I have recently passed CISSP certification on 11th Feb 2021, and here I am writing my success story.
Whenever I used to read the success stories posted on the SNT group “How someone has cracked the CISSP exam”, I used to think, when I get a chance to write it, I will write this, will write that. Even during my prep days, many thoughts crossed my mind for this day (Long awaited!) but now I am falling short of words, still trying to give my best shot here :)
So it started back in 2016 when I joined my present organisation and met Prashant Mohan (You all know him for “The Memory Palace”) and heard of this certification for the first time.
At the beginning, I didn’t pay attention but when I saw his passion and the happiness of accomplishing this certification, I started realising it as a big deal and then soon this realisation got converted into motivation and inspiration when he made us join SNT group on FB. I was literally thrilled by reading the success stories, posts, comments, how much hard work goes into the preparation and still people can’t make it in first attempt, Very scary! but then Prashant was always there to convert this fear into motivation and ready to help/guide/support to achieve this milestone but as Luke always say, "the most important resource in the preparation is “YOU”. So it was me who was procrastinating it and seriously, I do not have any excuses for that. (I knew, Prashant was very disappointed by me for that!)
So, I started preparing in Aug 2020 when I moved back to my hometown and locked up due to Pandemic. I thought, this is the best time to accomplish this as the one thing that I found common in all success stories was the sacrifice of your social life, Covid has already done that for us!
My Study Plan!
Do not just hear, Listen to them! - Pay attention to every word Prashant, Luke and Prabh say in their webinars. Believe me, they know this!
Sybex : First reading was Just reading, took notes in second reading (very important)
Listened to Late Great Shon Harris Audios along with the Sybex reading, no one can beat her till today! She explains everything with so much ease that you won’t feel any burden or pressure listening to her audios! She’s a Legend!
PowerCert Animated Videos on YouTube - Very basic concepts for beginners who know nothing about network Security and communication (Domain 4) and get confused like me, even in remembering very basic protocols (I used to get confused between SSL, SSH, TLS, Telnet etc.)
Then, I quickly completed the third reading of Sybex and started doing ISC2 Practice tests Domain wise.
Then comes Boson Practice Tests- Completed 3 sets out of 5 and left two for practice before exam!
Did online Wiley efficient Learning practice questions and left some for last month before exam.
Then I read “Think like a Manager” by Luke. Questions were not difficult but the way he explained the concepts through those questions, it helps to create the appropriate mindset required for the exam! The book is AMAZING just like the Author!
Then I took Study Notes Theory membership and literally started enjoying my prep days by watching Luke’s videos. They are so real! I didn’t feel that they were recorded ones. Luke is so natural and honest with his thoughts, you always feel connected in real time. Use promo code "LATENIGHTSTUDY" for 15% off at checkout.
Watched Kelly Henderhan course on Cybrary! Her experience reflects in the talking!
Watched MindMips videos, Prabh’s videos and some motivational videos on YouTube in the last 2 weeks.
Read hand written notes in the last week.
Read “The Memory Palace” 2 days before the exam. I also referred it, when I was making notes during second reading of Sybex to make concepts/exam oriented notes else I would have copied the whole Sybex :P
My Exam Experience! I was really nervous on the exam day, although I had made peace with the failure and I was ready to face it again next month. I was not scared of failing but thought of studying for one more month with the same exam pressure was making me all nervous! Questions were not tricky but the options were and during all the time, I didn’t feel that I was passing as eliminating two wrong options were easy but the real challenge was to choose more correct option from the remaining two and I was not sure that I was choosing the right one out of those two. Appearing for the exam has also made me realise that if you fail this exam, that does not mean that you know any less or you haven’t prepared enough for it or you haven’t put sufficient hard work. You can fail even if you are very well prepared, this exam is designed like that. That's why they say, mindset is very important! Thank you Note! Prashant Mohan: Thank you for introducing me to the world of CISSP and helping me in every possible way throughout my journey! It has given me a sense of accomplishment and changed my perspective towards my profession. I think it is very important who your mentor is as eventually, you start to feel the same kind of Passion, motivation and develop the same kind of professional ethics! I feel lucky to have you as my Friend and Mentor, I will always Cherish this enlightening journey because of you! Luke Ahmed: He is an amazing soul with high values and unmatched professional ethics who brought us together from different parts of the world! Thank you for developing wonderful SNT content and making us a part of your life through all the talking in the videos. Special thanks to your wife for all the support. Your children will be so proud when they grow up to understand all the work you have done for the community! Radha Arora: Thank you My friend, an unconditional supporter for listening to me and keeping me calm throughout the journey and for the delicious Aloo Parathas (Indian Delicacy) on the day of exam to cheer me up :P Budding CISSPs (Telegram Group) : I have always studied in the group during my engineering and this element was missing till I joined this group! This group keeps you motivated, practice questions together and people are always ready to help. Thank you Bhupendra, Sachin, Ankush, Sudhin, Sangeetha for keep checking up on me, Anna, Ahmed (Admins) for creating such a supportive environment and others who have shared their views/thoughts! My Parents: No words are enough for their selfless, endless love and support! Thank you for reading such a long post and Good Luck, if you are preparing for the exam!