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How Vivek Cracked His CISSP Exam

CISSP Journey (Punjabi Way)

Well, there are many things which I want to write but to be precise, will just concentrate on what is relevant.

Journey started in 2012 when a piece of book SHON HARRIS 5th edition arrived at my home after hearing about this certification. Size of it scared me and a thought provoked whether it is right exam to do for me since it talks about everything which I don’t know or not meant for me as a Network Security Consultant.

But anyways, gathered courage and took some time to open it finally in 1 month and understood that this is not any other exam where you can cram everything. It’s all about CONCEPTS AND CONCEPTS.

Lost patience and other distractors in life kept me away from continuing the study until mid of 2014.

But then my office shifted and engaged me for next 6months and 2015 arrived and housekeeping tasks and documentation took me not to look at it anymore for some more time. (TAKE AWAY, find someone who can be your buddy as this is too exhaustive journey all alone.)

Now, the NUCLEAR MISSILE was shot on my head that why I bought this book when I am not serious until now (Guess who would have done that…..), Well, I am married. Things weren’t going well at workplace and wanted to change from current role. Again, thought started to give a respect to the book as a rescue option. But this time, I actually got 6 domains read as per old contents. BRAVO……. Started following FB group during this time.

Momentum broke when I welcomed a handsome baby in my hands in 2016…What a moment of joy!!!! MY HEART GOES OUT TO MY LOVELY & UNDERSTANDING WIFE FOR BEARING MY IRRITATION AND SORRY FOR NOT GIVING PROPER TIME TO BOTH OF YOU AFTER OFFICE HOURS, not helping you on weekends even… Will make up in coming days, months and years until next endeavor.

Life is all about togetherness… If you are married and have a family, you know what to expect from other end as this needs time division multiplexing.

Finally managed to change the job but still not what I was looking but hope of finding a GREEN GRASS took precedence.

Come 2016 June, one final call made and here comes the new SYBEX 7th ed in June 2016… Thinking world of change with 2 editions crossed since first thought of 2012… I need to learn and more focus in future plans. Now, you can relate why I said Punjabi in the title (eat, drink and sleep most important) , rest everything will fall in.


  • SHON HARRIS 5th edition — My partner whenever Sybex didn’t cover

  • (ISC) 2 CISSP Study Guide, Sybex 7th edition —Recommended for crisp and quick go through the flesh.

  • CISSP Official (ISC) 2 Practice Tests

  • Sybex online practise questions (register basis on your purchase code)

  • MHPROFESSIONAL Practice Questions at

  • FB group (CISSP- Study Notes and Theory) administered by Luke and Whatsapp Group run by Ahmed is must as it keeps you on your toes every hour every minute while matching standards of ETHICS among everyone. Called AUP in CISSP. Someone reading this will be expecting more study books but it does not matter how many books you read but its CONCEPTS understanding which will make or break for you. Exam is about the understanding what you are reading and how committed you are for the D-day. Imagine yourself coming out from Exam center with a smile and no negative thoughts… I did that but after the exam it wasn’t same until read CONGRATULATIONS on a piece of paper!!


Exam was at 11AM local time in Bangalore, reached 30mins before to kill my anxiety and butterflies which is normal with me for any day like this. Got initial formalities and Fingerprint scanning done but I hate their Camera quality used to take candidate photo for records. So, was able to start off well for few questions then think started to fell off due to unseen questions, phrasing and extra from newer technologies described below. Standings were like this:

1st hour – 72 questions

2.5 hours – 150 questions (took a break for tea and biscuits.. You can bring your snacks or even meal if you get some time)

3 hours- 180 questions (this was easy 30mins for me since brain stimulated after a short break)

4.5 hours – 250 questions (wasn’t confident so marked 100+ for review, big

mistake as time wont allow you this but depends on your experience and speed.. I prefer to go slow as EXAM not testing n CLICKING SPEED rather on CONCEPTS and CONCEPTS) Break for 15 mins to not think what I did inside but focus on recollecting what I studied and try to relax mind.

Left with 1 hour to review 120+ questions and completed only when TIMER Expired… Changed only 7-8 questions so I felt marked many unnecessary ques thinking will have time in hand at the end. So, this is called full use of time. Emerging and newer technologies on Cloud, IdM are also important along with the basics of each 8 domain. WATCH CYBRARY CCSP and CISSP Videos to grab the Cloud concepts, I didn’t do so, just applied my so far limited understanding and THINK LIKE A MANAGER AGAIN.


  • Make sure you read at least one book cover to cover which you feel comfortable.

  • Focus on understanding the concepts more instead on the number of practice questions you attempted.

  • While doing practice tests, try to read the justification for all the questions even if it is correct. Helps you in cementing them in neurons (like ANN in CISSP)

  • In the real exam, make sure you read the questions and responses twice before finalizing your answer (maybe a single word can change the entire context of the questions)

  • You won’t find any source which comes close to real exam questions and that’s the beauty of it. You are tested on your logical thinking while scratching head during those 6 hours. So build concepts around CIA Triad and THINK LIKE A MANAGER (Always Advise, recommend, document and do not fix the problem because that’s job of SYSTEM OWNER and DATA CUSTODIAN)

  • Don’t mark many questions like me , it may scare and confuse at the review.

  • ELIMINATION STRATEGY will work most of the time when you are in doubt. Lastly, wish everyone success who are on the path of this extremely helpful and mind boggling security certificate.

Wishes for 2017!


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