Is the CEH Exam Hard? What You Need to Know

  • Is the CEH exam hard?
  • Published by: André Hammer on Jan 30, 2024

Are you thinking about taking the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exam? Feeling unsure about how difficult it might be is normal. But with the right preparation and understanding of what to expect, you can confidently tackle the challenge.

In this article, we'll explore the difficulty level of the CEH exam and what you need to know to approach it with confidence. Whether you're new to cybersecurity or an experienced professional, this information will help you assess your readiness and take the next steps towards certification.

Let's dive in and uncover the truth about the CEH exam.

Understanding the CEH Credential

The CEH certification focuses on understanding vulnerabilities in target systems and teaches skills to secure them.

The exam is considered challenging and requires the ability to scan a network, interpret results, and take necessary actions.

To pursue the CEH credential, candidates must attend official training or have two years of work experience in information security. They also need to agree to abide by the code of ethics, submit an application, and pay the applicable fees.

The certification is widely recognized and respected in the industry, making it a valuable asset for professionals in cybersecurity.

Key Objectives of the CEH Certification

The CEH Certification has two main goals:

  • To strengthen and validate the understanding and practical application of ethical hacking and penetration testing.
  • To advance knowledge and skills in the field by equipping professionals with the expertise and strategies required to identify and address vulnerabilities in cyber systems.

Key learning outcomes include mastering the five phases of ethical hacking, understanding the legal implications of hacking, and learning methodologies to counter cyber crimes. The certification also aims to ensure that professionals can use various hacking tools and techniques to protect information and detect potential threats.

Is the CEH Exam Hard? Evaluating the Difficulty

Components of the CEH Exam

The CEH exam has three main parts: multiple-choice questions, simulations, and practical scenarios. There are 125 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in four hours. The topics covered include footprinting and reconnaissance, scanning networks, enumeration, and system hacking. Candidates may encounter static and dynamic questions based on real-world scenarios. To take the CEH exam, candidates need official EC-Council training or two years of information security experience.

Alternatively, they can submit an application and pay a fee. The exam rigorously tests a candidate's practical knowledge and ability to apply ethical hacking techniques professionally.

Why Some Find the CEH Exam Challenging

The CEH exam is tough because of its specific aspects, question types, and format. It covers complex topics like ethical hacking, penetration testing, and network security. The questions are multiple-choice and interactive scenarios, testing practical and theoretical knowledge. Candidates need experience or educational background in cybersecurity. This makes it tough for those without a deep understanding of the subject.

Breaking Down the CEH Exam Structure

Exam Format and Question Types

The CEH exam format consists of multiple-choice questions where candidates must select one or more correct answers.

Additionally, there are simulative question types such as drag-and-drop and scenarios where candidates must demonstrate their knowledge in real-world situations. The exam is structured with a time limit of four hours and consists of 125 questions. Candidates should expect a variety of question types that cover ethical hacking techniques, tools, and methodologies. As such, it is essential for candidates to allocate their time wisely, allowing approximately 1-2 minutes per question. Effective time management is crucial to ensure that candidates can complete the exam within the allocated time frame. By practicing different question types and familiarising themselves with the exam format, candidates can improve their chances of success in the CEH exam.

Length and Time Allocation for the CEH Exam

The CEH exam should take around four hours to complete. To manage time effectively, candidates should first spend 15-20 minutes reading through all the questions and marking those they feel confident about. Then, they can answer the easier questions before tackling the more difficult ones. Strategies for effective time management during the CEH exam include keeping track of time, skipping difficult questions to return to later, and practicing good time management before the exam.

These strategies help candidates use their time wisely and increase their chances of finishing the exam on time.

Prerequisites and Eligibility Criteria for CEH

Required Experience and Educational Background

Applying for the CEH certification requires at least two years of experience in information security. Candidates must also follow a code of ethics.

A formal degree in cybersecurity or information technology is helpful, along with in-depth knowledge of network security and ethical hacking. This may be confirmed through a 4-hour qualifying exam.

Training typically includes hands-on practice with cybersecurity tools and methodologies. It helps candidates navigate the prerequisites for the CEH exam.

Self-study options, like reading study materials and participating in online training, can also prepare individuals for the certification.

Basic prerequisites for CEH candidates include understanding computer technologies and security concepts, analytical skills in information security, and knowledge of security principles.

A clear background in government or military services may fulfill the prerequisites and eligibility criteria for interested individuals.

Formal Training vs Self-Study Options

Formal training for the CEH certification offers structured learning and guidance from experienced instructors. It can be quite costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, self-study options provide flexibility and cost-effectiveness. They allow individuals to study at their own pace.

In terms of exam preparation and knowledge retention, formal training ensures a comprehensive understanding of the CEH exam material. This is done through interactive lectures and hands-on labs. However, self-study requires strong discipline and self-motivation to cover all the necessary topics thoroughly.

Factors to consider when deciding between the two include an individual's learning style, time availability, and financial resources. While formal training has its perks, self-study can be equally effective with the right resources and dedication.

Preparation Tips to Pass the CEH Exam

In order to pass the CEH exam, individuals will need to meet several objectives.

One primary objective is to demonstrate a solid understanding of hacker tools and techniques used to compromise system security. Practice labs and hands-on exercises can help develop practical skills in offensive security for this.

Another key objective is to understand the legal and ethical implications of hacking activities. Reviewing relevant legislation and ethical guidelines, and discussing with industry professionals, can help prepare for this aspect.

The exam includes multiple-choice questions that require a strong understanding of security concepts, as well as a practical exam to demonstrate real-world skills. Study guides and online resources can be useful for effective preparation for each component.

Formal training options and self-study materials are available to help meet the prerequisites for taking the CEH exam, including training courses, boot camps, and self-paced study materials. These options can provide the necessary foundation for success.

Wrapping up

The CEH exam is tough and needs a good grasp of the material. It includes various topics about ethical hacking and cybersecurity, like tools, techniques, and methods. Candidates must be ready to dedicate time and effort to study and practice to pass the exam.

Readynez offers a 5-day EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker Course and Certification Program, providing you with all the learning and support you need to successfully prepare for the exam and certification. The CEH course, and all our other EC-Council courses, are also included in our unique Unlimited Security Training offer, where you can attend the CEH and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month, the most flexible and affordable way to get your Security Certifications.


Is the CEH exam difficult?

Yes, the CEH exam can be difficult for many individuals due to its technical content and the wide range of topics covered, such as network security, ethical hacking, and vulnerability assessment. However, proper preparation through study and practice can help improve performance on the exam.

What are the passing requirements for the CEH exam?

To pass the CEH exam, you need to score at least 70% out of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 4 hours to complete the exam.

How can I prepare for the CEH exam?

You can prepare for the CEH exam by using study guides, taking practice exams, and gaining hands-on experience with ethical hacking tools. Try utilizing resources like the CEH official study guide and practicing with tools like Wireshark and Metasploit.

What is the passing rate for the CEH exam?

The passing rate for the CEH exam is approximately 60%. However, it can vary depending on the version of the exam and the level of difficulty.

Are there any specific prerequisites for taking the CEH exam?

Yes, candidates must have at least two years of work experience in the information security field and attend official EC-Council training or have proof of at least two years of experience in information security.

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