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GSE multiple choice test

quogue66quogue66 Member Posts: 193 ■■■■□□□□□□
I passed the multiple choice portion of the GSE today.  The difficulty of this test is not what you would expect it to be.  The exam is 150 questions that come from three exams you already passed.  How hard could it be, right?  You only have three hours to do the test so you can't rely too much on your index.  You essentially have to commit to memory the material from 16 different books.  Creating your index is also a little different.  Do you create one big index or three separate indexes?  What about notes, diagrams, **** sheets and images of headers?  I ended up creating a separate index for each exam.  I also added **** sheets, pictures of packet headers, etc.  I created a table of contents and bound the index.  It took me hours to get it exactly like I wanted it.  I referred to it about 15-20 times.  I also used tabs on the books.  Each book had 3-5 tabs on it.  I only tabbed the most important topics so it wasn't overwhelming.  I assume the questions are all pulled from the most recent version of each course because there were about 15 questions that I had no idea what they were talking about.  Some I was able to use process of elimination to reduce the answers.  Others I took a random guess and moved on because I didn't even know what they were talking about.  The real challenge comes when you get to the testing center.  Most testing centers can barely accommodate a set of five SANS books.  Finding a place to rest 16 books is even more frustrating.  The people that worked there thought I was an idiot for bringing so many books in.  I finished the test with about 10 minutes left and scored an 87.  I didn't get an email from SANS.  There wasn't anything in my profile that congratulated me.  The only proof that I passed exists in my profile under certification attempts.  It looks more like I passed a practice test.  Now I have 6 months to fine tune my skills and be ready for the lab portion.

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    cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,928 Mod
    Congrats!!! That comment about testing center people thinking you were an idiot made me laugh a lot. 
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    JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,028 Admin
    I remember walking into the testing center with six GSEC books and getting some long stares.
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    Cuse0311Cuse0311 Member Posts: 53 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats and best of luck on the lab portion! I look forward to hearing about it.
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    Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,310 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Congrats! I kind of lucked out that a local community college near me has a testing center and they have a few corner cubes that are wide and wrap around. They saw me walk in with a stack of books and pointed me right over. 
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    BlucodexBlucodex Member Posts: 430 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats!!! That comment about testing center people thinking you were an idiot made me laugh a lot. 
    This is how I felt going in for my exams.  Room full of people and I'm flipping through books!
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    quogue66quogue66 Member Posts: 193 ■■■■□□□□□□
    That's funny...in the beginning I did worry that the sound of me constantly flipping through books would annoy other test takers.  After a while I changed my thought process to "Every man for himself!"
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    LWB250LWB250 Member Posts: 59 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The last GIAC cert I sat for (GCIH) I took all of my books in with me and the proctor challenged me on it. They had to go and check that it was OK for me to have the materials with me - I later found out it was a new employee...

    I was in a narrow and long room with about six workstations, three each on opposite walls, in what I would call "study carrels". They sat me at the middle station on one side, and as soon as I sat down I dropped my books on the floor and spread them out around me, as there was almost no space on the desk.  About 30 minutes into my test they brought another testing candidate in and seated them at the computer behind me. I was picking up and dropping books, flipping through pages, etc. the whole time. The other person got up and left after about 10 minutes. I'm assuming they didn't care for the noise I was making.... oh, well, too bad.
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    Randy_RandersonRandy_Randerson Member Posts: 115 ■■■□□□□□□□
    LWB250 said:
    The last GIAC cert I sat for (GCIH) I took all of my books in with me and the proctor challenged me on it. They had to go and check that it was OK for me to have the materials with me - I later found out it was a new employee...

    I was in a narrow and long room with about six workstations, three each on opposite walls, in what I would call "study carrels". They sat me at the middle station on one side, and as soon as I sat down I dropped my books on the floor and spread them out around me, as there was almost no space on the desk.  About 30 minutes into my test they brought another testing candidate in and seated them at the computer behind me. I was picking up and dropping books, flipping through pages, etc. the whole time. The other person got up and left after about 10 minutes. I'm assuming they didn't care for the noise I was making.... oh, well, too bad.
    That is why they are supposed to provide ear plugs, if not the large over-the-ear headphones to block out sound. As you said, I make no apology to whoever is in the room with me. I try to be as cordial as I can. But I'm up against a timer too.  
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    mjs1104mjs1104 Member Posts: 30 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for sharing this, I have to take the GSE written within a year and not looking forward to bringing almost 20 books into the facility and creating either a monster index or 3 seperate ones... 
    GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GCCC, GCPM, GMON, GCTI, GCFA, GREM, GPEN, A+, Net+, Security+, Server+, C|EH, EnCE, ACE, CFCE, etc.
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    catscapscatscaps Member Posts: 24 ■■■□□□□□□□
    How was the lab part of the exam?
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    quogue66quogue66 Member Posts: 193 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'm limited to what I am allowed to say about the test.  There is an NDA you sign before taking the test.  I can tell you that the material is very closely aligned to the material in the books.  I had an idea in my head of what the test was going to be like and I studied for the test a certain way.  I focused too much on a few specific skills rather than dedicating equal time to all the material.  In the end I was told that I scored the highest score possible without passing the exam.  I scored high enough to pass the capstone course for the MSISE so I was happy about that.  Now that I know what to expect I know I could pass the test the second time but it's just too much money.  The test is around $3000.  The travel and expenses add almost $2000 more.  This was all covered by work the first time.  I doubt they would cover it a second time.
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    catscapscatscaps Member Posts: 24 ■■■□□□□□□□
    quogue66 said:
     In the end I was told that I scored the highest score possible without passing the exam. 
    Man, that is tough! 
    thanks, I understand the NDA, I have taken many SANS exams as well. They have closed all GSE lab exams this year, so maybe this will be on my 2021 list of things to try and conquer. 

