John T. Scott

John T. Scott

I am a seasoned Infrastructure Architect and technical trainer with more than 25 years of real world hands on experience, advanced training, and top-level, industry recognized certifications. What can I do for you?


Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Cyber Security

System & Network Design

Project Management







Certified Information Systems Security Professional


I first began preparing for the CISSP exam in earnest during the summer of 2015. After casually reading the CBK and such for months, I decided I worked better with a deadline, and scheduled the exam for the first week in November. That gave me just about three months to get in gear and go through a real course of study to prepare. I passed the exam on the first try, so I must have done something right.

So this is what I did.

To begin with, I relied on two primary books. The first was Shon Harris' book on preparing for the CISSP exam. While Shon was an excellent technical content presenter (and she will be missed), her text was written back in 2012 when there were a total of 10 domains in the CISSP CBK (Common Body of Knowlege). Effective April 15th, 2015 however, (ISC)2 changed their CBK to consist of only 8 domains. So the content was good, and the information generally still valid, but it no longer mapped to the actual domains that I would see on the exam.

And so I also purchased the Official Guide to the CISSP CBK - 4th Ed. from (ISC)2 and this is the text I relied on primarily to prepare for the exam.

I knuckled down and really got to work on the domains around about late August of 2015. Because I work better under pressure, I went ahead and scheduled the Exam for the first week of November. This gave me about 10 weeks to prepare myself to sit for the exam.

The next major tool I empoloyed to prepare was practice tests. There are numerous suppliers of CISSP practice exams on the InterWeb, so I will leave it to you to research the options and select a format and price range that works for you.

The package I purchased was around $100USD and contained a total of four, 150 question exams that pulled questions from a pool of 1,000 possible questions. I was able to watch my score improve as I took each succsesive exam, and by the 4th one I felt reasonably confidant that I could pass the real thing.


Here are a few tips related to taking the actual exam.

  • Schedule the exam for first thing in the morning (8:00am or 8:30am at most testing centers)
    • You might as well get it out of the way while you are fresh - no reason to sit around all day waiting.


  • Do not study at all the night before the test
    • If you do not know the material by then, it is WAY too late
    • It is far more beneficial to you if you go to bed early and get a good nights sleep.


  • Wake up early and refreshed (see above bullet re: getting a good nights sleep)
    • Have a good breakfast - even if you do not usually eat breakfast. Your brain needs protien!


  • Before you answer the first question, close your eyes and take three deep, cleansing breaths.
    • I cannot stress enough how important this can be. You have just driven to the testing center, gone through the gauntlet of providing I.D. and signing non-disclosure agreements and such. You are hastened to your chair and the test begins. Take a breath. Center yourself, and remember: YOU CAN DO THIS.


  • Read every question carefully. Then read it again. Then read it one more time to be sure.
    • It is critical that you fully understand each question, and what is REALLY being asked (which may be differnt from what you thought was being asked at first glance.)


  • Then read every answer. Then read every answer again... (sensing a trend here?)
    • Again, make sure you have read and understood all of the possible answers before you select the best one. Sometimes your first instinct is right, but sometimes it is wrong. Don't trust it.


  • And finally, if you find you need a bio-break, or just desperatley need to stand up for a moment, DO IT.
    • If you are sitting there trying to focus on the exam, and you have to pee, or your back is aching from the uncomfortable chair, you may think you are focusing, but you are not.
    • Get up, take care of your needs, take another deep breath, and get back at it. You will be glad you did.

That's it. That's all the advice I have for you. Trust yourself. Properly prepare, get a good night's sleep and eat breakfast. YOU CAN DO IT.



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Last Updated: March 16, 2017