Passed the CISSP in 5 weeks.

montie2montie2 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
I passed the CISSP on my first attempt. My study method appears to be different from many people on this discussion board.

Materials used:
Shon Harris, AIO, 6th Edition ($35 used)
Sunflower PDF (free)
** I did not waste any money on test banks. I found the questions in Shon Harris to be fairly accurate and representative of the CISSP exam questions.

I started a new position in October as an Information Analyst under the impression that I would have up to 6 months to study for and pass the CISSP exam. Two weeks into the job, I was told that I would need to have passed the CISSP exam by the end of year. Needless to say, I was more than pissed off!

I studied for 5 weeks and passed the exam on the first attempt.
Here is how I did it:
1. Read the Shon Harris book in one week and highlighted key parts
2. Took the practice test at the end of each chapter
3. Took a 250-question simulation test using the software that came with the book.
4. Took the Sunflower PDF and added my notes on any subject that I wasn’t familiar

After adding my notes to the Sunflower PDF, I now had a 33-page document that I could use for focused study. I used the Shon Harris book only as a reference.

5. I reviewed my notes for each domain and took a practice exam for each domain using the software on the CD. If I scored higher than 80%, I considered that domain complete.
6. I repeated the process for every domain until I scored above an 80%.

The week leading up to the test, the only material I studied were the items that could be memorized like cryptography, protocols, ports, regulation numbers, and steps of major processes. The night before the test I took the comprehensive exam that the end of the Shon Harris book and scored above 90%.

During the actual CISSP exam, my process was:
1. 1st pass through all 250 questions. If I was 100% sure of the answer, I marked my answer.
2. If I could make a confident answer, I marked that answer and flagged the question.
3. If I didn’t have a clue, I left it blank and flagged the question.
4. 2nd pass through all 250 questions. I only focused on the flagged questions.
5. I had 70-80 questions flagged, so I went through and marked my best answer and unflagged the question.

I completed the test in 3.5 hours and passed.

Comments

  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec, CISSP, SSCP, GSEC, EnCE, C|EH, CySA+, PenTest+, CASP+, Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,667 Admin
    Congratulations! icon_cheers.gif And thanks for the exam review!
  • cgrimaldocgrimaldo Member Posts: 439 ■■■■□□□□□□
  • PaperlanternPaperlantern Member Posts: 352
    First of all, congratulations on the pass. It is an extremely tough test, and any pass deserves a icon_thumright.gif

    However the overall tone of your post seems a little condescending. For example, stating you didn't "waste money" on test banks is a little uppety. Those test banks helped me prepare for the test a lot, as they do thousands of test takers. If any method or resource a person uses helps, it is not a waste. I actually found the AIO terribly wordy and full of fluff that actually has nothing to do with the test.

    You didn't give us any information on your work background, experience, or other certifications you hold. Passing the CISSP with 5 weeks of study is impressive, if not a little less so, if you have been in the Security field for longer than just the current position you mentioned in your original post, or even longer than the 4 - 5 years needed to obtain the certification.

    I'm not trying to call you out or cause an uproar, don't take this the wrong way, I just don't want someone with significantly less overall experience or background than you thinking oh this guy did it in 5 weeks, so can I, and then follow your method and get crushed by the test due to lack of background.

    An the other hand, if you don't have much background in the CBK on the whole, then you really did knock it out of the park. Folks that can cram something like CISSP into a short term are a rare breed indeed.

    Regardless, I'm curious what your previous work background or experiences are and how they tie in with the way you passed the test, and with your current job move. This information could also benefit future test takers in that it could help get a point of reference to where they are in their careers compared to where you are.
  • impelseimpelse Member Posts: 1,236 ■■■■□□□□□□
    First of all, congratulations on the pass. It is an extremely tough test, and any pass deserves a icon_thumright.gif

    However the overall tone of your post seems a little condescending. For example, stating you didn't "waste money" on test banks is a little uppety. Those test banks helped me prepare for the test a lot, as they do thousands of test takers. If any method or resource a person uses helps, it is not a waste. I actually found the AIO terribly wordy and full of fluff that actually has nothing to do with the test.

