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How Akua Cracked Her CISSP Exam!


Finally passed the CISSP! (2nd attempt). This exam is not for the faint hearted. Please, please ensure you understand the concepts very well. Stay calm and read each question at least twice. The wording of the questions and answer choices are very tricky which pissed me off lol. There’s more than enough time, I finished in 2.5 hours at 150Q.


STUDY PREP Bootcamp My company signed me up with training camp. My instructor was amazing. Shout out to Lyron Andrews! I did take my first one back in early 2019 with Eric Beasley and he was awesome as well. Unfortunately I failed miserably at 100Q with just 1 domain above proficiency level and a mixture of below and near proficiency level. I realized I didn’t read enough to deeply understand the concepts and how they intertwined with other topics/scenarios. So I took a long break before refocusing again this year.


These bootcamps are very helpful in providing tips and explaining ‘popular’ difficult topics but they don’t go through every single item, so you have to make sure you self study and cover those gaps.


Books To be honest I didn’t read the Sybex or Shon Harris (AIO) books cover-to-cover. I chose to read domains 3&4 in AIO to cover more technical topics. I felt Shon explained them better in more depth. Remaining domains I read some parts of Sybex based on my weak areas that needed more focus. I also bought Luke’s How to Think like a Manager (kindle edition), which was a great resource on tips to answer questions. I used 11th hour book and sunflower notes for my final reviews up to exam day.


Practice Questions ISC2 community forum: Two days before my exam I found a valuable forum where Rob Slade shared strategies and many practice questions. I found them helpful. https://community.isc2.org/.../CISSP-questions/td-p/18626

Sybex official practice test 2nd edition online app: These questions are way easier and were helpful in testing just facts. Please make sure you’re getting high marks on the Sybex Qs.


SNT: Luke’s questions were superb and hard! It gave me the perfect mindset on how to apply the concepts to dissect each question which are very similar to the exam. I was very pleased the exam questions were not as long as Luke’s practice ques (longest Qs were 3 lines). Although I never scored above 70%, the key thing is to understand why the correct answer is right vs wrong answers. Oftentimes, I felt discouraged when I got many of his questions wrong but I had to keep reminding myself of this key item. Any term that looked foreign to me I’d quickly look it up and familiarize myself with it.


IT Dojo: These 2 Q&A per video on YouTube were great too. Colin’s thorough explanation for each answer choice was very helpful in strengthening my knowledge of the concepts.

I definitely did not attempt close to the recommended 5000 or so questions. I believe in quality over quantity.


Videos - I watched about two-thirds of Luke’s videos. I loved his calm and humorous manner of explaining concepts so made it easier to grasp. Those cross domain correlation videos are awesome.

- For high level domain reviews I repeatedly watched Rob Witcher’s CISSP Mindmap videos on YouTube. They’re succinct and very easy to understand.

- The night before exam I watched Kelly Henderhan’s “Why you will pass the CISSP” on YouTube.

- For any concepts I still had trouble with, I’d research good YouTube videos for more insight.

In all, I studied intensely for about 4 weeks to the exam date and took the last 1.5 weeks off work during Thanksgiving season to focus more. I also studied sparingly throughout this year. I was very determined to end 2020 on a positive note!


I have 3 years experience as a SOC analyst and roughly 5 years experience in software development and engineering support roles.


Thank you all for your contributions in this group especially Luke Ahmed! I wish you the very best in your studies. You got it, just believe in yourself!!

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