In what feels like a long time coming I passed the sans 503 exam today. One thing I learned is that my index could have been better. How I set it up and thought would help me, was not really the case. I started off really well, being able to find and rely upon my index to help me out in the area’s I needed to check my books, just to confirm my answers. 30 questions in I’m at 96%, so far so good. 90 questions in 84% – still good at this point, more than half way I’m feeling confident and have about 2 hours left at this point.
Then I seemed to have several questions based on information I could not find in my index, and on area’s that are weaker for me, like DNS. My impression was soon as it discovered a weaker area, you would be asked several questions in this area – at least that is how it felt.
If I had studied other sans exams before this one, I would have been able to create a better index and no doubt scored a better mark. All things considered, this is my first certification in many years and I’m happy that I have passed with a 77%, not the score I was aiming for, but towards the end all I wanted to do was finish those questions and get out of there.
I have the 401 exam booked for 4 weeks time, I now need to create my index for this one, with it being an easier exam content wise, and now my experience gained from this one, I should hopefully be able to score very well.
Time will tell.
Tomorrow I have my sans 503 exam. I’ve prepared as best I can, but feel I could do better. My original goal was to attempt to achieve more than 90% however I do not feel that this is attainable anymore. I’m confident I will pass, but not achieve my initial goal.
I took a test exam today so I would be in the right frame of mind and allow me to get some last minute revision on the area’s that need strengthening and I scored 80%, so now going to focus on those that let me down, and hopefully it goes well.
What I have realised is that I spend the last couple months indexing the books, and found that I hardly used them at all. The most important thing for me was my cheat sheets for the headers. This are invaluable and I can very much recommend them. I need to make a snort cheat sheet for the configuration side of things, I’m more than happy with therules, but I was thrown off when I was asked configuration questions, so that is what I am doing this evening!
On a few other occasions when I did reference the book, and re-read a section and then answered the question, to still get it wrong….I guess the morale is that you need to know the content, rather than rely on the book to give you the answer.
This is my first Sans exam, and it’s invaluable lessons learned for future exams. I have the 401 scheduled for a months time, and at the very least I can take what I have learned from this index and use it for my next one.
Anyhow….back to the last few steps of preparation!