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  1. Member
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    #1

    Default Passed CISSP? Almost! 695...

    Well, I was quite certain that I would pass the test... and what a disappointment it was.

    695... probably one or two questions. Not more. My bad luck. I heard that I am not the only one. Maybe we should open a club? Lattice-based. LOL.

    I would never know if that was the case, but I listened to all the good tips here except for one tip - if you are sure about your answer, don't change it. And I did change a few questions. Flagged, but also unflagged ones. I finished the exam with about 30 flagged questions. I only changed 3 or 4 from the flagged ones. When I finished answering my exam, I checked the flagged and then I had enough time to start messing with my exam... maybe that was my mistake. I would never know.

    So, what can you learn from a 695? Ok, I've got the 8 domains ordered from the weakest domain to the strongest domain, and my weakest domain was Security Operations which I didn't give enough "love" to. That was one of my biggest mistakes for sure (although most of the time I scored around 70% at that domain. Probably not enough for the test). But the 2nd weakest domain was security engineering which I know that very well. I would not know the real difference between them, so I should keep working until I know them with more than 85% of success for a long time.

    Invested time: 3 intensive months. 9 months before I hit it on and off.

    This is what I used for learning:
    Sybex 7th edition - actually teaches you the domain. Reading is not simple because you actually have to think, but they do it not in a boring way. Just give it the exact amount of time and understand every word (I read pretty fast and probably skipped/ignored a few important sentences each time). I would give it a 9/10.

    Eric Conrad's CISSP Study guide, 3rd edition - very good book. Gives another perspective to Sybex. They actuallly complement each other. When one book misses an important "puzzle" part, the other one actually has it vice versa. Highly recommended to read both books to good a complete overview. 8.5/10

    Eric Conrad's 11th hour CISSP - read it the last day. Very good for the last 48 hours of reading. 8/10

    Video:
    Cybrary, Kelly Handerhan - there were enough good reviews about her here and there. I watched her video 2.5 times and it was never boring. She's perfect. 10/10

    Pearson IT Certification, Sari Greene. She teaches well, very methodical and I truly like her. She gives a very interesting insight to the domains. Unfortunately didn't invest enough time to watch it all (around 25 hours). 9/10.

    O'Reilly, David R. Miller. I don't know why, but I barely read any review regarding his video. He gives 40 hours of explanations, "attacking" each topic in different words each time. He gives so many perspectives for his examples that you can't miss it. It's like a fully-live-paid course right at your home. He's amazing and I actually started watching him the last week, although I had his video for months... I blame him for my failure 10/10 !

    Exams:
    Cybex's 7th edition - 4 full online exams. Very good. use them! 9/10
    Cybex's Practice tests - 2 full exams. 100 questions for each domain (1300 questions total). Very good. Use them! 9/10
    Boson's practice exams kit. Only 3 exams. Use them wisely. To my surprise, it was the most difficult one but the most relevant one to the test. I scored around 65% in the first exam of Boson and neglected it (although I scored around 75% most of the time at Sybex's exams). That was last week. Now I know that I was wrong. 10/10


    My tips:
    1. Use your sources wisely. There are many good ones. Use at least 2. If you find a good source, invest your time to understand it completely. I would use at LEAST both Sybex and Eric Corman's. I guess that I will start reading Shon Harris' book as well, where my weak points are. She gives very good scenario-based explanations.

    2. Check the videos. They are good. I believe that Cyberary, Pearson and O'Reilly's videos will give you everything that you need. I know that there are more good videos out there. Maybe I will check them out as well, but I probably don't need it especially when I only watched around 50% of the long videos and they were as good as taking an online course.

    3. Give yourself time just to practice! Practicing is very important, not only to have the "feeling" of the exam but also to get as many scenarios as possible. It's one thing to read the book and another thing to test yourself with 100 or 250 questions of different domains, every day. I have done that intensively in the last 3 weeks and I felt that I needed 1 or 2 more weeks although I scored around 75% and my score kept raising to 80%... I was probably right with my feelings.

    4. You failed, but keep up the good work and try to hit it again next time. The last thing that I want is to do this all over again, so I will keep studying and practicing while it's still hot in my head. I want to nail it next month (I wanted to do ISSAP, but that would have to wait. )

    That's all for now. Let me know if you have any tips, especially for someone like me, who is probably close by 1 or 2 questions to pass the test. Thanks.
    Last edited by barman; 04-18-2017 at 08:21 PM.
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  3. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #2
    Hello barman

    I feel you. I under estimated this exam even though I studied very well I got 678 two weeks ago. My weak domains as they mentioned are similar to you - security engineering followed by security operations. Before the exam I felt that I did enough study and in my practice exams I was scoring between 70 and 75% (ccure).

    Key point for you
    I came home and opened my books (shon/sybex) about some concepts they tested in security operations and security engineering esp. drag and drop questions that I remember from real exam and found out that atleast 2 or 3 topics are not covered in those books that I studied unfortunately. Then I had to open CISSP CBK to really see these topics are existed in CBK and I found 2 of these 3 topics they tested, I found in CBK.

