarily friends so I really didn’t want to ask them. It’s like asking someone you don’t like for a favor. Asking them was plan Z. So, I spent about 30 minutes on the web. People said contact your local ISC2 chapter. I did. Take into consideration you are asking someone at a chapter to endorse you that doesn’t know you and you haven’t paid that chapter any money. So, I emailed a chapter from the ISC2 website and the guy responded basically with some ISC2 cannon code of ethics stuff talking about we never met he would only feel comfortable doing it if stuff X, Y, and Z. I respected it. Imagine a stranger asking you to vouch for them.

Long story short, I found someone I knew. I suggest after passing, go ahead and start filling out the endorsement application. You can save and go back. I’ve been in it probably 10 times within the past 24hrs. Get that out of the way. Make sure you cater your job experience to the domains. Do not use the same bullets/paragraphs and copy and paste them in the ISC2 blocks. They might not say you have the experience you think you do. Cater your answers to the domains. If you are help desk and image computers and manage users in Active Directory I am sure you can write your way to obtaining a CISSP.

I made a mistake and clicked yes for Associate of ISC2. Yes I got the congratulations email you are Associate :'( So, I am just going to pay this $50 real quick. It will change when the endorsement is finished ..

I went all 150 questions. Had about 7 minutes to spare. 


  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,564 Mod
    What a fantastic review! Congrats!

    Interesting point you bring up regarding people with 10 yrs of 'experience' vs people passing with two years of experience.

    Curious to know more about your experience before taking the test?

    what's next for you?

    Also, welcome to the forums!

    Check out my YouTube channel: 

  • m1xaylom1xaylo Member Posts: 59 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • jayc71jayc71 Member Posts: 112 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats on the pass!  That's a tough exam.
    CISSP, CCSP, CCSK, Sec+, AWS CSA/Developer/Sysops Admin Associate, AWS CSA Pro, AWS Security - Specialty, ITILv3, Scrummaster, MS, BS, AS, my head hurts.
  • logixacademylogixacademy Member Posts: 4 ■■□□□□□□□□
  • AverageJoeAverageJoe Member Posts: 316 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Nice going!  Congrats!
  • thehomemakerthehomemaker Registered Users Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Great review! thank you for this, I am re-taking CISSP (I failed it in 2018), read Shon Harris' thick book and I chuckled how you described the ants building ant hills, lol! 

    Anyway, I am almost half-way through reading the official ISC2 book. Can you share with us what CISSP videos did you go through and which one do you recommend?

    Also for practice exams, did you only use the Shon Harris' All In One practice test book? And may I know what you meant by "PP", in this statement 'Application Review: I went through a good majority of the practice questions on PP'. 

    Thank you again!
  • anthonxanthonx Member Posts: 109 ■■■□□□□□□□

    Also for practice exams, did you only use the Shon Harris' All In One practice test book? And may I know what you meant by "PP", in this statement 'Application Review: I went through a good majority of the practice questions on PP'. 

    Thank you again!
    He probably meant Pocket Prep (PP).

    "I downloaded the Pocket Prep CISSP application, which is now a combined IT & Security App. Whatever price it was to pay for extra exam questions I paid it."

  • thehomemakerthehomemaker Registered Users Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • thehomemakerthehomemaker Registered Users Posts: 6 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • cmitchell_00cmitchell_00 Member Posts: 250 ■■■□□□□□□□
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