CISSP Exam, Vancouver BC March 10th

corpseccorpsec Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
So I wrote the CISSP exam today, now anxiously waiting for my results now but thought I'd give my feed back on how things went. When my results come back I'll update if I passed or not then you can choose to follow or disregard my study plan icon_redface.gif

School Background:
-Bachelors in InfoSec/Network Administration
-ITIL v3 Foundations Certification
-ISO 27001 LA Certification

Work Background:
4 years intense corporate security enterprise experience (2 years alone..) touching 8-9 out of the 10 domains working 65+ hour work weeks + weekends. The industry I worked in had an above than average malicious internal/external threats as well as a lot of legal/compliance/jurisdiction complex requirements.

Resources Used:
-Shon Harris AIO 250 q's
-Shon Harris Practice CISSP Questions 250 q's
-Shon Harris MP3/DVDs + audio question review
-Shon Harris Online/TotalTester Questions 1000 q's
-Clements CCCURE Presentation
-CCCURE Practice Questions Paid 1700 q's
-OIG 200 q's
-Michael R. Overly 50+ page Information Security Notes
-CCCURE/Techexam CISSP Forums (Clement, JDMurray)
-11th hour 50 q's

Study Plan:
-Purchase IPAD 2 on release date after seeing how thick the AIO 1200+ book was...
1) Watched Clement's wonderful CISSP presentation, as well as read the forum on CCCURE/Techexam for peoples experience from 2010-2011. Also read a few study guide blogs of their experiences and study plans.
2) Started reading AIO August 1st 2011 - Casually read 1 hour a day about 20 pages.
3) Finished AIO January 15th 2012 - Did all questions after each chapter
4) Started listening the AIO MP3/DVD while driving to work or washing dishes (without paying to much attention. I figured the more I live and breath CISSP the more information will be reinforced.)
5) Paid CCCURE Quesitons Jan 17th 2012 - Did 125 questions per 1-2 days selecting all domains (only new questions)
6) Booked Exam Jan 17th 2011
7) Focused on CCCURE Questions and completed 900+ in Feb averaging 68.5%
icon_cool.gif Did a 250 question to test stamina and got 70%. It was clear that I had areas that I kept getting wrong they were concepts that required memorization. I checked out cccure mnemonics thread and reviewed a **** sheet daily to memorize those concepts: orange book levels A-D, Crypto algorithms, security modes, legal definitions and regulations, access control methods (lattice, bell, clarke, dac/mac etc..) networking (ipsec,vpn etc..) It was frustrating because I remembered reading about it and studying it but just forgot the little details as holding 10 domains fresh in your head is quite a challenge with things you don't have direct experience with. My memory isn't the best unfortunately.
9) Clement advised that I change my strategy to do 50+ questions per domain until I score 80%. So I did this but unfortunately ran out of new questions from CCCURE as I've already done so many. There are less questions for some of the lighter domains (legal, physical sec etc..)
10) Started using AIO TotalTester CD which had 100+ questions per domain. Total of probably 1K questions. I combined the strategy of focusing 1 domain with both CCCURE and Total Tester. I started getting 80-85% on Total Tester in each domain.
11) Went back and finished up CCCURE questions and completed the total 1700 questions averaging 80%
12) 2 weeks before the Exam I started reading 11th hour and doing the 5 tough questions. I completed 1 domain per day and listened to the Shon Harris AIO DVD/MP3 right after paying attention closely.
13) 2 days remaining I used the OIG book (which I didn't have time) practice questions. I think there were about 20 questions per domain so about 200 questions total. I completed it in 1 day. I was dissapointed at my results getting about 67% average.
14) The last day I cracked open the Shon Harris Practice Booklet which has 25 questions for each domain, 250 questions total. I was also averaging about 67% with the practice questions and in the end as it was reaching the evening I just read the answers for the last 3 domains.
15) The day of the exam I printed out the Overly's cram notes (50+ pages) and my ********** and reviewed it for an hour right up to the last minute of the exam in the exam hall.

Day of exam:
-Brought examination ID letter and cram notes to study till the last minute.
-I brought 3 chocolate chip granula bars, some pencils, 2 erasers, ear plugs, 1 bottle water. Turns out they provide 2 pencils with erasers, and ear plugs.
-I went through all 250 questions marking both on the paper and the scantron sheet for questoins I was sure about. I also made sure to eliminate wrong answers by putting an X on them. The questions that I wasn't sure I circled and skipped.
-3 hours and 50 minutes later I went through all 250 questions. By this time I had finish my water and had to pee. I decided to hold it in and completed all the questions I didn't fill in the scantron. There were about 22 questions that I couldn't answer right away. When I chose the best answer I then went to the wash room and ate 2 granular bars.
-With about 2 hours remaining until the exam I was dehydrated, and mind exhausted. I decided to fill in darker the scantron for all the bubbles to relax. This caused my fingers and hand to hurt... and it was quite difficult
-With about 1.5 hours remaining I started the tedius task of reading over every question/answer. I spotted about 5 questions which I had misread MOST for NOT and corrected my answer in the bubble sheet.
-After 45 minutes I was totally drained but the fact that I caught 2-3 silly mistake gave me the strength to continue on as I really didn't want to re-write this test again... I manage to finish the rest of the review with about 15 minutes remaining
-Spent some time on 3 questions which I wasn't really sure of the answer. For most of the 22 questions I could narrow it down to 2 answers so it was 50/50.
-I then completed the exam at the 5 hours 55 minutes and handed it in. At this point I was starving and quite relived it was over. I expected the exam to have questions which I had no clue about or needed to memorize legacy concepts which I had a hard time retaining but this wasn't the case.

