I found myself on these forums quite often while studying and wondering whether or not I was setting myself up for failure. I do not have the recommended level of experience for the exam, but I'll explain where I'm at for anyone considering taking the test around my level. I took the test because I could not find CSA study material before my Sec+ was going to expire. I figured I'd go for CASP, and failing that retake Sec+ to keep certs active.

I'm just around 3 months shy of 5 years IT experience. Due to a change in staff where I work I've been exposed to much more of the security portion than I thought I would be for the last 2 years. I am currently a Network Admin at a bank, and I work closely with the ISO. I have a two year degree that was Cisco centric (up to the ASA class), and had some MS and programming courses as well. Most of my instructors pounded in security from day one. This helped me tremendously in real life as was well as the exam.

I had between 72 and 78 questions; the exact number escapes me. About 8 were sims/drag and drop. Most of the sims I answered correctly. There was one where I know I should have taken one step further to get 100%, and it irritates me that I did not. I think I got one of them wrong. The multiple choice were tough, but I had a handle on a good chunk of them. I didn't quite guess, but there were some I just did not know the answer to and used process of elimination to provide an answer. A couple of them my own experience answered for me. I used the full time allotted. I was shaking when I saw that I passed, because it sure felt that I did not.

Now, for my thoughts. If you're around my level of experience and you want to pursue CompTIA certs further than Sec+, then go for the CSA first if the study material is available unless you are prepared to fail. My employer generously took up the exam fee, and I still think he's crazy since I pointed out that I'd probably fail. Everything that I learned while studying for this exam is invaluable to me and crucial in my current position, and I'm glad I was able to walk away with the cert after that beast of a test. I'm considering Project+ next and will most likely follow with SSCP.

Everything that I used:
Pearson book (Great book, read 3 times and took notes the final time)
Sybex book (OK book)
Information Security: The Complete Reference, Second Edition by Mark Rhodes-Ousley (VERY helpful to me. Thanks to whoever recommended it on here. I read it in the two weeks I had leading up to the exam. I plan to use it as reference material for work)
ITPro.tv (helps to keep all the topics in mind and was nice to hear an explanation on SAML and what not. The videos are not as great as I hoped they would be. Has transcender practice tests. Listened to MP3 in car otw to/from work)
Cybrary.IT (Helpful. Listened to MP3 in car otw to/from work)
Youtube and google for help understanding topics I wasn't quite sure on

I made sure to stay clear of brain dumps.

I do have a question for those working on CEUs. Would CISSP study material count towards it? Like CBT nuggets? I don't plan on taking CISSP exam yet since I'd only be an associate if I could pass, but that doesn't mean I can't start studying.