Exams: FAQ

Exams:

GIAC Certification Exams

Tips for Success and Where to Get Help

The GIAC certification program is challenging and we want to help you succeed! We offer the following advice when pursuing your certification:

  1. Plan your time carefully. You have four months to study; take advantage of it. If you wait until the week before your exam to study you are not likely to do well.
  2. Become familiar with the certification objectives for the certification you are attempting. For a list of objectives specific to the certification you are attempting, please review the Exam Certification Objectives listed in the Certification Information found in your portal account at https://exams.giac.org/pages/attempts
  3. Especially for technical certifications, plan to spend some significant "hands-on" time with the technologies covered by your certification objectives. GIAC exams are designed to measure your ability to correctly analyze a situation and properly apply your knowledge.
  4. After significant study time to ensure mastery of the material covered by the certification objectives, attempt your first practice test to gauge your progress. Practice tests serve to get you familiar with the types of questions you can expect to see on the certification exam, as well as the testing interface in general. When taking the practice tests, you should pace yourself and practice using any references you plan on bringing with you to the testing center to simulate the exam experience. They are more beneficial when they are used as a dry run prior to the real exam. You will have the option to display the correct answer for missed questions during practice. NOTE: The first practice exam is a more accurate gauge of your skills than any subsequent practice exams.
  5. When you complete your first practice test, print out the report at the end of the exam. The report tells you how well you performed on each certification objective for your exam. If you have less than four stars for any certification objective consider refocusing your remaining study time in those areas.
  6. Don't wait until the last minute to begin studying!
  7. The exams are open book; take advantage of this.
  8. According to a survey we conducted the average GIAC certified individual spends an average of 55 hours of study time over and above of any classroom training. If you are just learning the material for the first time it could easily take three times that much study to master the certification objectives or even more. Realistically assess your own skills for each certification objective, and be prepared to spend the time required for mastery.
  9. Make sure you read the question and all answer options very carefully.
  10. Before sitting for the exam, use online resources to help address gaps in your knowledge. Search by certification objective topic areas, or specific tools or concepts. If you are a candidate for a technical certification, completing hands-on exercises and lab work from any relevant training you may have received will be a benefit. There are online exercises, challenges, packet captures, and war games available for many technical subject areas. A search engine is your friend.
  11. GIAC exams contain many application and analysis questions that require a person to apply knowledge and solve real problems relevant to the certification objectives.
  12. Send any questions to info@giac.org. In order for us to provide faster service, include your curriculum User ID or your portal SD number and what certification you are attempting so that we can easily reference your account.

What if I fail an exam?

If you fail a GIAC Certification Exam, you may purchase a retake exam for by clicking on the "Purchase Retake" link in the Certification Attempts section of the GIAC Certification Portal. Once purchased, retakes are non-refundable and non-transferable. Please click here for current pricing.
Following any GIAC exam failure, you must purchase the retake within 30 days of your listed expiration date.

Can I attempt a GIAC certification exam without formal SANS training?

When purchasing a SANS training course, the cost for the corresponding exam is $599. You may purchase an exam without formal SANS training; it is called a GIAC Certification attempt- The cost to challenge an exam is $1,049. The fee includes 2 practice exams and 1 proctored exam. Each exam will have an expiration date of 120 days (4 months) accessible from your SANS Portal Account.
Exams must be completed at a Pearson Vue testing center. For more information on the GIAC Proctor Program and its requirements, please visit http://www.giac.org/proctor/

Can I get an extension?

Candidates may purchase a 45-day GIAC extension. Please click here for current pricing.
15 days before your exam expires, an extension option will appear in your portal account. The extension adds 45 days to your current deadline. A maximum of 10 extensions can be purchased per certification attempt. Once you have reached this limit, your attempt cannot be extended any further. If you have purchased your GIAC exam in conjunction with an online training course, your online course access will be extended to match your GIAC deadline.

Can I purchase two exams simultaneously, or do I have to wait another 4 months?

You may purchase and schedule GIAC exams simultaneously. Each exam will have an expiration date of 120 days (4 months) accessible from your SANS Portal Account. Test dates will need to be scheduled prior to expiration. Should you decide to train via the SANS OnDemand online slides, notes, and assessments, you may only register for one course at a time. This training venue will only allow you to purchase and gain access to the exam separately.

How are the exams delivered?

NOTE: GIAC exams are NOT given the day after the conference ends.

GIAC certification attempts purchased without SANS training will be activated in your SANS/GIAC account within 24 hours of purchase. GIAC certification attempts purchased with SANS training will be activated in your SANS/GIAC account 7 days after the end of the conference. In both cases, you will receive an email notification when your certification attempt has been activated in your account. You will have 120 days from the date of activation to complete your certification attempt. GIAC exams must be proctored through Pearson VUE. Please click the following link for instructions on How to Schedule Your GIAC Proctored Exam. GIAC exams are delivered online through a standard web browser.

How soon after the proctored exam will I receive the GIAC framed certificate?

It may take up to 4-6 weeks for your certificate to arrive in the mail. Once you pass your exam, you will be asked to confirm your name and address. Please review this information carefully to ensure for accurate and timely delivery. If proof of certification is needed sooner, Certified Professionals can find their official listing by visiting http://www.giac.org/certified_professionals/

Do I have to purchase a framed certificate?

No, you do not have to purchase a framed certificate. If you opt out of receiving the framed certificate, you will automatically be mailed the copy of your official paper certificate.

How much does it cost to receive a framed certificate?

The 10" by 13" wall-mountable wooden frame is free, but there is an additional charge of $19 within the US and Canada and $34 internationally for shipping and handling.

What is a Proctored Exam?

Under the GIAC Proctor Policy, students are required to take their GIAC certification exams in a proctored environment. For detailed information regarding the proctor requirements, please see http://www.giac.org/proctor/

A GIAC qualified proctor will verify the identity of the student and ensure that the student does not use a phone, instant messaging software, or speak with any person during an exam. GIAC exams are open book and the student is permitted to reference texts, notes, indexes, written reference materials.

Can I see what I got wrong on my exam?

Unfortunately, we can't provide a question-by-question breakdown of what you got right and what you got wrong. If we did so, it would reveal too much information about the exam and possibly compromise the exam's integrity for future students. If you had issues with specific questions, you can note that in your exam evaluation form or send an email to examreview@giac.org We do review the exams regularly for quality and review any questions that a student flags as potentially problematic. For information regarding the Exam Feedback Procedure, please see http://www.giac.org/feedback.php

Where can I find what material will be on the exams?

The exam breakdown is listed in the Examination section of the "Certification Information - READ ME FIRST" page in your portal account. You can also review the Certification Objectives on the Certification page.

Where do I take the exams?

GIAC has selected Pearson VUE as our primary partner to deliver proctored exams through their network of host locations. Pearson VUE is an industry leader and offers more than 3,500 testing centers worldwide. Please click here to find a Pearson VUE testing center near you.
If you will be taking a GIAC proctored exam in the future and do not see a testing center within a reasonable driving distance (1-2 hours), please email proctor@giac.org. GIAC will then contact you to help you set up an approved proctored environment. GIAC will also work with Pearson VUE to establish new testing centers where there are identified coverage gaps.

When I take practice exams when does it provide me with the solutions to the answers I missed ?

During the practice tests, each time you choose a wrong answer, you will receive the correct answer and an explanation that will help to reinforce the subject matter presented in the question. The practice tests also include a counter that shows the current number of questions that you answered either correctly or incorrectly and how many questions are left in the test.

Will I be able to print or view the practice exam after it has been taken?

You won't be able to print or view the exam after it has been taken.