Passed CISSP today - CBT

chilipepperchilipepper Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
First try! I am tired and relieved, but want to post while it's fresh in my mind. And yes, I have had a glass of wine to celebrate!icon_cheers.gif

So many people here have helped me...I lurk, I tend not to post, so I want to give back a little now. I already have CISA and CISM, received those 3 and 2 years ago respectively. For me, they were difficult as well, but there was less material, IMHO. Exam questions were similar level of difficulty, and more conceptual. I think they were 200 questions, 4 hrs. So you had to move a little faster for those tests!

I started studying, lightly, 5 months ago and gradually increased over time. Read Shon Harris CISSP AIO first, in the order in which I could stomach it. The stuff I was good at first (BCP DR, Legal and Regulatory, App Dev, Access Control, Governance/Risk Mgmt, Physical Security) then the domains I was mediocre in ...arch and design, op sec, then the worst...telecomm/network and crypto. I supplemented with Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, i needed to switch back and forth sometimes.

To really drill some of it into my head, I heeded someone's suggestion on this forum, and bought the kindle version of AIO and put it on text-to-speech and listened/read it at the same time. I also put the Shon Harris Mp3 lectures on my IPOD and listened to them - while running, or walking. My drive time is too short so that would not work. These ideas were obtained from someone on this forum also...I will post a link to the MP3's later. I think it's important to take the information in via different senses/methods for some people, so 'listening' was important for me. I also have a very busy house, so it helped to drown people out while studying.

I purchased a subscription to cccure for a few months, and used those questions, and their downloads for targeted study guides. I also used the total tester CD - I believe those questions were pretty well worded and at the proper difficulty level. I also had the companion test questions to AIO. All in all, I've probably been through at least 2000-3000 questions. I was only moderately happy with the cccure questions, I seemed to get stuck in the orange book vortex. I found the wording of the questions to be so-so, difficulty possibly slightly harder than the real test, I thought some were not fairly/clearly worded (but hey, that's like real life!) During the last two weeks, I bought the studiscope exams (3) and after ALL OF THAT STUDYING, scored a 76, 72 and 71. And, they confirmed my suspicion...I needed to keep studying telecomm and crypto (surprise, surprise)

The studiscope exams were good preparation, but mostly, they built my confidence because they are scored/weighted like the real test, and hey, I passed them, so there was hope.

Posting back in a little bit about the exam itself. Hurray for CBT! Banish the paper!


  • Vik210Vik210 Member Posts: 197
    Congratulations for passing the exam!
    Every day I read someone or the other passing the CISSP exam, can’t tell how motivating that is.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,927 Mod
    Congrats on the pass!
  • chilipepperchilipepper Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I took this week very seriously, cleared my social calendar, and asked for study days off from work. I worked a little intermittently. I figured I was not taking a boot camp like some of my other co-workers, so I should have some uninterrupted study time. My manager supported me, so that was great. I used CISSP for Dummies and the 11th hour Study Guide...they are nice to read to brush up. I found errors in the 11th hour guide - probably poor editing (btw...I think the Official (ISC)2 Guide might have some editing issues too) I found some study guides on cccure that I liked cissp CISSP training Certified Information Systems Security Professional - Access Denied you will have to be authenticated to cccure to see these. These were good because they were short and condensed. Here is the link to the Mp3s and some additional test questions promised in my last post...

    I did study all day yesterday...BUT I took a long break and went to the State Fair to see the Swifty Swine racing/swimming pigs, and the Llama and Alpaca judging. That definitely took my mind off the exam. But, by 8pm, I was back at it. And, until noon today. Yes, I did cram on exam day. Some people say don't do that, but I did, and I picked up a few more things.

    On my way to the exam, which was at 2, I began telling myself I was a genius. (thank you, Mainframer, for the hints on positive self-talk) I would not be defeated by this, and I was going to give it everything I had for 6 hours. The testing center was a very pleasant, zen place to be, so that was a good experience.

    My attack plan for the exam was to go through the whole test quickly, answering everything I was 100% sure of and not flagging it, and not answering (but flagging) something that I was clueless about (35 questions, nearly Greek to me), and then I answered the unsure ones, which I would estimate was 120! as 'flag for review' So, I was relatively certain about 100 questions, which felt ok, but not great. My first pass took 2 hours. My second pass, where I answered the 35 awful questions, which may as well have been eeny meeny miny mo, and the 120 that I wasn't sure of, took 3 more hours. So, for 155 questions, I narrowed them down to 2 reasonable choices, and picked one. My last hour was spent doing a 100% review, where I read every question quickly and reviewed the answers. I did change <5.

    And then I submitted it, and less than 5 minutes later, had that wonderful piece of paper handed to me, which I could not look at until I got to my car. It really is nice not to wait 6 weeks (I had to for CISA and CISM, even longer, actually) I really did feel like I could have failed it, so it would not have been good to have that hanging over my head.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who has posted tips, links, and references, or was a cheerleader. You are all very supportive, it's a great community.
  • MainframerMainframer Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations! It's clear that you went after this in a methodical and relentless way, and it paid off.

    You also deserve kudos for incorporating Llama and Alpaca judging into your study plan. This aspect of information security is far too often overlooked.
  • ThistlebackThistleback Member Posts: 151
    Congrats on your pass! You worked hard for it!
    Feel the fear, and do it anyway!
  • letstrythis1letstrythis1 Member Posts: 21 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats chilipepper!
  • ogami_ittoogami_itto Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congrats!! i am looking to get exam ready by mid to end of october 2012 using the syngres cissp study guide and then cccure questions to test knowledge, i have the shon harris book but hell its sooo much reading it makes u fall asleep, ive got some videos too and will watch the bootcamp 3 weeks before my exam date. as I hope to have cleared the 10 domains by last week of september.

    can you confirm if you can go backwards in the exam to previous questions?

    any pointers or tips from anyone greatly appreciated!
  • chilipepperchilipepper Member Posts: 16 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yes, you can navigate backwards, and forwards. You can also 'flag' a question for review, and go back to all of them when you are doing your review. You then move through your 'flagged' questions, and your skipped questions.

    I like the CBT format, because I was not distracted by any other questions on the page. I felt like I could focus on the one question at hand.

    They give you a small wipe off 'board' with a pen that you can make notes on also.

    Best wishes to you in October!
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