The Spreadsheet

Hi Everyone!

Not much has changed since last week regarding the situation planet Earth is facing! I hope you are all safe and staying home. I really cant stress how important it is for us all to do our part so we can get back to normal ways ASAP. Also, I hope that you all realise how well this time can be utilised to polish skills and study towards the certs you want.

What have I done in the last week?

Just like the last few weeks, I have really stayed focused on studying and trying to nail this exam. This week however, instead of focusing on labs I have turned my attention to lecture slides. It’s not the most orthodox method but it seems to work for me!

The idea behind doing labs first was to see how much I know compared to how much I need to know. Now by going over the slides, I could recall parts of the labs and make sense of it as to why I would use this tool or why I should run this command. Another reason why I wanted to go over the lecture slides was to make the ultimate spreadsheet (I did mention this in my previous post). The spreadsheet definitely took longer than I expected. There was a lot of information to take away from the slides and trying to compress it all was a difficult task.. like really difficult!!

I would love to share my spreadsheet with you all but I think it will defeat the purpose for everyone doing this course. I strongly urge you all to make a spreadsheet, it will help you during the exam, in the sense that you will have all the key information in one place. You wont have to open different PDFs or use google as much. Remember its an open paper exam, organisation will be really important. Although I am not going to share my spreadsheet, I am still willing to give you tips and tell you how I went about making my spreadsheet.

Spreadsheet tips

So I started off with breaking down the steps of hacking. I made a separate sheet for each step; info gathering, scanning, enumeration, exploitation, post exploitation etc. As I was going through every lecture I would decide if this information would be useful for me during the exam and under what step should this be recorded. Majority of my spreadsheet is really just different tools with examples of usage and useful commands. I would make a table with 2 columns, 1 for description and 1 for the command. This helps me understands the command and what it does.

I also divided the spreadsheet for linux exploitation and windows exploitation. Apart from that, at times I would write down the name of certain tools and instead of writing the commands I would link them back to the pdf’s. For example for the tool Cain and Abel, I wrote ‘see sniffing and mitm pdf, page 156’. So in case I need it during the exam, I know where to find it.

This is basically how I went about making my spreadsheet. Its not fully completed however, I need to get used to this method of using the spreadsheet and I am sure there will be bits and bobs I will be adding to it. To do so I will go over the labs once again. This time I will try not use the lab solutions, instead I will heavily rely on my spreadsheet! This will give me an indication of where I stand in regards to the exam prep and how useful my spreadsheet is.

Upcoming Week

As mentioned earlier, the upcoming week will be back to the practical side of prepping for the exam. I absolutely love the labs and I can wait to get started on them again. This time I do feel more confident. I think its because I have read through the slides in a lot more detail this time. Another reason could be because of the spreadsheet. Also all the tools are tried and tested so I wont need to waste time worrying about tools.

There will be more emphasis on making reports for the labs I do this time. The report aspect of the exam is really freaking me out as I have never done anything like this. I will be looking into the guideline of making the report this week too. By making reports for each lab, I will get in to the habit of taking screenshots and recording details and basic practise on how to make a good report. (In total I will have aprox 25 lab reports!)

The progress may be slower this week, especially if I am writing reports too but I am not worried. I have decided not too set myself any tight deadlines, I want to take my time going through the labs this time and once I have completed the labs again, I will then decide on setting a date for the exam!

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post! If you have any questions regarding PTP or my spreadsheets then hit me up on LinkedIn, always love to help others and talk to students who are also on this journey. I also love the feedback, if you have any pointers and tips on what I can do to make this blog better than do let me know! Enjoy studying, keep investing in yourself and most importantly stay safe 🙂 Good luck all!

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