How Maren Cracked Her CISSP Exam!


102 questions in ~ 100 minutes ~6 weeks (~180 hours) of focused studying ~3.5k solved questions Passing the CISSP was added to my future bucket list long ago. I bought the AOI Shon Harris book back in 2018. But time flies and I‘m not patient enough to read 1000+ pages, so it was mostly left neglected in my bookshelf. After I quit my job in January 2021 I was only working part-time so I decided to focus on studying for the CISSP. Having a background in penetration testing (OSCP,OSCE) and defense consulting (SIEM,SOC) for about 6 years, I struggled the most with the management stuff and software development. The Cybrary CISSP course by Kelly Handerhan was recommended to me so I started with watching her videos and making a lot of handwritten notes. It is essential to focus on what you are doing (tried to watch it on the side but I couldn‘t remember anything afterwards). I joined the SNT telegram group which was very helpful – I absolutely recommend it, not only for getting questions but for communications/discussions. Feel free to ask everything you‘re struggling with. Even better: If you find a study buddy you can talk to and explain things (only if you can explain it you get it). For getting another overview I watched all the YouTube – Destination Certification videos. Afterwards I wanted to get a deeper look at each domain. I started by flipping through the AOI to realize, what I already know and what I don‘t know. Started to read on those topics but mostly tried to understand them by watching videos (mostly Luke's SNT videos and skillset videos on yt). I was watching sooo many videos that I ended up watching everything in 2x speed. After each domain I did the AOI and Sybex questions for the given domain. And now and then some full tests (100-150q). Whenever I didn‘t feel like reading (very often) I solved questions. I like swapping studying material, so for not getting bored I tried all question apps I could find. When I was driving in my car/taking a shower/brushing teeth/doing sports I was listening to IT Dojos questions on YouTube or Shon Gerber questions on Spotify. It is essential to solve a lot of questions but it‘s even more important to understand why you didn‘t get the right answer. Going through Luke's questions needs a lot of time but his explanations are awesome. IT Dojos explanation are great as well. I also recommend the Memory Palace PDF – it summarizes everything, went through the document twice. You can‘t skip anything while studying for this exam, you will need all the technical stuff as your foundation – but mostly as basic understanding to answer the high level questions. You really have to get into the management thinking!

Some days (and even some weeks) ahead of my exam I watched those videos. They are both extremely helpful and I really recommend them:

Luke - how to think like a manager https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dq5eodSz_0k Kelly Henderhan – why you will pass the CISSP (even watched this while walking to the exam centre) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Y6Zog8h2A Day of the exam: I decided not to be too nervous, just tried to give my best. During the exam I couldn‘t tell if I am failing or passing, even when I reached 102 questions and the exam stopped. There are only a few questions where I felt like „that‘s absolutely the right answer“ but mostly it wasI think it is X, but I can‘t tell you if it really is the right answer“. Focus, read every question and answers twice, decide and go ahead. It was good not to have the option to recheck the answers. It is an awesome feeling to turn the paper and read the word "Congratulations“ - knowing that all the effort was worth it. Good Luck to All future CISSPs!! My study material: Book: AIO (All-in-One) Memory Palace Videos: Cybrary – Kelly Handerhan Youtube – Destination Certification (Awesome) Lukes SNT Videos Youtube – Skillset CISSP Android-Apps: (ISC²) CISSP Official Study (paid version) CISSP Practice Test Free 2021 (free version) CISSP Pocket Prep (free version) CISSP – Information Systems Security Professional (free version) Question banks: AIO (Book gives you the code for an online test bank) Sybex -Official Practice Tests Luke's Study Notes and Theory SNT telegram group Cybrary IT Dojo (Youtube) Reduce Cyber Risk – Shon Gerber (Podcast) GoCertify (free questions)

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