The GSNA, to me, was actually easier than I thought it would be. (Just my opinion.)
If you can afford/have budget for the Live Training at a Conference, I would strongly recommend it. The following are just some of the major reasons behind attending…
-Talking with the instructor is beneficial, more so in person. (Obviously, they would have knowledge of the course – I hope!)
-Attend ‘At-Night’ Sessions. Learn more than what you came for!
-Talk with other fellow classmates to get more info from them that you may not have known before.
-Attend ‘extra’ classes (1-2 day) that might help out with other skills.
-Time. You are there! If you miss a class or portion of one, it’s your own fault!
The experience was great. With all the above reasons to attend a conference, it is always worth the money. The only downside to the event was the vendor reception. With five vendors, it was not even worth it. It should have been built up more in my opinion.
Studying…What I did was review the books and re-index them. Some courses have indexes for their books (in this case 4 of 6 were indexed). But DO NOT TRUST THEM!!! The index for the 2009 material was for the 2008 material! Beware if you are going to take a short cut by using those! But with indexing on your own, you go over the material again. Going over stuff you forgotten or just did not see the first time through is a big help! Also – SQL/Oracle had several (5-8) questions on the GSNA exam. We never covered them in the sessions for this particular conference. It was a ‘bonus’ section. GO OVER ALL BOOKS – EVEN THE LAB BOOKS!!! They test on all material you receive.
Another successful study method is taking the MP3’s from the SANS website (after the material is available) and burn to CD/iPod. Listen to it in the car to and from work or wherever you drive! It is a tremendous help as you go over the content and you (at least I do) start finishing the topic in your mind before the instructor finishes it himself!
When taking the test, I know this may sound weird to some, use earplugs. To find out two hours into the exam that a fan is squeaking would just throw that more amount of distraction away from the exam. Earplugs would block these noises from possibly getting you distracted!
Also – READ THE QUESTIONS THOROUGHLY!!! They like to mislead a question at times! I know I had to read a question a couple times to make sure I understood exactly what they are looking for. Also – pick the BEST answer. Some answers may be true, but there is always a best answer they are looking for. If you are unsure of an answer/topic, skip it. You can skip up to 5 questions. At the end of the test, they will go back to these questions. Most likely, you may stumble across the topic as you are verifying another question!
One thing that has always helped out with the exams (and maybe this was a help for this one) is experience. Knowing a subject is a start. But actually having experience doing the topics in real life arenas is a great key to have! I have audited several companies in the past since we have to 'follow the data'. If we use a 3rd party to help do business, I must visit and perform a security audit on that company to verifying their security controls.
I hope this helps out for someone taking any exam that SANS offers.
Any more Q's - just ask. I am willing to help out those that need some help/guidance or just interested!
Last edited by MicroJay
on Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GSEC - GCIH - GSNA - GPEN