Going for my third attempt at the CISSP - What I've learned

kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior MemberMember Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
O.K…here’s my story………………..
Scheduled to take the exam for the 3rd time in less than two weeks....I will let everyone know how it turns out.

Here is my history on taking the exam..1st attempt I took a week long class, studied material from class, a little of the Shon Harris book (questions at end ofchapter and summary for each chapter). Took a few months off...then crammed for a month, sort of and spent the last week in the library (took off work). You really need to know your stuff when taking this exam...I was 9 minutes shy of taking the full 6 hrs. I waited until I got to my vehicle and checked the printout...I got a 692 on the first attempt meaning I missed itby 2 questions (went back and changed some answers-burnt me). Wasn't prepared mentally to take the long exam-didn't have a game plan-thought it would be like any other cert exam I've taken (I had a half cup of coffee and a hashbrown from MCDonalds before rushing to an early exam that I thought would take maybe 3 hrs).

Second attempt...my exam got cancelled due to bad weather. Geez...had to wait two more weeks which means two more weeks of nonstop studying which is tough with a job, kids,wife, ect-you all know what I’m talking about.

2nd-second attempt (ha ha), thought it was easier and didn't even bother to review the questions I marked to review because I felt like I passed, my strategy going in (thinking I learned how to take the test better) was to read a question twice and if I didn't know for sure, I just marked it for review and kept going like a race…wasted too much brain power last time. Took a few breaks, was in good spirits since the questions didn't seem so foreign this time around. When it came time to review after finishing…I didn't even bother since I felt like I passed...last time around I stopped marking questions for review because it would of been every other question. Bad idea again (3.5hrs and got a 672). REMEMBER 25 of the 250 questions don't count so maybe I felt I passed because even if I got all of those right, it doesn't count. Going into that exam I had a good breakfast with OJ, some decent sleep and felt confident because CCCure.org seemed to prepare me well for the exam. What I learned from that exam attempt.

1) Don’t schedule a party to celebrate becoming a CISSP the same day of theexam. Yes, mine was cancelled.

2) If you don’t know an answer, after reading the question twice…my advice is don’t even put an answer, just mark it for review (at the end of the test you will be allowed to see any unmarked and marked questions, I assure you. When reviewing the unanswered questions you marked, you will have a fresh look at the question again and not second guess yourself by changing an answer you selected previously because you didn’t put much thought into the first round.
3) Don’t rush, the exam is $600, get your money worth and make a day out of it. Geez you prepared long enough for it-this is your day. Also by reviewing the questions, you will remember what to study for better the next time, god forbid you have to face this beast of a test again.

4) Take your time, read, re-read, then re-read again the questions carefully and take unscheduled breaks (that’s what they call them). I believe you can takeup to 6 and you should. Don’t feel bad raising your hand and having the proctor check you out for a break. That’s their job and yours is to keep a focused and clear mind.

This time around (had to wait 90 days for the third attempt), I scheduled the exam later in the day (10:30am) and am gearing up. During my 90 day wait….
1-I’ve registered on SANS and watched the Eric Cole CISSP SANS webcast- thanks techexams.net for this advice. You need this and the advice is invaluable…gonna watch this again before I take the exam. http://www.techexams.net/forums/isc-sscp-cissp/93407-cissp-passed-09-14-2013-my-story-took-3-times-long-read.html

2-I purchased the ISC2 CISSP Studiscope questions –they sent me a promo code after taking the free 30 question exam and registering. I think it was worth the money and it helped me identify a few of the questions I thought I answered correctly on the previous exams only to find out I was wrong. It is good for 90 days but they will extend it another 90 days if you ask. Https://www.expresscertifications.com/isc2/

3-Safari online books membership- Awesome- I’ve read Eric Conrad’s CISSP StudyGuide, Edition Two-GREAT (I liked this better than reading the long Shon Harris CISSP book-I am using the Total Tester that came with the book and it has been great), looked over Conrad's 11th Hour CISSP-OK but it is just a recap to freshen your mind the last week before you take the exam, CISSP Rapid Review book by Darril Gibson (great resource) and still reading ExamCram for the CISSP-good just getting tired of preparing and adding yet another resource.

