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Passed GPEN - My Experience

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ngriffin

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:16 am

Passed GPEN - My Experience

I just passed (89%) the GPEN exam and I wanted to detail my experience so that others may benefit.

Just to give you some background, I have been working in security for about 12 years. I have experience in Vulnerability Assessments, Web Application Security testing and Penetration testing. 

My journey to the GPEN certification started last year when I studied for the CEH and ECSA exams. A lot of the material is the same although the CEH/ECSA exams themselves require more memorization. I did not take the SANS 560 course or have a copy of the material.

Last month, I purchased a SANS practice test to help gauge my study progress. I wanted to see how I was doing before I paid out the $900 for the exam. I figured losing a $100 was not that drastic. I passed the first exam with an 84% and had to use the full four hours. I was happy with my progress.

I then purchased the exam, scheduled it for two weeks out and started tightening up on my skills. I also worked on my indexing of material.

What I used.

I have taken a couple of other SANS courses such as Command Line Kung Fu and PCI which did contain relevant material and hands on exercises. I wrote both STAR exams for those courses which gave me some experience with the SANS exam format.  I also completed the CEH, ECSA exams last year as mentioned.

I read books such as Professional Penetration Testing, Live Hacking, Google hacking, the NMAP guide and many others.

I have a lab configured at home with VMware workstation and windows and Linux clients.

I also work with some of the tools which helped immensely.

The Exam

I brought a backpack full of material to the exam. I indexed everything. Actually going through the two practice exams (87% and 95%) helped me focus on the material I needed with me.

I found the exam to be similar to the practice tests but harder. The practice exams only scraped the surface for the different topics and the real exam dug into the finer details. Fortunately for me, I took the queue from the practice exam to actually do the digging.

Overall I enjoyed the experience as it allowed me practice with tools that I don’t get to use all the time.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Norbert Griffin
CISSP, CISA, GPEN, CEH, ECSA, LPT, MCSE
Last edited by ngriffin on Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Anquilas

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:52 am

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

It certainly does, thanks for sharing!
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morpheus063

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 4:56 am

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

First of all congragulations.

The experience was pretty comprehensive and useful. Thank you so much. And also welcome on-board EH-Net. I see this is your first post. :)
Manu Zacharia
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Xen

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:39 am

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Congrats!
Thanks for sharing your experience and welcome to the forum :)
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SecMan

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:46 pm

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Sweet.  Way to go ngriffin
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secureseve

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:51 pm

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Congrats! Good insight. I am looking to go down a similar path since I personally do not have the funds to take the whole course. Still in college, I do not have the backing of a company either lol.
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hayabusa

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:03 pm

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Thanks for the feedback, and congrats!

The GPEN is definitely on my radar, after I complete: 1.) OSCP and 2.) eCPPT (eLearn's cert)

So it's nice to get some solid feedback from folks who've 'been there, done that.'

Again, congrats!
~ hayabusa ~ 

"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'


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impelse

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:28 pm

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Congrats
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venom77

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Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:17 pm

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Welcome to the community and congrats!

I agree 100% with your assessment that the practice exams are a little bit easier than the actual exam. I thought the same thing when I did the GPEN. Did you take an ECSA/LPT course from any of the EC-Council master instructors? I felt that most of the material in GPEN was quite similar to that of ECSA/LPT.

BillV
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ngriffin

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Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:10 am

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

No I have been doing this all on my own. It’s hard to fit in courses with work and life. There is also so much material out there like books, videos and sites like this. I also really enjoy figuring things out myself. It takes a bit longer but it’s worth it for me. 

I have not decided on my next certification. I’m considering the Offensive Security cert but I’m also looking at the SANS GWAPT because of some projects I’m currently working on. Any suggestion?

Cheers,
Norbert
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caissyd

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Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:48 am

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

ngriffin, I followed the same path as you for my GSEC certification last winter: bought a practice exam, put all my notes and materials together and took the test.

Since I pay everything from my own pocket, it also made sense to me...

I will be looking at GPEN in fall!
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UNIX

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Post Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:51 am

Re: Passed GPEN - My Experience

Congrats on passing and thanks for sharing your experience. Also, welcome to the community.

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