Passed CISSP 17-02-14

netstatnetstat Member Posts: 65 ■■□□□□□□□□
Dear all,

I would like to thank everyone that contributed on this forum as I am pleased to announce that I passed the CISSP on my first attempt. Without your support I would not have managed.

About me - I have been working in IT for 10 years with the last 4-5 years in IT Security. I am exposed to mainly technical and operation security duties but I do have some occasional duties where I have to wear the managerial hat. I also hold a MSc Degree in Information Security which I have to say did help with the CISSP Studies. I have been studying for the CISSP for around 10 months. It was not a full time study though, as I had another exam last November to sit for.

I took the CISSP exam in London, (as I live in Malta and the computer based exam is not available here and none of the centres were going to organise the course and written exam) so I had to book a 3 hour flight with another hour and a half of travel for the lodging destination. I had a tough time sleeping the night before the flight and even the night in London before the exam.

The exam – The exam was tough but definitely not impossible (and not because I passed). I ended up taking 5 hours 55mins, without a break - no water, no food, no bathroom which was not easy. I was constantly calculating the questions I was certain of and the ones I was not, including checking how much time was left. For example, out of 100 questions answered, 25 were uncertain which "could" mean a border pass - which (for me) is too risky so I closed my eyes, stretched (weirdly) on the chair simulating some form of aerobics for a couple of seconds and then continued. I took the call not take a break as I knew I would not have finished if I did.

As soon as the test started the 1st question threw me off. I wasted (I think) 10-15mins which was not a good move. I then gave up and moved on. The test was getting better over time, however there were times where certain questions inserted doubts and these were the ones I took note of. Over all, I could single out the correct answer without any problems but fatigue was causing me to reread or understand the question incorrectly. In fact I read each question at least 3 times before I went to the next. During the last 5 minutes I had 10 flagged. I corrected 2 of them, 1 of them being the first question, as i then understood it. With 10 seocnds on the clock i ended the exam.

Materials I used:

Free Tests –
McGraw-Hill Education | CISSP Practice Exams
Elsevier: conrad: CISSP Study Guide Practice Exams
Certification Central - CISSP
CISSP Practice Test - Certification Training - Online Courses

Paid Tests - (Cccure).

I worked 3425 questions from CCCure and many many others from the above sources including the Sybex test center and Total Tester and others from the study books. The last week I decided to work questions chapter by chapter and if I wasn’t achieving more than 80% and I would go back to the books. I also made notes which were constantly being updated with information from different sources and eventually focused on those.

Books –
CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, 6th Edition
Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK 2013
ExamCram Greg Michael
Internet Sources - Many sources including news and standards such as NIST and ISO 27001/2.

Good luck to all the new test takers.


  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,928 Mod
  • cgrimaldocgrimaldo Member Posts: 439 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats! Thank you for your review.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    Congrats on your success. I had the same experience with fatigue but opted to take two breaks and had jolly ranchers throughout the test. Without the little breaks I don't think I could have passed.

    Great write up.
  • impelseimpelse Member Posts: 1,237 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Stop RDP Brute Force Attack with our RDP Firewall :
    It is your personal IPS to stop the attack.

  • teancum144teancum144 Member Posts: 229 ■■■□□□□□□□
    netstat wrote: »
    Books –
    CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, 6th Edition
    Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK 2013
    ExamCram Greg Michael
    Internet Sources - Many sources including news and standards such as NIST and ISO 27001/2.

    Thanks for the info. Just curious, which book did you feel best helped you prepare for the exam?
    If you like my comments or questions, you can show appreciation by clicking on the reputation badge/star icon near the lower left of my post. :D
  • netstatnetstat Member Posts: 65 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I actually forgot to mention that i also used the Conrad Book 2E too.

    I used to Conrad Book to set a basline for my notes and wrote a lot down. The conrad book does not contain enough information, hence the baseline approach. I then elaborated on those notes based on questions i was getting wrong from the Shon harris tests. I read parts of the Shon harris book depending where further level of detail was required. For examaple, polyinstantiation explanation in Conrad's is not the ISC2 way of explaining it and i recally i was getting related questions wrong in the tests i was doing. Therefore i reverted to Shon's book where she specifically explains the ISC2 way of understanding it. The same approach applied to various areas where i found something lacking in Conrad's Book based on the tests i was doing. Eventually, my notes were more valuable then the Conrad book and i simply didn't use it any longer.

    The official Guide was used the least as reading and understanding it was difficult however i did purchase it specifically for the chapter questions as i found them tougher than the others at the time. I think it boils down to the style of writing rather than the difficulty of the questions though. Since for me, once I mastered how certain questions are worded you start to get better at understanding it and at identifying the answer.

    So in a nutshell, I would say every book and test had some form of contribution in this, conrad's maybe being the most since it provided a good baseline.

    Hope this helps.
  • engrsashengrsash Member Posts: 30 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Dear netstat, I have read ISG&RM chapter from both Greg 2nd Ed and Eric 2nd Ed and found Greg much better than Eric. As you have read both books, can u please help us in suggesting which book is better, either Greg or Eric.
    Currently I am Using Greg 2nd Ed (Primary Book), Eric 2nd Ed (Secondary Book), Shon 6th Ed (Only Gap Fixing), 11th Hour (Revision) and Sunflower PDF (Revision).
    Please share your suggestions on it and we will be very thankful to you for the act of kindness. :)
  • netstatnetstat Member Posts: 65 ■■□□□□□□□□
    The Greg Michael ExamCram i used only contains questions. Therefore i cannot compare it with the other materials, sorry.
  • manas1978manas1978 Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi, can you please share your notes?will appreciate it. thanks
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