Thoughts about the exam:
I would say overall there were no suprises. I did not see any "cloud" or new revised questions. I could not detect any of the 25 experimental questions. There were no cryptic or really hard to understand worded questions. They were fairly staright forward. I didn't see any trick questions either that I found a few on CCCURE. There weren't that many specific detail questions in the domains where I thought there would be and I'd be stumped. It was alot of conceptual questions. Maybe I didn't find it that tough because I did 3400+ questions from 3 different sources. 1700 CCCURE, AIO 250, AIO Practice 250, TotalTester 1000, OIG 200, 11th hour 50.

I also read from 3 different sources (AIO, 11th hour, Overly) as well as used google/youtube/forums to reinforce concepts. Ofcourse my work experience played a great role as well. I think watching the DVD helped reinforce a lot of the concepts as the DVD is quite quick so it would be obvious if you didn't understand. On top of that the last minute cramming to refresh all 10 domains with 50 pages Overly's Notes right before the exam helped with my poor memory to retain information and make things clearer.

Now the tough part is waiting for the final results. I believe I could have prepared a lot better (due to life /work distractions), however in the last 3 months I was facing a lot of big projects at work, going for interviews for a new job as my current job required relocation.

Things I would do differently:
-Focused more during studying with less distraction 1 hour and 20 pages a day is not that great
-Read another resources like the OIG instead of just AIO
-Did practice questions per domain until I got 80-85% instead of doing all domains 125 questions
-Spent more time on each domain until I was quite confident before moving on
-Go for 1 week bootcamp prior to exam

I wanted to go into the exam with 80-85% average on practice exams however I was in the 70-75% range so it is quite a bit iffy. Hopefully with a little luck I will pass and won't have to repeat this again.

I hope my experience may help others. In any case someone said the CISSP was like the plastic holder of a 6 pack which reinforces all the pop cans of domain experience and I truly believe this is the case. I now grasp security concepts as a whole and have a deeper understanding as some of the holes and questions I had with certain domains are now answered in detail after my studying process. I wished I read the AIO 2 years ago as it's a great resource especially to supplement experience. The whole process of preparing, and quizzing for the CISSP really provides great value if you have previous experience to back it up.

I'd like to give shoutout and thanks to Clement, JDMurray and everyone else in both CCCURE/Techexam forums for giving me guidance and resources.

Cheers

Comments

  • ChooseLifeChooseLife Member Posts: 941 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Thank you for a comprehensive review! Good luck, hope you get the "Congrats" email soon!
    “You don’t become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.” (c) xkcd #896

    GetCertified4Less
    - discounted vouchers for certs
  • corpseccorpsec Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Received the results 4/6/2012 10:16AM PT

    Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) examination - the first step in becoming certified as a CISSP.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,665 Admin
    Congratulations on passing the CISSP exam! icon_thumright.gif
  • TRF417TRF417 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Took the exam on March 10th at Vancouver as well. Received my results at 7:16am PDT today and I PASSED!!!

    For those who are interested, this is what I did to prepare for this exam:

    - Study the official ISC CISSP book
    - Study the Eric Conrad CISSP study guide
    - Did the practice questions in the ISC official book
    - Did the practice questions in the Shon Harris books, and on her site
    - Did some free practice questions on cccure site, etc.
    - Did about 1500+ practice questions.
    - Spend about 4 months studying for this exam, although I

    Hopefully this helps those who are currently working towards this certification.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,665 Admin
  • spicy ahispicy ahi Member Posts: 413 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats to you both! I will write this exam next Saturday. I've read through the AIO, The Conrad book (going through a second time right now), the Dummies book, and the OIG. I plan on going through the 11th hour next week in four days and take it easy (no studying) on Thursday and Friday. I've gone through the AIO questions, and will be going through the freepractiestests questions this week and next to help me point out the domains of interest. Hopefully I receive similar good news!
    Spicy :cool: Mentor the future! Be a CyberPatriot!
  • corpseccorpsec Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
    congrats!
    TRF417 wrote: »
    Took the exam on March 10th at Vancouver as well. Received my results at 7:16am PDT today and I PASSED!!!

    For those who are interested, this is what I did to prepare for this exam:

    - Study the official ISC CISSP book
    - Study the Eric Conrad CISSP study guide
    - Did the practice questions in the ISC official book
    - Did the practice questions in the Shon Harris books, and on her site
    - Did some free practice questions on cccure site, etc.
    - Did about 1500+ practice questions.
    - Spend about 4 months studying for this exam, although I

    Hopefully this helps those who are currently working towards this certification.
  • TRF417TRF417 Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats to you too!
  • Rick1Rick1 Member Posts: 26 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Whoo hooooo! Although from the first paragraph of your review it seemed like you had it in the bag icon_smile.gif.

    Best of luck moving forward with your latest achievement icon_wink.gif
  • s-the-bs-the-b Registered Users Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I took mine in Virginia on 11 March. I'm still anxiously awaiting the results.

    Congratulations on passing!

    I hope I passed it too.
  • spaeth.drewspaeth.drew Registered Users Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Just so I know what to look for, what was the subject of the email when you received your results? I took the exam Mar 18 so I should be getting my result pretty soon. I'm freaking out thinking accidentally deleted it because of all the spam I get from ISC2.
  • corpseccorpsec Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Just so I know what to look for, what was the subject of the email when you received your results? I took the exam Mar 18 so I should be getting my result pretty soon. I'm freaking out thinking accidentally deleted it because of all the spam I get from ISC2.

    subject below, good luck!
    [h=1](ISC)2 Examination Results ISC2:000xxxxx[/h]
  • spaeth.drewspaeth.drew Registered Users Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks! I'll keep my eyes open for it
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