So I’ve made it through just about all of the SANS SEC503 material. That’s no small accomplishment in it of itself and I already feel like I’ve leveled up a bit. I now know some of the secrets about the TCP handshake, checksums and window size 🙂 If you’ve followed me through my first three posts you know I’ve touched a bit on tcpdump, scapy and snort while going through the material.
The next big hurdle, which will be coming up in just over 60 days is my first GIAC exam. For those that don’t know, this is the certifying body that is directly relevant to the SANS courses. As I understand it, it’s a 4-hour exam in a PearsonVue type center that is open book/paper. Since it’s ‘open book’ and I have some 5 books of slides and another two books of labs, there has to be a method to organize this into something efficient and useful to a test taker. I’ve searched the web and watched some YouTube videos about how to prepare for a GIAC exam and I keep coming across the word ‘index.’ While the end of my book 5 does have an index, I looked through the terms and tried to imagine how useful it would be, and my conclusion is not much.
To be fully transparent, I started writing this blog post as something to put out there in public to hold myself to completing this indexing task and I’m currently about 18% through I’d estimate. The plan is to reread each book and then pull out the relevant information I think would be useful if I need to reference something quick related to the topic. I’ve decided I’m going to break up my key terms by protocol and/or tool, sometimes making an entry for both referencing the same page number.
Once I get through rereading all the books and completing my index, I’m going to type it up and sort. From there I’ll deliberate the most useful format for the index and set aside some time for a practice exam. Depending on how the practice test goes will give me an idea of what I need to tinker with to be my most successful test taker self. Luckily, I have two practice exams so I get to try out my improved plan before going in on the actual exam.
I’ll do a post later when I’m further along in the process, but like I mentioned above I’m just writing a quick note and putting this out there to help hold myself accountable. If you see me out there tweeting too much Heat basketball send me a dm and let me know what the real goal is 🙂 Till next time!