Paid the invoice for the GSE test. Also signed up for the GSEC re-certification so I could have the latest course material. Discovered that if you go the CPE option, SANS will NOT give you access to the practice tests. I asked nicely if they would. They replied that for the low price of $175 per (or something like that) I could purchase practice tests.


That sucks, guys. Work isn’t going to go for paying out for that kind of stuff. Would it really be that bad to give the CPE guys a practice test?


So, if you are trying to get the testing material and want access to the practice tests, don’t go the CPE route; go the re-test route. Also, complain bitterly to SANS about the lack of practice tests for going the CPE route. I considered switching to test-recertification, but the last time I took the GSEC my grade was 95%. I’m not going to top that while trying to study for everything else.

Hindsight – if you have a test you didn’t do great on, go the re-test route even if you have the CPEs. You can improve your grade on the GIAC site and have those practice tests. This would have been helpful for my GCIA cert. It’s my weakest area and I only scored an 85% last time. I purchased the GCIA re-certification with CPE option back in June, so it’s way too late to even think of asking them if I could switch to testing. Guess I’ll be working extra hard on the labs to make sure I have everything down.

Now that the invoice is paid, I need to find a testing center to take the GSE exam. There was a really nice testing center up in Hunt Valley, but they apparently don’t do it any more. The testing centers in Baltimore are not. . . um. . . up to my standards (I’m trying to be diplomatic – basically the staff is nice, there just isn’t any space for my books and other testers are crammed in like sardines). I may actually go visit the testing centers in Columbia just to make sure they are nice. The last thing I want to do is switch centers and end up someplace worse. At any rate, one thing I have learned doing SANS certifications is to SCHEDULE EARLY! The desirable timeslots tend to fill up quickly.