I was waiting to take my own CCSP exam before being in a position to give advise. As one popular NFL coach once said "Don't draw me a map unless you've been there."
My views are given from two perspectives (of course, with regards to my signed NDA):
1. Biased (I'm already CISSP certified.)
1. For those CISSP candidates planning to take the CCSP exam, attending ISC2 Self Study classes (if you can afford them), reading the study materials (as well as looking up reference materials - sites like CSA, NIST SPs, etc.), taking test questions and supplementing with some popular online video classes (if you have a subscription) will make the CCSP exam much easier for you. In my case, I did not take the CCSP or even the CISSP self study classes. I couldn't afford them. I felt I could read all the study materials and understand the concepts coupled with my work experience.
You should finish the CCSP exam well under 3 hours with lots of time to spare. The pressure is much less here compared to CISSP. Relax, but be focused.
2. Now, my non-biased view especially for first timers or those who attempted and failed - Prepare like you're going to take the CISSP exam (lol).
We are all different in how we absorb study materials and memorize concepts. Some folks may have to read the materials, guides, attend online classes, etc. twice over a 4 week period. Others may need to read all the materials and listen to videos four or five times and require 12 or more weeks to grasp the concepts.
Only you know what best works for you. But the bottom line is you have to think CCSP everyday, eat CCSP everyday, sleep CCSP everyday and dream CCSP everyday!!
It may mean you have no time for socializing with friends or your family and loved ones. The key is letting them know ahead of time that you would "not have a life" as you prepare. It is important you stay organized and set a time frame. If you waver and go on studying for months on end, you will lose focus and get derailed. After the exam (hopefully you pass), you can then make it up to friends, loved ones and family.
Note that the questions in the Study guides and whatever you get online can never replicate the actual exam questions. Treat them only as a guide. They are not authoritative. Most of the ISC2 questions are scenario-based.
Finally, how do you know you're ready to take the exam and have a set date?
Different folks, Different strokes!
Some folks advise setting an exam date and then work towards it.
For me, I have found that it is best to first study the materials without any pressure - like reading a novel and seeing if you like and understand the concepts explained therein.
This gives me a feel of the battle that I'm up against and then I can map out my strategy based on time, other commitments like work, etc.
If my strategy is to study all the materials x amount of times over 8 weeks, by the 5th week I should be scoring 80% and above in the sample test questions. I then check for exam dates and see how far out the available dates are. If I see I can book a confirmed date within 7 days, then by week 6, I should be fully assured that I'm ready. I then confirm my exam date (I like morning exams since I'm refreshed after a good night's sleep).
A few days before the exam, you have gained sufficient confidence and understanding that if the exam were given there and then, you would be ready. That's when you know you are set. You are not scrambling to remember basic concepts. You find yourself sleeping early and waking up on exam day without really having to panic or be stressed. If you are still reading your study guides and all other materials on the way to the exam, you are not confident!!
Hope the above tips help.
Now, go live your dream of being CCSP certified and wishing you the best in 2022!!
This post was helpful. Thanks for sharing! I too am CISSP certified and plan on taking the CCSP sometime before June 2022. Question for you:
With the test changing in August 2022, which version(s) of the Study Guide do you suggest?
1. The Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CBK by Gordon/SYBEX 2nd Edition Copyright 2016
2. The (ISC)2 CCSP Certified Cloud Security Professional Official Study Guide, 2nd Edition Ben Malisow copyright Dec. 2019
3. The Official (ISC)2 CCSP CBK Reference, 3rd Edition by Leslie Fife, Aaron Kraus, Bryan Lewis 3rd Edition SYBEX July 2021
Thanks in advance!