Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hot Diggedy Dog: The CISSP Exam

At the end of January I sat for the CISSP exam in Chicago, IL. I consider myself to be a generalist when it comes to Information Technology. In addition to nearly 18 years of professional IT experience I read no less than three books specific to the CISSP exam itself studying over the course of a number of weeks.

As interested folks would know this is an extremely long examination taken with a pencil and traditional answer sheet contain fill-in bubbles. The time limit is 6 hours. Folks show up packing snacks, multiple drinks, quivers of #2 pencils, crock pots, flashlights, emergency blankets, you name it. They are ready for the long haul.

I am a firm believer that you either know it or you don’t. Make sure you stay in-line in regard to your answer sheet. Question 1 needs to match Answer 1, etc. Outside of that I believe the 1st pass, 2nd pass, etcetera methods of answer review are bunk. You either passed because you knew it or you didn’t because you didn’t.

Folks advise against rushing.  In this case my plane was scheduled to be airborne before the time limit would have elapsed.  My coworker and I had an agreement.  "If I'm not out of there just leave..."  Psychologically the SuperShuttle schedule was my time clock.  I showed up with nothing and was done in approximately 2 hours.  This seemed to make other folks uncomfortable.

Over the last few weeks I have waffled between nervousness that I did not pass and a general sense of, “Oh well. If I didn’t I know what I need to do from here.” You arrive, you take the exam, and the moment has passed. No sense dwelling on it.

Last week I received the news that I had passed. Wow.

Advice? If you don’t consider yourself to be a seasoned security generalist spend A LOT of time in the areas outside of your comfort zone. I would have never passed with book study alone. Questions were answered based on many years of industry experience and general IT knowledge. A minority were answered based on the book.

The Karate Kid taught us this years ago.

No comments: