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Newcomer I

Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

Hello All, 

 

After CISSP 5 days bootcamp, read through every single page of CISSP Official Study Guide and Official Practice test, 6 months of hard work and multiple sleepless nights, I still couldn't able to clear it. 

Used following resoruces, 

Sybex Test Bank, 

Boson CISSP testing

ISC2 Official Study Guide 8th Edition

ISC2 Official Practical Test 2nd Edition.

 

It's not the only thing, I have recently completed my MS in Cybersecurity from UD, TX, and working in the Security/Architecture/Cloud domains from the last 15 years. 

 

I have seen the other post on the topic, and I am really upset why these tests are made to test your English Language Proficiency instead of Evaluation of your Technical Knowledge area. Don't know if it is done to deter non-native speakers from passing this exam or what??? But 80% of the question wording was so difficult, that I had no clue what the question is asking. I consistently scored above 90% in all practice exams of Sybex Test Bank as well as Boson test bank as they were focusing on knowledge evaluation in my view, but the actual test question wordings and language are so confusing that I have to read it multiple times to understand what the f... has been asked here. 

 

Anyone who is a non-native speaker and fortunate enough to pass this exam, please advise how to prepare for it??

 

 

13 Replies
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Contributor III

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

English skills aside, I can tell you that I work in a security architect enclave of some 300 but only a handful, maybe 5 people are native English speakers. Many of which carry paper to include the CISSP. 

 

Your problem is that either your assuming the "best answer" is in easy view or your not comfortable taking psychometric tests yet. Psychometric tests are designed to test both your knowledge and your patience in testing. I would humbly suggest looking up resources on writing exam questions as background knowledge, understanding the how's and why's of question formation instead of attempting to brute force the exam with training. Seen this before and will see it again. The exam outsmarted you because you allowed the exam to outsmart you. People with far less reported experience and academic qualifications have breezed through this exam, language of choice aside, you can too.

 

The other path here would be to take other security exams until you are comfortable taking third party exams and learning how to get bored in the exam room. Frankly, the more exams I took over the years the more comfortable to the point of being outright bored during the exams I became. Currently, my "I love me drawer" of certificates holds over three dozen paper certificates. Whatever my client(s) demand. Simple stuff.

 

If you can complete a Master's program in the US your English skills shouldn't be the problem with a 100 question exam.

 

- b/eads

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Newcomer III

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

@tajdar 

Sorry to hear that.

I am not a native English speaker.

 

I only used ISC2 Official Study Guide 8th Edition to prepare exam, I have forgotten if I have used the official isc2 cissp flash card (just check, no , I did not).

 

I recall I spend around 3-4 weeks to study, I studied a chapter a day (or a night I would say). Some chapters may take longer, for example PKI, crypto... maybe take 3-4 nights and some shorter chapter does not take a night (like physical security).

I did not use any test bank.

 

Besides knowing the content, material stuff.

For any exam, my advice is read "carefully" on the question, knowing the question is more important than knowing the answer to question, hence the ability to understand the question is vital.

if you have mistaken or mis-interpretted the question, I can assure you have > 50% chance of getting the wrong answer (because you are tech and you got the right answer for the "wrong" question) which waste your great effort of studying.

 

Good luck.

 

John
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Newcomer I

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

Thanks, Beads, 

 

Really useful advice and suggestions. Psychometric yeah may be I was missing this bit, as most other certs exam I passed previously they were all more techier.

 

But Brute Forcing exam 🙂 a new angle to the term. 

5 full-day training class by IS2 approved training provider + plus 6 months of preparation + official study guide study cover to cover + various other material is Brute Forcing, then off course I am on wrong track for prep here. 

 

Anyways thanks again for your suggestions and very useful insights. Will prep another few months before 2nd attempt. 

 

Regards

 

 

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Newcomer I

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

Thanks Jon, 

 

As Beads also mentioned there are different techniques that I was unaware of these psychometric tests, hence failed it. 

Even now when I got a chance to be relaxed after months of madness into prep and looked back, I thought I prepared for the exam by giving focus too much on technical stuff. My focus was into the details of like for instance which protocol/devices/technology works at which layer of OSI model, what is the TCP packet composition, key bits and block-sizes used in various hashes, ethernet frame composition sizes etc. etc. and none of them came up in all those 150 exam questions hence the frustration. Whereas exam was focused more on questions in the following format, 

 

MOST/FIRST/LAST/MINIMUM steps/requirements types of questions.

