Study Tips for Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH v11)

I have recently recertified for Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH v11).  My existing certification was on CEH v7, which I took in 2006.  One of my training partners needed me to recertify on the current version so I would be qualified to teach the CEH class

I originally took CEH v7 back  in 2006.  CEH was my second certification, my first was Microsoft’s old-school MCSE on NT 4.0, circa 2002.  CEH was my first purely cybersecurity certification.

As usual, this will become a running discussion from other test takers, so bookmark this page and come back until you pass, and after you pass, please return and share your experience and study tips.

This post contains some of my experiences with the exam, and a list of the study materials I used.

I passed the CEH v11 312-50 exam, with a score of 101 out of 125, or an 81%.  I took 90 minutes out of the 240 minutes (4 hours) that were available.  There were 125 multiple choice questions.  What was different about this exam, is there were ONLY single-answer multiple-choice questions.  No multiple answer choose 2 or 3 questions, no drag and drop or rearrange in order questions.  I marked 9 questions for review, and only changed two answers, which is a lot for me.  Usually I change NOTHING, because your first impression is usually the correct one..  So compared to CISSP, CASP+, Security+, this was a fairly simple exam.  I’m not going to say it is easy, but it was easier than some others I’ve taken this year, notably the CASP+.

I used the official EC-Council eBook, the iLabs materials, and a Practice exam from Boson.  I spent three weeks preparing for the exam, two weeks on the book and labs, and a week using the practice exam.  Others have stated on the Reddit page for the CEH that the Boson exam questions are very realistic to the questions on the actual exam, and I would agree.  Get a Boson Ethical Hacker exam and practice until you can get them all correct.  There are 375 questions in the Boson Exam.

Unless you are like me, a 20+ year IT and cybersecurity veteran with several cybersecurity certs already, you can expect to need more prep time than 3 weeks. I just had to brush up on of content on reconnaissance, scanning, and enumeration with a heavy focus on tools and commands for those tools.  You will see questions about using a tool for a given result, and which command from the four answers shown will achieve your desired result.  Learn those commands!  See my study notes below for the ones that come up in the test

Some additional resources I encountered during my studies follow:

Here are some notes CEH v11 Study Notes I created for myself.  There was a lot about the CEH content that was the same as the content on any other cybersecurity certification you might take, so these notes cover the content that is unique to red team certs such as CEH and Pentest+  You should focus on software tools, especially nMap, and commands for nMap, hping3, and others.  You will want to be able to recognize the code used in a SQL injection, in a directory traversal, and code obfuscation using UTF-8 and other types of encoding, and other examples of common mal-code.

Here is a link to the EC-Council CEH (CEH v11) Exam Syllabus.  It’s a good idea to learn about the actual exam, so you can strategize your learning.  For instance, Reconnaissance, Scanning, and Enumeration  questions represent 21% of the total, and System Hacking Phases and Attack Techniques is  17%.  38% or just over a third of the exam is focused just on those two domains.

I will be back to add content and share comments from other test takers.  Test takers, please share your experience, and study materials and tips.



About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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