    If I were you, I would read my top 2 weak areas atleast in CBK even though itz pain in ----. This is my recent experience with real exam 2 weeks ago and I wholeheartedly felt I was ready, now I am doing all over again. I also understand a month looks a lot more but if you are working and studying at same time, I suggest give yourself one more extra month and gain some knowledge with CBK. My background - 5+ years as software developer. I have security+ (passed easily). All the very best.


    Hope this helps.
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  4. Member
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    #3
    Hey, thanks for your input.

    Without getting into details, this is exactly what I had in mind, when I checked the CBK book afterwards. It also makes sense, because officially everything must appear there.

    At least I can say that now the CBK doesn't look as complex and as boring as it looked at the first time, but now I have to read everything there...

    Mission accepted

    Thanks!
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  5. Member
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    #4
    All the best for the next try and I am sure you will get it. My friend had 695 and never gave up after two months gave the exam and passed. I am sure you will do it too.
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  6. They are watching you NetworkNewb's Avatar
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    #5
    Damn, 695... I would've demanded a recount. That sucks.

    Good writeup, best of luck on your next attempt! I got just over 2 months til my attempt at it and appreciate the insights.
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  7. Member
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    #6
    Best of luck next time. Are there ever any offers for a free retake? I assume spending $650 twice is not fun
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  8. Queen Bee kiki162's Avatar
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    #7
    Almost...here are a few tips

    1: Use Transcender
    2: If you don't know the answer, remove the 2 that don't below, and select your first guess.
    3: Don't go back and change a lot of your answers. Usually the first answer is the right one.

    Good Luck!
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    100% agree with kiki162 said. Also,


    "Invested time: 3 intensive months. 9 months before I hit it on and off"


    I think that's one of your problems. I honestly think people take way to long to study for this exam and forget important information on earlier domains. The second thing is people forget that this is a high level exam. Think high level and logically. Look for key words, understand the topics at the high level. Not super deep.

    "Eric Conrad's 11th hour CISSP - read it on the last day. Very good for the last 48 hours of reading. 8/10"

    You read that 220 ish page book in the last day? I took a four. Why? because it's alot of dense information you're trying to recall and cram from and into your brain. You will not retain that unless you have a photographic memory.
    Last edited by higherho; 04-20-2017 at 07:08 PM.
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  10. Member
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    #9
    Thanks for your advice guys.
    I will try to ask for a free retake or some discount. Who knows what the answer will be.
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  11. Surf Guitar Guy tedjames's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by barman View Post
    Thanks for your advice guys.
    I will try to ask for a free retake or some discount. Who knows what the answer will be.
    One of my favorite quotes: "If you don't ask, the answer's always no."
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  12. Senior Member
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    #11
    Thanks for sharing your experience and sorry to hear you miss the hit by 5 marks. Don`t worry, you will hit the target on your next attempt.

    All the best.
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  13. Senior Member
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    #12
    Slim chance on the free/reduced retake; you'd be the first.

    ISC2 did offer free retakes once that I know of, way way back in the day when they completely screwed up the scoring, basically failed people that should've passed and passed people who failed. Everyone who was wrongly notified that they had passed had to retake the test....but they got the exam fee refunded, a free exam voucher and a free official bootcamp.
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  14. Junior Member
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    #13
    False positives and false negatives? LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by jelevated View Post
    Slim chance on the free/reduced retake; you'd be the first.

    ISC2 did offer free retakes once that I know of, way way back in the day when they completely screwed up the scoring, basically failed people that should've passed and passed people who failed. Everyone who was wrongly notified that they had passed had to retake the test....but they got the exam fee refunded, a free exam voucher and a free official bootcamp.
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  15. Member
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    #14
    Hey all,

    Just wanted to update that I passed the exam last week. Your notes helped a lot. Thanks.

    I will post my "Passed" post sometime next week but in general, that's what I did:

    1. In order to "cheer myself up" and check my knowledge, I decided to take the CSA+ (Comptia Cybersecurity Analyst new certification) and passed it after 3 weeks of studying. That is actually a valuable certification.
    My passing post is here:
    Passed CSA+ today

    2. Afterwards I re-read everything related to CISSP, then made sure that I don't only "know" but fully understand and can explain everything.

    3. I made sure that I get at least 80% in each domain, and get at least 85% in the biggest domains ("Security Operations", "Security Engineering" and "Security & Risk management").
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  16. Junior Member
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    #15
    Well done for keeping at it and getting the pass!
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  17. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #16
    I have to agree with you a bit on the too long to study bit. I have a lot of experience, so that does change things a bit, but I only studied for a month and a half before taking the test. I kind of just immersed myself in the material reading the All-In-One guide and the Sybex one in that time. Also listened to the Audible Simple CISSP book and read the 11th hour guide the night before.

    One thing I do disagree with people on is changing answers. I did go back and re-read every single question to make sure that what I answered was what was asked. A few times I found that I had misread the question or misunderstood what was being asked. I passed the first try.
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  18. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #17
    Meant to quote higherho in my reply.
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