My three readers know by now that my exam experience didn't go as I'd hoped. I've blown through certification exams before, but this was next-level. I went in feeling like I have kicked enough butt in the labs and in HTB to be able to do it pretty easily. Nope.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to keep practicing. I picked up Proving Grounds, because their Practice boxes are designed by the OffSec team. Some of the machines are retired exam boxes. In other words, it's much closer to the exam experience than other platforms.

The day my exam time ran out, I only gave myself a couple of hours to rest. I talked to a couple of friends about being disappointed in myself, I got some peptalk from them then I decided it was time to jump back in and practice. I just started to watch more IppSec videos. A payed for my Proving Grounds subscription the next day after work and immediately started working. A day or two later, Friday of that same week, I took a day off from work (the day off that would have gone toward writing my report) and started chipping away at proving grounds. Knocked out three of the easy boxes just to boost my morale. Also did one of the community boxes along with a friend who has also been studying for his exam. Didn't take us very long, but it was a bit more CTFy than I would have liked. I'd say the Practice Machines are definitely the best way to go.