Passed the GPEN

willhi1979willhi1979 Posts: 191Member
I took the SEC-560 course through a mentoring offering locally. I enjoyed the mentoring format, we met once a week for 2-3 hours over two months. We were expected to read the course material and do the exercises before class. Class ended up talking about the book and other security topics. It ended at the end of August, and after a month I started to get ready for the exam. I made an index and barely failed the first practice exam. After that, I reread two of the books, studied some more, took the second practice exam, and then barely passed. The practice exams seemed pretty tricky, and I found a lot of cases were I'd second guess myself then get it wrong.

I took the exam on October 22nd and found it a lot more straightforward than the practice tests. I knew a lot of the answers without looking them up and ended up looking up most of the questions just to verify my answer. They did a very good job of testing you on all the material and not focusing on one subject. By the time I took the test, I knew my way through the books well. I ended up finishing after 3 hours and 20 minutes, and I ended up making a 92.67%. I got invited to the Advisory Board the next day and am on there now. I also ordered the frame with the certiifcate because I didn't want the mailman cramming the certificate in the small mailbox at our townhouse. It ended up being a good move. The frame is very nice and I'd recommend it, it's not a $10 frame in my opinion.

Comments

  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Congratulations. I've always wondered what the local mentor experience for a SANS course is like. I presume it's very dependent on the instructor, his / her teaching style and field experience. I have a co-worker who was scheduled to take his exam on Saturday (he took the live course at Vegas with Ed Skoudis). His group ended up winning the CTF on the last day of class. Did you guys do a live CTF in your class as well? How many other people participated?

    Did you at any time ever feel somewhat "disconnected" from the class because an instructor wasn't present as you were going through the material? I understand that the exam is still 4 hours, but the quality of the questions are better (more cognitive rather than looking up simple trivia like CLI parameters to a tool). Did you find this to be the case with the GPEN?
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
  • willhi1979willhi1979 Posts: 191Member
    docrice wrote: »
    Congratulations. I've always wondered what the local mentor experience for a SANS course is like. I presume it's very dependent on the instructor, his / her teaching style and field experience. I have a co-worker who was scheduled to take his exam on Saturday (he took the live course at Vegas with Ed Skoudis). His group ended up winning the CTF on the last day of class. Did you guys do a live CTF in your class as well? How many other people participated?

    Did you at any time ever feel somewhat "disconnected" from the class because an instructor wasn't present as you were going through the material? I understand that the exam is still 4 hours, but the quality of the questions are better (more cognitive rather than looking up simple trivia like CLI parameters to a tool). Did you find this to be the case with the GPEN?

    Thank you. I enjoyed the slower pace personally, I think it would be hard to digest all the material well in a five day course. The instructor I had had a part time pen testing business so he had some good experience and just wasn't teaching the book without having a lot of experience applying it. There were two other students in the class so it was a nice small group. We did the CTF using a VPN at home on our own pace individually. Most of the other exercises were done over a VPN as well. Most of us got part of the way done, and we discussed the solution in the next to the last class.

    I didn't feel disconnected from the course. It felt like studying any other material for me except having a time table to do it and people to talk to about it once I was done. Our instructor did a good job of contacting us via e-mail between classes as well. The exam was more cognitive in the fact that you had to have an understanding of the course material to understand the question well and arrive at the best answer. It didn't seem tricky to me like the practice exams did though and about 15%-20% of it was simple trivia. I'd include the laws of various countries as simple trivia since they are things you can look up easily.
  • azmattazmatt Posts: 114Member
  • KaiiKaii Posts: 59Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    congratssss sir.
    I`m the Designer of my Own Catastrophy

    “The best way to predict the FUTURE is to CREATE it”
  • docricedocrice Posts: 1,706Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I chatted with my co-worker today about his experience regarding the GPEN exam. He said that in the past the practice exams were similar to the real test. However, this time around he felt the real exam had noticeably bumped the difficulty level higher. He had scored 90+ percent on his practice exams but his score ended up being around the same as yours. Usually he scores 10% higher over his practice results.

    I think he also spent roughly the same amount of time going through the exam as yourself. It sounds like a tough test for sure.
    Hopefully-useful stuff I've written: http://kimiushida.com/bitsandpieces/articles/
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