CISSP Exam Prep

I decided to do a little write up on what I did to prepare for and pass the Certified Information System Security Professional exam.  I truly believe if you follow this, you will pass.

It is important to note that we all have a unique way of learning, so tweak it to your advantage. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

CISSP Exam Prep

Here is what I did to prepare. It took me just under two months. Started September 24, 2016 – Passed Exam, November 21, 2016.
1) ISC2 Official Study Guide 7th Edition
2) Eric Conrad’s 3rd Edition CISSP Study Guide
3) Shon Harris All In One Study Guide 7th Edition
4) Cybrary.it- Kelly Handerhand video course

So,
1) I read the Sybex (ISC)2 Study guide twice. Cover to cover. Answered ALL chapter quizzes and used the online practice tests. ALL of them. You do not have to do the full blown tests in one sitting but before the exam one should do a few full blown exams to know what it feels like.  The 250 questions are 4 inches deep and a mile long. Not one question on the exam was the same as the thousands I practiced with.  However, it definitely correlated to the material.

2) Eric Conrad’s Book – I read that book cover to cover and did the practice tests in the book and the ones online. Easy read, cuts out all the fluff and added value to my overall experience.

3) Shon Harris All In One – I read some of the book, used the CD that came with it and it really helps gauge what Domains are your weaker ones. You cannot go wrong with this book. I also reviewed ALL chapter/Domain review pages at the end of each Domain (Quick Tips).

4) Cybrary.it – GREAT source and whilst I did not listen to ALL of it, I did a lot of listening while I was commuting, cooking, etc. Just having Kelly in the background going through the material is good. Remember our brains are actually picking up and storing information even if we think we are not listening. I remind my wife all the time.

5) OTHER
a. I made flash cards of concepts, theories, terms. Even the basic ones. I used almost two complete decks of “Heavy Duty” style Index Cards. They last longer and are more durable than the standard ones.
b. I spent a minimum of two hours (many times more hours) in the library. Somewhere quiet is ideal. For me, the Library was great. Starbucks or other run of the mill coffee shops have too much noise (for me).
c. I came up with a study plan and committed to meeting it. Regardless of how tired I was, what else was going on, work schedule etc. I did a minimum of 50 practice questions per day. I was careful not to memorize the questions but understand the “why, how, concepts”, etc. I built some fluff days into the schedule so I knew I would be through my goals 5 days before the exam. Note: it doesn’t mean you stop reviewing or studying 5 days before. I was actually studying the day of the exam in a cafeteria (quiet one) where the testing center was. Right up until test time.

6) Remember
a. You CAN do this. If you don’t pass the first time, it is only a road block and not a death sentence.
b. Never, never give up. (Read Winston Churchill’s speech regarding this)
c. It will not be handed to you on a silver platter. Figure out your weak points and tackle those.
d. Do NOT waste your money looking for Brain Dumps. They either don’t exist or are outdated and you would be better off spending your money on Monster Energy Drink, Coffee, or one of the recommended books.

7) As a life time learner and a Certified Technical Trainer +, I recommend that you reach out to Subject Matter Experts in the Domains.  Reach out to me if you would like. If it is in my power to help I will.

8) The new books are coming this fall (2017).  Surely there will be changes. If I know or hear of any, I will let you know.

Best Wishes  – You can do it!!
Steve