How I failed the CISSP, and now must ponder the CBT in June or Paper test immediately

kalkan999kalkan999 Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
So, looking back, I see how I failed the test both times. I gave myself the full 6 hours to take the exam. After 5 hours +, however, I had reached the point where my brain was not processing anything in front of me. Fatigue took hold of me, even after breaks, stretching, eating and a good night's sleep before...
I went into the test with 11 years of knowledge, boot camp course behind me, a fair instructor, knowledge of what to expect as I took the test once before and I BARELY missed the mark. I read where people are done with the first round at 3 hours and go back. I am too dyslexic and ADD for that. I am one who MUST focus on one at a time, and I think that is my Achilles Heel.
SO, I pose a question:

Test immediately, or...wait for the CBT? I have about umpty-three certs I took via CBT, but none so difficult as the CISSP. However...ISC2.org site talks of Latin American testers finishing much faster than paper-test takers. Most of us take some transcender or other prior to taking the exam. Most of you here come back with passing scores. Those of us with bona fide learning challenges may find the current method a bit too much. I have the knowledge in my head, and the drive to do this.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Comments

  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,663 Admin
    You bring up a valid point that everybody doesn't learn the same way. Having only one testing format is an advantage to some, a disadvantage to others, and neither to most. However, this has been the situation in all forms of learning institutions for (at least) hundreds of years. Some people need to take extraordinary measures to help themselves conform to the challenges that they find in standardized testing formats. Unless there are other testing options (e.g., oral), your only choices are to adapt, try your luck, or not take the exam.

    I have a hard time believing that this is the first exam of this type you have ever taken. What did you do in the past to prepare yourself for other long exams?
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Oh, absolutely this is not the first test I had to take that was so long-winded and using a scantron. SAT, ACT, and that confounded GRE all come to mind. HOWEVER, I have never taken a test such as this where it is truly a pass/fail, especially by such a close margin on both attempts. The above tests, as you know are more score based and more subjective on the point scale by those in admissions at colleges.

    This IS the first test where I had so MANY questions asked over so many domains, and where I had to break down each and every question asked to make sure I understood the question fully. SAT's GRE's etc., usually cover a variety of subjects but are much easier to prepare for, and I performed well with same. To be honest, I also had the benefit of using the Sylvan Learning center for the above tests to help me as well. Other tests I took throughout my college years, for example, were never more than two hours, with the exception of labs. All other tests I took for computer certifications were CBT's, including Microsoft Office MOUS certifications at Expert and Intermediate levels. MOUS certs are definitely harder than the rest for me, as I passed some and failed others. I took certs before with boot camps and no brain **** and fared very well. I did like the use of Adaptive formats that were so popular in the early 2000's, but I digress.
    CISSP is like no other for someone who is not primed for IT, in that most really good IT people I know are very logical to the point of arrogance, but their arrogance is also well-founded. Once colleagues I mention above have the experience and enough wisdom to go into this test a little more humble and a little less technical, then they usually pass on the first attempt. Unfortunately, I also see that most of these brilliant people who take this CISSP and pass, often only do so in order to pad their credentials, or do so because the military requires it based on their positions.

    Then there are those like me who finally pass on the third attempt are the ones I see who work hard to stay in the CISSP game, as they tried so hard to get there in the first place. I, for one, plan to write a book, thoroughly vetted by ISC2 of course, to help prevent others who find it a challenge to learn and test as it stands in current format from failing more than once, if at all. I THINK I have it now, and am currently in process of laying out a methodology that works for me rather than try to embrace methods used by others. If I pass this time, it will be because I chose a different path in how I enter this examination, and hope to share it with others once FINALLY cross the finish line. I have all the knowledge in my head to pass. My last instructor (yes I even went to a boot camp prior to, and it did help) told me she met many like me who can recite Shon Harris as a theologian would the bible, but that all-too-often the same people fail, and never by much. Conceptual models don't trip me up, nor do fact based questions. TIME and energy used to understand the questions asked is where I fall short.

    SO, If I pass, I will endeavor to be the Messiah for the ADHD Dyslexic types (usually where you are diagnosed with one, you are also the other) who wish to take on this beast of a test, sans the delusions of grandeur, of course. :)
  • corpseccorpsec Member Posts: 73 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hi Kalkan,

    I was just wondering what % were you getting on cccure quizes on un-seen questions using 250 questions at a time, before attempting the test?
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,663 Admin
    It sounds like you have sufficient knowledge to pass the CISSP exam, but you are making bad choices during the exam. Because simply repeating the same test-taking strategy and tactics you employed in your first two exams won't result in a pass in your third attempt (although there is the luck factor to consider), you need to research better ways to scientifically approach taking an exam. You might be very susceptible to plausible distractors in the answer key, or not taking enough time to consider the best choice of two possibly correct answers. Just a little tune up in these areas will push you over the passing mark.

    You also need to find a way to make your biochemistry maintain a sustained level of concentration for 5-6 hours. And that may mean frequent snacks, meditation breaks, working on controlling your breathing to make is less shallow, or occasionally repeating affirmations to calm and focus yourself. Regular exercise also does wonders for concentration. Just 30 minutes a day, four days a week for several weeks on an aerobic machine can really help you feel better and to focus your mind. And, of course, if you are seeing a doctor for your ADD condition, it might be time to look into adjusting--or start taking--your medication.
  • bryguybryguy Member Posts: 190
    corpsec wrote: »
    Hi Kalkan,

    I was just wondering what % were you getting on cccure quizes on un-seen questions using 250 questions at a time, before attempting the test?

