I have a B.Sc. (Hons) Computer Science and was once CISA certified. Am a systems/network engineer and I don’t have an area of specialty per se as am more of an all-rounder. From clearing paper jams to routing and switching to firewalls to deploying infrastructure in the cloud.
I started preparing for the CISSP exam in mid-April, two weeks after we went into lockdown here in South Africa. I wanted to do it in 3 months but the finances couldn’t permit as we faced salary cuts since I work in Tourism which happens to be the hardest hit by COVID19.
The workload also increased as we had to make sure our infrastructure enables people to work from home. I decided to do an average about 3 hours of study per day to keep myself abreast with the content. It was until the last 3 weeks when I blocked off everything and immersed myself into CISSP mode.
CISSP Sybex 8th Edition (read it once cover to Cover)
CISSP-all-in-one-exam-guide Shon Harris 7thEdition (read it once cover to cover)
CISSP Study Guide 11th Hour (read it in the last 2 days)
All Kelly Handerhan Videos (You gotta love Kelly)
All Luke Ahmed's Videos and Practice Questions A-Z, 1A,1B and 1C. His practice questions will throw you off your wits.
Official Sybex Test Bank (iPad App)
Boson CISSP Practice questions
As I read the books I took questions at the end of every chapter. This is not really a good litmus test of your overall knowledge as the knowledge will be fresh after reading a chapter and there is not much cross domain correlation (Luke Ahmed’s invention).
You will realize after 3 days you have forgotten what you read, and that’s normal but don’t stop reading. I was also watching from the terraces on the SNT FB group and here and there making a contribution. I watched all Kelly and Luke’s videos. The last three weeks were dedicated to practice questions and referring back to concepts that I felt I needed to revisit. I was sleeping an average of 4 hours a day. I ended up dreaming about concepts. I would go through the test bank and revisit it again reading through why the correct answer is the correct one and why the other 3 are wrong. This is the heart and soul of passing the CISSP in my opinion. You will gain knowledge in a very short space of time. Flipping through test banks and going ahead without taking stock of every other choice in the question won’t help you much. The last two days I relaxed and read through 11th Hour. I wish I had read the book much earlier. It has a unique and concise way of making you understand concepts. Stuff like Aggregation Vs Inference, DD Vs DC, Tailoring Vs Scoping etc. There is not much chaff in it.
You will not get any question that is in any of the test banks. You will not be sure of any of your answers except maybe for a few. For the whole time in the exam I was convinced I was going to fail. At 100 questions the exam didn’t stop and I sort of panicked. I told myself I will try to get to 150 qns but time was against me. At 108qns left with 42qns I had 23 minutes at my disposal. I decided to up my pace and surprisingly 2qsns later the exam kicked me out. I was convinced I failed. I told the exam proctor that I was nervous and I felt I didn’t make it and then he said don’t worry your script says CONGRATULATIONS! I couldn’t believe it.
Kelly Handerhan’s videos are a must watch. Kelly has a unique way of explaining security concepts to a layman with little effort.
Luke’s Videos are awesome and detailed. They go beyond the exam. Luke is also very interactive and he will coach you and you are guaranteed you will get feedback from him in spite of the time differences.
Boson test bank is a winner for me. Their questions are less technical and the explanations are good and straight to the point. They are the closest to the exam from the 3 banks that I used but still a lifetime away from the real exam.
SNT questions are the most difficult, most voluminous and most time consuming. They are exceptional in drilling down the concepts but I wouldn’t use them to Judge my preparedness for the exam.
Sybex Test Bank is also good but don’t rely on it alone.
-Use material from various sources.
-3000 or 5000 questions won’t help you if all you do is go through questions and just note the correct answer.
-There is no progress in repeating the same questions, rather get a new question wrong than be correct on a question you have done before.
- Decide on the material you are going to use and avoid scope creep towards the exam.
-Sleep early before the exam and if possible take the morning one.
Most of all believe in yourself and never give up.
All the best to everyone.