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Newcomer II

My journey to CISSP

My journey to CISSP

I passed my CISSP exam in 1st attempt about a week ago (on 12/18/2018) but could not write in detail. I have benefited immensely by the esteemed members of this community so wanted to take the time and write about my journey. Here it is:

1st of all Special Thanks to :

  • Members of this community, especially Unixgeek21 and several others.

  • Members of CISSP Community at Discord.

  • Kelly at Cybrary for her devotion to the Security professional community.

  • My instructor at InfoSec Boot camp.

My Experience

I have 23 years of experience in IT and worked on several mission critical projects in different capacity including PM, EA, Security (IAM, RM, DR, BCP, Encryption and others), SM and several other roles.

I have worked in both Commercial as well as Govt.

I have two masters (MBA & MS in IS) and BE Degrees. And several Industry leading certificates PMP,CSM, Security+, ITIL, SAFe4.5 POMP, SA, TOGAF and several others.

My motivation for CISSP (what is your motivation ?).

IT Security has been my passion for quite sometime. I have often been impressed by CISSP professionals with their knowledge and confidence. I knew that it is very challenging certification and that's what motivated me.

I think preparation for CISSP takes a huge toll on all the aspects of your life ( Personal, Social , Professional). So one should definitely weigh the reason why they want to do CISSP. Once you decide to do that you should be focused and make it your 1st priority. Remember that all other aspects of your life will suffer so do it as fast as you can.

My Preparation

About a year ago I googled CISSP Training and hit InfoSec Boot camp which I took during 1st week of March. I was overwhelmed. But I definitely got the guidance on how to prepare for CISSP and soon realized that it was starting point.

Since then I utilized several study materials (described in next section).

Study Material

  • SYBEX Book both 7th and 8th Edition: Studied 7th edition cover to cover. Studied delta between both the edition. And then studied the major topic innumerable times as I would do the questions.

  • 11th Hour: Studied twice cover to cover. Then used that as Reference point on the topics as I would do the questions. Also studied that before the exam.

  • Boson: Was great helped. I used 1st two tests in study mode. Scored around 65%. Then took next three tests in test mode scored above 75%, Then took the tests in study mode and read the answers.

  • ISC2 Practice Test: Took the tests for all the 8 domains and read the answers and the topics in the book.

  • Darrel Gibson's Security Plus Book and Online Material: This helped me appear for my Sec+ exam in August. The knowledge gave me understanding and confidence , sort of Spring Board for CISSP preparation. My journey about Security+ certification is posted here:

  • Cybrary Kelly's video: Have been listening to her for last 5 - 6 months on and off.

  • Shon Harris Audio: I found a free copy of her audio and listened to Summary several times.

  • CCCure: After the boot camp I had subscribed to CCCure for a few months. Could not devote a lot of time but still did questions and read the explanations.

  • If you can afford go to boot camp but do not think that will be single source.

  • Online Forums: Like this Reddit CISSP forum I was active partipant for severl other online forums including ISC2 official site, Luke Ahmed FB Group,

  • 4000 to 5000 CISSP Questions: From various sources including ISC2, SYBEX books etc.

  • ISC2 official iPhone App.

  • Sunflower PDF, referred to it when got time.

During the Exam

I did 25 questions in the 1st hour, may be because I was nervous or my seat was little bit down and did not have courage to talk to PearsonVue Procter. Finally got my seat raised and moved to the edge of the set. Then did 75 questions in next 85 minutes or so. Nothing happened at Question #100. Hit next and marked the question number 101 when test stopped. I thought I had definitely failed because non of the questions I was sure about. But when checked the result I had passed.

After the Exam

Applied for endorsement from one CISSP using ISC2 online Application process.

How should one prepare for the exam:

  • Free Slack Space: I have created a slack space where I plan to provide free guidance, if you would like to join here is the link:

  • If you can afford go to boot camp but do not think that will be single source. But it will help you start.

  • If not afford a boot camp start with listening to Kelly's video. Make notes.

  • Read the chapters for that domain from SYBEX Book and also 11th hour.

  • Register your book online and do the questions and read the answers.

  • Do the Questions of ISC2 Official Practice Guide for CISSP for each domain.

  • Take 1st Boson Test to see where you are. Then take the test in Study mode and read the answers and reference material as much as you can. Do the same thing for remaining 4 tests. If you are scoring about 75% in 1st try then you probably close to ready.

With guidance CISSP can be cracked in relatively shorter period of time.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Must register for the exam at least a month ahead.

  • Must visit the PersonVue center in advance.

  • Do 4000 to 5000 Questions.

  • Always read the answers of your practice questions.

  • During the exam: read the questions and then read the answers and comeback and read the questions again.

  • Don't appear for the exam next day of the bootcamp.

  • Must gauge your preparation by taking simulation test 1st time. Take at least three such tests.

  • You should be part of Study Groups, online or offline ok.

  • Must sleep well and take it easy nights before the test.

  • Eat well in the morning of the test.

All the VERY Best to you all. Please ping me if you need any help.

1 Reply
Community Champion

Wow - very comprehensive write up!


I would just say everyone takes a different path to earn the CISSP certification which depends on your experience, the speed you learn at, knowing and being able to utilise your preferred method(s) of learning, and, how good you are at doing exams, so I don't think this statement will necessarily be true for everyone:


"I think preparation for CISSP takes a huge toll on all the aspects of your life ( Personal, Social , Professional)."


Thanks for sharing your path, and congrats on passing!