4-I re-purchased the CCCure.org membership-great (6 months) but haven’t even used it as I’ve been busy with all the other material I have. I will usethe CCCure next week as I feel it really helped me last time. Thanks Clement! I also purchased 1 & 2 of his scenario CISSP question for around $50-went through these once. Links below to save you the hassle of looking for them.


I’ll let you know how I do. Good luck to all of you gearing up also.


  • coty24coty24 Senior Member Member Posts: 263 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Good luck man! I enjoyed reading the thread and look forward to your results in the future!
    Passed LOT2 :)Working on FMV2(CHFI v8 ) Done!
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks, I appreciate it! I take the exam on November 18th, so I will be sure to let you know.
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Senior Member Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you need additional insight from a third-time test taker, read my posts, or reach out to me personally. I am glad to help, while not coloring outside the lines, of course. :)
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks, I will take a look at your posts and appreciate the offer of any additional insight you could provide. We'll be in contact.
  • paul78paul78 Senior Member Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Good luck on your third try. Sounds like you have the right tenacity to get there. Don't give up!
  • mayacosta78mayacosta78 Junior Member Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Good luck. I am currently studying for it, and I am scared $#!tless. I keep hearing it's hard, it's intimidating, blah blah blah. I've got a bunch of materials to study, meanwhile, I feel like I haven't moved passed domain 1! lol
  • beadsbeads Senior Member Member Posts: 1,525 ■■■■■■■■■□

    Don't fear the CISSP reaper so to say. It will all boil down to managing your internal expectations. Some folks do really well with exams others not so much. The more tests you take - the more comfortable I hear people take this exam. If its been years since college and no certifications or other test work, the generally more anxiety folks seem to have over this exam. Talked to folks who haven't had an exam in 10 years tell me it was the toughest thing they have ever done in their entire lives. Others shrug it off as just being a long but boring exam. I was closer to the later on that one. Took 5 breaks and finished in roughly 2.5 hours. No sweat. Was I drained afterwards? You bet. Then again, the bar was literally next door and found much company waiting for me on the other side of the testing room. Note Bene: This was a old time paper test in a hotel. Of which I still prefer, thank-you very much.

    Manage your time. Don't "freak out". Skip those questions that just don't make sense at first and come back to them later. Take breaks as you need to reset your mind. Keep your headphones on if they help. And finally, concentrate, find a flow that works for you and manage the test instead of the test managing you. That's probably the most important thing to keep in mind. People who complain the most are probably falling into the trap of having the test manage the test taker and not the other way around. icon_wink.gif

    Good luck and have a great testing experience.

