Unusual to have exam questions not covered by SANS course?

beatthatbeatthat Member Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
I attended the SANS SEC560 course and took a GPEN practice exam. It asked several questions about a topic that I wasn't familiar with and looking through the books for answers, the topic isn't even covered. The course syllabus on SANS' website says the topic is covered during one of the days, but it simply doesn't match the course books I have.

Is this normal? I understand that the course curriculum is updated periodically, but what about the exam questions? Is it my responsibility to know all exam objectives even though one of them isn't taught in the related SANS course?

Comments

  • MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Junior Member Member Posts: 192 ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited October 2019
    beatthat said:
    I attended the SANS SEC560 course and took a GPEN practice exam. It asked several questions about a topic that I wasn't familiar with and looking through the books for answers, the topic isn't even covered. The course syllabus on SANS' website says the topic is covered during one of the days, but it simply doesn't match the course books I have.

    Is this normal? I understand that the course curriculum is updated periodically, but what about the exam questions? Is it my responsibility to know all exam objectives even though one of them isn't taught in the related SANS course?
    You can ping the OnDemand chat to talk to "Subject Matter Experts".

    Most certification bodies have beta questions that aren't scored on the real exam. But considering the syllabus says it was covered, it more than likely was covered. You said you looked through the books. When I glance/proof-read/look through something I usually miss it. If you really wanted to confirm/deny it is in the books, re-read the books. It could be covered on the top of the page, the small print at the bottom, or the labs. 

    SANS used to give you the information spelled out like A, B, C, D, E, F. G this highlighted topic in the book, H, I, J, K, L, M , N, O, P. Now, they've gone away from having obvious answers popping out at you. 

    Most certification bodies update exam questions. I am trying not to dig deep into this. What I will say is, I have never done a practice exam and when I was finished, could memorize more than one question, let alone several.  I have never heard anyone say (and could prove) that the material on the exam wasn't in the books. Trust me, when the books are updated, everything else is updated as well. 

    Question time:
    1. What other GIAC certifications do you have?
    2. What has been your study method up to this point?
    3. Do you have hands-on experience in this field?
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,273 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I agree with @MrsWilliams it might be a beta question. But, as I've found with some GIAC exams, sometimes the questions are from tiny parts in the labs, in the lab workbook in a small footnote, but not glaringly obvious anywhere in the regular coursebooks and it might have been something the instructor barely talked about during the lab time. 
  • quogue66quogue66 Senior Member Member Posts: 170 ■■■□□□□□□□
    In addition to what others mentioned I have seen questions on tests that refer to tools that were taught in previous versions of the course.  I saw this in GREM and GASF. 
  • Randy_RandersonRandy_Randerson CFE, GASF, GAWN, GCFA, GCFE, GCIH, GLEG, GMOB, GNFA, GPEN, GSEC, GWAPT, DFCP, ACE, CompTIA A/N/S+ Member Posts: 115 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yup -- practice tests are typically retired or beta questions. 
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 1,955 ■■■■■■■■□□
    beatthat said:
    I attended the SANS SEC560 course and took a GPEN practice exam. It asked several questions about a topic that I wasn't familiar with and looking through the books for answers, the topic isn't even covered. The course syllabus on SANS' website says the topic is covered during one of the days, but it simply doesn't match the course books I have.

    Is this normal? I understand that the course curriculum is updated periodically, but what about the exam questions? Is it my responsibility to know all exam objectives even though one of them isn't taught in the related SANS course?
    In theory, if you registered for the exam the same time you took your course, then you should be getting the a version of the exam that matches up with your course material. If you paid for your exam attempt after your took your course, then it's possible your not getting an exact match. As for a few questions asked that are not in the exam material, it happens, not often fortunately, but I've seen a few. I recall on my of the exams I took, they asked what the "DEFAULT" setting was for a windows security setting, while the security setting was mentioned in the books, the default setting was not. They make you think every answer on the exams can be answered from the books, but it's all LIES! Well for the most part it's true, but if you had a marginal score during the exam and that one question which your not given the knowledge to answer makes the difference between pass or fail, I'm sure you wouldn't be very happy. This is why you should always strive for getting at least 5% over the passing grade when taking practice tests, shooting for just enough to pass isn't a sound test taking strategy.      
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
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