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Tips & Tricks for Passing the CISSP

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By: Prineshkv

September 15, 2016


All the hardwork has finally paid off.

Passed the exam 2 weeks ago. Took me about 1.5 months to study (rushed it quite the bit) but it shows it is achievable.

Study Materials

  1. ISC2 Official CBK 2015 book - This was my initial study book
    • Ditched it after my first attempt of studying (Never wrote the exam).
    • Material was good but too high literature for me and demotivated me to continue study. (Got married at this time so getting back to studying was a mission)
  2. Sybex Study Guide - 7th Edition
    • Read this book once but thoroughly making notes as I went through the book
  3. Cybrary Videos
    • Watched these videos in conjunction with the Study Guide
    • These were the new videos (8 Domains)
    • Really good with the Sybex Guide
    • It's Free and Kelly Handerhan is awesome!
  4. CCCure
    • Study Guide - Amazing breakdown of all material - Should be an addition to your notes and not a replacement
    • Clements Presentation on the 2015 CBK - It is actually like a 5 day workshop. This material is hardcore and if i had found this sooner I would have written sooner. If you have time, go through this. It takes 5 days full time to complete the material and it is intensive but you cannot go wrong.
    • Forums - I leveraged of other peoples past experiences, just out of the head but nothing specific.
    • mp3 Files are great, I unfortunately didn't have the time to go through them, they are quite long as well.
    • If I didn't have this site I dont know what I would have done, ultimate tool in testing your knowledge.
    • Ran this almost everyday, but definitiley after completing every Chapter
    • My brain wasn't focused enough to handle so many questions at once so I started with 50 a pop.
    • My results were terrible 58 to 68 at first but don't let that demotivate you. Be persistent and continue at it, you can only get better. I kept comparing myself to others scores but you have to fail in order to learn.
    • I reviewed through all I got wrong and learnt those areas even in more detail.
    • started doing 100 Questions across all domains and then closer to the exam 100 per domain.
    • Note questions are not similar to the exam. It test your knowledge of your material that will help you apply to the exam. A lot of people get this wrong.
  6. Eric Conrad - 2 Free 250 questions
    • This is also a must
    • Done this before the exam
    • Its free and it helps prepare you before the exam.
  7. passed-stamp
  8. CISSP Summary version 1.1
    • Great summary of notes to refresh through as well.
    • Some call it the Cheat Sheet.
    • Check the net for it. Received from a CISSP Colleague
  9. CISSP Mind Maps from
    • Printed these out and stuck them on my wall.
    • Couldn't run away from them, might be outdated but awesome reference when studying or taking quizzes.
    • Made my room look cool and visitors thought I am an Einstein
  10. Materials I never got to go through
    • Eric Conrad - 11th Hour 3rd Edition
      • Apparently this crams a lot of information in the final days of your exam
      • If you have the time I suggest to look at 5 days in completing this book.
      • I never had the time but I would have benefited
    • CBT Nuggets - Keith Barker
      • If you getting bored, Keith Barker is your guy to go to.
      • I signed up for a trial of CBT nuggets and went through a few of the videos. Exciting stuff and awesome lecturer
      • Keeps a breath of the material
      • Never had the chance to go through all the videos but i can say it is a high level summary and Keith combines a lot of the domains and subsections of the course.
      • Definitely watch after studying the book or else you will be a Maze Runner

Let me tell you this, when I started, I didn't know what direction I was going. Didn't know what to do and how to do it. Just start Reading/ Watching videos, as you go along your brain will tell you automatically what it needs to continue. Be persistent. I for one have not written an exam in years and believe in me if you put the work in you will get the results. You will start with reading for 10 minutes and then getting tired, you can take a break but don't give up. Continue after 5 minutes, tomorrow you will get better and after a week you will realize you have accomplished so much more than the week before. Sacrifice time to study, people will hate you or love you but this time this is about you not anyone else.

I personally felt the exam was not that bad, or as what people perceive it to be. It was and endurance test more than anything else and if you don't practice brain fatigue will be your next best friend. It took me approx 4:30 minutes to complete and I was still fresh. I personally wouldn't go for marking questions for review, or limit it as much as you can. I noticed by the time you get to the end you just want to finish or time is running out. I hated going through my mark for reviews as I was tired and just wanted it to end, luckily there wasn't alot.

Don't remember word for word but understand the domains and it's functions, how they all fit together to add a combined solution. Think broader and apply a Risk Analyst/ manager methodology.  Draw out the things you learnt before writing and reference this material when answering the questions. Responses will be quicker as well.

So if you want to start or have started but too lazy to continue, this should be the answer to most of your fears, it can't get any simpler than this.

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