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  1. Member
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    #1

    Default Passed 3.12.2018 CAT-based exam

    Walked into the testing center feeling unprepared and weak in many areas. Not confident at all but ready to give it my best. Exam started and the first few questions weren’t hateful. Made it thru about 20 questions and was starting to feel a little more positive. I got to question #35 and man, did things change. The questions were definitely getting much more difficult.


    About the time I got to #47, I had already planned my study strategy for the re-take. Kept telling myself “stay the course, do what Sari Greene said - weed out the bad answers and try to pick the best one. DO NOT give up.” When I hit the 80’s, I knew I wasn’t doing well. I was positive that the exam would end at #100. Then I started thinking “now I’ve got to go back to TechExams and tell everyone ‘I got a 507.’” Around question #95, my mindset was “you know, Skillset had BETTER come thru with my replacement voucher. Wonder if I can schedule before the April 15 changes?”


    I get to #100, answer the question expecting the exam to end…..here comes question #101. Thought to myself “oh, it will end around 107 or 108 then. Maybe I didn’t embarrass myself and got like a 620 or something.” The questions keep coming 115, 125……I get to 142 and I have to take a bathroom break. I came back and finished the final 8 questions. The last 3 questions were some of the only ones I ever felt good about. And I’m sorry ISC2, I called you some names my dearly-departed mother would not be proud of for me thinking…finally, 3 “easier” questions at the end? I was positive I had failed but I felt like I got a better grasp of what they are looking for and I knew exactly where I was going to focus my efforts for the next encounter.


    Walk out, do the palm scan and the attendant hands me my paper. Of course, I was expecting two sheets….told myself I would not look until I got to the car. I couldn’t do it. I looked down and saw the “Congratulations…you have provisionally passed” sentence. I was stunned. How in the world did I pass? I was so relieved and still haven’t stopped thinking about it.


    So, if you are preparing for this thing, let me give you my advice. This is what I would want to see if I was getting ready to attempt the exam:


    -Once you start studying, be aggressive. Don’t stop, don’t take month-long breaks. Once you feel yourself starting to understand concepts and you’re starting to tie concepts together and think like ISC2, this where you need to really commit


    -JoJoCal19 posted something about taking 3 months and really hammer down. I could not agree more with this. DO NOT take two years like I did….I lost so much time/effort. You start forgetting concepts and have to start over

    -Make the 7th edition study guide by Sybex your new life partner. Read that thing and really understand the concepts and material. Get the corresponding practice tests and start understanding why answers aren’t right and why the correct answer is the right answer

    -This is really a managerial exam. I’m not telling you to think like a risk manager, a CIO or a lawyer. I am telling you, learn EVERY management concept in that book inside out. BCP/DRP, SW-CMM, change management and laws

    -Don’t buy dozens of study items. Get your Sybex and another book and then pick a video series and practice exam. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on this. I sure tried to and it hurt me. I had far too many resources and really wasted time and money I should have spent with the Sybex book

    -During the exam, stay calm. You will be nervous the first few questions and you may never feel comfortable. I sure didn’t. Read the question, re-read the question – if you have to, break down the sentences to smaller sentences. Then, start weeding out bad answers

    -I can honestly say I only felt good with about 10-15 questions throughout the entire exam

    Finally, I would like to thank KalKan999, SteveLavoie and CyberCop123 for their insight, encouragement and sharing their knowledge and experience with me. Obviously, a shout out to the rest of the board here as well. If you have posted about this exam in the last two years, I have read it and it certainly helped. Good luck everyone…..I’ll answer any questions as best I can!
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    #2
    Congratulations Falcon56, good job. What was the questions like? To give you an overview of my background. I have a Managerial Mindset, the SDLC I did all that in ITIL last october and Passed CRISC in December, failed CISM November by 2 points and Passed with blueforce for my come back. I have ITIL, CRISC, CISM, CEH. What was the questions like? Is it anyway related to the Sybext Format or Boson or Pocketprep App? Did you train with Cybrary Kelly Handerhand? I am used to the CAT System because ISACA Practice Exams for CISM, CRISC, CISA all use CAT for practice where you can't go back to change your answers. I have used it for more than 100 times, so I am comfortable. I am currently training with LARRY GREENBLATT 2017 day1 to Day5 Videos and now into is 2018 Day 1 to Day 5 videos in each 30hrs and 27hrs of content. I also have direct contact with him lol. CISSP for me is like going back to A+, NET+ AND Security+ after getting so use to the Managerial Mindset of thought I adopted from ISACA.

    Please shed more details of the exam type questions without breaking the integrity of it. I don't want a dump, but an overview. I have read really conflicting reviews lately. Thank you
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    #3
    The questions were very straight-forward IMO. If you look at the ISC2 Practice Tests, or Boson, the questions were very much like those. Multiple choice with 4 answers and I had one drag & drop. I didn't see anything I would call 'tricky' or them trying to get cute. Dare I say it was a well-written exam. When I felt like I was failing, all I could think was "this isn't ISC2's fault, this is my fault. I have to do a better job of preparing next time."

