First of all, most important thing before starting CISSP is “Commitment” with yourself and “Timeline” for exam. Without timeline, it is difficult to get going and studying for the exam. So I will suggest book exam 2-3 months before ( In my case, I booked 2 months ago)
Below is the material I used for preparation:
– Sybex 7th edition ( Read twice cover to cover) – Shon harris 6th edition (Only for reference) – Eric Conrad 7th edition ( twice cover to cover ) – Exam Cram ( Overview ) – Kelly Handerhaan videos ( Don’t remember how many times watched and trust me it is very useful ), Kieth Barker CBT nuggets, Sec+ John Oaekley videos ( Cybrary ) – Sunflower CISSP notes ( Almost 4 times a week for revision purpose in last 2 months ) – CCCure practice exams ( 1 month subscription ) – Mcgraw,sybex online,eric conrad and exam cram practice tests ( full length ) – Internet sources for latest topics such as SAML,OAuth,OpenID,Federated ISMS etc.
I started from mid of April with Sybex full book reading. Then switched to Shon Harris for checking other topics and real time explanations since description in this book very good as they compare it with real world scenarios. In between I regularly used to watch Kelly Handerhaan’s videos, Kieth Barker’s CBT nuggets and Sec+ videos. This made my concepts way stronger. When I tested myself on CCCure, I was able to get score more than 85%. But still I had little confidence as I read some posts that exam is very difficult so I took my time to prepare mind to that extent. Then I shifted to more practice exams and tried to solve it as CIO of organization. I kept on summarizing whatever I tried understanding and reading throughout the day. I tried to picture topics like Access control models, BCP/DRP, Risk assessment as If I am running the organization and how all things will work in real world. I was pretty confident about exam when the date was near. I was bit nervous but thats when your commitment and you inner strength comes into picture.
Nothing fancy. Neither I was nervous nor tensed. I had inner confidence built that much as it overshadowed all of my fears. Exam is Not at all easy. I completed my exam in 4 hours and 1 & 1/2 hour for review. I changed around 30 answers but after that I thought better to leave as it they were. Now I will suggest you to change only if you are darn confident that this is not correct answer. I was confused in 20-25 questions where I had to think beyond every level. Rest as I told you I made my concepts so stronger that I wasn’t confused in 2 options that looked similar. Scenario based questions were very very easy.
Last advice is try to Keep It Simple and do not overthink, just focus on question and picturise it and shoot your best answer When I reached to question 220, I was confident that i through this huge exam and my efforts are successful. I saw my result sheet and I was very happy that I have done it in my 1st attempt and without any extra training/bootcamp or group study.
I would say assess your strength and weakness so that you can make your study plan efficient. I used to study 5-6 hours daily (after my work hours as I work in morning shift). On weekend, 8-9 hours. Last week just CISSP ( don’t exactly I remember for how much hours I was into it ). I printed some motivational posters and put it on front of my eyes on wall. Last 4 nights before exam, I was not able to sleep full night and I used to sleep in day time for 4-5 hours. But yes now that all hard work is paid, I would say it was Totally worth.
Last advice is Just Focus and Keep going ( Do not leave it in the middle ). Assess your strengths and proceed to Glory.
I would really thank to this group and wonderful people who motivated me to keep going as I also wanted to be part of CISSP community.
Cheers. Gaurav Sharma