    You didn't give us any information on your work background, experience, or other certifications you hold. Passing the CISSP with 5 weeks of study is impressive, if not a little less so, if you have been in the Security field for longer than just the current position you mentioned in your original post, or even longer than the 4 - 5 years needed to obtain the certification.

    I'm not trying to call you out or cause an uproar, don't take this the wrong way, I just don't want someone with significantly less overall experience or background than you thinking oh this guy did it in 5 weeks, so can I, and then follow your method and get crushed by the test due to lack of background.

    An the other hand, if you don't have much background in the CBK on the whole, then you really did knock it out of the park. Folks that can cram something like CISSP into a short term are a rare breed indeed.

    Regardless, I'm curious what your previous work background or experiences are and how they tie in with the way you passed the test, and with your current job move. This information could also benefit future test takers in that it could help get a point of reference to where they are in their careers compared to where you are.

    I had the same idea and questions, it is not an easy exam and I know people (my daughter is one) who can memorize very easy and pass the exam very quick.

    Also with some materials yes, it is good but the important part is how you apply the knowledge with the security.
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  • LeifAlireLeifAlire Member Posts: 106
    I hate the fact that it is a test center test now instead of proctored like the previous way ISC2 did the test. I mean anyone can memorize the tests going to one of many sites online and get the Q&A's...I thought that also post did seem condescending at the beginning...I am sure the poster didn't mean that...1st post and all...
    2015 Goals: VCP-550 - CISA - 70-417
  • montie2montie2 Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    My post was not meant to be condescending, but after lookingat it again I can see why you might think that.
    I quickly put that post together but the point that I wantedto make is that you can pass the CISSP by spending minimal money and time ifyou have a system of study. Themethodology that I used to study for the CISSP will build upon your currentknowledge base until you are ready to take the test. If one is weak in many domains, it may take 10or 12 weeks instead of 5 weeks.
    After reading posts on this site, it appears that manypeople are studying for months using various materials, including testbanks. Yes, I agree that test banks havehelped people pass the CISSP, but how much was spent on these test banks andbrain ****. I have seen people drophundreds of dollars, study the questions over and over, and fail the exam. So, I feel that these people wasted money andtime. The Shon Harris book contains toughquestions that are an accurate representation of the CISSP exam.
    I apologize for the condescending tone of my initialpost. The key to passing the CISSP is afocused, systematic approach that builds upon the knowledge that the test takeralready possesses.
  • RomeoJettRomeoJett Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Montie what is the Sunfllower pdf
  • vasyvasyvasyvasy Member Posts: 68 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @RomeoJett
    Google it on Yahoo... it should be in the first page of results

    Cheers!
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Very Impressive and congratulations! Still, like the others above me mention, what is your background? I've been in IT security for over 4 years now and almost half of the domains are unfamiliar to me or i have limited knowledge on them. So to hear that someone went through the exam with only 1 book,(which by the way is almost 1500 pages) a few notes and a pdf and only studying for 5 weeks is impressive, you must have a great memory or must have great experience. Not to mention that you spend less than 1 minute on each question on average. Good job though.
    On the other hand, maybe we need guys like you to give me confidence to others that think the exam is tough.
    I do like your exam approach though.
  • maharalielmaharaliel Member Posts: 119
    Cangrats and success in the utilization of the knowledge from certification preparation.
  • RomeoJettRomeoJett Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am guessing its a outline laid out orderly from what I read, but doing the google I was only finding actual Sunflower information, so if you know the key word let me know. Anything I can add on will help.
  • ritesh.bhakuniritesh.bhakuni Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    RomeoJett wrote: »
    I am guessing its a outline laid out orderly from what I read, but doing the google I was only finding actual Sunflower information, so if you know the key word let me know. Anything I can add on will help.

    well here you go...that's for you..

