top of page

How Satya Cracked His CISSP Exam

Study Resources and some insight

1. Cover to Cover Read --> Sybex 8th edition

[Took two months to read this page by page and make notes. Some say read once and take notes 2nd time, how ever

I feel to read once and take exclusive notes to save some time for not to come back to reread again.]

2. CBK 4th edition

[Read weak domains like scan through method by not spending too much time just to see new words or acronmyms

etc. that sybex missed(not took any notes but not sure how much new things i remember) Read all Glossary words and make sure any acronmyms or terminogoly is not new to me - after reading sybex only 10% acronmyms in Glossary is new to me in CBK - used this approach in last 10 days before exam. I am not sure where it provides value but it is official book we have no choice to read and see what's in there

for betterment of our profession and feel good afterwards - value to me is that I felt good]

3. 11th hour book --> cover to cover read physical book

[pretty clear wording and clear concise explanation of summary of all key concepts and I dedicated 1 entire Saturday 8 days before exam date to finish reading once and grasp these concise points - no notes taken as Sybex notes are enough and 2nd time I read this on the day of exam once - only 2 time read to make sure I didn't miss easy concepts as we all know that tough questions we don't have any control but not to make silly mistakes on easy questions - This book provides value there but not for minute details or hopes to pass/crack the exam]

4. ISC2 offical 2nd edition practice tests

[I took 5 full length tests at the end of the book 15 days before exam date to find out weak areas, fortunately I scored 75 to 80 and I felt these are not true test scores as some questions are truly to test did you read sybex book? Then only you can answer these. But I didn't truly find weak areas and after careful checking of my results I found two domains consistently scored low (domain 2 and 6) and shocked as these are very small domains and I am not doing good compared to other domains] Value for me is to find out what domains truly I am weak even though I scored 75-80 in last 5 tests in this book - no repeated tests/questions as it defeats the purpose of finding out weak areas]

5. Boson engine

[I figured I need to find out more about weakness areas and did boson tests only once/no repeated attempts of any kind - 4 out of 5 tests in exam mode in last 2 weeks before exam and I scored 64, 70.2, 72, 74, 74.2 ] I checked domain specific scores and Boson revealed domain 2 and 6 I consistently scored low(under 70%)despite passing Boson exam - I went back to CBK and read these again at this point in last week before exam]

[Lukes Website has some great free videos with practical explanation and I could not help myself purchasing and viewing more practical videos - went over some videos where my practice questions show I am weak and I am thankful I did - Shout out to Luke and his amazing work for the community - I plan to do something to advance the profession - but not sure at this point what it is.]

7. CCCure

[I subscribed in last 2 weeks before exam only for month by telling myself not to take 3 months as I took 3 150 full length tests 78, 82, 84 and I see I am strong in all areas including domains 2 and 6 plus other domains but relatively scored less compared to other domains. I feel confident at this time I might be ok in exam - although Boson questions are tougher than CCCure both have different set of value depending on the candidate situation and study plan - both are decent in their strong areas of evaluation - Many people or reviews say this is outdated concept/question - I disagree with this as nothing is outdated for this exam/mindset]

[11th hour like book for Sybex - pairing with Sybex you will appreciate how concise and clear this is if you use other books like Shon, Eric - you may not see a lot of value but who knows until you try for yourself - Read this 3 times or so for quick revision in last 2 to 3 weeks I spent revising same material many times one book or other]

[Read once - Little value to me as all other resources above are very well formatted and clear but content is good some may appreciate and some wont -- TIP - do not rely only on this just to pass the exam]

9. Video/Audio resources

[2 months while commuting to and from work I listend 2 main audio content series - Dear Kelly H. and Sari G. Wow both are amazing in their own way of teaching styles. Beginners of course find Kelly is more friendly and grasp the content faster - how ever it is 50% of course if I assess right, on the other hand Sari Greens audio find more complex and might feel sleepy for beginners with more terminology/acronyms and more content is reviewed there I would say 75% of syllabus - My opinion is both are great in their own way]

10. Youtube

[Any areas I am weak in - referring Youtube never failed in clarifying concepts by one or other pundits in their field of expertise]

11. Reddit

[amazing stories of every one both sides of exam result is great resource and I was reading every ones experiences and got chance to improve my plans for this exam]

Week before Exam

[Finding out weak areas and try to improve in any way I can from above resources - Stopped taking any sort of practice tests 3 days prior to exam not to get nervous about scores]

Exam day

5.30 woke up

7.30 read 11th hour while having good breakfast

8.30 Went out for 30min bike ride

10.30 did 25 CCCure questions just to get in mind set but not sure it helped but did it anyway

12.00 lunch little bit more i ate intentionally not to be thinking of food

2.30 drank Starbucks coffee near exam center while taking mental snapshots of Sybex notes

3.30 start of exam

TEST itself

Took one hour for first 30 questions and it is easy to get lost of time tracking may be I didn't feel ease in testing center

Planned for break but given my situation didn't take any break

1 to 50 I felt difficult and then I slightly felt getting better or some easy questions between 50 and 100

I must say engine figured out my weakness domain 6 and then keep giving me more and more and more questions related to domain 6 I honestly felt game over on this domain

I thought my test will stop at 100 or so but my time left is 45min at this point at 100q and questions started coming up and now chase started with time more than questions or content. last 20 questions - 10 min left and then I had to ramp up question scanning and options scan and interpret faster than I could I might have missed some but my practice questions experience - rapid fire answering helped me in making fast determinations (some could be right some may not) with 30 sec left I finished 150 and test stopped. I have 30 sec left if they throw one or 2 questions extra to answer. Not a great feeling after I finish the end exam button.

Heavy walk to checkout turned to be Congratulations!!! I am ecstatic than ever.

50% Think like a manager

50% Think like a Technical when appropriate based on context of question

Don't hang up on these phrases -- bottom line is think as per context of question

Hope this insight might provide some value and help future aspirants!!

Thank you.


bottom of page