    I have to tell you, I think your exam experience is going to be much different than mine. I think you are going to be 100 to 105 questions and you are going to say "how did this guy find this test so hard?" You are very much prepared IMO.

    I did watch the entire Kelly Handerhan series and loved it. I had paid for the Sari Greene video series so that is why I spent so much time on hers. She [Sari] covers everything. Kelly's is more of a high-level review. You need Kelly's, I needed Sari's.

    Certainly, to me, it looks like you are ready. When do you plan on taking the exam?
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    Congratulations Falcon.

    Thanks for taking the time to write a review. I am sure that your post will be the tip of the spear in guiding others to success.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon56 View Post

    -I can honestly say I only felt good with about 10-15 questions throughout the entire exam

    That made me giggle. I appreciate your honesty.
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    #6
    Congrats
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  8. Member greeneon's Avatar
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    #7
    Congratulations Falcon. I appreciate your review. So, whats next? You do know that you can't stop until you are dead and buried...lol
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  9. Scruffy-looking nerfherdr tedjames's Avatar
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    #8
    Congratulations! Great writeup, too.
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  10. Member
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by greeneon View Post
    Congratulations Falcon. I appreciate your review. So, whats next? You do know that you can't stop until you are dead and buried...lol
    Thank you! Going to try and knock out the CSA+ before the Cisco CyberOps cohort starts on April 2nd. Appears to be a lot of overlap with the CISSP so I'm *hoping* it won't take too long to prepare for. Started watching the Brent Chapman videos on Safari and I am really liking the series thus far. If I'm successful with the CSA+ and CyberOps certifications, it is on to CEH.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GirlyGirl View Post
    That made me giggle. I appreciate your honesty.
    Hi Girly Girl! Honestly never felt 'comfortable' throughout the exam. When I was taking the Boson practice exams, I would eliminate the "bad answers" and get it down to two and then reason as to why I thought one answer was better than the other. Inevitably, it was like I would pick the wrong one. So when I got to exam day, I felt like I was doing the same thing. I kept thinking "if you couldn't nail the stupid practice exams, how in the world do you think you're doing well on this thing?" [Note: I did start scoring around 84% on the Boson exams the last two weeks - not memorizing questions but really analyzing them].

    My background is desktop support and I work with our wireless and PKI teams all day. So this exam didn't really didn't fall into my wheelhouse. Probably another reason I never felt real comfortable.
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  12. Senior Member PersianImmortal's Avatar
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    #11
    Congratulations!!! And thanks for the review! I'm sitting for mine on the 26th
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon56 View Post
    The questions were very straight-forward IMO. If you look at the ISC2 Practice Tests, or Boson, the questions were very much like those. Multiple choice with 4 answers and I had one drag & drop. I didn't see anything I would call 'tricky' or them trying to get cute. Dare I say it was a well-written exam. When I felt like I was failing, all I could think was "this isn't ISC2's fault, this is my fault. I have to do a better job of preparing next time."

    I have to tell you, I think your exam experience is going to be much different than mine. I think you are going to be 100 to 105 questions and you are going to say "how did this guy find this test so hard?" You are very much prepared IMO.

    I did watch the entire Kelly Handerhan series and loved it. I had paid for the Sari Greene video series so that is why I spent so much time on hers. She [Sari] covers everything. Kelly's is more of a high-level review. You need Kelly's, I needed Sari's.

    Certainly, to me, it looks like you are ready. When do you plan on taking the exam?
    @Falcon56.... I have scheduled my Exam for the 29th of March 2018, I haven't done a lot of Practice test on the official sybex app. I have done practice test with Laurie Hocking app, Pocket PREP CISSP App and for Boson just a few here and there. Thank you for the encouragement, I'm going to accept your assessment and pray I come out victorious, this is WAR!!!
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  14. Member
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    #13
    Congrats on the pass! Appreciate the great write up, very useful . Booked my exam for the 13th of April. Question on Skillset though, contemplating of buying pro to get the voucher just in case. How long did it take you to get to 100% proficiency for the voucher?
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    #14
    Appreciate your input, I bet seeing that Congratulations brought a reread and a good breathe then a smile. Awesome! Congrats!
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  16. Senior Member GeekyChick's Avatar
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    #15
    I got nervous just reading your post. Congrats on your pass! It's time to celebrate! I appreciate your advice too as I'm planning on taking the test soon. I was hoping to test before April 15 but I'm not sure.
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    #16
    Great job! Congrats!
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  18. Member
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRedBar0n View Post
    Congrats on the pass! Appreciate the great write up, very useful . Booked my exam for the 13th of April. Question on Skillset though, contemplating of buying pro to get the voucher just in case. How long did it take you to get to 100% proficiency for the voucher?
    You should be able to get to 100% easily by your exam date. I know a lot of people rip on Skillset but I have to say, I really enjoyed the videos they had for each section. That exam pass guarantee just gives you a feeling of safety IMO. I was positive I was going to be using it....

