Ethical hacking is one of the most highly-researched and sought-after certifications in the technological field. Each year, more people with a penchant for programming and high level of digital literacy consider certified ethical hacking – or CEH – as their next career move. The CEH certification exam has seen a related rise in interest as these technology buffs work toward this goal.
Preparing for the CEH certification exam can seem like a daunting task with so many areas of study and many topics to cover. However, with a little patient and preparation, you can be ready for the test and use it as a springboard into an exciting and lucrative technological field. Here are a few pointers on preparing for the exam.
Get Acquainted with the Test
Making yourself familiar with the concepts and content being covered on the test is one of the most effective ways to prepare. Some information you may want to consider researching, includes:
- Exam format
- Typical exam duration
- Eligibility criteria
- Background information and history of the exam
- Other frequently asked questions
There are multiple technology solutions websites that can be of service in this effort. With the growing popularity of ethical hacking as a career choice, more companies than ever are offering assistance to their information technology staff in securing their CEH certification, so be sure to check with your IT director or employer to see if such assistance is available through your place of work.
Take a CEH Course
Just as you would not take a college final before sitting through the corresponding class, you should not attempt the CEH exam without first investing your time in study through a specialized course.
The major benefit of taking a certified ethical hacking course is the real-world experience it provides in a controlled environment. Because of the nature of hacking, there is no way to gain this experience on your own time without violating another person's or entity’s privacy and working outside the code of conduct ethical hackers are expected to adhere to. A formal class allows students preparing for their CEH exam to practice using their skills in a way that does not negatively impact anyone else.
It is important to note that if you discover during your research of the eligibility criteria for the examination that you do not meet minimum requirements to sit the test, you may want to consider additional training to meet them. No matter how prepared you may feel, ineligibility to take the exam will leave you with nothing to show for your hard work, so be sure to invest in whatever training or education you require before moving forward.
Use a Study Guide
Creating a study guide from potential questions that may be covered by the exam – as well as the content that you have studied during preparations for the test – will assist you in preparing. Study sessions are always more productive with a plan in place, and study guides can help break down large chunks of information or complex concepts into more readily-absorbed pieces.
An example of one way to organize a study guide for CEH would be using the five primary topics covered in courses and on the exam. These include:
- Attack Phases
- Secure Network Infrastructures
- Threats and Defense Mechanisms
- Linux, Macintosh and Mobile Systems
- Web Applications and Data Servers
By breaking the information necessary for study into groups this way, students of CEH are more likely to remember relevant information in relation to corresponding facts, making this data easier to call to mind during the exam. Allowing the user to take a more in-depth look at the facts and figures they need to be familiar with – while remaining digestible to the reader – is what makes dividing the topics a smart idea. Study guides have been proven to improve information retention and test results, and the exam that opens the door to a new career is certainly one area where this is of great benefit!
Use Practice Questions to Test Yourself
One of the best ways to prepare for any kind of exam is to take a practice test that is consistent with the exam’s approach. Once you are familiar with the content being covered and the way the test will likely phrase or present its questions, you can create a series of practice questions to complete as part of your exam preparation.
Don’t feel like creating your own practice exam? There are numerous companies who take care of that for you, allowing you access to online or downloadable simulations of the test. Those that are hosted online often offer feedback as soon as the test is submitted, giving you the opportunity to correct mistakes and improve your approach for the real deal.
The official website of the exam offers a practice exam for those interested, and since it is designed by the same people who created the examination it can be relied upon as an excellent source for study. However, experts in the field suggest waiting to take this practice exam until you have completed your studies, to ensure that you are ready for the actual test. Taking it too early can be discouraging, so wait until you know you’re ready!
Find a Forum and Get Involved
As with almost everything in the modern day, there are online support groups and conversational forums dedicated to encouraging and enlightening those who are intending to take the CEH certification exam in the future. Seeing other people who are in your situation can not only be encouraging and refreshing after weeks of independent study, but can also provide insight into what others might be struggling with and what areas you might need further improvement in, yourself.
Preparing for any major examination can be exciting and stressful in equal measures, but with proper pacing and study techniques in place, there’s no reason to fear the CEH certification exam. This test can open the door to one of today’s most exciting IT careers, and offers those who pass it the opportunity to use their skills in a variety of fields. Few tests offer greater reward, so use these tips and take your time to be certain you’re ready when test day comes!