Passing the CISSP Exam

Published by Jared Kunz on

Before you read this, if you want to verify that I really passed the exam, you can see my credentials here:

As of 8/29/2020 the website with my credential looks like this:

And if you click on my CISSP badge you get a little more detail:

First off, why study for the CISSP? There are a few reasons. I won’t share all my reasons, but basically it is a long lasting certification that I feel works well with my career goals. Other cool things about it are on wikipedia

Such as, “In 2003 the CISSP was adopted as a baseline for the U.S. National Security Agency‘s ISSEP program.[9]

I studied for the CISSP for a couple of years, here and there. I had a few courses paid for by my employer, one was the SLU Workforce Center course which was great.

In December 2018 I took the adaptive CISSP exam and passed. The exam was not easy for me, yet it wasn’t too difficult. It was just a matter of making the time each week to study. One thing that really helped was following the advice of this guy EdwardInTX from this youtube video who passed the exam. Basically he advises something like (paraphrasing), “take all the practice tests at the end of each section of the official ISC2 study guide and when you can get 80% or better on each practice test then you know you’re ready”.

You may find his full approach works best for you. I only partially followed his method and it still worked for me so I highly recommend it. I only watched a couple ITdojo videos and a few other CISSP videos on youtube when I didn’t feel like reading or taking tests. I do have the sunflower PDF summary printed out and that helped.

I don’t recall having the extra practice tests book, so I didn’t use that, but in my case I’ve had another course with my employer a few years ago and I also have about more than 15 years in job roles with some amount of duties related to information security so that definitely gave me an edge, but that doesn’t mean I remember all the details that would be required on the test.

And to be 100% up front, I am one of the worst standardized test takers as I historically have to study a long time and I do really poorly on exams. But following this method and taking this exam wasn’t too bad. I had a lot of course materials and things to study, but it all really boiled down to studying this ISC2 Official Study Guide manual, taking the practice tests, keeping track of my score in a notebook.

Going back through the notebook each week, after I found the areas I was weak on, i.e. where I got 60% or 70% or less, i.e. not 80% or above, then I would study that sections / chapters where I was weak and take notes and re-take the practice tests. Even though I had taken the same practice test, the questions are very close to the exam as I recall and did a great job preparing me. The questions are in the “official study guide” so they seem to be the best questions compared to any other books or websites. Just make sure you have the most current copy of this study guide. Best of luck!! Leave me a comment or question if you are struggling or if this worked out for you. Thanks,


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