How Chris Cracked His CISSP Exam


Becoming a CISSP has been something I wanted to achieve for 5 years; which then became 6, 7 and finally 8 years. 8 years of procrastination.

Family, kids, unforgiving work; sound familiar?

My journey started with a study group which disbanded at work after a couple months. I was determined and wasn’t going to let this be another excuse not to continue. So, I picked up the Sybex 7 th ed. and started reading.

A few years back I had read 50% of the Shon Harris book. I recommend only using this book for reference, don’t read it cover to cover. This book goes much further into the material on each topic then you really need to know. Remember, the CISSP exam material is an inch deep and a mile wide.

My study resources:

- I subscribed to Safari Books online which was a great resource. It has tons of CISSP material, all the mainstream CISSP books and sample tests. I can’t recommend this enough!

- Sybex 7 th ed. Cover to Cover.

- Shon Harris 7 th reference only

- Cybrary.it - Kelly Handerhan free video course. Highly recommend

- Various test question books from Safari Books online

- Quizlet – Search ‘CISSP’ – Tons of pre-made flash cards

- Luke’s “Study Notes and Theory” + Telegram Group

- Dan’s CISSP Cram – PDF which is available via Luke’s members site. This was my bible for 3+ months.

- Many Youtube videos on various topics.

None of these by themselves, will prepare you for everything you need to know. You’ll likely need multiple resources to truly understand the concepts, models, processes, etc. I studied for 4 months, every night after my family went to bed and on the weekends. After 3 months, I registered for the exam, so I had a goal to shoot for. Make sure you do this if you’re a procrastinator like I am.

Certification Feedback after 11 months It’s been 11 months since I got that “Congratulations” paper. I wanted to see how this certification would change my career to share with you. For those curious on how long it takes; I passed on June 29th 2018, received official email on July 4th , endorsement submitted on July 5th , received CISSP approval from the board on August 6th . I then received the welcome kit about 8 weeks later.

While there was no direct monitory incentive when I received the certification, it’s helped me in multiple other ways. I feel more empowered with the CISSP letters after my name to have a visual representation of my knowledge for folks I’ve never worked with. I believe it helped me get a recent promotion; while not a direct cause, certainly played a part.

Remember, security’s a journey, not a destination. Best of luck in your quest to obtain the CISSP.

Give it all your heart and it’ll pay off in the end.

Chris Taylor, CISSP

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