    https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&r...61190604,d.dGI

    or try keying in sunflower pdf cissp and google returns it on the top of the search result..
    thanks...takecare...
  • dpsmooth15dpsmooth15 Banned Posts: 155
    montie2 wrote: »
    My post was not meant to be condescending, but after lookingat it again I can see why you might think that.
    I quickly put that post together but the point that I wantedto make is that you can pass the CISSP by spending minimal money and time ifyou have a system of study. Themethodology that I used to study for the CISSP will build upon your currentknowledge base until you are ready to take the test. If one is weak in many domains, it may take 10or 12 weeks instead of 5 weeks.
    After reading posts on this site, it appears that manypeople are studying for months using various materials, including testbanks. Yes, I agree that test banks havehelped people pass the CISSP, but how much was spent on these test banks andbrain ****. I have seen people drophundreds of dollars, study the questions over and over, and fail the exam. So, I feel that these people wasted money andtime. The Shon Harris book contains toughquestions that are an accurate representation of the CISSP exam.
    I apologize for the condescending tone of my initialpost. The key to passing the CISSP is afocused, systematic approach that builds upon the knowledge that the test takeralready possesses.

    From the look of this message, I would assume a 6th grader wrote it. Hey monodie2……you did avoid that how long you have been in the IT field question, But its ok… you will make up something I am sure. …I am sure you did not pay anything, you have a friend that already had the ****…and they just let you borrow it to memorize it in 5 weeks right? sure anyone can do that...no money out the pocket!!!!
  • Cert PoorCert Poor Member Posts: 240 ■■■□□□□□□□
    OP, thank you for your insight in this thread, and congratulations. It didn't come across as condescending at all to me but rather a Proof of Concept that if push comes to shove and there is career pressure to get the cert or lose one's job, it's "do-able" in a shorter time period. You just gave proof that high-yield, high-efficiency studying is what it takes.
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  • broli720broli720 Member Posts: 394 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Dpsmooth15, sounds like you have an axe to grind; take it easy. The only practice test I used was in Eric Conrad's book, so I understand and share his point of view. A little maturity and decorum on your part could go a long way.
  • manas1978manas1978 Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    montie2 wrote: »
    I passed the CISSP on my first attempt. My study method appears to be different from many people on this discussion board.

    Materials used:
    Shon Harris, AIO, 6th Edition ($35 used)
    Sunflower PDF (free)
    ** I did not waste any money on test banks. I found the questions in Shon Harris to be fairly accurate and representative of the CISSP exam questions.

    I started a new position in October as an Information Analyst under the impression that I would have up to 6 months to study for and pass the CISSP exam. Two weeks into the job, I was told that I would need to have passed the CISSP exam by the end of year. Needless to say, I was more than pissed off!

    I studied for 5 weeks and passed the exam on the first attempt.
    Here is how I did it:
    1. Read the Shon Harris book in one week and highlighted key parts
    2. Took the practice test at the end of each chapter
    3. Took a 250-question simulation test using the software that came with the book.
    4. Took the Sunflower PDF and added my notes on any subject that I wasn’t familiar

    After adding my notes to the Sunflower PDF, I now had a 33-page document that I could use for focused study. I used the Shon Harris book only as a reference.

    5. I reviewed my notes for each domain and took a practice exam for each domain using the software on the CD. If I scored higher than 80%, I considered that domain complete.
    6. I repeated the process for every domain until I scored above an 80%.

    The week leading up to the test, the only material I studied were the items that could be memorized like cryptography, protocols, ports, regulation numbers, and steps of major processes. The night before the test I took the comprehensive exam that the end of the Shon Harris book and scored above 90%.

    During the actual CISSP exam, my process was:
    1. 1st pass through all 250 questions. If I was 100% sure of the answer, I marked my answer.
    2. If I could make a confident answer, I marked that answer and flagged the question.
    3. If I didn’t have a clue, I left it blank and flagged the question.
    4. 2nd pass through all 250 questions. I only focused on the flagged questions.
    5. I had 70-80 questions flagged, so I went through and marked my best answer and unflagged the question.

    I completed the test in 3.5 hours and passed.

