Since not everyone studies in the same manner, what works for one person may not work for someone else. If you are looking to obtain your CISSP, CISA, CISM CEH, or really any IT security certification you will need to study. All certifications require work. It is my opinion that one must practice to develop good study skills that best suites the individual.
So how do you best study for a certification exam? One approach is to try studying at the same time and place each day, being motivated, and allowing time for breaks such as grabbing some coffee, sorting the mail, or simply finding a place to unwind for a few minutes does the body good. Your brain has a way of retaining what you’ve been studying plus it reinforces what you’ve already learned.
It’s also important to try to avoid distractions. It’s funny that when you need to study that your brain will remind you there are a million other things you could be doing. If you are deep into you study mode and find yourself “on a roll” then make an effort to stay focused for as long as you can. If you are tired or find yourself struggling, then remember that it is okay to stop and start over again the next day. It’s wise to discipline yourself into studying a little bit every day instead of engaging in “marathon” studying once or twice a week.
Every specialty has its own jargon and, most especially, in IT and security, you will find that it’s difficult to avoid the acronyms. There are just so many terms, MAC address, ATM, VLAN, clipping level, IDS, man in the middle attack, Trojan, etc. Sometimes you may just want to do a quick search of the Internet or even check out Wikipedia to get an overview of the term and its meaning.
While it’s important to develop effective study skills, it’s also important to make an effort to enjoy what you’re reading, stay motivated, feel relaxed, and know how to pace yourself because it’s all part of the learning process. After all, having success in the future is based on one’s ability to study, learn, and expand your knowledge and skills.