How Dave Cracked His CISSP Exam

April 20, 2018

 

I passed my exam today. About 120 ques in two hours.

Here is my background and study plan. I wanted to post as reading other member’s posts has been critical to keeping me motivated and confident.

 

While I have not met Luke personally, I want to thank him for creating this group and for being such a positive influence on all its members.

 

I have been in the IT field since 2002 focused on Systems/Network security & engineering (both as an individual contributor and now as a manager). Overall I committed approximately 300 hours to studying over a 3-month time span. It is critical to absorb the material not only for professional purposes but for the exam.

 

I don’t think its possible to pass for most people without having hands on experience as a lot of the material requires you know understand it in context.

 

Additionally, I’ve seen posts regarding staying consistent and I can’t agree more. Over this span I had two business trips, a ski vacation and a conference and did not miss one day of studying. Depending on who

 

I was traveling with I let it be known that I’d need to carve out 3 hours a day for my studies. Sometimes it was at 7am and others 9pm but I stayed on task.

 

Missed plenty of family events as a result but this is part of the deal I guess. I got my family on board early so that they could be part of my support group. Practice tests are key as they don’t necessarily reflect test content but more so how the questions are asked. I’ve seen people post, “answer like a manager and not a technical person” and I believe that to be very true.

 

The best piece of advice I read was “what might be the right answer are your place of work isn’t necessarily right for the exam”.

 

Jan 
(Read 2 hours per day and 1 hour for practice tests scoring in the 50’s and 60’s)
• Shon Harris 7th edition, Cover-to-cover
• CBT Nuggets videos by Keith Barker (during my commute)
• 11th hour CISSP
• Pocket (mobile app) prep exams

 

Feb
(Read 1.5 hours per day and 1.5 hours for practice tests scoring between 60’s and low 70’s)

• ISC2 official text Cover-to-cover
• Kelly Handerhan Cybrary videos (during my commute)
• Shon Harris practice tests
• ISC2 practice tests from books
• Pocket pre exams ( I purchased the extra questions)

 

March
(Read 1 hour per day and 2 hours for practice tests scoring in the mid 70’s to high 80’s)
• ISC2 official text Cover-to-cover (again)
• Kelly Handerhan Cybrary videos (for the domains I was week in)
• Shon Harris practice tests
• ISC2 practice tests from books
• Pocket pre exams 
• Eric Conrad tests
• Sunflower Notes

• Training Camp 1-week course 
o For this, I made the decision to travel to another state and took the week off from work so I could spend all of my time focused on the exam. These camps are brutal and expensive but for me I felt necessary to hammer everything home.

 

o Class from 8am-7pm then 1-2 hours of study after class
 

o Read Official CISSP CBK (do not use this as your sole source)

 

One word of advice on the classes. A few classmates hadn’t studied prior and figured the class would be enough. It was hard for them to keep up. Also I noticed a fair amount of material that I read prior to the class was not covered during the class. I think it’s critical that you prepare on your own with multiple sources prior to taking a class.

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