    It is a pricey exam for sure. That certainly adds pressure, as I would be paying out of pocket. 
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    charismaticxcharismaticx Member Posts: 160 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Did you get tested on the material from GSEC, GCIA, and GCIH? The entrance exam just changed to the 24 hands on questions. I can only imagine how phase two is. The GSE has caught my interest. 
    Goals: PNPT; OSCP; GPYC; GSE
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    quogue66quogue66 Member Posts: 193 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My part one exam was the 150 multiple choice questions in three hours.  I think that version was more difficult than the current version of part 1.  I have a GSE part 1 practice test and exam attempt that are valid through the end of the year.  If I decide to take the test again I have to pass the new version of part 1.  Both exams have material from all three courses (401, 503, 504).  
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    catscapscatscaps Member Posts: 24 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Because of COVID, there are no lab exams scheduled this year, so I would contact SANS and ask them to extend your another year given current circumstances.
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    quogue66quogue66 Member Posts: 193 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I attended a call for the STI program and they mentioned that.  I was also told that they are not allowing you to take part 1 of the GSE from home.  I thought this was pretty odd since they are allowing you to take all the other GIAC exams remotely.
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    charismaticxcharismaticx Member Posts: 160 ■■■■□□□□□□
    That’s really surprising considering they’ll let you take the other exams at home. I’m guessing SANs really wants to lock down the premier certification. 
    Goals: PNPT; OSCP; GPYC; GSE
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    chrisonechrisone Member Posts: 2,278 ■■■■■■■■■□
    quogue66 said:
    Now that I know what to expect I know I could pass the test the second time but it's just too much money.  The test is around $3000.  The travel and expenses add almost $2000 more.  This was all covered by work the first time.  I doubt they would cover it a second time.
    Slowly closes the tab in shock. Then reminds self to never look at anything SANS related again. Insert grandpa Simpson meme where he walks into the men's club, sees Bart, then walks out lol 

    Seriously these prices are ridiculous. 
    Certs: CISSP, EnCE, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, SPLK-1002, SC-200, SC-300, AZ-900, AZ-500, VHL:Advanced+
    2023 Cert Goals: SC-100, eCPTX
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    catscapscatscaps Member Posts: 24 ■■■□□□□□□□
    chrisone said:
    quogue66 said:
    Now that I know what to expect I know I could pass the test the second time but it's just too much money.  The test is around $3000.  The travel and expenses add almost $2000 more.  This was all covered by work the first time.  I doubt they would cover it a second time.
    Slowly closes the tab in shock. Then reminds self to never look at anything SANS related again. Insert grandpa Simpson meme where he walks into the men's club, sees Bart, then walks out lol 

    Seriously these prices are ridiculous. 
    I thought the same for a while too, but if your work covers the expense, that is awesome. Or if your work doesn't cover training, there is also SANS workstudy, where the cost for courses/exams are greatly reduced. The training is amazing and I have always come back after a course with a list of ideas for implementation.

    Not to sound corny, but it is expensive but you are paying for a better salary in the future. Spending $10,000 on yourself now could be a bump in salary that could easily cover that plus the compounding effect of that raise, or new job's salary.

    But there are various factors that come into play, area job market, costs of living, experience level, etc. It has been highly rewarding for me from both the education and salary aspects, but results my vary.
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    chrisonechrisone Member Posts: 2,278 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited August 2020
    Trust me I get it, I have been to SANS courses. Love the training and the work/study opportunities (I plan to do two workstudies next year if the country opens up again and I get selected). My gripe is with the cert maintenance fees, cert attempt prices, now GSE 3k price tag?  
    Certs: CISSP, EnCE, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, SPLK-1002, SC-200, SC-300, AZ-900, AZ-500, VHL:Advanced+
    2023 Cert Goals: SC-100, eCPTX
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    quogue66quogue66 Member Posts: 193 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Paying out of pocket is a gamble.  I have 11 GIAC certs.  I paid about $2500 out of pocket.  It was worth it for me because the company I went to understood the value of the training and certs.  I talked to a company last year that was the opposite.  None of the security folks did any SANS training and they drilled me on irrelevant technical questions.  I can tell you this about the GSE value and price tag.  It is most impressive to those that haven't taken the test.  If you had a choice between paying for the GSE exam and the travel and expenses OR taking a different SANS course and test I would go with the latter.
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    chrisonechrisone Member Posts: 2,278 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Yeah from what you are saying, if the GSE is based on 401, 503, 504 then the price tag isn't worth it. Id rather SEC642//660/760, FOR508/572/610. 
    Certs: CISSP, EnCE, OSCP, CRTP, eCTHPv2, eCPPT, eCIR, LFCS, CEH, SPLK-1002, SC-200, SC-300, AZ-900, AZ-500, VHL:Advanced+
    2023 Cert Goals: SC-100, eCPTX
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