CISSP passed Nov.12th 2011 - Omaha NE

JimEddieJimEddie Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
I was both shocked and relieved to have passed on first attempt. I was originally going to test back in July 2011, but felt I was not quite ready. I took a little time off and then resumed studying a few months before the Nov exam. The last week I took 3 days off work and hit it hard. Here is how I prepared.

Read the (newest) CISSP Dummies book. It is actually quite good, and more enjoyable reading than the Shon Harris, so it might be a better starting point. It comes with a sample exam on CD.

Read the Shon Harris book. I admit that this is some tough reading in parts, and I should have dug deeper into some of the details, but it covers about everything. It also comes with a sample exam on CD.

Loaded the '11th Hour CISSP' book on Kindle. This is a good book to tote around and just re-enforce the basics for each domain. Each chapter has something called 'The five hardest questions'.(i am not sure i agree with them though).

Answered many practice exam questions - besides the CD's there are some online sites with free samples (on some you pay if you want full access). Anytime I missed one, i would spend a little time on that particular concept.

Used index cards. If you are like me, there are some things that are just plain hard to remember. Say for example, the different levels for RAID. I would write down these types of things on the cards, as well as other definitions that seemed hard to remember. I would carry them around and look at them when I had some free time.

Night before - forget about a good night's sleep. You will be too restless. I studied my index cards until after midnight.
Morning of - I went early and sat in my car and read the 'glossary' in the dummies book. Overkill, I know.

What surprised me most: Like everyone says, you will leave feeling dejected, i did. The test questions did not resemble many of the sample ones I took. I was also surprised that some topics that I thought would be covered were not. Now, every test is different, so that might have been luck/unluck of the draw.

You will have plenty of time, but please do stay till the end and use any extra time to just go back over the test, as there will be questions that you guessed at, and an answer may become more evident with further examination.

Last advice, don't be over-confident in the areas that you think you know well. Go back over those domains at least once. It is easy to draw a blank on something that you know.

Good Luck!


  • DarrilDarril Member Posts: 1,588
    Congratulations and thanks for taking the time to post what worked for you.

    Darril Gibson
    Security blog
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,990 Admin
    Congratulations on passing the CISSP exam! icon_cheers.gif And thanks for the excellent review!
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,927 Mod
    Welcome aboard and congrats on the pass. Thanks for the review. Will definitely come in handy for my 2012 CISSP attempt.
  • plenumspaceplenumspace Registered Users Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I had exactly the same experience as you and also did the exam on 12th Nov. I agree that you will find it difficult to sleep the night before, I studied till about 1am or even after.
    I really think the whole experience from when you register on the day and take your seat. Listen to instructions for 15 minutes while filling in your name/number details on the exam sheet are intended to throw you. Its even complicated filling in that part. Then when I finally got to open the paper I was kind of shocked to see the questions, they were not at all what I was expecting and much more difficult. The first 30 minutes I was feeling angry and annoyed, as it was more the way what was being asked than the actual answers themselves. Any practice tests I took leading up to it did not take more than 3 hours. The exam for me took 5 hours and I then spent about 20 minutes going over my first 50 questions or so as I was in a much better place at the end of the exam than at the start. I had accepted I was going to fail so I just went over some stuff with a different viewpoint.
    I was completely shocked and stunned when I passed, I did it with 2 other friends, 1 passed and the other failed scoring 696 when the pass mark was 700.
    It was definitely an experience and I am totally relieved that its over.
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