All GIAC Certification exams are web-based and must be taken in a proctored environment. There are two proctoring options:

Certification Exam Format

One Exam Format

All GIAC certification attempts are comprised of a single exam that will cover all certification objectives. Practitioner Certification exams are 2-5 hours in length, depending on the specific certification attempt and Applied Knowledge Certification exams are 4 hours in length.  For details on individual certifications, go to

Please note that once you possess a certification attempt, the only reliable source for your exam version may be found in the Certification Attempts section of your account—select "Cert Attempts" and then the blue link for your exam under the "Certification" column. This is the best place to find important details about the specific version that you will receive, such as the certification objectives, types of questions, and passing point score.  Passing point score is only provided for Practitioner Certification exams.  

Open Book Guidelines

GIAC exams are open book format. Allowable workstation space is limited, so please plan accordingly. You may bring an armful of hardcopy books and notes into the testing area, including but not limited to original course material and books from training you have attended, and handwritten or printed notes and an index. However, hardcopy reference materials having the appearance of practice test and/or exam questions and answers are strictly prohibited. The use or intent to use any unauthorized material, tool, or item that would violate the GIAC Candidate Agreement and/or the GIAC Code of Ethics is also strictly prohibited.

**Reading questions or talking out loud is strictly prohibited**

GIAC exams are not open internet or open computer. You will not be able to access anything stored electronically on any computer during the exam such as PDF or Word documents. Electronic devices including but not limited to extra computers, tablets, USB flash drives, phones, smart watches and cameras are strictly prohibited from being accessed during the exam. All other personal belongings are not permitted into the testing room. This includes personal writing implements, wallets, purses, hats (and other head coverings), bags and coats. Weapons are not allowed on testing center premises. Please leave weapons (guns, knives, etc.) at home or stored securely in your vehicle.

Skipping Questions and Taking Scheduled Breaks

By design, you will not be able to review or make changes to answered questions. For this reason, GIAC provides the option to skip questions instead to delay submitting an answer.

  • You will be allowed to skip between 10-15 questions depending on your exam.
  • You can answer skipped questions by clicking the ‘Answer Skipped’ button. Otherwise, questions will automatically be displayed at the end of the exam as time allows.
  • Unanswered questions at the end of your exam will be marked as incorrect.

You also have 15 minutes of break time during your exam.

  • The break can be taken all at once or in two shorter sessions by clicking the 'Take a Break' button at the top of the screen.
  • The exam clock will resume automatically if you do not return by the 15-minute mark.

Finding a PearsonVUE Center for your GIAC Exam

Pearson VUE is an industry leader and offers more than 3,500 testing centers worldwide. It is expected that any candidate within 60 miles of a Pearson VUE testing center will utilize this option. Please click here to find a Pearson VUE testing center near you. Pearson VUE is adding testing centers as coverage gaps are identified. The list of Pearson VUE sites is updated frequently. 

Once you have registered and gained access to your GIAC certification attempt in your SANS/GIAC account, you may schedule your exam appointment at a Pearson VUE Testing Center through your SANS/GIAC account for any date before your exam deadline. Please click on How to Schedule Your GIAC Proctored Exam for instructions. Exams slots are available on a first come, first serve basis. A good rule of thumb is to schedule your appointment at least one month before you wish to take your exam.

If you need any assistance scheduling your exam appointment or do not see a testing center within 60 miles of your location, please email or call +1 (301) 654-7267.

Pearson VUE Guidelines

Please arrive at the testing center 15 minutes before your exam is scheduled to begin. This will give you adequate time to complete the necessary sign-in procedures. Please review the GIAC Candidate Rules Agreement prior to your exam appointment. GIAC requires the capture of a digital signature as your acknowledgement of the rules. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late and are refused admission or miss your exam appointment completely, you will forfeit your exam appointment and be charged a $150 seating fee if you wish to schedule a new exam appointment.

At all times, two (2) forms of personal ID are required in order to attempt an exam at a Pearson VUE testing center. There are no exceptions to this policy under any circumstances. The two (2) forms of personal ID must be issued by the country in which you are testing. Otherwise, a passport from your country of citizenship is required as your primary form of ID in addition to a second form of ID. IDs must be current (not expired) and original (no photo or digital copies). Your primary ID requires your first and last name, your photo and your signature. Your secondary ID requires your first and last name and either your photo or your signature. Detailed Pearson VUE Identification requirements may be found at Pearson VUE ID Requirements . Your first and last names associated with your exam appointment MUST match your IDs. If they do not, please contact for assistance with updating. 

If you arrive at the testing center and your first and last names do not match your IDs, you will not be permitted to take your exam and will be charged a $150 seating fee if you wish to schedule a new exam appointment.

Military Testing Centers: Any testing center with 'Military' or 'DoD' in the name indicates a U.S. military installation. Any candidate that schedules an exam at a testing center with 'Military' or 'DoD' in the name must provide a U.S. military ID or be turned away and charged a $150 seating fee if you wish to schedule a new exam appointment.

  • During your exam, if you encounter:
    • Distractions/disruptions - Notify your proctor immediately
      • Ex. Noisy environment (Other candidates and a moderate noise level should be expected in the testing room. Earplugs or noise-reducing headphones may be available upon request. If you require noise-canceling headphones or other testing accommodations, please refer to GIAC's Disability Accommodation Policy.)
      • Ex. Uncomfortable room temp
    • Technical difficulties - Notify your proctor immediately *
      • Ex. The system crashes
      • Ex. You lose connectivity
    • Non-technical difficulties - Follow GIAC’s exam feedback process and/or note your concerns in the comments section at the end of your exam
      • Feedback about an exam question
      • Failed exam dispute

    * Please note that in the event of a technical difficulty, GIAC has an exam feature with an auto-sense capability to detect disruptions and abnormal latency during exam delivery. The exam clock, which indicates the exam time remaining, will automatically adjust to account for anomalies.

If you wish to cancel or reschedule your exam, you must do so at least one business day (24 hours) prior to your exam appointment.

  • Please note: Although your exam appointment is scheduled in your local time, the SANS/GIAC system is displayed in Universal Time (UTC), also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Please take this into account to reschedule at least 24 business hours in advance. If the change button is no longer available when attempting to reschedule, this means you are already within 24 hours of your exam appointment time and will be required to pay the $150 seating fee if you are unable to attend your appointment as scheduled.

To reschedule, please follow the procedure outlined on pg.9 in How to Schedule Your GIAC Proctored Exam. If you need to cancel or reschedule your exam less than 24 business hours (UTC Time) in advance or do not show up for your scheduled exam appointment, you will be charged a $150 seating fee if you wish to schedule a new appointment.

Inclement Weather Procedure

To support the safety and well-being of candidates and testing facility staff. GIAC has outlined the following procedure in case of inclement weather.

If a change in the testing center schedule is necessary due to inclement weather conditions, an email will be sent to affected candidates as soon as possible.

While keeping in mind the unpredictability of the weather and that forecasts can change quickly, every effort will be made to provide candidates with notice as far in advance as possible.

If a candidate receives communication of a testing facility closure due to inclement weather, the candidate should email for assistance with rescheduling their exam attempt. GIAC will accommodate candidates with deadlines on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please call +1(301) 654-7267 or email as soon as possible so that your inquiry can be addressed well in advance of your scheduled exam appointment.