First, I want to give thanks for God for allowing me to see this day and to successfully pass the CISSP exam today October 29, 2018. I have been following these threads for a while and today I figured I’d join to share my approach to see if it helps someone else. I cleared the exam in just 100 questions! I truly thought I had failed it because I was uncertain about some of the answers, but I was able to narrow it down to the only two that made since. This has truly been mentally draining with the complete isolation from everything to study for this exam. I have been studying for the last 60 days non-stop for this exam ever since I passed the CISM which was a big help in getting me focused for the exam as many of you know CISM and CISSP has a lot of overlap. Now to the interesting stuff of how I passed this exam and the purchases;
1. Guide for Starting a Career in Information Security – I purchased this book first and read it cover to cover. It truly gave me a mind opening view of why I really should study and pass the CISSP exam. I highly recommend reading this book in your spare time it’s a small read but it helps with focus
2. Official CISSP Study Guide 8th Edition. I took my time reading this book cover to cover and highlighting key points along the way. It took me close to 2 weeks to complete the book at the pace I was reading plus I had to work during the day but on the weekend, I was all in every day for about 12-16 hours. I completed the end of chapter tests and started out with an average of 68%. I took them until I was averaging 80% on each test repeatedly. I then moved to the Bonus exams and took the same approach until I scored 80%. Keep in mind to not be focused on the score as you will not see any of these questions on the exam, but you will be able to identify the concepts when reading the questions. Trust me it helps and will pay off. So, don’t worry if you are only averaging 50-60 percent on quizzes just make sure you understand the concepts and make sure you analyze the questions with a management mindset and you will breeze through. Another tip is to practice taking a break after every 25-30 questions or when you feel your loosing focus. I used that strategy on the exam today.
3. Official CISSP Practice Test- I used these exam questions right after I completed all of the study guide questions. I started off on these questions averaging about 70% right out of the gate. I continued to take them until I improved to scores above 80% which wasn’t too far off. I realized that much of my problem at this point was I wasn’t reading the questions carefully enough or until I completely understand the ask. Once I slowed down and took my time my scores went up to abut 90%. So, to make sure I wasn’t memorizing the answers I stop taking these questions and went back to the Official study guide questions and my scores were still above 80% so then I felt I needed to look at additional questions.
4. Purchased CCCure exam questions. These questions are very technical and took a deeper dive then the practice questions I was reviewing plus I saw some concepts that I hadn’t seen in the book which helped to open my mind up more. I took all of those practice test and I averaged about 73%. The one thing here I noticed is I was still familiar with the concepts and could narrow the answers down to the top, but I noticed I needed to reference the chapters again as it hit areas that I had begun to forget because the other exams were not as technical.
5. Purchased Pocket Prep for phone- I didn’t complete all of the practice questions but I was averaging 70% right out the gate which was a good sign that I was retaining information. So, once I felt good on these questions I moved back to the Official Study Guide questions to make sure I was still understanding the concepts. This was done in the final week leading up to the exam.
6. 11th Hour 3rd Edition – The final three days consumed of reading this book cover to cover to make sure I refresh my mind on all the concepts. This book is only 200 pages compared to the official study guide which is more than 5x the size. This book is straight to the point with no fluff. I recommend reading this book only just before your exam to make sure have a refresher and do not tire yourself out taking practice questions. The night before the exam just relax and get a good night rest so that you can arrive to the testing center early and prepare your mind.
7. Watched some free YouTube videos on some areas I was weak in such as the Risk Calculations dealing with SLE, ARO, AV, EF & ALE and Database concepts.
Lastly Don’t get distracted by the thought that you maybe failing the exam because you’re not certain of the answers trust your judgement. You have studied hard and you will know the right answers when you see them just don’t second guess yourself. I hope this helps someone else. I’m off to celebrate.
Congrats! In the process of studying now and planning to take the exam early next year. I'm using some of the same materials such as CCCURE, Sybex 8th edition, PocketPrep, and 11th hour. Also using Skillsoft, LinkedIn Learning, and Cybrary videos. Also, Cybrary (Kelly Handerhan) and Shon Harris MP3's while commuting. Does seem like a marathon and not a sprint. Congrats again!