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How Mark Cracked His CISSP Exam

Sorry for the delay…and the long post. Here’s my study resources and techniques to pass the CISSP exam on 12/19/15. If I can do it so can you, seriously. My experience is within the apparently less testable domains so if you’re not strong in some domains, don’t worry I wasn’t either at first. The top domains (below with *) are the most important domains and the domains at the bottom of the list are the least important domains. The list is in order of importance for the exam, as I understood.

Communication and Network Security * Security Engineering * Security and Risk Management * Identity and Access Management * Software Development Security Security Assessment and Testing Security Operation Asset Security


These are older books, yes but same topics so no worries. 1. Cybrary CISSP Videos (Free Online Training) as Ahmed Khatib mentions. 2. Shon Harris – Fifth Edition 3. Eric Conrad’s CISSP Study Guide, Second Edition 4. Eric Conrad’s 11th Hour CISSP, Second Edition 5. CCCure Practice Tests

My 12 week study

–First 6 weeks–

1. Watched CISSP Cybrary Video’s (in order). Took handwritten notes while watching the video’s.

2. After each video domain, stopped and read the corresponding domain in Eric Conrad’s CISSP Study Guide, Second Edition book + end of chapter quiz. It’s not a bad read compared to Shon Harris’ book.

3. Then took Shon Harris’ Total Tester (Practice Tests) of the domain just studied. Installation CD came with the book. I used Shon Harris book only as a reference, reading up on topics I felt I wasn’t strong in. I couldn’t read it cover to cover without falling asleep or daydreaming. I figured the practice tests would cover what I should know. I also tried listening to Shon Harris mp3s but felt I wasn’t getting anything out of them after listening to two domains. Didn’t continue mp3s.

4. Rinse, lather and repeat..for each of the 10 domains. CISSP 2015 has 8 domains, right, but same topics so no worries if you study 10 domain from older study materials. After completing all the domains I then >>>>

–2nd 6 weeks of study– 1. Purchased a subscription to CCCure Practice Tests. I completed and focused on one domain before proceeding to the next. Note, it could take days to complete one domain in CCCure Practice Tests. I became obsessed with these practice tests taking over 5400 questions. I highly recommend these.

2. Purchased Eric Conrad’s 11th Hour CISSP. Now this is an easy read. A lot shorter, to the point and no fluff. I read the domain chapter of what I was currently practice testing on.

3. After each CCure Practice Tests, I retook Shon Harris’ Total Tester of each domain. I was surprised by the results this time around…I actually knew the answers conceptually.

Final thoughts

Follow all the advice from the Cybrary video’s such as brute force memorization on some topics, using mnemonics to remember lists, printing out the TCP/IP OSI sheet, etc.

First, schedule the exam! This makes it real and will discipline your studies.

Set a timetable of study to ensure you cover all the domains. Twelve weeks study time was a good pace for me. I never felt I was cramming and ensured I soaked it all up.

Ensure your significant other and family are supportive as you will need to sacrifice time for studies. Life takes over and time is scarce, but try to study every moment you get, 30 min here an hour there. We went on a Disney vacation during my 12 week studies and I studied for 30-60 minutes after the family fell asleep. Some days I would take just a 10 question practice test.

I never felt 100% ready and maybe most of you won’t either but trust in yourself and your studies and…BAM you’ll pass.

Good luck all…


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