    - B Eads
  • Khaos1911Khaos1911 Senior Member Member Posts: 366
    You sound well prepared to me. I think you'll kill it this time. Good luck!
  • DAVIS NGUYENDAVIS NGUYEN Senior Member Member Posts: 1,472 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Best of luck !
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks all! 7 days left until I take the exam (Nov. 18th) and am surprised that I am actually looking forward to it though that sounds strange. My life seems to of revolved around this retake. I am tired of preparing but now that the exam is almost here I am pumped and have a renewed spirit facing this exam. One week left of studying and should be able to push through with a passing score. I believe I am ready but thought that last time. I am reviewing Conrad's CISSP Second Edition, taking the Shon Harris CISSP practice exams for each domain, looking over each chapter summary from her 6th Edition CISSP book, ISC2 CISSP StudiScope questions I purchased and also Rapid Review by Darril Gibson. I am going to cram as much info and try to remember as much before I take the exam. Gonna do this up until I arrive at the testing center.
  • zxbanezxbane Senior Member Member Posts: 740 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Sounds like you are ready to make it this time, good luck!
  • tprice5tprice5 Senior Member Member Posts: 770
    I thought you had to wait weeks to find out if you passed or not?
    Certification To-Do: CEH [ ], CHFI [ ], NCSA [ ], E10-001 [ ], 70-413 [ ], 70-414 [ ]
    Start Date: 10/01/2014 | Complete Date: ASAP
    All Courses: LOT2, LYT2 , UVC2, ORA1, VUT2, VLT2 , FNV2 , TFT2 , JIT2 , FMV2, FXT2 , LQT2
  • zxbanezxbane Senior Member Member Posts: 740 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Not anymore, they print out a result at the testing center. I received my passing result right after testing yesterday. The endorsement process however does take weeks.
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey Kalkann999, I appreciate you taking the time to post...I enjoyed reading your post One Year Anniversary after passing my CISSP ! Dedication to preparing for the exam and tenacity are keys to passing this exam. The material I am learning and have learned is very applicable to the IT security position I have. It is great to work for a certification that actually has value and the material learned can be used. I've taken other cert exams and seemed to forget the material I studied after being certified. Not with the CISSP, you really learn it and are not a "paper CISSP". I respect the exam and those who passed it.
  • acomoacomo Member Member Posts: 69 ■■■□□□□□□□
    3rd time huh? good luck. i have my own in 2 months from now. Well i wish you good luck but i really love the way you are treating the situation. other people in your place would be going mad if they did not pass for 2 times. good luck :)
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Senior Member Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You are quite welcome. When you pass, pay it forward as you're doing now. Let us all know where you are in a year so you can inspire others.
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    acomo....believe me, it took some time to get over failing the exam the second time. I literally fell to my knees after I saw I didn't pass after my second attempt. I couldn't believe it. I stayed there kneeling in the testing lobby with head hunched down on one of their chairs mumbling something like "there is no way I didn't pass". It's funny when I think about it now because a fellow test taker walked by as I knelt there and I didn't even care. The lady who worked there actually came over and tried to assure me it would be o.k.....you'll get it next time she said-funny to think about now and my family got a kick out of it when I told them about it. I stayed there for 5 minutes trying to absorb that I would have to face this beast again and then having to tell my wife that I didn't pass (she sacrificed quite a bit for my test prep...watching our kiddos so I could spend evenings studying at the library and me putting this exam before everything else in my life).

    I sat in my truck for 10 minutes after walking out of the testing facility and tried gather myself. On my drive home, made a sudden detour, I picked up a 6pack of beer and felt sorry for myself along with thinking there must of been some kind of mistake as I felt I passed (remember, 25 of the questions on the exam don't even count on your final score and you don't even know which ones they are, so every question counts). Upon arriving home, my wife looked at me and just knew I didn't pass. Maybe my pale face and 6pk of pounders gave it away. I powered my phone back on as I sat on the coach still shaking my head in disbelief. 4 text messages came through wishing me good luck and not to worry as I was sure to pass this time.....geez these were sent to me while I was taking the exam. Party planned for that evening had to be cancelled and texted them back with a simple..."didn't pass".
    A few days went by and I actually called ISC2 to see if there had been a mistake or if others called to express the same doubt I had that their system must of made a mistake. No such luck. It hurt and sucked because of the 90 day wait. I would of taken it 30 days later if I could of.
    I gathered myself, laughed when I told those around me how I reacted to my results in the testing center and decided to work harder this time and if this is my cross, I would bear it in good spirits. I even started a novena (9 days)asking St. Joseph of Cupertino to pray for me and assist me in passing the exam this time around. He is the patron saint of test taking- this may sound silly if you're not Catholic but as Catholics we ask saints to pray for us all the time for assistance. Just so you all know what I am referencing, his story and other info is in the links below. I'll take whatever help I can get. Please know I am not trying to push religion on anyone as I am sure you know, just telling my story on how I am approaching the exam. St. Joseph ofCupertino A Catholic Life: Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino for success inExaminations. Good luck to you all and keep up the studies!
  • maddy1maddy1 Member Member Posts: 30 ■■□□□□□□□□
    @ kccomputerpilot --

    This is possibly the best post i've seen on TE... Was laughing my a** out while reading this!!~

    Act i also got a score of 692 the first time. Now appearing for my 2nd on 19th of this month. Jst can't imagine if any of this happens!! so was jst imagining about it n laughing.icon_lol.gif
    Jokes apart..but it was really sad that u couldn't make it the 2nd time. The post itself details the emotional trauma u would've faced after the exam. So, best of luck for this time..I'm sure ur goin to nail it!!

