I passed my exam less than a year ago and it was probably the longest exam I had ever had to take. I had planned a study regime before the exam and due to availability of exam places on the dates I wanted, I travelled from Essex to Coventry the night before so I could be ready for an early morning exam.
I had struggled somewhat with the practice exams and although I had felt fairly confident with the real exam itself, I had no idea of what the result would be when I was handed the result. Reading that I had passed was a very emotional moment, I had to sit down on a park bench and sit and watch the world for a bit, with a big smile.
My company had paid for me and one other to take a Boot Camp style training. We were there with about 15 other candidates. On day 7 we took the exam. Throughout the week of training I learned how many of the people in the room had all been in the security field far longer than me and had much more experience. The daily testing of the day's information and nightly reading were non-stop pressure. On day 7 we sat in a room with laptops linked to a router in the middle of the room. The proctor sat at the front of the room. Each of us had a separate drive connected to our laptop I assume so that none of us had the same questions and physical security of the device could be better managed until it was used. When you finished you walked to the front and received a printed paper. It either gave you a grade, or congratulated you on passing. I remember marking some of the questions and reviewing again before I made my walk. Thankfully it was to be a walk of relief and reason to celebrate. Sitting in the hotel lobby where the training took place, there were a mix of people with big grins and a few who were not so fortunate. There are 2 exams I would never want to take again: the PMP and the CISSP.
I passed the CISSP exam last April 2017. I prepared for the exam actively over one year first through self-study and then a sponsored instructor-led training by my employer. However, I had to contribute to paying for the exam.
The proctor was shocked when I signified I was through with the questions after about five hours. He asked me repeatedly if I was sure. I hadn't even taken my snack break although I came out once to use the restroom. In all, it was a great experience preparing and sitting for the exam. It reinforced my professional outlook and self-confidence.
I took the exam in 2007 and was extremely nervous about it. The first four question I didn't recognize, it wasn't that I could think of the answer I didn't have any idea of the question. I was thinking why was I here, I should just get up and leave and try to salvage a Saturday. I thought that would be too embarrassing so I would stay and complete it, but now I was stress free. The next question I knew the answer as well as the next. As I progressed I knew a lot of the answers and was ably to eliminate bad answers from some. In the end I passed, but still wonder if by not knowing the first four questions, which allowed me to take the exam stress free, was what helped me or not.
Before I went to take the CISSP Exam, I decided to "warm-up" by taking the SSCP. This was back during the paper-test days. I selected my date and when it came, I drove into the city of New York and began looking for the banquet room that was set up as a test center. I couldn't find it so I double-checked all my paperwork and found to my dismay that I was there a week early! To make matters worse, the actual test date was during my vacation! It just wasn't in me to reschedule so my wife drove me into the city from Lancaster, PA where we were vacationing to take the test. The good news is that I passed and it gave me the confidence to take the CISSP a couple of months later.