Challenge a GIAC certification

TheEnforcerTheEnforcer Member Posts: 16 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi all,

Is it easy to challenge a GIAC certification like GCED, GCFA, GCIH, GCWN? Or is everything made to buy the course (example: questions you can't really answer unless you took the 5k$ course)?

I don't have the money to buy the course and I'm sure i can get the same knowledge elsewhere (from book, video and labs).

I'm just not really confident about being able to challenge these certs. I don't want to pay 1k$ just to confirm it's hard to succeed without taking the course.

Thanks all


  • TechGromitTechGromit Member Posts: 2,156 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The SANS books are the key, if you can obtain a current set of books, chances of passing are greatly improved. I guess you could still pass with a older set of books, but the more outdated they are, the less likely will will be able to answer exam questions from them.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Member Posts: 975 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Books are key. Older books would be OK if they're still relevant. The tests are created off of the books, so any question on the test will relate to something in the book. If you have an old book that isn't used for the test anymore, there will be content in the book not on the test & vice versa
  • TheEnforcerTheEnforcer Member Posts: 16 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks all for the replies. This confirm what I was thinking. Every time I see a guy with a SANS cert, this guy took the 5k course.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,928 Mod
    Not necessarily. Some of us took the Work Study option for just $900. I've taken 4 SANS courses and 3 certs for $3,600.
  • RepliconReplicon Member Posts: 124 ■■■□□□□□□□
    How do you apply for work study? Is it only for US territory? Can you buy just the books without taking a training?
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    SANS packages material in such a way that they're pretty unique offerings. It's not like learning how to configure devices (which is where vendor-centric certifications come in). It's possible to challenge the GIAC exams with books and other publicly-available material, but it's not common. You're more likely to pass the exam by taking the SANS course, obviously, but not impossible. At least one or two forum members here have done it.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The real value of SANS is in training material; exam is a validation of your understanding.

    If you wish to challenge, the exam is open book and each exam attempt comes with 2 practice exams. If you are a practitioner with years of experience in the domain and you are willing to invest the time and effort, it is possible. Not easy but possible.

    Try the short assessment as posted at If you can get 80++ in the GSEC or GCIH, it is possible.
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Mike7 wrote: »
    The real value of SANS is in training material; exam is a validation of your understanding.

    Bingo. While I understand the professional need to "get certified," I feel many people forget the value of the actual training and expanding their understanding of the domain. Having the 4 or 5-letter string after their name is only part of it.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
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