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How Mandela Cracked His CISSP Exam

Today the CISSP journey is over for me, I passed the exam at first attempt and cannot believe it . This is the most inspiring and motivating group for CISSP on Facebook as I was able to see the good and horror stories regarding experience of the exam. The conversations on this platform kept me going and each time I saw someone posting they had failed the exam it got me worried, thinking maybe I am attempting the wrong security certification. Nevertheless I had faith in the amount of study and research overtime


I have been studying consistently for the CISSP exam since September 2020 having started watching some CISSP videos from Sari Green as early as June 2020 though I never took them seriously until I got myself the Official Study Guide, Official practice question and CISSP 11th Hour study guide, AIO kindle Version around August 2020 .

My study pattern was so unusual which sometimes I couldn’t convince myself that I was understanding anything looking at the material and volume of stuff which I needed to cover as I had to balance between working and studying. At first I used to study on weekends only but I changed the plan around November where I had to convince myself that I finish the AIO kindle version of 1477 pages by end of December 2020 which I did. I had to do 2 hours every weekday late night and combined it with 8 hours every weekend.

After finishing the 1477 pages in December, I jumped into OSG and practice questions in January 2021. The study material for CISPP was very challenging as I never imagined myself finishing those huge volumes especially the AIO and OSG but thanks to this group, I had “virtual friends” who gave me courage and inspiration.

Your comments, advice , suggestions on how to handle this exam were diverse but I had to pick those I could accommodate in my schedule. The real motivation came when I booked for the test in January 2021. One needs to just devise his/her own study plan and a lot of commitment has to be undertaken to ensure that the plan is followed to the later

STUDY To pass the Exam it required a lot of discipline as Luke Ahmed would say “The CISSP is not an exam for those who seek constant motivation, it is for the disciplined, or the ones seeking discipline” and I have demonstrated that by passing this exam today.

The following are the study materials I used.

Practiced between 3000 to 4000 practice questions from difference sources

  • CISSP (80% to 90%)

  • CISSP official practice questions (90% to 100%)

  • CISSP exam Prep ( Scoring between 80% – 90%)

  • Infosec4TC CISSP practice questions ( by Mohamed Atef) ( scoring 70% – 80%)

  • Luke Ahmed’s questions from SNT –( Overwhelmingly impressive and difficult questions but good to have CISSP mindset and learn concepts) was scoring between 50% to 60% at first them improved to about 80% to 90% later on)

  • Watched tons and tons of Youtube videos

  • Watched the YouTube channel by Prabh Nair, the Legendary CISSP guru, very magnificent guy who sometimes randomly creates CISSP videos that carry important concepts in them.

  • Watched Online Courses for Sari Greene from Wiley, platform Thor Pendersen

  • CISSP Study course – (Thor questions were too easy and straight forward opted not to try them)

  • Watched Rob Witcher – Destination Mind map you tube channel… A MUST

WATCH FOR LAST FEW DAYS BEFORE EXAM DAY Watched all videos from SNT members portal ( this is where I learnt how I could apply concepts as his practice video questions are lengthy and though carry a lot of CISSP concepts in them – Subscribed to SNT for 3 months)

Structured Cyber Security brain maps by Haseeb Nasir Ali ( These really helped me to connect most of the CISSP concepts per domain)

Surprisingly, I was getting notes as I was going through the study guides and other materials but never got chance to revise through them prior to the exam. This is a high level managerial exam which requires skillful thinking to pass and one needs to have a strategy especially when it comes to understanding the questions because of they way they are framed. They are not for a technical guy who fixes networks, firewalls or writes code but for a Security Risk Practitioner who is an adviser to management

My message of encouragement is that you need to motivate and believe in yourself and please avoid memorizing stuff but instead learn to understand the CISSP concepts/material. I know the study materials for CISSP exam is bulk and trust me you will never be ready to write this exam just like felt this morning despite the past 7 - 8 months of studying. I got cheered up after I listened to Kelly Handerhan “I will pass the CISSP” exam as I drove to the testing center and that was my turning point to conquer the beast

A big thank you to Luke Ahmed for creating this wonderful platform which embraces everyone towards a common goal which is attaining the CISSP certification and the posts/conversations/questions/answers/shared knowledge from everyone in the group were very help for me pass the exam.



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