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5 Tips For CEH Exam Preparation (v9)

CEH Exam Tips

Updated: this article was updated for 2017

IT security breaches hit the headlines every month and these massive hacks are extremely costly to businesses and their customers.

TalkTalk’s infamous security breach discovered in 2015, was estimated to cost £35m – and that’s not to mention the irreparable reputation damage. In response to these hacks, security is now the top priority for businesses and demand for IT security pros has soared. Among them, Ethical Hackers are the often the most sought after.

The role of an Ethical Hacker is one of the most exciting new professions in IT – even the UK police are learning to hack. Ethical Hackers work at the forefront of IT and demand has now accelerated salaries to an impressive of £62,500 (ITJobsWatch). 

These professionals work to stop malicious hackers, using many of the same techniques employed by cyber criminals. The crucial difference: once Ethical Hackers spot a hole in security, they close it.

To pass the CEH exam, you’ll need to prove your technical knowledge in areas from malware threats to SQL infection. To help you get your CEH certification, we’ve compiled 5 tips to boost your CEH exam preparation:

  • Do your research
  • Use a study guide
  • Take an official CEH course
  • Test yourself with practice questions
  • Get involved in a forum

EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is the most well-known and desirable penetration testing qualification available. Achieve it and you’ll prove you know how to operate and identify the same tools and techniques used by real hackers. Let's take a closer look at how you can pass the CEH exam first time.

1. Do your research

Research is key when studying to pass the CEH exam. EC-Council’s website is a brilliant place to start, containing CEH FAQs, a breakdown of the exam and extensive background reading on the CEH certification.

Be sure to take note of the eligibility criteria for the CEH. Be aware that if you don’t meet the training requirements, you’ll have to complete an application form to ensure you’re eligible to sit the CEH exam. You can find a full explanation of the eligibility criteria on the EC-Council website.

Firebrand is an official EC-Council Training Provider and has certified thousands of ethical hackers. We’re asked CEH questions everyday – luckily, we’ve compiled the common questions into this CEH FAQ.

It’s also crucial you understand which version of the CEH certification you’re studying for. EC-Council updates the CEH certification every few years – it’s currently on Version 9 (v9).

Avoid mixing up the curriculum and resources you need. Sitting the Version 9 exam is recommended as it covers the most up-to-date content, including new attack vectors and a greater focus on cloud computing.

2. Use a study guide

EC-Council offers a series of study guides for their CEH exam. The study guides are centred on the five different topics within the ethical hacking curriculum:

    CEH Study Guide V9
  • Attack Phases
  • Linux, Macintosh & Mobile Systems
  • Secure Network Infrastructures
  • Threats & Defence Mechanisms
  • Web Applications & Data Servers

Splitting these guides allows you to take a more in-depth look at each section of the CEH curriculum. These official study guides from EC-Council are highly recommended. Each book covers its topic thoroughly, giving you plenty of knowledge to tackle it in the exam. Take a look at these books here.

For an alternative to EC-Council’s official study guides, consider the CEH V9: Certified Ethical Hacker Version 9 Study Guide. Written by IT security expert Sean-Philip Oriyano, this is perhaps the most popular preparation tool for the CEH certification. 

More information on the book, including other top CEH preparation books can be found on this blog post: The 5 Best CEH Certification Books.

3. Take an official CEH course

Choose an official CEH course and get access to the official curriculum, practice materials and an instructor authorised by EC-Council to deliver the training.

An official ethical hacking course is also the best way for you to get hands-on and reinforce crucial exam knowledge. You’ll get real-world ethical hacking experience applicable to the role.

Beware: Ethical Hacking requires you to follow a code of conduct, making it impossible to do this in a safe environment in your own time.

CEH exam in just 5 days

Train with Firebrand on an accelerated ethical hacking course and get certified in just 5 days. You’ll be training with the best: Firebrand has been named Accredited Training Centre of the Year every year since 2008.

4. Test yourself with practice questions

Test the knowledge you’ve gained, and identify areas you’re struggling with by taking a CEH practice exam. There are practice tests available from EC-Council. Please note: this is not a resource designed to use early in your studies, but as a check to see whether your knowledge is well-rounded enough for the exam.

Skillset offer CEH practice tests in 52 different skill areas. Each topic has a series of advanced levels allowing you to test the depth of your knowledge for each topic area.

MeasureUp host an ethical hacking practice lab that allows you to work on your skills in areas like reconnaissance, scanning networks, sniffers and device enumeration. Lasting 20 hours, the lab contains plenty of material that will help prepare you for the real-world as well as the exam. Access it here.

5. Get involved in a forum

Using a forum is a great way to connect with many like-minded people who are currently studying for the same certification as you. You’ll learn from their questions and get the ability to ask your own.

TechExams possesses one of the largest CEH forums. Here, you’ll be able to find help and information regarding what areas you should concentrate on to gain the most from the certification. Not only will this help you pass the exam, it’ll help you focus on the most useful topic areas to help you on the job in the future.