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Newcomer II

Study Tips Needed

Hello all,


I am currently studying for my third CISSP exam and could really use some help with study tips/tricks.


Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Sincerely, Jessica Hildebrand

11 Replies

Hi Jessica, I passed my CISSP exam last week and started the endorsement process.  I found many questions on the exam ambiguous and honestly I wasn't sure if I would pass or not.  It was really difficult.  I am relieved to have it behind me. 


I can share that I prepared for the exam by studying the material from multiple angles.

1. I purchased and studied the self-study CBT course from ISC2.  I did all the quizzes and the practice test.

2. I reviewed the corresponding body of knowledge material

3. I purchased ISC2 CISSP Official Study Guide by Mike Chapple, James Michael Stewart, and Darril Gibson.  This material was organized somewhat differently than the original body of knowledge book.  As such, it provided a different angle to review the material, which helped learning the material.

4. I purchased ISC2 CISSP Official Practice Tests, second edition, by Mike Chapple and David Seidl, and did all the practice exams.

5. Taking from the idea of flashcards that were provided by the CBT mentioned in item 1 above, I made my own flashcards on 4x6 index cards.  I ended up with over 400 index cards of key concepts.  I reviewed these from time to time.

6. When I had difficulty with certain concepts, I found YouTube videos helpful.  You may want to view multiple videos by different authors to help solidify your understanding.

7. I also found this YouTube video helpful,  Ultimately, it is your experience that will carry you.  A couple things that stood out to me in reviewing the video is that you want to think and approach questions like a manager would,  Also, don't rely solely on your own experience in terms of how things were done at your own company, but rather think more broadly when answering questions on the exam.


Don't give up!  Keep trying and you will succeed.  Best wishes to you!



Viewer II

Hello Jessica,


I think the third time for you will be a charm. 👍


I passed the exam the last week in March 2021 and the endorsement process was completed about two weeks ago (took exactly 3 weeks). 


As far as study tips, could you share how you're currently preparing for the exam? I've found that what works for one person doesn't necessary work for another, so perhaps we can help tweak your current study process and take it from there. 





I have the same problem as Jessica. I’ve taken the CISSP exam multiple times but I just can’t seem to pass it. I have read and did the practice exams from the Sybex book and watch a bunch of CISSP videos and read the Eric Conrad’s CISSP 11th hour book as well. Unfortunately, it seems as though CISSP is my cryptonite but I really want to not give up and stay in the fight. Please provide me some study tips and recommendations as to how I should study effectively in order to successfully pass the exam in the future.
Contributor II

I think the answer to that question will be different based on the individual but I will give you my own 2 cents...which probably isn't even worth that.


I found that the material one uses to study is not the determining factor in successfully passing the exam. In my case, I probably overstudied if there is such a thing. 


What is your experience in the industry and for how long and in which domains?


When I was studying, I realized very quickly that I had to mentally tie the material directly to my professional work experience. I have little doubt that I would not have passed the exam if not for this. It was just too difficult to truly comprehend in the abstract.


Additionally, and it is cliche at this point, you really have to think mile wide inch deep...until you aren't supposed to.


I know it happens but I honestly don't know how anyone could pass this exam without the requisite work a minimum.


The other thing that immediately comes to mind is to read the question carefully. Then re-read it. Then re-read it again. Make sure you really understand what it is asking not what you think it is saying. If that makes sense.


On a side note, and you probably already realize this since you sat for the exam...none of the "practice" questions in ANY of the study material remotely resembles the actual questions on the test. It is important to use those only as a tool to gauge your comprehension of material and concepts...not as a true gauge of "I did well on <insert practice test of choice>, therefore, I am ready for the actual exam."


Don't give up!






Newcomer II

Thank you. I appreciate the advice and encouragement!

Newcomer II



I've tried everything from reading the books, practice tests, boot camps and videos. Nothing seems to help it stick.


Newest approach is focusing on the areas I was weakest on the exam by doing looking up the answers from the written labs and review questions in the book, but I haven't found much benefit from it yet.


I have just under a month before my next exam. Hoping to find something that works for me soon.

Newcomer II

Thanks for the info. 


I have the experience. I've read the material, but still can't seem to line it up with the exam "thought process". 


Like you, I think I over studied. I think I was trying too hard and not really in receive mode. 


Here's to hoping I can grasp the "manager" mentality this time around.

Viewer III

I want to share with you some things.
You are a risk advisor.
Information Security is a support function that should align with business objectives.
Think like a manager but keep in mind you have to align with business objectives, not a technical manager.
The official material provided by ISC2 is the best I have seen, I took the course with a local authorized partner, watched two more different courses and I can admit the official material provided through ISC2 directly is the best for preparing for the exam.
Passed from the first time with 100 Q in 2 hours exactly.
keep the hard work you and will pass for sure.
Watch this video
Newcomer III

Last time I failed my CISSP exam after 150 questions three years ago. This time I passed it two weeks ago. Next to CBK and multiple online courses I found most useful source on last days before exam My personal background is related mainly software development so this big picture view to the questions and answers was really refreshing during the exam.