OSCP Bonus Points Update: Sunsetting PEN-200 Legacy Course Exercises and a New Way to Achieve Points!

Aug 10, 2022
Offensive Security

Offensive Security

Content Team

Six months ago we released Topic Exercises for PEN-200: a novel approach to hands-on, interactive learning for our PEN-200 students. Since then Topic Exercises have received tremendous acclaim. 

With over 126 unique exercises, so far students have submitted 137,034 correct answers in the OffSec Training Library. And for good reason! As written in our original blog post, Topic Exercises provide students with the ability to interact directly with the OffSec Platform, verify the correctness of their solutions, and track their progress throughout the course. These three features together help accelerate the learning feedback cycle and generally make the PEN-200 experience more engaging, fun, and effective. 

Currently, the PEN-200 course material contains both Topic Exercises, and it also includes legacy exercises that are not intractable with the OffSec Platform. These legacy exercises are used as part of the requirements for Bonus Points on the OSCP exam. The bonus point requirements  ask each student to fulfill two goals:

  1. Writing up a report of all the legacy exercise solutions
  2. Writing up a report of at least ten PEN-200 Lab Machines

The process of writing these reports is valuable, but with the advent of Topic Exercises we believe we can offer students a better and easier way to prove their acquired knowledge and progress. As previously noted, the best predictor of student success in the labs is progress through the PEN-200 Labs. 

Therefore, today we’re excited to announce the next phase of the plan for PEN-200: The sunset of the legacy course exercises and a new paradigm for achieving OSCP Bonus Points!

Don’t worry! Bonus Points aren’t going anywhere, and all students will still be eligible to receive 10 Points on the OSCP exam. This announcement is to provide transparency and preparation to our PEN-200 students. Read on to find out more about what is changing and when.

A New Way To Receive Bonus Points

Starting today (August 3, 2022), the following criteria will be accepted for Bonus Points:

  1. Students must have 80% correct solutions submitted for the PEN-200 Topic Exercises for each Topic
  2. Students must submit the proof.txt of at least 30 PEN-200 Lab Machines

That’s it! No need to submit a lab report, and no more restrictions on which machines can and cannot be included. This means that the only deliverable on the day after your exam is the traditional Exam Report.

Sunsetting the Current Rules

Between August 3, 2022 and January 31, 2023, students will be able to use either method for achieving bonus points. 

  • If you upload your exam report with the traditional Exercise and Lab report, your bonus point eligibility will be considered via the current rules.
  • If you don’t archive and upload your exam report with the traditional Exercise and Lab report, you don’t need to do anything extra. We will automatically consider your PEN-200 course (Topic Exercises) and Lab progress (Lab Virtual Machines submitted proofs) to determine Bonus Point eligibility. 
  • You may not mix and match both systems: Either you provide both the Exam and the Exercise and Lab documentation, or you only submit the Exam report and your PEN-200 progress will be used instead automatically. 

After January 31. 2023 we will only allocate bonus points as per the new requirements.

Conclusion

The benefits of the new system are many: 

  1. It’s much simpler! We’re hoping that this new system will allow students to spend less time on administrative issues and more time hacking away at the labs. 
  2. The best way to learn is hands-on lab work that approaches real life scenarios. We believe that Topic Exercises provide a better approach to achieve learning objectives compared to the legacy exercises.
  3. Frankly, many students would submit extreme amounts of output text in their exercise and lab reports. We’re hoping to save both our students’ and our Student Mentors’ time by creating a much more objective and automatic system. This will allow you not only to save time for the labs, but also provide our Student Mentor team more time to assist on Discord and work on other helpful projects.

We’re continually striving to improve the way that our students interact with our course material and labs, and we hope that the new bonus points requirements will provide a more streamlined, pleasant, and effective learning experience. Please feel free to reach out on Discord with any feedback, questions or concerns!

FAQ

When do the new bonus points requirements come into effect?

We will begin grading all exams as per the new bonus points requirements beginning for all exams automatically on August 3. 2022.

 

Can I still have my exam be graded against the old bonus points requirements?

Yes, students may upload an exercise and lab report from August 3, 2022 until January 31, 2023.

 

What exactly are the new bonus points requirements?

The student must submit at least 80% correct solutions for every Topic in PEN-200. The student must also submit 30 correct proof.txt hashes in the OffSec Platform.

 

Under the new system, do I need to write or upload a lab or exercise report?

No, the new bonus points requirements do not necessitate any extra reports, aside from the standard OSCP exam report

 

Which machines are allowed for the new bonus points requirements!

All of them! As long as all proof files are submitted for the given machine, it will be counted. You need to compromise at least 30 machines to obtain bonus points.

 

How many bonus points can I get?

Each student is eligible for 10 bonus points per exam attempt. All 10 points are provided based on meeting the two objectives defined above. No partial bonus points are allocated to the exam attempts.

 

Can I mix and match the old and the new bonus point systems?

No. If you submit your exam report with the exercise and lab report, then we will grade your exam as per the old system. Otherwise we will automatically grade it according to the new one.

 

How can I determine the percentage of Topic Exercises I have successfully completed?

You can view your completed percentage of Topic Exercises under the Course Progress/ Exercise modal in the OffSec Platform.