    Cheers!! will keep u posted on my results too!
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    @ maddy1

    I’m glad you liked my post…it is funny how this exam can knock your world of its axis a bit. It is past 1am and I am still studying. I have a 112 page word doc that’s in creation (continues to grow) as I put together a final push on all the material I’m trying to remember/keep fresh in my mind. After this exam (and passing it), I might ask my wife to bind it or something and make it a mock bookshelf for our basement.

    I plan on burning the Shon Harris book after I pass, not out of anger but because I’m tired of seeing it every day (you should see it, it is under my desk at work (untouched after my first exam attempt when it was used) with all the chapter summaries torn out-it looks rough-like a small dog attacked it.

    Bummer that you missed passing the exam with a 692 also on your first try-you'll knock it out this time! :) I take my exam in 57 ½ hours…yes, I actually just counted that out. The lack of sleep and constant studying has caused me to write ridiculous but true personal accounts of how this exam has affected me. Techexams.net has allowed me an outlet, which I appreciate. After I am done taking the exam this Monday, Nov. 18 and click submit, I might just get my money’s worth and go to sleep right there. Haha. Take care and pass the exam on the 19th.
  • maddy1maddy1 Member Member Posts: 30 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Haha.. u do have a good sense of humor..or i guess it's the frustration which keeps on hanging!! :)

    We both r at the same page on this.. I am definitely goin to burn the shon harris and all that junk of books n practice papers if i fail this time!!!! Coz i don't carry that much temperament and patience as u do!! last time it showed cryto n legal as my weakest..might be bcoz i did some corrections in the end, so trying my luck this last time..! icon_wink.gif
  • cgrimaldocgrimaldo Senior Member Member Posts: 439 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Good luck to you!
  • LionelTeoLionelTeo Senior Member Member Posts: 526 ■■■■■■■□□□
    i am sorry to hear about your post in regards to cissp exam. I use to come a long way from religion praying about passing. But few months ago I have awaken from the praying part of the religion, the most important take away in the religious text itself. The prayer is secondary once you grasp the meaning.

    If you really want to be a successful person in your life. You have to grasp the desire of success and the essence of no desire. With desire it brings manifestation, without desire it brings the essence of peace. With this two combine will unravel the roots of being a successful person. Have you ever learn to play a game and got better without actually desiring for it? The key point is to desire for something, yet keeping the manifestation away. Here is some guidance which I hope it can help you to along the way.

    -Negative energy and conflict-
    Your story about you calling isc2 and buying beer is a result of a conflict. Conflict brings negative emotion. Example is that you would want to pass and yet the reality is that you didnt pass. The prolong conflict will build up a negative energy in your heart. When the negative emotion fills up your heart it will result in negative energy channel towards objects, people or yourself. Example if drinking beer (objects),call.isc2 (people) and sadness/depression (yourself)

    What is going to happen is that this conflict is going to affect your ability to study. Even if you will to pass the cissp, you are still consider that you have suffer a defeat as you have not grasp the correct concept to handle such situation perfectly.

    To prevent the negative energy from building up. Then one of conflict must be remove, either the reality of now your failing (which is impossible).or the desire to pass.

    Now from this we can also conclude stress is also a result of a conflict. Conflict of 1) thinking at the point of time that you have the cissp and 2) reality of now you still do not have cissp

    If your studying cissp with stress. Then you are not going to study as good as someone who did it without stress.

    -Removing The conflict-
    Ever heard the saying that if you think you will fail the exam. Then you really will fail the exam. This is the working of the subconcious mind in effect. If we can apply this in reverse positively, then we can remove the conflict, and overcome any possibility of stress, thus allowing oneself to take on the study, life and exam in the best state of mind. The subconcious learn best when your mind desire for something and work best when your mind is not thinking.

    What have happen is that your subconcious has been plague with the thought of your thinking the point of time holding the cissp, while reality it didnt. Now how about telling yourself you will study to your best for cissp and not think of anything else. And you will be positive no matter what happens. Try repeating that to yourself multiple times whenever your awake and before you sleep. Then stop thinking while studying for cissp. You will be happier, stress free and have a higher state of your mind to study for cissp. Once you achieve in perfecting this you will be a successful person in your life no matter what situation, what outcome and what difficulty you have to face

    good luck
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    @ LionelTeo... Well said! Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I do appreciate it. Your post is deep and will need to ponder all of this.
  • LionelTeoLionelTeo Senior Member Member Posts: 526 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Hi computer pilot,

    I use to have the same problem, thinking too much and channeling the results of negative emotion to things, people and self. We have the same common human problem, thinking too much of problems or situation we cant solve or reach right now and generating self conflict we didnt realise until we think about.

