Hi, I am Kamran Khan, AKA KIM, I started CISSP studies in May 2017, right after passing CISM. After 3 and a half month of studies I gave my first attempt, and I failed unexpectedly in it. Believe me, I don’t have a history of failing in exams, no one in my family and friends believed that I failed including myself.
I was totally burnt by the result, but then I realized that the Phoenix must burn completely to rise from the ashes again. And its only failure that gives you proper perspective on success. I spent at least 2 days just to go back in time and tried to understand what exactly went wrong in my first attempt having all the possible studies one can do and going through all the question sets recommended or not.
I made a list of all the things that were my weaknesses. I was determined to make a study plan and focus on my weaknesses. But out of blue, my employer decided to send me for an international training that has nothing to do with CISSP. And I had to return 2 days before the exam. That made me certain to get ready for another failed attempt. I didn’t prepare and procrastinated that I'll review all in last two days. Story doesn’t end here, on my return my family toldme that my mother had heart attack and she is ICU. So those 2 days that I planned for last minute study were spent in hospital looking after my mother.
It may sound funny and unrealistic that before exam day I spent only 2 hours to just have a look at the list that I made and Maddy’s process guide. That’s it, I slept early with a mind to have another failed experience of exam.
Reached on time, registered for exam, exam started everything was normal but the thoughts of my mother at hospital after almost every one or two questions. This time I wrote 3 sentences on the board they give and placed it besides the screen.
1. Don’t fix the problem, you are just a security professional
2. Think like manager
3. Follow policy, procedure and processes
That proved the recipe of my success, I looked at it whenever, I found myself stuck somewhere in overthinking. I flagged only 7 questions and didn’t change any of them in review. Instead of flagging more questions I had decided to give questions more time, since I didn’t want to rush, as per Maddy’s guidance,
6 hours are more than enough.
I completed my exam in 5 hours, besides I took 2 short breaks for cold tea and smoke. Came out from exam and ask the lady for result, but she after 5, 10 minutes said that there is a system issue and I had to wait for 24 hours or contact Pearson VUE. I contacted Pearson VUE they asked me to wait 24 hours, but even after that I didn’t get my result. This time Pearson guy was helpless, he asked me to contact ISC2. Anyways, they updated my status in first step than sent me a conformation email.
Material that I used in studies:
- Video series of Kelly's, Mike Chapple's and Sari Greene.
- ISC2 Official Study Guide- Sybex
- Sybex- Official practice tests
- AIO 7th edition- Shon Harris
- CISSP study guide – Eric Conrad
- Exam cram 4th edition - Michael Gregg
- CBK Book - Big Green
- AIO total tester
- CCCure Questions
- Transcender Questions
- Used random YouTube Videos for understanding
If you ask me to rate the material, I can’t, every writer/presenter has given 100% of their input for topics covered. In my point of view, you need to judge yourself first that where do you stand. After that you can pick and choose what is needed. If you have a good back ground of Info-Sec and networking than Sybex book and question set is more than enough.
Pillars of my success
It would have been very difficult for me if was studying alone. I have a long list of people that I am really thankful and even indebted. Everyone has knowingly or unknowingly has played a role in my success.
Telegram is one of them. And persons to introduce me to the wonderful telegram groups are the second. If they had not brought me there I would have not known the others.
First one is Shourov Khaleed I love his dedication for himself and to his country, second one is Ahmed Khan, wonderful person 24/7 available
for help to anyone who contacts him. And of course, Luke Ahmed creator of Telegram group.
This group has a variety of people with lots of experience with different geographical background. I found it better than any book or material you can purchase from market. It’s like a living resource active 24/7. I'll strongly recommend everyone to join this group, it’s worth it.
Then there are some people who always showed me the way when I was lost, list is very long and I am sorry if someone is not included in it. They include Ahmed Khan, Rahat Sadiq, Dawood, Shalini, Satish Pareek, Kiranz, Parashant & Yaniv.
Sometimes showing the way is not enough there is a person who held my hand and walked me all the way. And he is Madunix, he was with me all the time, corrected me whenever I was wrong, guided me whenever I was lost. I used his Process Guide as a key to success, apparently it seems just series of words,
but they are not. This gentleman, has gone through all the material and took out the things from each of them, to which you need months of time to reach yourself. Apart from it, he is very dedicated and devoted, never refuses to help anyone.
Lastly word of advice to those who failed, never give up, the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing, try to judge yourself, what went wrong and correct it. You have all the ingredients that may ever be needed for success. I wish you all good luck for your future. Besides, anyone can contact me privately if they need any guidance. Thanks.