SANS Practice Exams - is it worth doing two?

JGSJGS Posts: 21Registered Members ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi,

I am about to take my first SANS exam - the GSEC. I scored an 85% on my first practice test. I am just wondering what people think about taking the second one or not taking it if one scores in 80s? 5 hours is a long time! For those who took it, did it significantly help you? Did your score ever go down on the second exam? Thanks for your thoughts!

Comments

  • Mike7Mike7 Posts: 1,052Registered Members ■■■■□□□□□□
    It depend on how confident you are and what you want. Do you want to pass or get more than 90% so as to get into GIAC Advisory Board ?
    Or do you want to give away the second practice test or exchange it with someone else?
  • E Double UE Double U Posts: 1,465Registered Members ■■■■■■■□□□
    Seems like you're ready. Just donate the other practice test.
    "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." - Homer Simpson
  • al88al88 Posts: 61Registered Members ■■□□□□□□□□
    The biggest help from practice test is the explanation after each question, it explains things from Academic (test writers) perspective.

    So make sure you mark (*show explanation) whether the answer is correct or wrong.

    I'd attempt the second one if this is your first GIAC Exam. icon_thumright.gif Good luck!
  • krucial85krucial85 Member Austin, TexasPosts: 83Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    Sounds like you'll be fine. GSEC is one of less intense exams. If you scored an 85% you'll probably do fine on the certification exam. I was the beneficiary of someone who donated a practice exam and it really helped.
    "The way to succeed is never quit. That's it. But be really humble about it."
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 10,991Administrators admin
    Do the other and shoot for a 90%+ score. It's not about getting the paper, but what you learn in studying for the cert. Learn all you can from your second practice exam too.
    Moderator of the InfoSec, CWNP, IT Jobs, Virtualization, Java, and Microsoft Developers forums at www.techexams.net
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  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,535Registered Members ■■■■■□□□□□
    Honestly, if I take a practice exam and score +85%, I am going to book the real exam as soon as I can. Trying to master the topics before the exam is going to be overkill and what happens if your score goes down?...you might get discouraged...I would rather ride the momentum from the good score. You can always go back after the exam and master the subjects.
  • markmorowmarkmorow Posts: 25Registered Members ■□□□□□□□□□
    I debated this with someone the other day. I think it depends if you find value in them. I personally always do both. When I just did the GCIA the 2nd exam had something that was not on the first one and I had a hard time with. It wasn't a hard concept but something I had missed. When I took the exam a very similar question was on the exam. I know I wouldn't have got it if I didn't take the 2nd one.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 10,991Administrators admin
    TechGuru80 wrote: »
    I would rather ride the momentum from the good score. You can always go back after the exam and master the subjects.
    First, you are assuming that taking one GIAC practice exam is a very accurate indicator of how well you will do on the actual GIAC exam. I do not think this is the case.

    Second, you will likely not go back and more thoroughly study the SANS course material after you pass the exam. It is more likely that you will immediately look forward to studying for your next cert exam. Learn the cert material while you have the momentum and are thinking about it now.
    Moderator of the InfoSec, CWNP, IT Jobs, Virtualization, Java, and Microsoft Developers forums at www.techexams.net
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  • 5ekurity5ekurity Posts: 346Registered Members
    Agree with JDM - put in the work now that you are already immersed in the studying. Of course you want to get the cert and with an 85% you'll likely pass - but remember the reason you are doing this in the first place. Get the knowledge, master the material, get a 90%+ to get on the Advisory Board (it's worth it trust me) and keep moving on to your next goal.
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,535Registered Members ■■■■■□□□□□
    JDMurray wrote: »
    First, you are assuming that taking one GIAC practice exam is a very accurate indicator of how well you will do on the actual GIAC exam. I do not think this is the case.

    Second, you will likely not go back and more thoroughly study the SANS course material after you pass the exam. It is more likely that you will immediately look forward to studying for your next cert exam. Learn the cert material while you have the momentum and are thinking about it now.
    You are basing those from your experience...as I am with mine. I have scored higher on the actual exams than I did on my first practice exams...however my rationale is that if you get 85% on practice exam 1, you will have a high enough margin of error that you should pass...after three times of going through the process I feel very comfortable saying that.

    Second, you don’t HAVE TO master the topics on the certification. If it’s relevant to your daily job, you should be diving deeper...versus if you were taking it to gain additional knowledge then you should have a greater understanding sufficient enough since you won’t need to dive as deep.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 10,991Administrators admin
    The circumstances under which you take a GIAC practice exam versus an actual GIAC exam are very different. Be sure to account for that.
    Moderator of the InfoSec, CWNP, IT Jobs, Virtualization, Java, and Microsoft Developers forums at www.techexams.net
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  • JGSJGS Posts: 21Registered Members ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you for all the advice! I took JDM's advice and took the second practice exam to use it for study and learning. However, I decided not to look up much - if I didn't know it, I would just guess. I scored slightly less than the first practice test. I have taken the exam and passed with a 90%. I will write a post with some of my thoughts later in the week - I really appreciate all the help people on this forum have provided. There are definitely some items that I would do differently for my second SANS exam (based on what works well for me).
  • al88al88 Posts: 61Registered Members ■■□□□□□□□□
    JGS wrote: »
    I have taken the exam and passed with a 90%.

    Congrats!! icon_cheers.gif on the certification and the GIAC Advisory Board!
  • TechGromitTechGromit Completely Clueless Ontario, NY Posts: 1,799Registered Members ■■■■■■□□□□
    JGS wrote: »
    5 hours is a long time!

    And $675 is a lot of money.

    Generally I find that when you take a 2nd practice exam (and study), you score improves. For my GSEC, my scores were 81%, 81%, 87%, but my GREM, my scores were 60%, 69%, 73%, it was worth taking the extra practice exam.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • JGSJGS Posts: 21Registered Members ■□□□□□□□□□
    al88 wrote: »
    Congrats!! icon_cheers.gif on the certification and the GIAC Advisory Board!

    Thank you very much!
  • KasorKasor Posts: 912Registered Members
    You shall aim for 100% and join the elite club : )
    Kill All Suffer T "o" ReBorn
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Posts: 2,175Registered Members ■■■■■■□□□□
    I took the GCIH today, absolutely happy I took both practice tests. I adjusted my index after each one and I definitely saw very specific topics that I didn't have on my index until after the 2nd practice test.
  • kpomeroy1979kpomeroy1979 Posts: 4Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    I only used 1. Got 88% then booked the actual exam immediately afterwards. I heard that the FIRST practice exam is a better representation of how well you know the material as the exam sometimes has questions already asked on the first.
  • TechGromitTechGromit Completely Clueless Ontario, NY Posts: 1,799Registered Members ■■■■■■□□□□
    That hasn't been my experience with the 6 practice exams I took, sure there are some common question topics but not the exact same question from one test to another.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • cshkurucshkuru Posts: 223Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think it depends on the exam. I have taken 4 GIAC exams now and on 3 of them I took both practice exams. 2 of those were from the ICS area nd there were definitely repeat questions, the 3rd was GPEN and I don't remember any repeats on that.
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