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Passing the (ISC)2 CISSP Exam

Preparation:

I don’t study well. I prefer to measure my current understanding then fill in the gaps; which I wasn’t able to really do until the past week or so; I got a good grasp when attending a training course that I understood most of the content fairly well, especially in the technical sections. Booked the exam 3 weeks prior and that was my motivation to get moving. Didn’t really put much effort into studying until the week before; had picked up the materials here and there over the past 6 months, but not much more than a quick read on the bus to work a few times per week.

  1. Experience in IT. 15 years across sysadmin/infrastructure and more recently working with cloud and development, has a lot to play in it. I have also worked this stuff everyday with a team that builds APIs in financial services sector for the past few years. I was also able to work in a few GRC/threat assessment engagements recently dealing with NIST & ISO assessments.
  2. I took a CISSP training course November 2018 to get the ball rolling; I talked a colleague up to do it and he got approved so I tacked on also. Free training is the best training if you’re lucky enough to get it! The course was provided in Australia by ALC Training; they are exceptional, and provided us with the Sybex 8th Edition guide and practice exam book, their own presentation printouts and the Sunflower 2.0 guide.
    1. I did not read any of these back to back.
  3. This CISSP Study Guide github.com/so87/CISSP-Study-Guide provided heaps of great content, plus was the only place I could find the latest Sunflower guide as mine had a few pages missing after rolling round my backpack for 6 months :p
  4. I purchased the Boson practice exams last week to measure where I was at; I was consistently getting 80-90% but kept mucking up a few areas. I used this exam to scrub up on these areas over the last week.
  5. Larry Greenblatt’s video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLYbFtS7G9E – this nailed it for me. And I am going to attribute my success to Larry’s video; he nails it with some of his points and explanations, understanding the LANGUAGE of the exam is absolutely key
  6. Kelly Handerhan’s video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-99b1YUFx0A
  7. I signed up to Cybrary.IT as a last minute to cover off some areas around BCP / DR / BIA etc

Night before:

Night before: went out to dinner with my wife and had a beer, came home and she quizzed me from the Sybex practice tests book (3-4 questions from each chapter), followed by early night about 9:30pm

Morning of: woke up @ 5am, showered, coffee, few last crams with Boson targeting a few keywords that I was worried about

Headed to exam centre early and grabbed a coffee & breakfast, then headed up and checked in @ 8am.

Exam:

I always do a brain dump as soon as I sit down of what’s on my mind; I jotted down the OSI model and Rings 0-3. I didn’t use the pad again.

I breezed through most of it, most answers came quickly to mind and I was done and dusted at about 9:20am (80 mins) & 102 questions. Definitely didn’t touch on a lot of areas I intensely studied.

I think the best thing I did to prepare was to watch Larry’s video linked above. I think this cemented the language and the concepts you NEED to think about in the exam firmly in my mind; there were definitely a few questions where I would have answered differently if I didn’t think back to Larry’s video! If you’re stuck on a question, remember to assess risk, analyse the situation, provide safety to people and do cost benefit analysis. These points really helped!

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