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How Don Cracked His CISSP Exam

Good afternoon.

Now that I have successfully passed the CISSP certification I want to share my experience with hopes that you will also be able to conquer this beast. I will be as honest and forthcoming as I can but remain compliant with the NDA that I signed with ISC2.

1. There is no way that I could have accomplished the task of passing this exam on my own. There is a community of certified CISSP individuals as well as people who are training to take the exam. These groups offer sample questions, training material, and testimony of those who have passed or failed. I would highly recommend that you join and become involved with these message groups below.

Luke Ahmed is a CISSP instructor and is an active member within his Facebook group and is always willing to assist.

Luke Ahmed Facebook Group name "CISSP Exam Preparation - Study Notes and Theory"

Luke Ahmed - Study notes and theory membership (sample questions/ flashcards/ videos) – his questions are very tough and cause you to think deep and analyze the questions in detail

Luke Ahmed - Cross Domain Correlation Promo Video – highly recommended

Reddit r/cissp – great community – very similar to the Facebook group mentioned above regarding offering testimony of people who have passed or failed

DISCORD – CISSP - Some people have recommended this group, but I did not find this very helpful.

Twitter - Adam Gordon - - Adam Gordon with ITProTV is a member of the ISC2 board and offers questions of the day.

2. After joining the groups above – I quickly realized that nearly everyone has a ranking of material that they used.

****The biggest hurdle that you must find during this journey is figuring out what method works best for you. (Reading or Watching Videos or Both) – I used both but found that I was able to comprehend more while reading.

O’rielly has a wealth of resources to include the latest books, video training, etc. As a DoD contractor with a account you should be able to register and access the database of material.

After registering with O’rielly and with the help of my teammates I stumbled upon a dictation addon through Google Chrome. The dictation addon is “Read Aloud” – which allowed me to engage multiple senses (seeing, hearing) while reading this material

The books that I read while preparing for the exam are the following:

CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional Study Guide 6th Edition – 940+ page book - Cover to Cover 3 times (Not kidding)

CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Eighth Edition 8th Edition – 1400+ page book – I did not read this book cover to cover as it contained too many details. so, I skimmed over the summary and exam tips at the end of each chapter.

Eleventh Hour CISSP®: Study Guide – 100+ pages – a great book to read as a refresher the week before exam

The videos I watched are the following

ITPROTV - - 32+ hours – led by Adam Gordon, a member of the ISC2 board. TAKE NOTES

CBTNuggets – CISSP - - In my opinion– not enough content

Oreilly – Thor Pederson CISSP videos - In my opinion - not enough content

Cybrary – Kelly Handerhan CISSP - requires a paid membership – in my opinion not worth it – The CISSP videos she has available on this site are an On Demand version in which she is teaching a class – I was unable to find or receive feedback from the Cybrary staff regarding how to view the archive set of videos, which I would recommend if you can find them.

How to Pass the CISSP – Kelly Handerhan – 16 minutes – please watch this at least once a week – especially during the week of your exam . I listened to this video as I was driving to the test center.

Larry Greenblatt - CISSP 2020 Exam Tips – 33 minutes – another good video to get your mind in the correct position prior to the exam

3. Practice questions are a must and what I used are as follow – (There are no brain dumps nor any questions that will mimic the actual exam) – the concept of these study questions are to test your knowledge about the content of what you have studied

Boson - $99 for 750 questions with a test engine – When I started taking these questions I was scoring in the low 70 percentile and I was scoring in the low 80s before the exam. (google search for $15 discount)

CISSP Official (ISC)2 Practice Tests 2nd Edition – use book available on O’reilly to get information for exam engine and register – It should take you to the following website -

CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Eighth Edition 8th Edition – great study questions at the end of each chapter as well as a link to access a portal for questions . Portal link available in the book. (Use book available on O’reilly)

ITDojo - – 100+ questions – 2 per video – I this a great resource and watched at least one video of questions per day.

4. My 6 months journey began shortly after we were notified that we would be teleworking because of the Covid-19 pandemic. On a consistent basis, my days/ weekends consisted of reading/ videos for 4 hours each day and an hour of practice questions. Don’t be discouraged – you must be committed to earning the CISSP certification.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions – I will be happy to help.

Thank you



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