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31 August 2022

OSCP First Attempt Failled

by siunam


Around May 27 2022, I bought the PWK and OSCP exam ($1,499), and started the PWK course at Jun 6 2022. You may be surprised why I chose OSCP after learning ethical hacking for just 2 months. The reason why for that is I wanna learn more stuff about cybersecurity, so I googled “Certificate for cybersecurity”, and I saw a couple of well-known certificates, such as OSCP, PNPT, CEH, etc. Based on what I’ve seen online, OSCP is the most famous certificate for pentesters. Hence, I bought the PWK course and OSCP exam.

Pre-Exam (Jun 6, 2022 to Aug 27, 2022)

As the time progressed, I finished the PWK course in 26 days, averaged 1 module each day (I spent much more time on Active Directory), and rooted all 70 + 5 lab machines in 33 days, averaged rooted 3 machines each day. Also, since I finished PWK course and lab machines, I went to Offensive Security’s Proving Ground Play to prepare much more for OSCP exam, rooted 18 machines, average rooted 1 machine each day.

Exam (Aug 28, 2022)

This day is the exam day, and I woke up at 5:00am, ate a normal breakfast and got ready for the exam at 8:00am. I joined the proctoring software around 7:40am, every thing works perfectly and successfully started the exam at 8:00am with no issue.

Off course, for the sake of disclosure, I can’t talk too much about the details here. :)

But, I ended up only rooted 1 machine - Buffer overflow. Except for the buffer overflow machine, all the other 3 machines were insanely difficult in the initial foothold, and it wasn’t what I expected in the exam! I’ve spent more than around 10 hours with no progress whatsoever except the buffer overflow one. I tried to enumerate every single thing, but still, no dice.

Total points: 20/30 points

About the proctoring, all the proctors are very nice and I almost forgot them during the exam! They won’t interfere with you unless your webcam or the proctoring software has some issues.

I spent around an hour finishing the exam report, as I was already documenting a lot during the exam. Finally, I bundled up the exam report and the humongous lab report (643 pages lul) into a 7zip file.

If you asked me which report template that I’m using and how I generate a report, I use a report template from norja, and generated via pandoc. This would allow me to turn markdown file into PDF.


After I finished the exam and uploaded the report, I learned a lesson and started to review my weaknesses:

I understand that there is no shame in reading others walkthroughs and hints, but I was way too relying on those things. To address this issue, I’ll not be reading others walkthroughs, and hints, unless I’m really, really stucked, like when I enumerated everything, researched everything, but no progress at all.

Although I managed to escalate to the administration level on the buffer overflow machine, I’m still quite unfamiliar with Windows privilege escalation. It seems to me that this is because I played too many Linux machines compared to Windows machines. Also, many Windows machines that I’ve played, when you gained an initial foothold on the machine, you instantly became administrator or system, which is not gonna happen in OSCP exam, as it requires local and proof flag. To solve this issue, I’ll try to play more Windows machines in TryHackMe, HackTheBox, and Vulnhub.


During the PWK course and OSCP exam, there were a lot of joy, thrill and pain, as well as learning tons of new stuff that I’ve never seen before. And yeah, I’ll definitely retake the OSCP exam next year! I’ll not give up!

Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this blog! See ya next time!