Henry Dalziel | Certified Ethical Hacker | March 4, 2013
Many of our students are self-studying students, particularly when it comes to passing CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and CompTIA’s Security+.
One of our students recently shared her study plan with us which we thought to share with you. We have based this post on her suggestions but have also included a link to our CEH InfoPack which is absolutely rammed full of CEH Info and general industry information. We also recommend using our free CEHv8 practice exam platform (we have an exam pool of real-life timed CEH multiple choice questions) which we will discuss further down the post.
CEH Self-Study Plan
As stated above, using a mix of self-study tools and materials you can pass the exam. You are allowed, under EC-Council’s rules, to sit the exam having self-studied. There is a particular form that self-studying students have to complete and an additional $100 must be submitted (on top of the $500 exam fee).
So how much reading time should you commit?
Well, of course – that varies on how knowledgeable you already are and how many other information security certifications do you have? Many CEH students have passed their Security+ but don’t worry if you do not have that and are just starting out. A good idea is to take our “snap” CEH multiple choice exam – it’s only 25 questions and will immediately lay-out your depth of knowledge.
When we asked our CEH self-studying student to the hours she committed to studying, she said that each book mentioned above took her a couple of weeks from start to finish. That included trying the examples mentioned in the books and using the tools and attack and defence methodologies. Therefore, the time commitment to reading the books listed above would be two months – which really sounds pretty standard when you are self-studying. Since most students are working at the same time, it certainly is a commitment to also find the time to study for an exam as intensive as CEHv8.
Security, Linux pentesting distributions and security tools:
We are big fans of infosec Linux pentesting distributions (both forensic versions and other). There are many Linux distro’s aimed at penetration testers or security professionals; check out out “best 13 pentesting distros” blog post. In summary, if you are new to distro’s then check out the following: BackBox (our favourite since it is insanely fast running on XFCE and Ubuntu), BackTrack, the world’s most popular pentesting distro, and also, closely related to BackTrack, check out Kali Linux).
The key thing about pentesting distributions is that they (obviously) contain many, if not all, of the security tools that you will need to help you understand – and pass – the CEH exam.
Stage 1 of our Concise Courses CEH Self-Study Guide
Read and learn each of the chapters in any of the above books (if you are on a tight budget we’d recommend just the Matt Walker book) – ideally one chapter a day. Always keep a list next to you of subjects and content that you do not understand completely – that will become your revision list.
Attempt our Concise Courses sample exams and see how you do – don’t worry about keeping a record of your pass mark since our system does that for you.
Stage 2 of our Concise Courses CEH Self-Study Guide
Watch videos on YouTube, Security-Tube etc, related to the topics you are not so strong with (remember the comment in Stage 1 reference to taking notes to the areas you don’t fully understand). Obviously Stage 1 and 2 can be committed together. Stage 2 – watching videos – is an excellent way to liven up your studies. Reading through reams and reams of text is hardly everyone’s idea of fun. There are a million different channels you can subscribe to on YouTube that closely match the CEH syllabus – so go ahead and get involved on YouTube!
Stage 3 of our Concise Courses CEH Self-Study Guide
Memorize the All-in-One exam guide by Matt Walker. This book comes with an excellent “master exam” which, along with our exam practice, will provide you with a solid overview of where you are in terms of understanding the syllabus. Treat this stage as a final dress rehearsal before committing to buying the CEH exam voucher.
Stage 4 of our Concise Courses CEH Self-Study Guide
The exam itself! The exam costs $500 and because you are self-studying you will have to pay the eligibility fee which is an extra $100. Before committing to paying for the CEHv8 exam – make sure you pass our practice tests – not only will they validate that you are ready to take the real thing, but also will benefit you by giving you that extra sense of confidence knowing that you can do it!
Good luck! We’d love to hear your comments if you studied CEH by yourself – how did you pass? In fact, it doesn’t just have to be CEH, we’d also like to hear from self-studying Security+ and CISSP students as well.