CISSP – The Necessary Evil

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    • #4365

      I found some old threads on this. But wanted to know what is the best option to wrap this up. All the threads listed Shon Harris All-in-One Exam Guide, Fourth Edition and as great resources. Does this still stand?

      Who offers the best live training now? 

    • #27613

      For me I would say not the Shon book, as some of the statements and reference I found in the books did not match the CISSP material.

      So I would say get the official CISSP book, and yes CCURE is a great resource.

    • #27614

      I’ve only experienced live training from John “Hack” Hackmeyer at  Although he does cover the material, the training is less about the “material” and more about how to make the test manageable.  A lot of tips and tricks for breaking down the logistics of the test.  I’ve heard good things from my co-workers about New Horizons, but that is more related to the trainers rather than the material.

      There is no way to learn everything you need in live training.  AIO 4th edition and CCCURE.ORG are very good resources.

    • #27615
      Don Donzal

      I would recommend the following:

      1. Get the ISC2 Official Book to get an idea of how they think. This will help you with terminology used in the exam questions.
      2. Get a second book not by ISC2 to get someone else’s take on the material. Sometimes another person can make material stick better in your brain. The Shon Harris book has been used and reco’d by a lot of people. I can’t speak for the recent version, but I found one of the earlier versions very helpful.
      3. Clement’s site is almost universally recognized as a top resource for CISSP. Use it.
      4. Training Camp does a fantastic 7-day course with an ISC2 instructor, ISC2 material, a practice exam with real, retired questions from old CISSP exams and finally, the exam is provided on site. Call Mike McNelis at 800.698.5501, and tell him I sent you.
      4b. If you can’t afford live, instructor-led training, try some of the video series like CBT Nuggets. There are others as well. Look around and find the one that fits you best.

      Finally… negotiate. With the economy the way that it is, not a lot of people can afford training. That means that courses are not filling up. All companies have room to move when it comes to pricing.

      Hope that helps,

      PS – unsupported posted his response while I was typing. He is correct. No 1 week course can teach you everything. That is why you have to treat them as a review and final preps for taking the exam. Going through the material before you arrive is a must IMHO.

    • #27616

      I studied for the Shon Harris, 4th edition. I really liked the style, it is clear and concise, and the little jokes at the debut of each chapter will rise your morale for the next pages.
      Also, she has a video series, which is good too. I have extracted the audio from them and listen while I was commuting, and in other situations.
      The cccure site is very good, but (last year) I found the pro questions being closer to the exam. The medium ones are more for Security+. The moment you’ll gonna score around 90% at the pro questions you’ll pass the exam without problems.
      Good luck.

      PS If you want to have an idea about the type of questions look at this questions, they are for the CISM certification:

      CISM is a very interesting certification too, and they have the strangest evaluation system.

    • #27617

      Thanks guys. The comments are very much appreciated.

      Training Camp does a fantastic 7-day course with an ISC2 instructor, ISC2 material, a practice exam with real, retired questions from old CISSP exams and finally, the exam is provided on site. Call Mike McNelis at 800.698.5501, and tell him I sent you.

      Don funny you should mention that because they are on my shortlist.

    • #27618

      When I went through my CISSP materials, I used the following:

      1.  Shon Harris book, 3rd edition I believe.  The book was great, but the practice questions included on the CD needed some major work.  There were a few that didn’t even have answers.

      2. website was helpful, but I only discovered it two weeks before the test.

      3.  Transcender Practice Tests.  I have to say that these were somewhat disappointing.  I used Transcenders before, but the CISSP version was not very close to the actual test.

      4.  I glanced over the official ISC2 book, but I felt that the Shon Harris book covered the same concepts, just in a slightly different order.

      I passed the test on my first attempt, but I was pretty sure that I failed after taking it.  The study materials must have worked.

      One other piece of advice,  schedule your test in advance.  You cannot take the CISSP exam on a whim at a Vue or Prometric test center.  There are a few licensed places that administer the test, and it can be tough to find a date that fits your schedule. 

      Good luck!

    • #27619

      I agree with Don. However the ISC is releasing a new book!!

      No sense in reading dated material…get the fresh stuff. I read that old yellow book several times, and worked some practice questions, till I was blue in the face. took the test and was sure I flunked, but I managed to get through.
      On test day…keep to yourself, several folks approached me and seemed to be trying to undermine my confidence…”Is this the first time you’re testing?”, “Didn’t you take the bootcamp first?” etc. Keep your eye on the prize!

    • #27620

      I thought I would add one more thing that seems to be very often overlooked.


      I found it an invaluable resource while studying. I also used a CBT and After the CBT I took practice tests on CCCURE and anything I was still weak on, I used Wikipedia to get a better grasp of.

      Maybe I’m just a cheap bastard, but why spend money for information that’s freely available with a little extra effort? As well as being more in-depth than CISSP study materials. Just ’cause the test is “an inch deep”…doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) go further.

    • #27621

      because all the “good” answers have already been given, i can only tell you what NOT to do 😉

      stay away from the cissp in 21 days book, way to high level and does not cover the thing that is mostly required (CISSP “mindset” which can only be obtained from the original material).

      also the CISSP for dummies was mostly a waste of time. some areas were covered perfectly, while others were lacking and some even too deep (way to technical for the exam).

      on the other hand, a few good tips that came from CFD are:

      get some earplugs. i really hated to be in a room with 100 people all eating, drinken and moaning about the difficutly of the exam.
      get plenty to eat/drink for yourself, 6 hours is killing!
      schedule some breaks, it will improve your focus and speed during the exam.
      don’t plan anything after the exam, maybe the only thing you want to do is grab a beer (with some friends if you prefer).

      good luck and tell us how you did!

    • #27622

      Sure, I’ll hop on this dead horse and whip it some more 😉

      I would definitely say that using the (ISC)[sup:lnb4a0rf]2[/sup:lnb4a0rf] material, dry as it may be, is the best way to go to start of. Struggle through it. I read it twice through, sometimes feeling like doing the old Clockwork Orange to keep my eyes open. Then read another book. I didn’t really like Shon’s big book, but Mike Meyers has a series out called “Passport” or something like that, and Shon did a CISSP book for him. It’s a bit shorter (ONLY 500 pages or so!), but much more relaxed.

      Best thing to do is definitely to look at the (ISC)[sup:lnb4a0rf]2[/sup:lnb4a0rf] website and book a test several months out. That will not only give you time to get your studying in, but also put just a little pressure on you not to slack off.

      Following my own advice, I felt pretty confident going into the test. Then I was surprised by my in-laws with the gift of a last minute bootcamp with Larry Greenblatt. I’m not sure that I learned anything NEW from Larry (other than Tai Chi, a joke you’ll get if you’ve had Larry as an instructor), but he definitely reinforced the training I’d given myself.

      Good luck!

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