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BlueWolf's Howl

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April 04, 2014

The Accidental Certification

I really never meant to get the C|EH. It was somewhat interesting, but not compelling. But I do realize that many employers and managers respect the certification. And...I could always use the CPEs. So I signed up for the WSC's 14 week C|EH class/workshop.

The classes and workshops were very interesting - they are a great bunch of women. And each class had a hands-on component. For the most part, I knew the material inside and out, so for me it was more of a review. This series of classes focused on the v7 version of the exam and used the Official Study Guide endorsed by the EC Council. I happened to actually have that book and the Sybex Study Guide (Graves). Any time I look at something I always use _at least_ two books on the subject. I've never found a book yet that completely covers any topic. The Graves book had some things that the Official guide left out. And the Official guide had some things that the Graves book didn't cover. I read both.

Once you take a class or self-study, you have to apply to take the test. Expect that this application is going to take some time. From what I understand - if you take the official course through EC Council, you can directly take the test. But if you don't take their course - you have to fill out a form, pay $100 (non-refundable) and submit your request for approval. They will write to your references/verifiers who need to write back verifying that you have the required experience. I suggest you use people as verifiers that are willing to do that work. Many people will give you a good reference, but how many of them will fill out a form on your behalf? Pick them. And if you don't hear back after a few weeks, write to the EC Council. They will check for you and see what status your application has - and if you need to prod your verifiers or not. Sometimes that email might prod them...

Once all that is done, you will get an email with your approval. Then you buy the test on their site and have them match that up with your approval. You will get a voucher number and an authorization code. You use the voucher number provided to schedule your test and you take the authorization code with you to the exam. There are two different exams - one from Vue and the other from Prometric. They are supposed to be the same exact test, but you have to pick one and that voucher only works with that testing facility. The facility I test at locally works with both Vue and Prometric (and a few others). Some other facilities work with one or the other. You can go to the Vue and Prometric sites to find out in advance where the closest testing center is for your area. Do this before you buy the test on the EC Council site.

As you can see, this is a process and it takes time. Do not schedule the exam until you are completely ready. I have found that my testing center can accommodate a Monday morning test that was scheduled on Sunday night. Your testing center may not be able to do that - or all the available seats may be full. But don't schedule it a few weeks in advance in anticipation that you will be ready by then. Things sometimes happen and you can end up with unnecessary pressure on you as the date draws near. That's not the way to do it and it will make it harder to learn with test pressure on your mind. Remember - you want to actually learn the material and know it (that's the goal) not just memorize enough to pass a test.

The other thing that helped me (again) was having a Safari Online account. Once I was ready and got my approval, the version 7 exam was no longer available. I had no choice but to take the version 8 exam. The material was not that drastically different from what I studied. However, just to be sure - I was able to pull up the version 8 book in Safari and "flip" through it to be sure that I had covered every topic. From what I saw, the v7 to v8 update was more of an update of their course rather than a drastic change in the exam. [It was not the same as the NT4.0 to Windows 2000 changes by any means. Now that was a drastic change.]

I found the test itself to be rather straight-forward. If you know the material and understand the topics completely, you should be able to pass the exam. Note that the exam I took had the questions chopped up in little sections - each with their own time limit. So you don't get all the questions and all the time all at once... That may become important if you have a small number of questions in the section and a short amount of time and you need to go to the bathroom. Just sayin' - go to the bathroom before you start. There was no indication if you needed to pass each section independently in order to pass the exam. And the sections weren't labeled - so the grouping confused me a bit. But if you look in the corner of the screen, you'll see which question you're on, how many are left in that section, and how much time is left for that section. At the end, you will get your results on the screen and a printout of your results from the proctor. And now that you've read this you know exactly what to do and you will pass!

There is supposed to be a "welcome" kit mailed to you (certificate, etc) in a few weeks. It has only been 2 weeks since I passed, so I'm still waiting on the kit. [The Wireshark kit was really nice and came with stickers.]

Good luck on your journey!

Posted by BlueWolf on April 4, 2014 06:05 PM