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How Ram Cracked His CISSP Exam

OK, here is my feedback after successful examination.

Background and experience: 10+ years of implementing various security solutions in engineer and consulting role. Encryption, DLP, AV, HIPS and Endpoint Security Solutions.

Ahmed Khatib and Luke Ahmed, first of all thank you for creating the Budding CISSPs Telegram group and the CISSP Facebook Study Group for CISSP aspirants to discuss topics.

My Exam Experience

I started dreaming to become a CISSP from 2015 and bought Shon Harris 6th Edition. As usual, due to many reasons kept the book aside and started reading a few pages sometime & was able to complete only Cryptography domain since I was not serious.

Again I have stopped preparation due to certain family commitments, meanwhile Sajjad started this group and he added me in this group.

This group helped me get back on track and then every next day we started getting CISSP from this group. I seriously started preparing for CISSP in Jan 17.

It totally took me 3 months to prepare for this exam.

Read, Kamlesh’s exam experience and decided to stick with Sybex 7th Edition.


1. Watched and understood Kelly (on Kamlesh & Sajjad’s sugguestions)

2. Sybex 7th Edition cover to cover once and gave bonus exam from

There are 4 bonus exam I gave only 3 exam and left 1 exam for to check my knowledge before real exam

3. I was scoring between 72-83% in bonus exam. I always checked my wrong answers and tried to find out why my answer was wrong. Many times I notice that I knew concept however I failed to understand tricky question and hence I gave wrong answer.

4. Gave 2 Practice tests from Offical Sybex Pratice test [], I was scoring 80+% in Pratice tests and I notice these question were easier then bonus exam. Left 1 Pratice test for my real


5. Till this time I have not yet scheduled my exam, as I wasn't sure that I am prepared to give exam. (Though I thought to have tentative date as 22nd MAR 17 )

6. As I had other personal work I had to change my tentative date and decided to give exam on 10th April 2017. I still had not scheduled exam, as due to my job I was not sure which week will be busy for me. But still started imagining that my Exam is on 10th April 2017 and started studies by keeping that in mind.

7. Read Sybex once again from cover to cover and I surprisingly notice that, by this time I forgot most of the domain and everything seems to be new to me from these domains. Even topics/items which I highlighted were seems to be new.

8. It seems, either I was not reading to understand in first time or practice test questions were hinting me to read specific lines/words/concept carefully this time.

9. As soon as completed Sybex Book, started watching Kelly once again.

10. 3 Days before Exam, either I was answering questions in group or I was reading highlighted items in book | Shon | AIO | Eric | Sunflower | Kelly. (Slept only for 2 hours during night before exam, I was reading from different materials and could not decide what to read and what not)

11. As I wasn’t sure what will come in exam was trying to memorize everything, LAWs, SDLC, Encryption modes, Bits for encryption keys, Encryption Mode.. etc

12. Just before exam, I gave both Practice test just to make sure that I am still getting enough score.

Exam Experience

1. Reached exam center 1 hour before, they need two forms of identity (original and photo Copy)

2. After formalities and NDA agreement, Center Admin gave me 1 wipe board and 1 marker pen and helped me to start exam and went back to his desk.

3. Trust me...I have solved around 2500+ questions during 2 months from different sources but questions in exam were different.

4. During exam, I was trying my level best to select one best answer and flagged almost 50% questions, though made sure to select best answer before flagging question just to make sure if I run out of time, I still have answered the question.

5. In 2.5-3 hours I have gone through all questions and at least give one best answer. I had to read many question 3-4 time just to understand what is being asked.

6. Took break and was thinking that I am going to fail this exam... But decided to fight till last moment and went back inside to review my flagged questions

7. During review of flagged questions, I notice that I am still not able to decide on answer and let them flagged and moved to next.. by doing this I still left with around 50+ flagged questions.

8. Again I did review and left with around 25+ question, for which I couldn't decide which one should be correct answer. Used all logical, experience and knowledge gained from book to try give answer and selected best answer.

10. Left with 119 minutes, As submitting exam early doesn’t give any benefit, decided to use remaining time to review all questions from 1 to 250

11. During review, as suggested by Kelly, I made sure to not to change answer of any question without strong reason. But still I found 3-4 questions for which I thought I should change answer. (Some questions I misunderstood and for some I gave wrong answer because of initial exam nervousness may


12. When left with 30 minutes decided to submit exam & came out side.

13. Center Admin, picked print out from printer and he raised his hand towards me for handshake and congratulated me.. I did not even look at print and thanked him and sat on the couch for 2-3 minutes

and then only I took print in my hand. I was so happy!!! That one piece of paper needed so much efforts.

Suggestions to all my friends who are trying to get certified

1. Luke's member's site is a MUST!

2. Read & UNDERSTAND Sybex 7th Edition. CONCEPTS are Key

3. If you decide to stick only with Sybex, please make sure you know everything from this book.

4. Elimination of options - You need to develop a skill to eliminate wrong options. It helped me lot to reach to correct answer. Though selecting one Best answer from 2 option is also not easy when both looks best, I learnt this in exam.

5. Practice as many as questions, this will help you on HOW TO USE GAINED KNOWLEDGE

6. Exam v/s reading, it’s NOT about what you read, it’s about what you understood and how to apply that in real world? i.e. only who knows difference between incremental v/s differential backup will be able to give answer of question : Which one is quick to restore?

That’s all folks, I am not that good with writing, Once again thanks everyone for all the knowledge sharing and explanations posted here, it really helped me in.

Its not destination, it is just start of the journey.... I wish everyone all the very best!!!


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