 

But as every failure gives you new strength and lessons. I need to learn from my failures and work on weak areas.

 

Thanks again John, at least your feedback gives me some confidence that non-native English speakers can also do it 🙂 although that statement was made in sheer frustration 🙂

 

 

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Newcomer III

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

 

@tajdar 

No problem, I would say non-native speaker is not a major problem (should not the major reason of failing the exam) but of course you need an extra effort (compare to native speaker) in order understand the question well. And also you need to be "patent", be prepared physically and mentally because after answering 100 questions, our mind will slow down, has less concentration (mean more easily to make mistakes) and I would really want to "rush" through in the 2/3 or 2nd-3rd hour of the exam.

 

To give you more assurance, the following is my certification journey (in term of award year, except the last one is pending for official result and certification process) in recent 3 years, all passed at the 1st attempt.

  • TOGAF 9- 2017
  • CISSP -2018
  • CCSP - 2018
  • CISSP-ISSAP - 2019
  • CISM- 2019
  • CISSP -ISSMP 2020
  • CISA- 2020 (provisional pass, pending for the 10 business day official result).

My last advice unlike CISM/CISA, CISSP is a tech professional exam for sure, but still don't to micro view and CISSP has the most broadest domain to cover among all.

 

Take a short break, regroup, good luck to your study and exam.

John
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Newcomer I

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

Wow its seems like you are an expert in getting these types of certifications 🙂

Thanks for your advises and suggestion, will work on them. 

 

Regards

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Newcomer I

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

@csjohnng
Haven't you used any other practice exams other than those provided online with ISC2 Official Study Guide 8th Edition book ?
Do you think one can pass without Boson ?
Highlighted
Newcomer I

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

I paid $99 to Boson test. 

I consistently scored above 80% on all Boson test, still failed the exam. 

 

My experience is that, as it is CAT exam it cannot be the same or a similar pattern for all. It changes based on person to person and how they responded to question. It gets difficult and difficult as you progress.

 

As mentioned I believe I was prepared and focused too much on technical stuff, hence after a couple of tech questions, I did not receive too many technical questions. 

 

Most of the questions I received were focusing on processes, policies, frameworks, planning, drag, and drop of scenarios instead of merely just definitions etc. 

 

The other very important thing is the wordiness or lengthy questions and even lengthier answers. In most questions, while reading the answer I lose the context and focus of what was asked, hence have to go back and read the question again. This itself as non-native speaker was bit tricky and new to me. But I believe this is a new emerging pattern on all technical exams these days. They make it harder through wordiness instead of focusing on merely knowledge of the subject. I could be wrong here, but this is what I feel. I was also preparing for AWS Solution Architect Professional, and seeing the same pattern on some of the sample test questions i.e. 6, 7 lines of the question, then 4 answers equally long. It is fine when you receive a few questions like that, but if you received majority of questions like that, then it is in my view is just pure bad luck. As you don't have enough time to read through these kinds of questions and their answers multiple times to do the reduction analysis or select the best one. Again this could be a problem for non-native English speakers 🙂  

 

These Sybex Test Bank as well as the Boson test, all have simple definitions or steps and ask you to drag and drop to match the definition or correct order of any particular process. I believe they are all outdated now.

 

The real questions I received were more on scenarios of drag and drop and asked which process/policy/steps correctly match which particular given scenarios etc. 

 

People do recommend Boson as it is regarded as one of the best practice source available for CISSP, that's the reason I bought one, but unfortunately, it didn't work for me. Maybe these questions were outdated or as mentioned the exam is adaptive and may be different for every individual.  

 

 

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Newcomer III

Re: Failed CISSP 1st attempt, any suggestions for the prep please for non-native English speakers..

@Groundblue 

No, I did not use any practice exam other than those provided online with ISC2 Official Study Guide 8th Edition book.

I have not used Boson so far.

Yes, one can pass without Boson, I am one of those.

 

Eventually I would say it all depends on how much work you have been involved in those domain. If they are your day to day work and you have much knowledge and experience in the field, then it's not hard to get a pass. I have seen many non "tech" people like project manager, audit people getting pass CISSP and certified for CISSP. That's also why I go for specific concentrations.

John