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Thread: CISSP Pass!

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    #1

    Default CISSP Pass!

    I passed the CISSP today! It was 100 questions of anxiety, such an emotional roller coaster. I copied the review I published on LinkedIn. Hopefully it can help others in their journey


    Today, I had the opportunity to sit for the (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam, which I had been studying for since July (almost 7 months). I am thrilled to have successfully passed this exam, as it has been a goal since I set foot into the world of information security. I wanted to share the resources and methods I used to prepare, so that others who are considering this exam can get some insight.

    The first significant task I needed to accomplish was actually committing myself to the exam – I had to decide that no matter what position I ended up in, or how much gym time I had to sacrifice, I would continue to study, study, study. With committing myself to the CISSP, I decided that I would also need to find a friend or group of friends who wanted to go on this journey together. Doing this allowed us to encourage and keep each other accountable.

    Secondly, a solid study plan was necessary. We developed study plans – we outlined which resources to use, expected and expedited dates to sit for the exam, dates on which each topic/task/virtual lab would be accomplished, and obstacles that might hinder progress. I had to stay flexible and adjusted a couple tasks due to time constraints; sometimes life happened and I had to forego studying. I also had to drop a college programming course (that hurt my soul) – I was averaging about 6 hours/program and there 5 programs/week. I decided that I needed that time for the CISSP and to come back to that course later. I attempted to include days that I was feeling burnt out and needed to take breaks; studying definitely pushed my discipline to the limits during the holiday season!

    I had to devote almost all of my free time to studying. I listened to MP3s in the car, had videos playing in the background at work, kept a book open on my desk if I had free time at the office, had a practice exam app on my phone, and talked to other people who had knowledge of some of the topics. It was important to stay on top of current events – the major event that occurred during this time was the exam changing formats.

    The exam is now a computerized adaptive test (CAT). This means that the next question is harder or easier depending on your answer from the previous question. Now there are between 100-150 questions and a time limit of 3 hours (as compared to the traditional 250-question, 6-hour exam). You cannot go back and review answers. I had to remind myself to read the question, read the answers, read the question again, choose an answer, and then read the question again. It can be very emotionally stressful, but the best thing to do is stay as positive during the exam as possible. Here is a link to a YouTube video by Study Notes and Theory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itFaWEzenww. This is a good video on gaining an understanding of the CAT.

    About a month prior to the exam, I was focused solely on practice questions, completing as many as I could. A few weeks before the exam, I was averaging upwards of 200 questions/day. I wrote down every single explanation for questions I got wrong – my study notes are about 120 pages long. I could think about certain topics and hear voices from MP3s and videos in my head explaining them. The day before the exam, I did only 2 sets of 40 questions in the morning and afternoon for a confidence booster. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and washing my dogs. I went to bed 5 hours earlier, just in case I had a hard time falling asleep; I woke up several times and forced myself back to sleep. Exam day came, I woke up excited and ready to go! I ate a bowl of cereal, went to the office, and drank coffee as per the usual. I left to go to my exam with plenty of time to spare; I was 20 minutes early to the exam start, but 10 minutes late to when the proctors wanted me to show up – they didn’t care too much though.

    So here are the resources I used:
    Resources
    · CISSP AIO, Shon Harris and Fernando Maymi; Seventh Edition 2016
    · Sybex CISSP Official Study Guide
    · Sybex CISSP Official Practice Tests
    · Cybrary, Kelly Handerhan MP3s (CISSP, CCSP, CASP)
    · CBT Nuggets, Keith Barker[/COLOR]
    · Pocket Prep, Mobile App, Practice Exam
    · Transcender Practice Exams
    · https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itFaWEzenww

    Like I mentioned earlier, I listened to MP3s in the car whenever I was driving. On top of that, I sometimes felt on days that I needed to step away from the keyboard, so I would listen to the MP3s while doing yard-work. It was definitely a good way to stretch the body and still immerse myself in CISSP information.

    I outlined the AIO from left to right, just trying to soak in as much information as I could. Then I worked my way through the Sybex Practice Book, and ended up completing 1 domain test per day. Then I finished the Sybex Practice Test 1 (250 questions), with a 74%. I then went after the Sybex Study Guide. I decided to approach this book differently; instead of reading left to right, I went straight to the chapter reviews. This helped me really soak in the reading – I was searching for certain information, and forced myself to annotate both the explanation and page number on which the answer to the question was located. I find that this makes reading much more enjoyable, having certain information that needs to be found. After I finished that book, I went back and did the Sybex Practice Test 2 (250 questions) and improved my score to 78%.

    From that point on, I was doing hundreds of Transcender questions a day and using the mobile app on my phone when I wasn’t around a computer. I checked out several hundred of the bonus questions from Sybex that is part of their online content, but found the Transcender questions to be more worthwhile. The Sybex explanation tended to just be the answer with the question written into it. Transcender went into detail about why the correct answer was correct and why the wrong answers were wrong.

    I hope that this article is helpful to anyone looking to take their CISSP exam soon! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions, I would love to assist
    Last edited by Kiyori; 01-10-2018 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Issues with copying and pasting - fixed for easier reading
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    #2
    One of my dream cert! Congratulations! All the best!
    2018 Year goals:
    CCNA Cyber Ops [Done!], VCP6-DCV @ Stanly, May 31
    CCENT-CCNA [1%]
    "They say my dream is to big, I say they think to small" Brad Sugars
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiyori View Post
    The first significant task I needed to accomplish was actually committing myself to the exam – I had to decide that no matter what position I ended up in, or how much gym time I had to sacrifice, I would continue to study, study, study.
    Important steps that many people don't do, committing and sacrificing.

    Congrats and well done ... Go smash those dumbbells this weekend

    Out of curiosity, how did the rest of your group go?
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    #4
    It feels like too many people are passing the exam with CAT. I think I am going to have a chat with ISC2.

    Haha...I listened to the mp3s in the car too...passive listening early in the morning is just like the exam.
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  6. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    #5
    Well done! And great review!
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    #6
    Congrats
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    #7
    What would you say was the most helpful in terms of practice tests?

    Sybex or some combination of the references you used?
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    #8
    well on their way towards earning their CCNA!
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    #9
    I started with the intention of sitting for the traditional exam. they changed it 1 month before my scheduled date. I was not ready to take it early to avoid the CAT
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    #10
    I felt like i got the most benefit from the Transcender. Sybex helped me look at topics differently, but was bare bones as far as practice questions.
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  12. Senior Member GeekyChick's Avatar
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    #11
    Congratulations! Thanks for the review too!


    Quote Originally Posted by TechGuru80 View Post
    It feels like too many people are passing the exam with CAT. I think I am going to have a chat with ISC2.

    Haha...I listened to the mp3s in the car too...passive listening early in the morning is just like the exam.
    Don't tell them until I take my test the end of March.
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  13. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #12
    Congratulations!!. Good see some feedback on Transcender. I am scheduled for test by end of Feb
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