I passed on 12th Aug in my 1st attempt.
Sharing my experience of overall journey as may be helpful for others to tune the efforts to achieve desired outcome.
Let me first express my sincere thanks to group members who are keeping the discussion alive and sharing meaningful thoughts.
It actually motivates and keep us attached to core objective of learning and passing the Exam. Hats off to Ahmed and other fantastic members ( Fitwi, MadUnix, Zoso, Kanchan, Dhiraj, Vipin, Mir, Pootibha, Huen, Tui, Huen, Lost Saint & so many other) who are almost 24×7 live !
It took 4 months between deciding and appearing for exam & trust me have some plan and stick to it. Nothing much to worry to deviate (+-10%) from plan rather not having plan itself !
Directly coming to primary source of material which I referred:-
(A) Sybex Official Study Guide – 7th Edition
(Directly focused on topics and a recommended book to go-though cover-cover. Remember don’t miss even a paragraph!)
(B) AIO 6th Edition – Shon
(If you really want to understand in-depth details even without bothering the scope of CISSP, you may refer this. I only referred it for specific topics like BCP/DR, Cryptography, SDLC and Security Management – not entire chapter rather topics) -Perfect book to read the topic if you are completely unaware of the topic.
(1) ISC2 Official Practices test –
(2) Sybext Test banks
(3) Questions posted on this FB group and Whatsapp group
(D) Revision – Sunflower (last one day) , Underlined text of books, My own write-ups
Important points to share
1. You may never feel that you are ready for exam as domains are vast and most of us never get precise idea on the depth of knowledge requirement. But if you are scoring, 80%+ average in practice exam , I feel that it’s good to go !
2. Questions banks / Practice questions are not for reference or should be solved with expectation to see similar questions in exam. Rather, it helps to stitch all concepts & sets the memory pointer at right place when we see questions. It’s easy to explain topics individually but tough when you need to collect 3-4 topics together to understand the question and choose BEST option among other similar choices. BEST, MOST, MAIN, PRIMARY are the words which (ISC)2 like the MOST.
3. Heavy dependencies on on-ground experience of security (book can’t replace it)
4. Critical: No need to remember rather understand the concept. Post completing the topic, always ask, why did this concept come, advantage, disadvantage, replacement and successor. Try to visualize the concept in real life scenario. Don’t waste energy in remembering acronyms, its well in expanded form wherever it is used
5. Security is advancing and so the exam. Get yourself comfortable with cloud concepts, SSO, Markup language and few more. Not very deep but just understanding should be sufficient.
6. I could do (45 / 92 / 141 / 196 / 250) in 5 hours and an hour left for review of 38 questions. I changed answers of 18 and realized that I did mistake in initial questions due to kick-off pressure which I corrected in review
7. During exam, you may feel that things are going out of your hands and you can’t pass. It’s because questions are different from what you were solving so far but remember concepts are same regardless the complexity & twisting the words. Key is patience and finding the most pertinent word. Try to play mix & match with options and key words in questions. Whichever has most matching, should be Best answer! It worked!
8. Was not very confident on my success when I submitted the exam but result was printed with CONGRATULATIONS!! A big relief
Resumed my normal life with my lovely family. My Daughter and wife provided exceptions support during the whole preparation period and I always put them before me for this success. (The way both were supporting me that I started feeling that whole family is going to appear in exam not only me !)
Lastly, feel free to reach-out if you feel I can be of any help ! All the best to all aspirant.. !