As promised and a follow-up to my "I passed" post from last week, here is what I did differently to pass the CISSP on my second attempt after missing it the first time by 18 points.
1. Sari Greene Exam Prep videos (watched over and over again)
2. Cybrary (watched several times)
3. Some of Eric Conrad (3rd Ed. and 11th Hour)
4. A few Sybex chapters
5. A few Shon Harris AIO chapters
6. Sunflower notes in the days leading up to the exam
7. Took lots of notes of all of the above and drilled the concepts to death but didn't try to focus on just memorizing them, I wanted to understand them thoroughly.
8. Did approximately 25-50 practice questions from the Sybex practice tests app per day. I did skip a few days but I did about 4-5 days a week. I also did a lot of the questions posted here on the group site and they helped me tremendously.
9. In the days leading up to the exam (about five days prior), I used mostly for review.
10. I stopped all reading any new material about 48 hours before exam day
and just used my time for review. I didn't want to bog my mind down with new material.
11. Took the day before the exam to just have a day completely devoted to studying.
12. When it came to the actual exam day, I took ONE break instead of the three that I took the first time.
13. Any super-technical questions on the exam, I eliminated and chose the high-level answer. I was "thinking like a manager" and not trying to fix anything.
Note: I never did read all of Sybex nor did I read all of any of the books I used. The way my attention span is set up, I just cannot read technical books from cover to cover; I like to use them as quick reference points only. The videos, note-taking and drilling over and over worked better for me. With that being said, I think the top thing that ultimately helped me get over the hump was Sari Greene, Sybex Practice Tests App, and just drilling over and over with notes. The things that I did to pass may be unpopular and much different than what others are doing or will do but it worked for me. If you have a short attention span like me, try it! :)
BTW: This exam was HARD. I thought I failed until I saw that piece of paper that said "congratulations!". It was not very technical at all. It was more high-level and tricky than anything. I saw maybe four crypto questions and lots of auditing, SDLC, and DRP. Everything else was high level security and risk management stuff. For me, it all came down to understanding the high-level concepts and test-taking strategy.