    Now the last thing you can push yourself for cissp is to have the best state of mind while taking the exam. Get ample sleep and tell yourself you will perform the best repeatedly the day you woke up for exam and the day before you sleep. You can tell yourself positive things like you will concerntrate on exam repeatedly on the day. This drills your subconcious to concerntrate. When you begin the exam dont think, abandon the thought of passing and failing as it wont help you to do better. Dont think about anything and your subconcious mind will take over your body on autopilot mode to concerntrate and perform to your very best for the exam.

    Good luck and i hope to hear the best from you.
  • techwizardtechwizard Junior IT Network Adm1n Member Posts: 162 ■■■□□□□□□□
    kccomputerpilot, good luck with your third attempt at CISSP!
    "Never give up" ~ Winston Churchill
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    My exam is at 10:30am tomorrow. I believe I am ready. I plan on going through as much material today...top 5 domains so it is fresh in my mind. Went through all 300 ISC2 StudiScope questions this morning once (average 90%) and going over my highlighted notes taken from Eric Conrad's CISSP Study Guide, E2 now. Going to quickly review the cccure questions, if I have time, while listening to Eric Cole's Webcast. Tomorrow morning, after getting a good night's rest, I will get up at 6am and go over material I put together for my exam day review doc. My wife will make me a good breakfast with some OJ. My game plan while taking the exam is to leave any questions I don't know or need more time to think about blank and mark them for review. I am going to take a break after completing question 100 (30 minutes), after question 150, (20 minutes), after question 200 (20 minutes) and upon answering question 250, (30 minutes). After this break, I will go back to the questions I left blank and finish those. This leaves me with 4 hrs and 20 minutes which will be enough time for me to complete the exam and give it my all.
  • tprice5tprice5 Senior Member Member Posts: 770
    Really hoping OP passed. Waiting for him to check back. If 3rd time is a fail, please PM me your address and I'll send you a bottle of something (not even kidding).

    Best of luck.
    Certification To-Do: CEH [ ], CHFI [ ], NCSA [ ], E10-001 [ ], 70-413 [ ], 70-414 [ ]
    Start Date: 10/01/2014 | Complete Date: ASAP
    All Courses: LOT2, LYT2 , UVC2, ORA1, VUT2, VLT2 , FNV2 , TFT2 , JIT2 , FMV2, FXT2 , LQT2
  • kalkan999kalkan999 Senior Member Member Posts: 269 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Hope we hear back from him soon. I've been waiting all day.
  • techwizardtechwizard Junior IT Network Adm1n Member Posts: 162 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Well, its only one of two possibilities, either:

    A) He passed, and he is partying it up like its 1999.


    B) He failed. Too depressed to post on an internet forum.

    I guess there is a technical third possibility:

    C) "no-show" for some reason.

    Are we posting bets? icon_lol.gif Here's to hoping he passed!
    "Never give up" ~ Winston Churchill
  • kccomputerpilotkccomputerpilot Junior Member Member Posts: 20 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hey fellas....this exam was the toughest I faced out of the three I took. I actually took the full 6 hrs and let the time run out as I answered my last review question (by the end felt like letting the shot clock run out as I gave it my all). I asked them to please fold the printout and not look or tell me how I did. I folded it up and put it in my back pocket. I got home and waited to give the folded printout to my wife until I was ready to accept the outcome-about an hour passed before I was willing to give her my result. As my kiddos played downstairs, I tossed the folded printout to my wife and told her there is no way I passed except by the grace of God (yes, I prayed 2 novenas (9 days of prayer) to St. Joseph and the other to St. Joseph of Cupertino to give me strength and assist me passing this exam. They sure did. My wife unfolded the printout and told me I passed. Still in shock
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