    Hi, would you be able to share your notes?
  • CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    Congrats OP! That's ashame how your work did ya, but amazing that you accomplished their goal in their time frame!

    Don't listen to the detractors, they sound like ignorant, jealous kids..."Uhhhh if I can't do it in 5 weeks 'cus I'm a dumbass, then this guy MUST have cheated"...so annoying. Haters gonna hate! Again congrats!
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  • impelseimpelse Member Posts: 1,236 ■■■■□□□□□□
    CoolAsAFan wrote: »
    Don't listen to the detractors, they sound like ignorant, jealous kids..."Uhhhh if I can't do it in 5 weeks 'cus I'm a dumbass, then this guy MUST have cheated"...so annoying. Haters gonna hate! Again congrats!

    I agree with this, some people complaint because they cannot make it.
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    It is your personal IPS to stop the attack.

  • LostpacketLostpacket Member Posts: 25 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats. Thanks for sharing the strategy you used.

    I'll be working on this exam sometime this year and I hope to keep my study time to less than 90 days.
  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Gaming Tech Expert Silicon Valley, CAMember Posts: 4,016 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Congrats on pass!! icon_thumright.gif
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  • _nessie__nessie_ Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
    well here you go...that's for you..

    https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&r...61190604,d.dGI

    or try keying in sunflower pdf cissp and google returns it on the top of the search result..
    thanks...takecare...

    now this is interesting as an 'aide-memoire',
    thanks :)

    and congrats to the OP
  • RomeoJettRomeoJett Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    well here you go...that's for you..

    https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&r...61190604,d.dGI

    or try keying in sunflower pdf cissp and google returns it on the top of the search result..
    thanks...takecare...

    Thank You, I ended up finding it eventually, took some digging.
  • CERTS4LADYCERTS4LADY Member Posts: 37 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats on the PASS! A big weight off your shoulders, especially with your job on the line!
  • victor58victor58 Member Posts: 25 ■□□□□□□□□□
    montie2 wrote: »
    I passed the CISSP on my first attempt. My study method appears to be different from many people on this discussion board.

    Materials used:
    Shon Harris, AIO, 6th Edition ($35 used)
    Sunflower PDF (free)
    ** I did not waste any money on test banks. I found the questions in Shon Harris to be fairly accurate and representative of the CISSP exam questions.

    I started a new position in October as an Information Analyst under the impression that I would have up to 6 months to study for and pass the CISSP exam. Two weeks into the job, I was told that I would need to have passed the CISSP exam by the end of year. Needless to say, I was more than pissed off!

    I studied for 5 weeks and passed the exam on the first attempt.
    Here is how I did it:
    1. Read the Shon Harris book in one week and highlighted key parts
    2. Took the practice test at the end of each chapter
    3. Took a 250-question simulation test using the software that came with the book.
    4. Took the Sunflower PDF and added my notes on any subject that I wasn’t familiar

    After adding my notes to the Sunflower PDF, I now had a 33-page document that I could use for focused study. I used the Shon Harris book only as a reference.

    5. I reviewed my notes for each domain and took a practice exam for each domain using the software on the CD. If I scored higher than 80%, I considered that domain complete.
    6. I repeated the process for every domain until I scored above an 80%.

    The week leading up to the test, the only material I studied were the items that could be memorized like cryptography, protocols, ports, regulation numbers, and steps of major processes. The night before the test I took the comprehensive exam that the end of the Shon Harris book and scored above 90%.

    During the actual CISSP exam, my process was:
    1. 1st pass through all 250 questions. If I was 100% sure of the answer, I marked my answer.
    2. If I could make a confident answer, I marked that answer and flagged the question.
    3. If I didn’t have a clue, I left it blank and flagged the question.
    4. 2nd pass through all 250 questions. I only focused on the flagged questions.
    5. I had 70-80 questions flagged, so I went through and marked my best answer and unflagged the question.

    I completed the test in 3.5 hours and passed.

    Montie, Would you be able to email the notes that you utilized during your preparation? You could email me at [email protected] if its possible. Thanks for the assistance.
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