Passed!! Be Aware long read

fletcherjohnfletcherjohn Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
I've never posted here... however; I wanted to share my experience with you all since I was able to gather so much great information from this site. Little background of me: Working in DoD/Army environment for 6 years as an IT specialist/Sys Admin performing numerous jobs, however, IA duties were limited to patching Windows Vista, 7, and server 03/08. I was skeptical with the way I was studying and so many post discouraged me since I thought I was not doing enough or couldn’t really gauge myself of the things that I was studying...... I’ve attached a little study guide that I’ve created for my coworkers…

Total of 87 days of my journey started around late Nov of 2012..

-Eric Conrad 2nd Edition
-25 page summary that I found in either this website or Can't remember, however, I attached the pic of the cover.
-Transcender exam prep (Best thing ever for me)
-Eric Conrads end of the chapter quizzes and the two 250 question exams.
-Gave up on reading Shon Harris’ 6 edition… I was discouraged when reading this book. Too much info...
-Gave up on taking Shon Harris’ end of the chapter quizzes and the quizzes that came with the Book/CD. was mediocre for me.... outdated info.

Test day: Woke up early, ate, drank little bit of coffee... Try to stay positive but didn't work. Took me 4 hours and 40 mintues to complete the exam.
Read the Book!! This is how: Read a chapter a day except for Access Control and Telecommunication chapters, those are too long. However, try to read other chapter once a day and answer all the end of the chapter quiz. If you do this then you can finish the book within/around 14 days or earlier. Do not take any days off since any day taken off will only increase your “laziness and you know it”. Do this twice. The second read will be lot faster…. Trust me!! Don’t give up. First, just read; don’t worry about creating flash cards. However, during the second read make sure you create flash cards on everything that you cannot memorize or all the confusing terms. VERY IMPORTANT!! It will pay off later. **TIP** If you have hard time grasping the overall picture then read the table of contents several times. Trust me I didn’t know this until the end that the table of content was very useful.
Read the 25 page summary pdf file(See the attached pic). Very important!! This is better than the thin Eric Conrad’s book. It looks like a summary of Shon Harris’ book and it captures lots of things that Eric Conrad does not. It will open up your eyes but at the same time create anxiety because it may lead you to believe that Eric Conrad’s book is not sufficient, however, it’s okay… Don’t worry; this is in preparation for Transcender questions.
Start studying/testing two domains per day or more on Transcender. However much you can tolerate. Go through all the questions one by one and try to understand why and how the question is related to the answers. This is to build your skill in “process of elimination” and to build the skill to think like a manager. Or at list what CISSP is trying to teach you. Finish the test once and go over the ones that you missed once more. (** Make sure you utilize your note cards here!!) Take a break and then hit the second domain. If you repeat this then you can finish all 10 domains in 5 days. And then you can take 250 question exams (There are three pre-set and one random exam) the next 4 days. After completing one exam, make sure you go over all the ones that you missed.

You will spend total of 9 days on it. You can go through this process again or you can go back to reading the book once more to really buckle down on the terms and the concept from the book. That is up to you!! **Tip** Don’t waste your time on vendor specific questions and answers. Vista, BitLocker, or Hacking tools. Read these, don’t skip them but just know that it is out there. I don’t think you have to memorize it. Just know that those terms were introduced. If you are tired of Transcender and Eric Conrad’s book at this point then alternate method is to review the 500 questions from Syngress site (Eric Conrad’s book). His questions will throw you off again, however, it’s okay. When you finish the first 250 questions do it again right away. If you do it three or four straight times (over a period of time) then it will just become easier and smoother. Then do the next 250 question exam.

Add more study methods however you want. Read the 25 page summary review again. It only takes few hours to skim through it and you can pick up on some concepts that you don’t comprehend. Use that review to create more flash cards. Carry your flash cards every where to look at them as much as you can to reinforce what you know and don’t know. You can review the end of the chapter quizzes again. There are total of 150 questions and they are pretty good questions. Do it once and whatever you have missed, mark it, and review them whenever you can. The ones that you know drop them, no need to dwell in them.

So now you have spent the following amount of time:
-Little less than 4 weeks in reading
-1 or 2 days in reading the summary
-9 days in Transcender questions
-5 days in Eric Conrad’s 500 question exam numerous times (You can do this at work too!!) You can do 30 to 50 questions at a time at work. Don’t stress yourself but you can save time doing it at work.
-Few days in added study method of your choice.