    Best of luck on the exam!
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by GeekyChick View Post
    I got nervous just reading your post. Congrats on your pass! It's time to celebrate! I appreciate your advice too as I'm planning on taking the test soon. I was hoping to test before April 15 but I'm not sure.
    A little bit of background on not feeling prepared. I had studied Boson almost exclusively the past two weeks. Decided to tackle the ISC2 Official Practice Tests that Friday nite. Didn't do well [70 to 74%] and started feeling like Boson hadn't covered some areas that the Official Practice Tests did.....that was why I felt unprepared.

    The reason I made my post was so that others wouldn't make my mistakes. Don't take almost 3 years to study, don't buy 25 different resources and make sure you know the managerial concepts inside out. If you do those things, I see you having no problems.

    Heck, most in here have passed right at the 100 question mark and it took me 150....that shows I was probably on the borderline of not passing. I almost keep waiting for an e-mail from ISC2 saying "our scoring algorithm made a mistake...."

    Even if you don't make the April 14th deadline, I wouldn't worry. Luke Ahmed seems to think the changes will only be 5% and that is mostly the Internet of Things being added to the exam. A CISSP would be a nice addition to that CCNA cert. I look forward to reading your "I passed" thread.

    Good luck!!!!
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon56 View Post
    You should be able to get to 100% easily by your exam date. I know a lot of people rip on Skillset but I have to say, I really enjoyed the videos they had for each section. That exam pass guarantee just gives you a feeling of safety IMO. I was positive I was going to be using it....Best of luck on the exam!
    Appreciate the feedback thank you! I find the peer questions pretty interesting actually
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon56 View Post
    I had studied Boson almost exclusively the past two weeks. Decided to tackle the ISC2 Official Practice Tests that Friday nite. Didn't do well [70 to 74%] and started feeling like Boson hadn't covered some areas that the Official Practice Tests did.....that was why I felt unprepared.
    Hey Falcon, well done with the pass.

    I am due to sit the exam in a few weeks. Just started doing some of the official practice tests and found some of the questions frustrating with the low level detail. Hitting an average of maybe 80% on those tests but questions hope these topics don't come up on the exam. Few questions on obscure laws that aren't even referenced in the main Conrad book I have been using or one about X25 vs Frame relay or some questions about the block size of DES.

    Sounds like maybe the official practice tests through you off a bit as well? I'm expecting the real exam to be more challenging but also hoping it is challenging in a way that doesn't require the memorisation of lots of very small details.
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    #21
    Hi franziskaner, actually I should have relied more on the official practice tests and the practice exams that come with the book. Had a re-take been required, that was what I was going to concentrate on.

    Best of luck in your preparation and I look forward to reading and "I nailed this thing" thread!
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    #22
    I passed my exam last night (still pinching myself this morning) and I could have written your post myself. 150 questions=ditto for me. Kept expecting the exam to end after question 100=ditto for me. Only felt good about maybe 15 questions through the exam=yep me too.


    "-Don’t buy dozens of study items. Get your Sybex and another book and then pick a video series and practice exam. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on this. I sure tried to and it hurt me. I had far too many resources and really wasted time and money I should have spent with the Sybex book" Completely agree as well. Eight million sets of study materials will just drive you crazy, empty your wallet, and in the end not help that much. I tended to get on these forums, read somebody elses post and then go buy those materials-big mistake as it just became overwhelming.


    A word of advice to those who use the Sybex materials.. I saw a LOT of questions phrased "What is the BEST answer..." Sybex exam questions are not phrased that way (really think they should update their practice questions!) so don't be surprised when you see this type of wording frequently. That said I still found that with the "best answer" questions that two answers could be definitely eliminated and the process of elimination was how I tackled those questions.
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  24. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #23
    Cong dear,

    I also passed first attempt and i have same 100% your feeling. I was 100% sure that i am fail ... after 100 questions i have only 30 mints left and 50 questions ... i already started planning for next attempt. But when is got the result sheet, it was shocking ... Congratulations you passed the exam....

    I felt the same feelings so i can image ur excitement.. what a journey and gr8 end ...

    CISSP tough me never ever give up ..... THANKS ISC2
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    #24
    @Falcon56 did you specifically follow the BCP and DRP steps in Sybex for the exam?
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    #25
    I actually memorized and learned the steps according to Boson's practice exams. However, I felt I understood the concepts fairly well no matter how the question was asked. I wanted to make sure I really understood those two concepts as well as federated identity. I spent a ton of time in the first four chapters of Sybex and in the DRP section later in the book. Know them inside/out.
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