Dear ISC commuunity,
I am writing to request help regarding putting together a study plan. On December 18th I sat for the CISSP exam. I did not receive a passing score. As discouraging as this is, I am more discouraged due to the fact that I do not know where to go from here. To prepare for the exam I read through Shon Harris’ all in one book, completed the (ISC)2 self-paced on-line instruction course, and achieved a consistent 90% or greater score from the official study guide Sybex questions. I have never felt more unprepared for a test in my life. At this point, how to achieve a passing score seems very mysterious. I am committed to putting in the required study effort, but feel lost as to where and how I need to continue my studies. I welcome any advice someone might have who has recently passed the CISSP exam in its new format.
Thank you for your consideration.
This thread may be helpful:
I know the original poster passed 2nd time around.
First of, you have the right attitude after this experiences, keep at it
CISSP exam tests your understanding, not your memory. So in preparation, when you answer the questions from all the study materials, constantly ask yourself "why". There are three categories of questions: knowledge, analysis, and scenario, and each candidate are given a balanced amount from each category. So you will need fundamental knowledge on various domains, any if you feel a specific domain that you are not as familiar, focus on that.
But most importantly, you will need to understand why the questions are raised. I have been on the development team on the exams, and all the questions are written and heavily, repeatedly, critiqued and re-written by people in the fields with many, many, years of experiences. Contrary to some misgivings on this board, the questions are not meant to trick candidates, rather to test their understandings.
Harris book in my view is often too verbose and out-dated. Not sure other books are, but official book is a starting point, albeit there are issue with that book as well.
Keep at it, and you will be successful.
Best of luck,
Thank you for the feedback. I think I have an improved mentality on how to approach the material I interact with. However, I am still seeking guidance as to what study resources I should use to improve my understanding of the material. Any suggestions as to what resources I should use?
Although I took the exam a long time ago, I'm sure the general theme applies. Successfully completing takes experience, knowledge, and a clear mind. You have to have several years of cyber experience to know what can , and does go on out there. You also need a large amount of knowledge, this can be from reading, but also from experience. The clear head is a huge variable. I remember getting freaked out during my CISSP exam, at the very first question. I had no idea how to answer. I skipped it and went on to the second question...no idea how to answer that one either. The third one I knew, and I marched on from there. I realize that in the adaptive exam world this wouldn't be ideal, but regardless of format, I maintained my composure and passed!
As for study material, I always recommend the official CBK, as the prime source, as this is where the questions come from. If I can't understand the CBK, I use a secondary source. Then I return to the CBK, and fill in the blanks.
Official (ISC)² Guide to the CISSP CBK is the best reference available and set it as a target for preparation, may other good books could help to understand the concepts that's your choice based on domain and individual topic.
For instance take kerberos , SSO concepts there are many ways to test the understanding,purpose and use of the technology, if you are very thorough about this technology you would not lose the question on this concept.
The only thing I would add here is to review how you approach the questions. I found it most helpful when I took each question and picked out important phrases or perspectives. Knowing the material and understanding the material is the only way to pass.
Unfortunately beyond the official CBK, I don't have the up-to-date knowledge on study materials. I probably would start with CBK, and see where my weaknesses are, and then look online, such as Amazon to see what other users are commenting on individual books. Just be reminded that these book authors could also make mistakes.
If there are test questions books that get better review, you can try them. Many of those questions were similar if I remember my studying days, thus again you should always use them to enhance your understanding, but not trying to remember.
The most difficult questions are the 'BEST' type, and you really need to understand why, among all the correct answers, the reason for the 'BEST' choice.
'BEST' of luck,
As I recall, those "Best answer" questions lack the real answer causing you to dig deeper for the next best answer. One trick I discovered during study time was to re-read the question , and ask myself "What domain is this question really about?". Once decided, I look at the answers again and there is usually one in that domain, giving it the edge over the others.