Read books first or Listen Audio First ??

iamlearningiamlearning Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello Guys,

I have recently purchased Self Study materials for a SANS Course. I wish to know how do you guys go about it?

Do you guys hear Audio First or Read their books first or do both of them simultaneously??

Since i have observed that once we hear audio we don't concentrate so much on the written words in books other than slides.

And if i just start to read books without hearing audio sometimes i doze off (I know my bad icon_rolleyes.gif but it does happen even if i have utmost interest) However i wake up after that power nap and again start.

Still i just wanted to know from you guys which method do you guys follow for those of you who follow the Self Study route?? icon_study.gif

I even thought of reading book, hearing audio and then making index all at once but it would take a really long time to complete a single unit and i wanna do it fast too.

Hence it would be really helpful if you guys share your experiences too :)


  • doverdover Member Posts: 184 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I've done two OnDemand courses with Sans and I always listened to the MP3's first. I found that it got me comfortable with the material and helped give me a better perspective and grasp of the material when I sat down to read the books and do the labs. I do however, have a 1 1/2 hour commute to work so I always had time - and no excuses - to listen to the audio multiple times.

    For each of the classes I took the full four month time frame allowed between purchase and my certification attempt.

    My 'method'

    1. Listened to Mp3's - all of them - completely (once)
    2. Read all of the books
    3. Listened to Mp3's again, and again and again.
    4. Labbed as much as humanly possible - particularly for the GCIA. As in all thinks IT, reading is one thing but actually diving in and repeatedly doing is what turns learning into skill.
    5. Created study guides for myself - sometimes it helps me retain material better if I actively write, or type, the information. One topic or book at a time.
    6. I did index my GCIA books - but I didn't do it for my next course. I didn't want the open-book policy to be a crutch for me not retaining the information.

    I'm sure you'll do fine. Depending on the course your taking I don't think you'll doze off. The two SANS instructors I had (Mike Poor and Eric Cole) enjoy the material so much its infectious.

    Have fun with it.
  • bryguybryguy Member Posts: 190
    With the GSNA, I treated them as separate study sources reading the books during my lunch breaks at work and then listening to the audio to and from work during my daily 80 minute round trip commute. I suppose I could have listened to the audio and read along with the book at the same time, but I'm not sure if that would have been the best use of my time. According to the instructor I had, you are tested with what's in the book, and not necessarily what's in the audio content. That being said, I'd focus more on the book material, and use the audio as reinforcement. Good luck with your studies!
  • iamlearningiamlearning Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks a lot dover and bryguy. Yeah i would surely try to follow the steps as mentioned by you guys.

    @dover: GCIA Lab rocked since it took you deep into packets and tcpdump became my favourite. I even prefer it above Wireshark :)

    I would also love to hear comments from JDMurray,docrice,ipchain and almost anyone who follows this Self Study route since i get motivated by all of you :)
  • docricedocrice Member Posts: 1,706 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I go through the OnDemand first, then listen to the audio during my work commute (usually several times through over the course of a month or two), and then start combing the books in the evenings. I make an index the last week or two before the actual exam. I usually take one of the practice exams a week (or the weekend before) the real exam. If I can finish the practice exam in about half the allotted time with a score in the 80s or 90s, for me that means I just need to cram a little more and then rest for a day.

    I've finished most of my actual exams in roughly half the available time with the record being the GCIA in about an hour and forty-five minutes with a 96 passing score. If I cross too far from that two-hour mark, my cognitive ability drops steeply. The key is to know the material well enough so most of your book lookups are just for confirming your answers. If you spend too many questions looking at your index or referencing the books because you really don't know the answer, you're not ready.

    Everyone has a different comfort / efficiency zone when it comes to studying technical materials and concepts. You have to figure out what works for you and that requires a degree of introspection on your part.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written:
  • iamlearningiamlearning Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks a lot docrice for your reply. Yups i will have to do some degree of introspection on my part too :)
  • laughing_manlaughing_man Member Posts: 84 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I first started doing the OnDemand coursework for GSEC, but I felt like I was glossing over too much. So I stopped once I got to the second day's material and switched to the book, making my index as I went. Then I did the OnDemand. I found that helped to better cement what I had read. I also made any relevant updates to my index then. I also did a little book review before I sat for my first practice. I then reviewed my weak areas, took the 2nd practice test a day or two before the test.

    Once you really get into the material, you will figure out what works best for you and I advise you stick with whatever that is.

    Incidentally (maybe I missed this), what course are you taking?
  • iamlearningiamlearning Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks a lot for your reply laughing_man. Yeah once we get into material we figure out what works best for us. I wish someone would pay me for achieving SANS certs and just learning new stuff. Most of the time i spend from my own salary but the satisfaction i get once i pass cannot be measured in words!!! :)

    I hope to achieve GCIH in coming year. Btw i was thinking of renewing my MS and Cisco certs but now i just wanna do SANS for life icon_cheers.gif
    I guess thats called SANS Addiction!!! icon_cool.gif
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