How Harpreet Cracked His CISSP Exam


Hi all, I provisionally passed my CISSP exam yesterday. Big thanks to all you guys out there who have been posting questions, commenting for better understanding etc. This all kept me motivated over these months. ======================================= I started my CISSP journey early in my career. I was just 3 years experienced in 2017 and I wanted to be a CISSP, as I had heard a lot about it; but was never that motivated to study. In 2019 I gathered some courage and ordered the Sybex Seventh edition and the Practice exams.

I started off with the book and read it cover to cover marking each chapter, every small detail. Went for the questions at the back in which I scored ~80%.It seemed easy at first. The motivation again got diluted over time and I was back to square one. This happened again after 2 months and again back to square one. In 2020 I decided to give it a shot. I sat down and made a plan of what all things I will study. I started in March and got a big register to take notes. I took all noted I could, from books, videos, slides, free boot camps etc. At the end, it paid off.



2017: I want to be a CISSP. (Printed some notes and never read them) 2019: May · Ordered Sybex 7th edition and Practice tests and completed both. · Completed Kelly Hanerhan’s CISSP course from Cybrary. · Diluted motivation ….. Back to square one. September · Completed Sybex again and took the practice tests again · Completed Kelly’s CISSP course again · Diluted motivation again. 2020: April · Started with Kelly’s course again (3rd time) and took notes alongside. · Sybex again and made notes, Took the practice tests, and kept the score. May · Joined FRSecure free boot camp to connect with other aspirants. (4 AM India time) · Went through AIO 8th edition (just skimmed and marked what I did not knew) June · Went through Eric Conrad and took notes · Went through IT DOJO videos and took notes July · Used the CISSP APK and completed it quickly. · Took the Sybex practice tests again and marked the score, it was much better this time. · Booked the Exam. · Got Luke Ahmed’s SNT subscription. August · Took the tests and got crushed in the first week itself. · Constant thoughts that whether it is too early for the exam. · Took Thor’s practice tests from Udemy and also the free ones from his website. · Covered Destination certification mindmap videos. · Due to some urgent work, had to extend the exam by a month. September · Went through Study Notes and Theory Videos and took notes. · Practices Adam Gordon’s QOTD (Questions of the day on linked in) starting from Question 1 all the way to 300 · SNT Facebook group helped a lot with questions and clarifications. · Karthikeyan Dhayalan CISSP slides from slide share. (covers a lot) · Went through Wentz Wu’s practice questions (10 questions, was too saturated by now) · CISSP Process Guide · Sunflower CISSP V2.0 notes · Studied my notes again on last time.



QUICK TIPS that helped me to prepare for D-DAY 1. Take notes, Take notes, Take notes. You will thank yourself in the end during revision; else you will end up flipping through pages and PDFs. 2. Refer to multiple sources; there is no short cut to this. Let the knowledge sink in. 3. Check for example based videos for explanations. I just did a YouTube search for SAML and other things that I wanted to dig in. 4. Join a Boot camp (free/paid) whatever you feel like. You will get some help and answers there. 5. Have a friend who is also preparing for CISSP. I was lucky to have one. Track your progress, share resources, and brainstorm on concepts. 6. Take a lot of questions till the time you forget the number. Mark what you did wrong and focus on the topic again. All options should look familiar, if not; check the other options as well. 7. DO NOT jump to the answer, take time to read, and understand what is being asked. Try this during the practice tests as well to train the brain. 8. Try to eliminate the options, don’t just skip or mark the question to check later. 9. One or two months before the exam: EAT SLEEP and TALK CISSP. This will happen automatically and you will know it. 10. Initiate -> PLAN -> GRIND Yourself -> Schedule exam -> Test and Revise How much time to spend? Are 2 hrs. each day enough Many have shared that they studied 4 hrs. Each day and extended hrs. on weekends. I took a different approach here. Instead of spending time I made checklists on what I will complete today, complete that and sleep no matter whether it takes 1 hr. or 10 hrs. I told my friends that I will be off the social media for some time and deactivated all the notifications I thought would distract. My active mobile screen time was reduced from 4 hrs. to 28 minutes or so. Do not over calculate, make it realistic, and keep some buffer. Strikeout what has been completed; you will get a sense of accomplishment. Account for relaxation and other essential tasks. Below is a quick take on the number of checklists I had. How many questions are enough? Not sure, but these many worked for me. D-Day Studied for just and hr. or so the day before. Slept for 7 hrs. straight, I usually sleep less 6 or so hrs. Reached the center early by an hr. as I accounted for a flat tire, traffic, etc. Completed the formalities and for the next 3 hrs. it was just me and the questions. Took a small breather in between, closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths.


Post the exam I was handed over the letter I took it with me without looking at it. I opened the letter outside the center and it read congratulations. I was so happy that I kept looking at it for a few more seconds. Came home, talked to all the friends and peeps, some got motivated, some happy and this is how the day ended.


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