How Ebrahim Cracked His CISSP Exam


I would like to thank everyone in this group as well as the telegram group members for their support in my CISSP journey.

My Study Plan

I started to study CISSP from March 2017 last week; I attended a training program, which introduced me the CISSP – and some strange words like, Bel-Lapadula, Biba, nonrepudiation etc. After the training, I set the goal to clear the exam in 4 months. First thing, I googled CISSP study groups and found the wonderful

I went through the website and found many study experiences shared on the site, like “How Andy Cracked His CISSP Exam”.

Based on these reviews I selected ISC2 Official Study Guide (Sybex) as my primary study source. I bought the book along with the Official practice tests, started to read from April 1st week. I spent 2-3 hours daily and invested more time during weekends.

I joined the FB Group (Study notes and theory) and started to participate the discussions. Later, I joined the Budding CISSP telegram group (this was my main resource for practice questions, (I was not live always, but I did not miss a single message from the day I joined). I cannot thank enough to Mr. Luke Ahmed and Mr. Ahmed Khatib for making these platforms for the CISSP aspirants from around the globe. I also started to listen to Kelly Hander Han’s CISSP training videos ( in my car, this process continued until my exam day. I finished three rounds. I read the book three times – (one. Ran though, two. Walked through, three. Sat through) Went through Ahmed Khatib’s study plan and found a few areas not covered in Sybex where I have to look for additional resources. The All-In-One Study Guide (Shon Harris) book helped me here. I did not cover this book, just used for a few references. I practiced the Sybex tests, all questions after each chapter, Official practice test (800 + 125 questions) still 375 more questions I did not attend. I have gone through countless practice questions in the telegram group (maybe 4K plus or more!). I watched Cybrary videos one more time in two days, final round. This time, on the screen.

I realized that the right mindset is the key to pass this exam. Secondly, time management. I practiced to answer a scenario-based question in less than a minute to achieve the speed. I used website questions to assess my speed. In the beginning, I spent 4 minutes per questions, and scored 40 % and failed! Now I need to fix this. Then I gradually picked up and join the member area to cover more questions until I achieved the goal. This is a great source for practice and assessment of your readiness for the exam. I watched Kelly Hander Han’s video Introduction module-part-3, “The exam”. It is a 19 minutes video and I watched it numerous time on the last few days of exam. She advises to think like a risk adviser in the video, but I prepared my mind to think like the owner of the organization, one-step ahead. This mindset really helped me choose the right answer, we, the technical people cannot think like a manager most of the time. Therefore, I put myself one-step higher.

I have bad habit of over-analyzing the questions, but I practiced not to do it this exam (thanks to Madunix in the Telegram Group)

The Exam Day I tried to sleep at least 6 hours on the few previous days of the exam, so that I will not be tired and sleepy on the exam day. I reached the exam center 1 hour before and just went through my quick notes casually. Entered the exam, I had planned to note down some brain dumps on the scribbling pad, but I went to the questions directly and started answering quickly. The first questions were not that hard. After around 15 questions, I started to mark the questions which I really needed a second look. I finished 125 questions in 2 hours and took a break, then came back and finished the rest of the questions, which took me another one and half hour. I took another break, and then went back to review the flagged questions (25-30). I finished them, changed a few answers and went reviewed the first 15 questions, which I felt I did not do well because of the initial jumpiness. I changed 3 answers from the first 15, because I was pretty sure that I did not pay full attention to the questions and even forgot to mark them, I was just worried about the speed my attending each questions. I finished the review in 4 and half hours and prayed really hard before I clicked the end exam button. The printout would not come because of a magenta cartridge was empty… cross finger time! They restarted the printer a couple of time and finally it came! Just one sheet... It said “Congratulations!". I went to the next room and fell prostrated to Almighty. I was literally crying. Called my parents and my wife to tell the great news. Next thing, I messaged my friend Ahmed Khan (from the telegram group) whom I never met before and was very inspirational by giving me tips and advice. I really appreciate everyone in the FB group and the Telegram Group for making this possible for me.

Thank you. Ebrahim A. Appeli.

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