Hey, it seems you and I were certifying at or around the same time! I took my GSEC exam March 19 starting at 9am Central.
I know its a bit late, but here's my general approach to GIAC certs:
1 Listen/stay engaged during the class - this can be the toughest part as these classes seem to drag on forever after the second or third day!
2 read ahead - this doesn't work as well during the live events, but if your taking onDemand or vLive, make sure you've read the material before class!
3 take a break - I don't even start re-reading the material until 3 or so weeks after the class is over. This gives me a chance to digest what I've learned during class and to refresh my brain.
4 re-read word for word - around the time my practice tests hit my portal account I start re-reading all the books word for word.
5 take a practice test - I do my first practice test without the help of any of the books or an index.
6 index the books - After I have my baseline of where I stand with the material, I start indexing. I try to find something on every page, but I don't really stick to that rule hard and fast. I make sure I have key concepts, proper names, tools, etc. indexed. Basically I try to get the head of the test writers and think of what they might ask me. (I average about 1200-1400 entries in my indexes.)
7 take the second practice test - Two days before the exam date I take my second practice test with my index. This gives me a very good idea of what I will score on the final test.
8 rest the day before
9 take the test
I've taken three GIAC tests so far and scored above a 90% on each, so this works well for me. Everyone, though, has different ways of learning that work best for them.
As far as tricks for taking the test...Basically, I just take the test from start to finish without skipping any questions. I find that if you have a very detailed index, you shouldn't have any problems looking up any of the questions. I do, however, take my break at or around the 100th question mark. That way, if I do have to go to the bathroom or something urgent like that during the second part of the test, I am fairly close to the end of the exam.
Good luck on the GSE...maybe one day I'll get around to it as well...
eCPPT - GSEC - GCIH - GWAPT - GCUX - RHCE - SCSecA - Security+ - Network+