My CISSP Journey

I passed my CISSP exam on January 16th and officially got certified on 23rd February. I have been asked by many to share the experience and material used, however due to lack of time couldn’t jot down my journey to this most sought after certification.

At the start of my career, when I was seeking advice for security certifications to build my knowledge on, one of my friends suggested me to go for CISSP. Since, I had previous experience of different fields his suggestion was to go for CISSP directly rather than starting from the certifications often suggested to beginners.

Well, I had in mind this certification but I went for CISM first and later passed SANS GCIH before preparing for the CISSP exam. I was suggested the following material for the CISSP exam and my own research on the same also narrowed down to pretty much same list. I am mentioning the list here; this isn’t what I followed.

  1. (ISC)² CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional Official Study Guide
  2. Shon Harris’s AIO Guide
  3. Eleventh Hour CISSP: Study Guide
  4. CISSP Sunflower Guide
  5. CISSP Official (ISC)² Practice Tests

These are all very good sources for knowledge required and play important part in preparing you for the exam.

I started by watching the course on Cybrary by Kelly Handerhan for CISSP making the notes along the way. This gave me enough idea about the tough and easy domains for me. (This could be different for you depending on your own experience.)

Next, I started reading the CISSP study guide by Sybex mentioned below on second point and I can say that while reading this book, I didn’t leave even a single word. Each word understood and relevant important notes taken for this book. At the end of the book reading, I had 2.5 diaries filled with notes for the CISSP exam. I attempted all the tests which this book offers at the end of each chapter.

After this I had to take a break of 1 month due to family issues, however after the break I went through the CISSP study guide by Eric Conrad (mentioned at third number below), but soon I realized it is the same stuff that I had studied in the first book and I didn’t want to spend more time on reading book. So I left this book and started reviewing my own notes.

  1. Kelly Handerhan, CISSP Course on Cybrary.
  2. CISSP Study Guide, James Michael Stewart, Mike Chapple, Darril Gibson, SYBEX
  3. CISSP Study Guide, Eric Conrad, Seth Misenar, Joshua Feldman Third Edition
  4. ISC2 Official CISSP Tests (Mobile App: Konnect LLC)

Once reviewed I did a couple of practices tests and then registered for the exam. Exam was just 2 weeks away when I registered. One day before the exam, I was confused and a bit shaky about my readiness since there was a lot of material which I had not gone through as it was suggested with high importance. For example, Sun Flower guide was a MUST to be reviewed and I hadn’t gone through it even a single time. I had a discussion with a friend and he suggested to go through the ISC2 Official CISSP Tests mobile app by Konnect LLC. I downloaded it and went through different tests and didn’t change my test date.

On the test day, I reached the exam center a little early and started exam after the necessary procedure at exam center. First few questions gave me mixed feeling since some of them were quite easy and few I had to think twice. Long story short, after 90 minutes I had clicked for my 100th question and I wasn’t sure at all if I’ll get a question or the exam will end, however the exam ended. Yayy!!!!

Now I’d recommend that if you have done enough preparation and studied correctly, no need to worry about anything. On the exam day all you need to focus on the question being asked. Now I’ll say it again “FOCUS ON THE QUESTION BEING ASKED” (sorry for the caps). The reason, I am pressing on this is because if you don’t understand the question your answer is definitely wrong.

Read the question statement twice, thrice, or even six times if you are not sure what are you being asked. The question could have pure technical jargons in it, but it would be asking you a management concept and vice versa, so read the question carefully. This happened to me on more than 3/4 questions, where on the first go, I selected an option (Let’s say Option A) and upon re-reading the question again and again, I chose the other option. So, if you are sure about the answer, reading the question one more time wouldn’t hurt you. (Provided enough time)

Regarding material, I know it’s too long and you have to cover many topics from different domains, but at the end of the day you’ll be happy that you studied for CISSP because it will give you enough knowledge that will boost your confidence manifold.

Moving forward, I’d say time to start the preparation of CISSP is NOW. Go ahead and success is waiting for you. If you need any help, please free to get in touch, will be more than happy to help.

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