How Jeff Cracked His CISSP Exam
I am extremely happy to announce that I provisionally passed the exam this past Saturday. This was my 3rd attempt and like most, I thought I would be studying for my 4th attempt during the test. Fortunately, I walked from the exam and collected my results paper. I asked the proctor to fold it for me and I walked outside of the room and into the stairwell. Expecting defeat and disappointment I was shocked to see the words "CONGRATULATIONS". I have no shame in telling everyone that I cried and was overwhelmed with so many emotions. When I arrived home my entire family was outside holding sparklers and chearing. One of the most amazing moments in my life.
The only way to beat this test is to give it your "ALL". I mean your "ALL". If you try to cheat it, IT WILL CHEAT YOU! You simply have to put in the time and use multiple resources to refine your CISSP foundation day after day after day!
My journey started in April of 2016 when I took a CISSP Bootcamp hoping to hit it hard and pass first go around. I honestly barely looked at study materials prior to the boot camp (I had no clue lol). Obviously, I failed at 623 and for the first time felt the gravity of this certification and the vast domain content. Shortly after I returned home I purchased Eric Conrad's 2nd Edition and passively studied once or twice a week for close to a year. Thinking an aggressive study schedule of about 6 weeks coupled with my passive studying, would be enough to pass. I used Kelly's video's, the Eric Conrad book and the CCCure test engine. Of course, I failed again at 656 (getting better).
The disappointment, as many of you know, was unbearable. That night I searched "what to do after you fail the CISSP exam" and came across Luke's SNT site. I joined immediately and convinced myself to study more regularly (2-3 times a week). Finally, in November 2018, I decided that I was going to study everyday (3 Hours a day MINIMUM) until I passed. On, March 2, 2019 I made it happen.
List of Resources:
-STUDY NOTES AND THEORY - Paid membership I watched every video and wrote down the content of each slide (84 hand written pages). I took all (500) questions, which was essential for preparing my brain to answer questions how ISC2 wants you to. -SYBEX EIGHTH EDITION cover to cover -CCCURE TEST SITE 5,924 test questions (pro setting) -CISSP SECURITY PROFESSIONAL mobile Application Answered all 687 questions and all Flash cards (twice) -SIMPLE CISSP Exam Guide (Phil Martin) audio book (twice) -SIMPLE CISSP Exam Questions (Phil Martin) (once) -KELLY HANDERHAN'S VIDEOS (once) -7,111 Test questions in all -GOOGLE CALENDAR (Tracked every resource and activity I used everyday for 4 months. (I can compile data soon if anyone is interested.
1. My first piece of advice is to make sure you and your family are in a good place and that every one can make daily sacrifices so you can put in the time and work this test requires. (You can't help around the house, you can't make dinner every night, you can't attend special events). Get them on-board from day one and establish your boundaries.
2. Next, subscribe to the paid version of Study Notes and Theory if possible. Luke's videos are exactly what I needed to understand more CISSP concepts and connect the dots to the real world.
3. Take A LOT of practice questions (5,000 minimum). The CCCure test engine has vastly improved over the past 6 months and are much more challenging than before. SNT Test questions are perfect for the final stretch after you have built a strong foundation.
4. Ideally, go somewhere to study every night. If not, make a dedicated space in your house where you are protected from distractions and honey-do lists. :)
5. Constantly remind yourself that this is a management test and therefore you must think long term. You must consider what will impact profits, and always identify permanent solutions. Solve problems with policy and training. Respond to issues using high level concepts like BCP/DRP, and Incident Response plans. Rely on SDLC, Common Criteria, and Risk Management to make decisions and guide your organization. When things fail double back and find out why, and identify how you can correct it going forward (POLICY FIRST). Use continuous improvement and root cause analysis to revise existing policy and prevent future occurrence.
6. Be patient with yourself as this is a learning process and will not happen over night. Hold yourself accountable to your study plan. If you have a hiccup and don't study as hard as you plan to, get right back in there the next day. Make the CISSP your priority and do not deviate.
7. I can promise everyone that if you make CISSP your priority, and you put in the time you will walk away successful. For 3 years I read hundreds of opinions about what formula should be used to become a CISSP. I'll tell you right there is no magic formula. The formula is different for everyone. However, there is a common denominator and it is this:
The common denominator is "SACRIFICE". As soon as you are ready to make CISSP your one and only goal you will succeed. You have to put everything aside and invest quality time and hard work. Its that simple and its the only path to the Certification. Bottom line is everyone is capable of sacrifice and capable of earning the CISSP.
Thank you Luke Ahmed for your amazing content and bringing us all together to tackle the beast!!! This site was essential for my success.
God and my family were by my side every step of the way once I made it my only priority.
Put in the work you got this I guarantee it!!!
Thank you All and God Bless!