The total time will be less than two months or around that time frame depending on how you’ve studied. I highly recommend not taking any days off, however, if it is too much then take only few days off (not consecutively) but every third or fourth week; completely away from studying to refresh your mind. If you feel comfortable after this then schedule the exam two weeks out and run the Transcender once again (repeat the steps above; 5 days = 10 domain and 4 days = 4 250 exams) and at work try to do the Eric Conrad’s questions/answer 50 or more every day and try to hit the entire exam twice. At the end of all this, it will be around two and half months and I think that is enough time of studying prior to the actual CISSP exam. I wasted a lot of time trying to narrow down what was right for me and it was still less than 85 days.

If you have to read the book more than twice then go ahead.. Whatever works for you!! Good luck~~


  • bobloblawbobloblaw Member Posts: 228

    I really can't talk the Transcender prep up enough. I'm starting to sound like I work for them. I've gotten them in the past and they were pretty much brain ****. The CISSP one explains the answer in detail, or worst case gives you a blurb and references page numbers in the popular CISSP books.
  • moyondizvomoyondizvo Member Posts: 155
    Congratulations...this is a great write up.
  • webgeekwebgeek Member Posts: 495 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats on the pass! Welcome btw to TE!
    BS in IT: Information Assurance and Security (Capella) CISSP, GIAC GSEC, Net+, A+
  • jfitzgjfitzg Member Posts: 102 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Could you please re-attach the study guide? It does not seem to be uploaded.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    This is a great write up. I will be sitting for this exam in about a month and this will help me stay motivated. icon_thumright.gif
  • t17hhat17hha Member Posts: 52 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats and good write up!
  • fletcherjohnfletcherjohn Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I couldn't attached anything so I just pasted the entire write up in the body of my post. 25 page summary front cover is attached here
  • Kamat2000Kamat2000 Member Posts: 34 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congratssss.... Here's the link for 25 page summary .Hope it will help other tooo :
  • !nf0s3cure!nf0s3cure Member Posts: 161 ■■□□□□□□□□
    'Transcender exam prep (Best thing ever for me)' was that just the practise questions or the study guide?

    Good effort. Well done.
  • fletcherjohnfletcherjohn Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    !nf0s3cure...... When I read the book multiple times and answered the end of the chapter quizzes it was really hard to gauge myself and what I actually knew. However, transcender helped me to learn how to take the test and apply the knowledge I had like how the ISC2 folks wanted me too. Does that make sense? It helped me to build the process of elimination techniques. In all seriousness I don’t think I would’ve passed without it.

  • kalkan999kalkan999 Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I read a lot of posts in this forum about how people prepared. A common theme does emerge, i.e., length of time studying, note taking, books (All-in-one or Shon Harris), and lest we not forget, the test preps and courses. Well done indeed.
  • !nf0s3cure!nf0s3cure Member Posts: 161 ■■□□□□□□□□
    My confusion is that did you just buy the prep exam or the study guide?
  • fletcherjohnfletcherjohn Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    !nf0s3cure... If i'm reading your question correctly then I bought the transcender exam from their website and the 25 page study guide was free. Kamat2000 posted the link above. Hope this helps.

  • Mulenga ChilesheMulenga Chileshe Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Am in a state of confusion. Which one is the best CISA or CISSP? Please help.
  • Master Of PuppetsMaster Of Puppets Member Posts: 1,210
    Congrats!Thanks for the useful info!
    Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
  • f0rgiv3nf0rgiv3n Member Posts: 598 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congratulations, and thanks for taking the time to write this up. It's going to help me a lot as I'm beginning my studies right now.
  • !nf0s3cure!nf0s3cure Member Posts: 161 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the information. I have got the guide and plan to get back into it soonish.
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Member Posts: 1,118
    Thanks for the writeup on this.

    I too feel that Harris' book there is too much material. I've been studying the 1st domain, Information Security and Risk and I'm not remembering anything. I remember when I was studying for my A+, I bought Mike Myers book, but there was too much info in it and I gave up trying to use it. History repeats itself...not no more...

    I'm going to order Conrad's book instead and use that as my main book to study from. I also have access to Skillport (US Army too).
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

    "Its easier to deceive the masses then to convince the masses that they have been deceived."
  • airbenairben Member Posts: 14 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So, you're saying the Transcender was the most similar to the actual test in terms of question type/format? (vs Syngress, etc.)
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