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How Richard Cracked His CISSP Exam

Hello Everyone!

I’m very excited and happy to let you know that I conquered and passed the CISSP exam on my first try yesterday! During the exam, I could not gauge whether I was passing or failing but I was very determined to give it my best. I flagged a bunch of questions and during the exam, I was worried that I would not have enough time to finish the exam and review the flagged questions.

I completed the exam in 4hrs 30min and took a quick 5 minute break to stretch and use the restroom. I reviewed the flagged questions and changed a few of them. I ended the exam with about 5 minutes to spare.

Upon leaving the testing area, I proceeded to walk over to the receptionist area to retrieve my printout. As I walked over, I saw the print out coming out of the printer and I tried to look if it was a single sheet but as I approached the receptionist, she waved me away to first get my belongings out of the locker.

At that point, I’m already feeling nervous and worried. After getting my backpack out of the locker, I walked over to the receptionist and she hands me the print out which was tri-folded like a letter. I quickly unfolded the print out and tried to look for the words “Congratulations”. I had to look several times just to make sure. I sat down at a bench and I was overwhelmed with so much emotions. All I could say to myself was “Thank You Jesus!” My wife told me that now I can finally stop locking myself in my study library. Oh, one bit of advice that a member shared that was valuable was to wear long sleeves in case it gets cold in the testing area. And sure enough, it started to get cold but I was prepared.

Study Materials: • CISSP Study Guide, Third Edition by Eric Conrad • 11th Hour, by Eric Conrad • Sybex ISC2 Official Study Guide, 7th Edition • ISC2 Official Practice Tests • CCCure Practice Tests (paid annual subscription) • AIO CISSP Exam Guide, 5th Edition by Shon Harris • Cybrary CISSP videos and mp3s by Kelly Handerhan • CISSP Complete Video Course by Sari Greene • David Miller CISSP Certification Training Videos • Simplilearn CISSP videos from YouTube • Quizlet Flash Cards • Brainscape Flash Cards • Revised Sunflower PDF • I created mp3 recordings of the Quizlet flash cards • I initially took handwritten notes of about 7 chapters from the Sybex Study Guide but after a while, I got tired of writing and it was taking too long so I created notes from the pdf file that came with the online access from Wiley. In my last 3 weeks of studying, my notes and flash cards were my main method of studying.

Study Methods and Preparation: I consistently studied for 4 months and my biggest challenge was trying to find enough time to study. Having three children and a wife made it difficult since in the evenings, I was shuffling 3 kids back and forth to their practices. During that time, I listened to the mp3 audios from Cybrary and the mp3 audios that I created from the flash cards.

As far as reading materials, I started with the Eric Conrad Study Guide and read it cover to cover. Next I read and took notes from the Sybex CISSP Official Study Guide. I found this to be the most beneficial for me in getting learning and understanding the concepts.

In between the readings, I completed all the video courses I mentioned. This helped to reinforce the concepts. In my last 4 weeks of preparation, I completed all of the CCCure practice questions and I saved the CISSP Official Practice Tests for last. Two nights before the exam, I completed the two full 250 exam questions. On the first exam, I scored 79.2% and I used it as a gauge to continue with my scheduled exam date. I was contemplating on rescheduling my exam. On the second test the night before my exam, I scored 82%. Overall, I was averaging 88% combined with the 800 practice questions and 2 full exams.

I only did them one time because I did not want to get a false sense of assurance from memorizing the questions and answers. I studied the wrong answers and kept reviewing my personal notes from the Sybex Study quide. I believe this was key for me in passing the exam.

If I can give some advice, I would have given myself more time to do more practice exams such as the Shon Harris and other free ones that have been mentioned in the study group. Sorry for this long post. But I wanted to share as much as I could in order to help others as I have received from everyone else. Thank you to Luke Ahmed and everyone in this study group! I will try to add additional details and revise this post.


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