Background Experience:

  • 3 years of DFIR
  • 3 years of Red Team
  • 2 years of Security analyst

Resources Used:

Secure Ninja Bootcamp (8/10)

If anyone is thinking about taking a bootcamp, I highly recommend doing this near the end of your self-studies.  I personally feel like a bootcamp would be best in solidifying your knowledge of the material and concepts rather than trying to learn it firsthand.  You would want to be able to bounce of concepts and idea for clarity with the instructor rather digest something and later try to figure it out yourself.

It was like drinking from a firehose


Sybex 8th Edition (10/10)

Read this in book in its entirety, cover to cover.  You would not find one page that is not highlighted.  I could honestly say that this book gave such a strong foundational knowledge of almost everything you should see on the exam.  Even though the end of chapter exams seemed a bit trivial and vocabulary base, it helped paved the way for the overall conceptualization.


11th Hour (7/10)

Definitely a good high-level overview read of the material you will cover.  If you want something not as tedious and monotonous to read to either dip your toe into the certification or just as a refresher, this is your go too.  But this is not a go too if you are using it as a sole resource.


Boson ExSim (8/10)

This resource definitely has its money worth in the explanations of each question.  Not necessarily the questions being asked on the material but why an answer was the chosen one.  It helped just solidify more of an understanding of what you should have read within Sybex.

Surprisingly, I scored within the mid-600s for EACH exam and I only took each one once.  Do not let this be an indicator of how ready or not you are.  The real exam is nothing compared to this.


CISSP Pocket Prep (iphone) & Official ISC2 Test App (iphone) (7/10)

Simple yet functionally sound questions that are asked to help beef up your knowledge a bit. 


Kelly Cybrary Videos (7.5/10)

I felt like I was taking the online bootcamp again but without the ability to bounce of ideas and questions to the instructor.  This was only useful with backing up my knowledge I would have already learned by reading Sybex.  Some of the analogies she discusses definitely helps digest some of core concepts though. 


IT Dojo QoD (8/10)

o Listened to this whether I was driving or washing the dishes.  Some of the ways the questions were written/asked definitely helps put you in the mindset of how you need to approach a question.


Larry’s “CISSP 2018 Exam Tips” and Kelly’s “Why You Will Pass” (10/10)

I cannot appreciate these two videos enough for mentally preparing me the week and night of the exam.  They really did put me in the “right” mindset for answering questions on the exam.  


Discord Certification Station (infinity/10)

Words cannot express enough how this gold mine of a resource was for me throughout the journey.  So many people that are all in similar positions willing to help each other learn and bounce of concepts and ideas.  So many different backgrounds of IT personnel that helped me understand my weaknesses and even fortified my strengths.  Knowing that you are not the only one in this process helps sheds of off that nervousness.  Having someone contradict or confront your understanding of a concept for the better is invaluable.

Exam Day:


  • Got to the exam 30mins early to do all the formalities of checking in.
  • Had to wear a mask the entire time and also had to turn off my phone even in the waiting area.
  • The nerves were definitely kicking in just waiting to be called to go to the back.
  • As soon as I accepted the NDA and hit “start” exam, it was on! The nerves had settled, no longer in fear mode.
  • The exam is definitely written in a way that makes you have to cross-domain think but not to a point in which you think you will be over your head.  
  • The verbiage and structuring of the questions were in most cases pretty clear of what was asked and what should have been the answer.  But the trick was making sure you understood according to the question, nothing more, nothing less.  This is where I found myself at times thinking that “this could be the answer, but this ALSO sounds like the answer”.  You really have to go back and methodically read the question and see why the question used a certain word or phrased in a certain way.
  • Overall, the exam will test your will and understanding of the core concepts and how well you can conceptualize them given a certain question.  Whether you are in a position of authority, or are in a phase of a process, or data waiting to be secured,  you have to be able to understand the big picture of the question and pinpoint where in that picture the answer lies.
  • I passed the exam with 150 questions and 30 minutes left on the clock.  Did I feel like I was going to pass?  I had no idea where I was on that spectrum.  Did I feel like the questions were fair and not obscure to the point I had no idea?  Most definitely.  Could I have done anything more else to my studies that could have strengthen my weaknesses?  Create individual mind maps for each domain before moving on to the next


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