    That's definitely a valid question.... As crazy as it sounds, I'd even go as far as taking a few of those 250 questions practice tests sleep deprived, and/or food deprived just to prepare you for a worst case type scenario.
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    TO be honest, I would take CCCure tests 50 at a time vs 250. There were other transcenders that I used for the 250 question portion, namely the CBT nuggets transcender and a couple of others. But with the 50 questions, I got myself up to about 80-90% on all domains consistently on CCCure.
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I definitely took the time, but was usually stumped by the reasonable detractors. At the 5 hour mark, I was supposed to be finished, but I had only answered 210 questions, as I took my time answering each one. The additional hour I was going to give myself to go back and recheck was thwarted by me, and by the loss of concentration at the 5 hour mark.
    JDMurray wrote: »
    It sounds like you have sufficient knowledge to pass the CISSP exam, but you are making bad choices during the exam. Because simply repeating the same test-taking strategy and tactics you employed in your first two exams won't result in a pass in your third attempt (although there is the luck factor to consider), you need to research better ways to scientifically approach taking an exam. You might be very susceptible to plausible distractors in the answer key, or not taking enough time to consider the best choice of two possibly correct answers. Just a little tune up in these areas will push you over the passing mark.

    You also need to find a way to make your biochemistry maintain a sustained level of concentration for 5-6 hours. And that may mean frequent snacks, meditation breaks, working on controlling your breathing to make is less shallow, or occasionally repeating affirmations to calm and focus yourself. Regular exercise also does wonders for concentration. Just 30 minutes a day, four days a week for several weeks on an aerobic machine can really help you feel better and to focus your mind. And, of course, if you are seeing a doctor for your ADD condition, it might be time to look into adjusting--or start taking--your medication.
  • forestgiantforestgiant Member Posts: 153
    The paper test would take longer because it requires hand-eye coordination and manual transfer of answers to the scan-tron. It's an unavoidable part of the exam that could easily add 20-40 minutes to the exam process. So I'd suggest you take the CBT exam just based on that reasoning to save yourself from exhaustion on the 5th hour.

    It appears you have the right preparation and experience, so my only suggestion is to "put on the Manager's hat." Every set of answers has at least one answer the appears MORE relevant than the other three if you just look at it from perspective of a manager, and that usually relates to the company's bottom line.

    G'luck.
  • afcyungafcyung Member Posts: 212
    I think you should reevaluate your study methods. If having dyslexia and ADD are causing problems, what are your study strategies you are using to overcome them when you are studying? This could be the main reason you are spending so much time on the exam in the first place. Poor studying leading to poor test taking. I would wait for the CBT just for the ease of the exam not being on the scan tron sheet and use the time to reevaluate your study methods maybe look into another source of information.
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I have the knowledge. I don't think it's about the studying. I have the knowledge. It's the questions that I have to break down, followed by the plausible distractors. I take too much time on each question and my brain is fried at the end of the test. I believe that the last 40 questions I had not answered by the beginning of hour 5 played a major role in my not passing, as I stated before, I could no longer process what was in front of me between hour 5-6, so I had to essentially take a stab at the last bit of the test.
  • VirtualGuardVirtualGuard Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I took my exam last month, and had almost the same situation I answered only 150 questions at the end of 4th hour and had to answer the next 100 in 2 hours intact they were more than that since I did marked some but was unsure of them, I am a very slow test taker and it feels when you see others leaving the room at the 4 hour mark and the rest look like they are done and reviewing with their pencils down.. :) .. but I had some experience with CISA exam before and I knew that at the last moment I can sprint, well that how my brain works.. more when in pressure. I was done with my exam with around 10 minutes to go over the unsure answers, from around 8-10 of them I changed 1 I guess; since I knew that our first choice is ALWAYS the best so, didn't thought much about changing anything only the hints that I got from future questions made me change one of them..

    My suggestion would be practice as much as you can.. I took at least 3 paper based much exams complete with 250 questions in one go, on scantron made on excel and questions from the trancenders, cccure and some other websites printed so I can get a feel of paper and pencil, I would highly recommend that.
  • jackleejacklee Member Posts: 10 ■□□□□□□□□□
    JDMurray wrote: »
    It sounds like you have sufficient knowledge to pass the CISSP exam, but you are making bad choices during the exam. Because simply repeating the same test-taking strategy and tactics you employed in your first two exams won't result in a pass in your third attempt (although there is the luck factor to consider), you need to research better ways to scientifically approach taking an exam. You might be very susceptible to plausible distractors in the answer key, or not taking enough time to consider the best choice of two possibly correct answers. Just a little tune up in these areas will push you over the passing mark.

    You also need to find a way to make your biochemistry maintain a sustained level of concentration for 5-6 hours. And that may mean frequent snacks, meditation breaks, working on controlling your breathing to make is less shallow, or occasionally repeating affirmations to calm and focus yourself. Regular exercise also does wonders for concentration. Just 30 minutes a day, four days a week for several weeks on an aerobic machine can really help you feel better and to focus your mind. And, of course, if you are seeing a doctor for your ADD condition, it might be time to look into adjusting--or start taking--your medication.

    Excellent guide I've ever seen.Thanks, JDMurray.
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