Exams: Retakes and Extensions

Exams:

All GIAC Certification deadlines are displayed in Universal Time (UTC), also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

GIAC requests that certification candidates manage their time properly and adequately prepare for exams, so that extensions and retakes are very rare events.

Retaking a Failed Exam

If you fail a GIAC Certification Exam, you may purchase a retake within 30 days of your exam deadline for the cost of $599 by logging into your SANS/GIAC Account and clicking on "Certification Attempts" and then "Purchase Retake." If you do not purchase a retake within 30 days of your exam deadline but wish to attempt the exam at a later date, you will need to start over by purchasing a new Certification Attempt.

Following any GIAC exam failure, a 30-day waiting period is imposed before you can sit for the exam again. Purchasing a retake after an exam failure extends your final exam deadline by 60 days; this includes the 30-day waiting period. Your adjusted deadline will be displayed in the GIAC Certification Portal. Your access to any unattempted practice tests and/or online course materials associated with your certification attempt will be automatically extended to match your extended exam deadline.

However, retakes do not include any additional practice tests. The 30-day period provides you with additional time that should be used to master the certification objectives. If there is an emergency situation that would necessitate an exception to this policy, you may apply for a waiver here. However, please note that if your 30-day waiting period waiver request is approved, there is still a mandatory 14-day waiting period that applies to all GIAC candidates and cannot be waived.

After 3 failed attempts, candidates must wait one year to continue their attempt to earn GIAC certification. If a candidate would like to apply for an exception to this policy and gain approval to attempt the exam again prior to the one-year waiting period, the candidate must submit justification for performance to-date, what has changed in exam preparation and documentation of at least 30 hours of additional training related to the objectives covered on the certification exam.

* Note that retakes are not available for candidates who have earned a passing score on a previous attempt. Retakes are only available if you have failed a certification attempt. The only exception to this rule is for candidates enrolled in a STI Master's Degree Program.

Extensions

GIAC Certification Attempts have a time limit of 4 months (120 days) to complete. If you need additional time, you may purchase a 45-day extension for $319 by clicking on the GIAC Certification Portal link, 'Certification Attempts' and then 'Purchase Extension.' The 'Purchase Extension' link is available 15 days before your certification attempt deadline, through 30 days after your certification attempt deadline. The extension will add 45 days to your current expiration date, regardless of when you purchase the extension. Once purchased, certification attempt extensions are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Please note that purchasing an extension does not automatically cancel your scheduled exam appointment. You must cancel or reschedule your exam appointment at least 24 business hours prior to your exam appointment by logging into your SANS account and clicking on 'Certification Attempts,' 'View Proctor Details' and then 'Change.' If you need to cancel or reschedule your exam less than 24 business hours in advance or do not show for your scheduled exam appointment, you will be charged a $150 seating fee.

A maximum of 10 extensions can be purchased per certification attempt. Once you have reached this limit, your attempt cannot be extended any further.

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 on-line 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 on-line 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.