How Aseem Cracked His CISSP Exam

Dear (future) CISSP,

I passed my CISSP exam in the first attempt and would like to share my experience with you. I want to mention the names first of my friends / co-workers who motivated me to take the CISSP exam - Daljeet and Srinath. I would have never begun to study for CISSP, if they would not have pushed me a little. I am very grateful to them as I got tremendous amount of invaluable knowledge by Studying for CISSP. My parents, my brother and my girlfriend played a major role in supporting me to get through this whole time.

The best thing you can do is tell your friends-n-family that you're taking the CISSP exam in X months and it will definitely push you towards your goals - as they will keep asking how much you studied ;)

Material used: -Sybex 8th ed. I read cover to cover twice. (First time it all went above my head - I was able to grasp only few things)

-Shon Harris AIO 7th ed. cover to cover - just once. It really has way more topics than Sybex that you do not wanna miss.

-Dan's Notes (for members of Study Notes and Theory and Sunflower Notes from

-All practice questions and flash cards from studynotesandtheory member's portal

-Kelly Handerhan's Videos from

-Luke's Videos from

-Total tester software that came with Shon Harris.

My journey for CISSP study was roughly for 6 months. I started and ended with Kelly's videos. For first 2 months I couldn’t give much time for my studying. On an average I was able to devote just 10 hours a week (Including weekends) which wasn't enough. Later I realized (and as Luke says) I needed to make my life all about CISSP. I started devoting at least 2 hours everyday Monday to Friday and 16 hours in total on Saturday and Sunday (except a couple). Watching videos ‘to and fro’ my workplace.

It was tough initially but as time went by I started loving the knowledge I was gaining. I am not a fan of reading books and wasn't a very bright student at my school but CISSP study was clearly what I always desired to read, and I made it a part of my everyday routine.

I went through Sybex twice and made my own notes in MS-Word. For the first time, I would say just go through it once and see what is in there. Honestly speaking, my own notes didn't help me much as whenever any topic was blurry for me, I had to read the whole topic from the book itself to fully understand. The stuff that I wrote by hand on random piece papers really helped me a lot as it stays in your mind (Do not try to write a whole topic by hand).

I finished Sybex twice and then Shon Harris (whole) once. There were definitely some new topics and I brushed up the ones I already knew from Sybex. I always attempted all questions that were there at the end of the domain / chapter in both books. I started taking domain by domain questions from Total tester - Oh boy! I really needed to go back and crawl through topics.

What I am trying to say is - don't be discouraged if you don't get 70 or 80% on your tests but do make sure that you fully understand the topic for which you got the answer wrong. If you guessed the correct answer - Good! but still, make sure you understand it.

After this the real challenge started when I signed up for Study Notes and Theory. I watched various videos and did practice questions. Gosh, those videos on solving questions taught me the real strategy how to answer a question, how to think like a professional, how to eliminate the wrong answers, how you approach towards the right one and why is it the right one. I did all the practice question from A to R twice. In the last 45 days, I went through more than 4000 questions combined from Books, SNT, Total tester; etc.

I finally felt prepared. I went through Dan's Notes and Sunflower Notes one time in last 3 days and took the exam.

Heartiest thanks to Luke who was always supportive and helped right away when I had any doubts plus for creating an amazing knowledge sharing website -

All the best!

Cheers Aseem Vij

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