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SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

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JohnE

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Post Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:04 pm

SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

Hi Everyone

I need some advice. I am thinking of taking the SEC401 course in Sydney, Australia in Nov, followed by the exam.

What I would like to know is, is it worthwhile bundling the 'OnDemand' package?

As I am paying for this myself, I am trying to keep costs low, and if I can forgo an extra US$449 + GST it would be good.

I would like to know what material you get at the course, I know there are 6 courseware books, but is there anything else? And also, do you only get the practice exams in the 'OnDemand' package or would I get them from the course or from paying for the Exam?

Any advice would be appreciated.

John
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azmatt

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Post Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

It's impossible to tell someone that something is "worth" $500 beacuse $500 means a lot of different things to people.

If you don't pay it, you'll get the books and the .mp3s during class so you can review afterwards before you take your cert test.

I'm taking SANS Sec 504 in a few weeks and I just finished going through the ondemand. Now, when I go to the live class I'll hear the material a second time, and from a different instructor. I'm hoping that will help most of the info sink in. Plus, I'll have access for 2 months after so I can review if I had a particular problem area.

It's a nice thing to have, I would, but it's not the end of the world if you don't.
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Eleven

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Post Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:25 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

I don't have any SANS certs, but when it's time to re-certify you will receive new books and new MP3s because that's really all people need to pass the exam... like azmatt said, OnDemand is nice to have, but I don't think it's necessary.  Personally, I wouldn't pay $500 for it unless I had a lot of money to throw around.

When you buy the course and exam, you will get the books, MP3s, and two practice exams.  At least, I'm 99.9% sure.  If you have any questions for GIAC, it's probably best to hear straight from them.  http://www.giac.org/about/contact
Last edited by Eleven on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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azmatt

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Post Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:31 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

You're right. You get the books, mp3s and access to two practice tests, use them wisely!!!! I wasn't happy with the way I used them on my GCFA and while I passed comfortably, I could have done better.

Here is what I'm doing for my GCIH later this month.

1: take class (twice since I have ondemand)

2: create a MONSTER index of where topics are in the books for reference during the test. I also use little tabs in my books. This has a dual effect of creating a perfect cheat sheet for the test and helping me go over all of the content another time.

3: take practice test one with no material, just memory. Hope to pass or at least get close.

4: After I scrape my pride off the floor from test 1 I'll study any weaknesses which got exposed and make any necessary cheat sheets.

5: Take test 2  with my materials. I should (hopefully) knock this out of the park since I have my materials and some of the questions will be from my first test so I've seen them before.

Hopefully after 5 I feel 100% prepared and I'll go crush it.
GCFA, GCIH, GCIA, GWAPT, CISSP, CEH, GSEC
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caissyd

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Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:49 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

I would like to add that to me, the practice exams were extremely important. Like azmatt said, try the practice exam with using your notes because in the real exam, you may not have the time to search all your answers.

What I did was:
1) Take practice exam #1 without the notes. For every question I was 100% sure of the answer (even if I got it right), I take good notes of it on a piece of paper.
2) Study what I missed in the first practice exam
3) Do the same thing with the second practice exam (no courseware, taking notes about my weaknesses) then study more.

For my 2 SANS certs, I passed the exam barely looking at my notes.

So good luck!
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(aka H1t.M0nk3y)
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tturner

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Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:50 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

It's noteworthy that for the exams, questions on practice tests don't overlap with real test but are often not worded as well and are a bit harder. The reason for this is many of the questions on practice tests did not make the cut for real exam questions because they were too ambiguous or in testing the questions were found to be problematic in some way. That's not the case for all of them though so the practice tests are definitely worth taking. It's also worth noting that if you fail an exam, the 2nd attempt will use different questions and often those tend to be harder as well. I've not failed one yet, but this is what I've been told by the GIAC folks.
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http://sentinel24.com/blog @tonylturner http://bsidesorlando.org
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Eleven

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Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:29 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

When you take a practice test and answer a question wrong, does it tell you it was wrong before going to the next question, or show you the correct answer?
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tturner

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Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:08 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

For the practice tests yes, and it explains why that was the wrong answer. On the real exam, you get an update every 15 questions that gives you your current percentage. So if you answer the first 5 wrong, that first update will say 67%, then get the next 15 right, it will update after question 30 to show you are at an 83%. It used to update every question, but that was changed in the last year in an attempt to comply with standards set forth by ANSI/ISO.
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CISSP, CISA, GPEN, GWAPT, GAWN, GCIA, GCIH, GSEC, GSSP-JAVA, OPSE, CSWAE, CSTP, VCP

WIP: Vendor WAF stuff

http://sentinel24.com/blog @tonylturner http://bsidesorlando.org
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azmatt

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Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:35 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

Oh how that little scoreboard messes with your head  ;)
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Eleven

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Post Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:57 am

Re: SANS SEC401 & GSEC advice wanted

tturner wrote:For the practice tests yes, and it explains why that was the wrong answer. On the real exam, you get an update every 15 questions that gives you your current percentage. So if you answer the first 5 wrong, that first update will say 67%, then get the next 15 right, it will update after question 30 to show you are at an 83%. It used to update every question, but that was changed in the last year in an attempt to comply with standards set forth by ANSI/ISO.


That's definitely good to know, thanks! :)

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