How I was Able to Pass the CISSP Exam Without Having to Read Any Books-
Reading is not my preferred method of learning.
I believe that in today’s world of podcasts and audiobooks, fewer and fewer people are used to learning through reading and writing. This is undeniably the case in my opinion.
Audiobooks and video training are two of my favourite ways to learn. I relied solely on these study methods to pass a number of difficult IT certification exams, including the CISSP exam earlier this year.
No expensive boot camp needed
CISSP boot camps do not appeal to me. Many of the companies that run these week-long training classes, in my opinion, are doing a disservice to the students and the certification process itself.
Boot camps claim to prepare you for the CISSP exam. Many people believe that by paying thousands of dollars, they will gain access to insider information on the CISSP exam’s questions. This, however, is not the case.
Nobody can predict which questions will appear on the CISSP exam.
When taking a certification exam, I’ve never encountered such tight security. The CISSP exam is exclusively offered at a few Person VUE locations with rigorous constraints. The level of security is high.
Your identification has been checked and double-checked. You’ll be asked to perform a biometric hand scan several times. The entire time you are taking the test, you will be caught on video. A live person will be watching you the entire time, in addition to the camera.
There will be no cheating on this test, thanks to the tight security and thousands of possible questions. There are no “brain dumps” that will inform you what type of questions you’ll be asked on the exam. The only way to pass the CISSP exam is to understand the eight areas that the exam covers.
However, there is a catch.
Because the CISSP exam covers such a broad range of topics and details, knowing the answers to all of the questions is practically difficult. I was fairly certain that I knew the answers to roughly 75% of the questions when I took the exam. However, a score of 75% will not get you a passing grade.
The key to passing this mind-boggling test is to become a pro at taking tests. You must become an expert in taking multiple-choice assessments in particular. There is a simple technique to perfect this, but it will take a long time.
You can pass the CISSP exam in three months if you stick to my study strategy and don’t read any books.
That is a bold claim, but I am confident that it is true. I began studying in January, and on March 20th, I passed the exam. I didn’t have the time or patience to read through the lengthy exam guidelines. Reading these books does not provide me with any value because I can read an entire chapter and then discover that I have no recollection of what I have read.
For me, the key is to stop re-reading passages over and over. It might work, however I don’t have the time to devote hours upon hours to learning each domain.
My Study Plan – Less than three months.
The first thing I did was go to Audible.com and purchase some audiobooks.
Week 1– Finish the audiobook listed below: Exam Guide for the CISSP: The 2018 CISSP Body of Knowledge has been updated.
This audiobook provides an excellent summary of the exam material. It is an excellent place to begin your education. Every day, I listened for several hours. I listened to it during my daily commute to work. At home, I listened as well. I sat there and listened till it was over.
Then I went back and listened to it all again.
Week 2 – Go to Cybrary.it and watch the free CISSP training videos.
A friend of mine told me about Cybrary.it’s certification training. This video training is completely free, and I thought the CISSP course was excellent. This training was completed in approximately a week after I watched it on my iPhone. On my way to work, I listened to the videos and glanced at them during traffic pauses. I expect this Cybrary.it training to be just as effective as most of the more expensive boot camps available.
Week 3 – I thought I had a solid handle on the information I expected to see on the CISSP exam at this point. I had the impression that I did, but I didn’t. During the following stage of my study plan, I realised this.
Listen to the audiobook – Simple CISSP Exam Questions
This audiobook will read you example questions. There are over 4000 of them. After that, there were more questions. The answer is given after each question.
I recognised I wasn’t ready to sit for the CISSP exam once I started listening to the sample questions.
So I went over all of the questions and answers once more. I couldn’t stop listening to this audiobook. I paid attention and took notes. If I didn’t understand a question’s response, I would look up the topic on Google and figure it out.
Week 4 – Review the free Cybrary.it training videos once more.
Re-watching the video series was almost torturous. But it was worthwhile because I was now able to connect the material to the example questions from the audiobook. Because I understood how the content directly related to the sample test questions, the Cybrary video took on new meaning for me.
Every night, I watched the films on my iPhone until I fell asleep.
Week 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – I didn’t understand it at the time, but I was now in the midst of the most important period of my training.
I told a few select people I knew from church and work that I was studying for the exam. Three of them said the same thing to me. They said that taking practise exams over and again is the key to passing the test. This, of course, made sense to me. This is something I’m already aware of.
But it was the fact that all three of them advised me to use an oddly called website for practise exams: cccure that caught me off guard.
As a result, I went to cccure. And then I went to work.
This website performs a fantastic job of replicating the exam. This website helped me become an experienced test taker. On the test engine, I answered every single question and double-checked the answers. I memorised the answers as well as the reasons for their correctness.
On the actual exam, I fully expected to encounter the same or a very similar question.
Then I went over all of the test questions one more.
And once more.
On most days, I spend several hours just taking practise tests. If there was something I didn’t understand, I would look it up on the internet and figure it out.
These practise tests took about two months for me to complete. Over and over again I was memorising the answers by doing so. As I previously stated, I fully expected to see the same questions on the test.
I was completely mistaken.
There were no questions from the practise test on the real test. There were a few questions that were similar, but none of them were identical. The majority of the questions were completely different from the practise tests I had taken.
But repeatedly taking practise tests taught me something that was crucial to my achievement on the real examination. I honed my test-taking skills. I learned how to think critically about the questions. I was able to determine the answers even when the questions were on subjects about which I had little or no understanding. I could immediately rule out one or two of the options. Then I could confidently examine the remaining answers and make a decision based on my knowledge and test-taking skills that I calculated to be correct.
On my birthday, I passed the CISSP exam.
The test was costly, and I had no idea if I was prepared. More than anything, I was worried about losing the $700. That’s a lot of money to squander.
However, I went ahead and scheduled the exam for March 20th, which happens to be my birthday. Passing the CISSP exam would be a present to me for my birthday.
After you’ve finished listening to all of the audiobooks. After a long period of video training, my brain began to suffer. Weeks and weeks of practise questions later…
I headed to the test center’s high-security area.
I endured through the drudgery just to discover that the exam was full of completely unexpected questions. Hours upon hours of inquiries….
I exited the exam and discovered that I had passed.