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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    Question Please help - Any spare GMON Sec 511 practice exams?

    Hi folks,

    I'm reaching out for some help. I took the Sec 511 course back in June this year, and it was a really good course (drinking from the fire hose!) I absorbed as much as I could and signed up in August to take my cert exam in late October. I have been studying consistently this whole time, but I have recently come to a turning point personally in the last few months in my marriage, and I'm in the middle of a divorce. Things are kind of a mess in my brain at the moment, and I am not retaining information very well. I took a practice exam a few days ago and scored less than 50%

    I have reached out to GIAC and explained my situation; they are being very accommodating and understanding, and I have pushed for an extension on my test date. However, this is only buying me a few more weeks of trying to be as focused as possible reviewing my course books/labs and taking practice exams. A co-worker gifted me two of his unused practice tests, but I would like at least four more to take.

    Does anyone have any spares/unused practice tests for GMON they would be willing to transfer to me? Please let me know and I will PM the appropriate information. Thank you very much in advance for your help.
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  3. Senior Member cyberguypr's Avatar
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    #2
    I hate to say it but 50% confirms serious deficiencies in grasping material. Do you even have an index? Practice tests will not help at all and all will do is give you a false sense of security.
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  4. Completely Clueless TechGromit's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by monsterburrito View Post
    A co-worker gifted me two of his unused practice tests, but I would like at least four more to take.
    SANS/GIAC has said that any more than two practice exams yields a diminishing return on investment. This implies that the practice exams are pulled from a pool of possible questions. (and the exam too I suspect) It would make sense GIAC doesn't create an endless supply of unique practice exams for you to take. Chances are on the 3rd exam, you will see duplicate questions you seen on the other two practice exams and while your practice exam scores may get better as the result. It will lull you into a false sense of security, where as your true score isn't improving, just your practice exam score is. And 4th or 5th practice exam isn't going to help you either, they will only compound the issue where you will see a lot of duplicate questions, get great practice exam scores, but your true score, the one that lets you know your ready for the exam isn't improving.

    While it may be too late for you, My recommendation for taking SANS exams is the follows.

    1. Study the exam material while building a good index, try to go back and redo all the labs to make sure you have a good grasp on the material.

    2. Take your first Practice exam, using your index, at least a month before your test. If you were to wait till only a few days before, take the practice exam and do miserable, there just isn't going to be enough time to cram study to get your score up. It's better to give yourself enough time to see where you weaknesses are and give yourself enough time to make those improvements before taking your 2nd test. If there are weak areas in your index you can improve it as well. So long as your score is at least 5% higher than minimum passing score, chances are very good you'll pass the exam.

    Some say to take the first practice exam cold turkey soon as your classes are over to see where you stand. But I disagree, you only get two good practice tests ever. Squandered one away to challenge yourself isn't wise in my opinion. While you can purchase a 3rd, 4th or 10th, they will never be effective as seeing where you stand grade wise as the first two.

    3. If you did great on the 1st practice test, there nothing to be gained by waiting, schedule your exam, if not take the 2nd practice test a week before your exam date, see if your score improved, it might not. For my First GIAC test, I scored 81% twice on the practice exams, and a 87% on the actual exam.

    4. Try not to pay the $399 to buy an extension, chances are if you dragged your feet studying for the exam for 4 months, it's unlikely your going to put that much effort in if given an extra 45 days.

    If you truly are not ready, pay for a 45 day extension, but if you can't get it in 4 months of studying, I doubt an extra 6 weeks is going to do you that much good.
    Last edited by TechGromit; 10-13-2017 at 07:06 PM.
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  5. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberguypr View Post
    I hate to say it but 50% confirms serious deficiencies in grasping material. Do you even have an index? Practice tests will not help at all and all will do is give you a false sense of security.
    Yeah, I really think 50% was simply due to a bad day where my head was absolutely not in the right place. A lot has already moved forward in my divorce proceedings, and I'm moved out of my house to a safe environment where I can study, uninterrupted. I'm already in a VASTLY better place than I was a week ago. I'd like to take another exam this weekend and re-evaluate where I am.

    And yes, I have an index that came with my materials. But I have also added to it and built my own.
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  6. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #5
    Thanks for the detailed reply, TechGromit. Given my circumstances, SANS has granted me a small extension. I now have until November 15th to get this knocked out. Worse case scenario, I fail and end up paying for a re-take. But I'm already feeling more confident in my comprehension in just a week's time since things are moving forward with the divorce proceedings. I'm in a safer space now where I can also study uninterrupted.

    I plan to take a second practice exam this weekend or early next week to re-evaluate where I am. My index is not bad, I just was having a REALLY terrible day mentally when I took the practice exam the first time, and I know I just wasn't really "there" during it.

    I didn't drag my feet studying for the exam the first time... my home situation was miserable for the last four months and I was working 50-55+ hour weeks to top it off. So my comprehension was disrupted (not for a lack of trying). I'd stay late at work just to get studying in where I could, but I'd wind up either getting roped into more work, or harassed by my spouse. Now, I can study without my spouse being distracting, work has calmed down and is much less intense, and overall I'm just in a better spot.

    Thanks for the advice. I have heard the practice tests are actually harder than the exam material for GIAC certs, for the most part. I don't want a false sense of security in that, either. But I think I learn best from example formats in testing because often these tests are checking to see if you are really reading and thinking critically about the question, rather than regurgitating or parroting info. At least, that's how the CISSP was ( And yea, thats ISC2). And I managed to pass that. Was in a different mental state when I took that earlier this spring though...
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