The Never-Ending Cyber Adventures of a Suburban Mom
By Elena Steinke
As I’m sure many of you ladies can relate, but being a working parent of two school-aged kids that is active in the community does not provide for much time, if any at all. Because of that, I developed a terrible habit I need to kick. Although I know the subject matter, and have been doing this for a living for years, as we know, sometimes with certifications it’s about knowing the specifics for the exam.
I’ve developed this horrible habit of mine, which is specific to certification exams by assuming everything is of “doom & gloom” from a degree of difficulty stand point, and will require a time dedication level of studying to the specifics of the exam that I just don’t have.
I tend to procrastinate, until one of two things happen, either my desire for it is too strong, or someone lights fire under my behind. As tradition dictates, this was once again the case last month, when a bug bit me and I decided I wanted the C|EH certification I’ve been putting off for years, as I did with every single certification, be it Security+, CMMI, CISSP, a few others in between, and to the current C|EH.
In my traditional fashion, I signed up for the test which was less than 10 days away. For me signing up is a psychological procrastination cut off, and with just a few days, I hit the books, and set up a VM Box with various tools for lab practice. After putting my kids to bed, I hit the books, and read every necessary and unnecessary. I practiced in my lab day and night until I busted my husband’s network to the point where this was about to become a marriage altering item. And, believe me when I say that whatever I did to his network, had he plead his case in divorce court, every judge would understand and align with him. As a side note, he’s still working on bouncing back from whatever it is I had done, which is still a mystery to me too.
In any event, I drove Sunday night to my scheduled C|EH training site, and checked into the hotel anxious. I was thinking that this is ridiculous because I didn’t read or practice enough, and I don’t have extra money to waist on failing exams. Monday morning, I got up and got my coffee and breakfast, and went to my boot camp class. We went through the regular introductions. This lady walked in and dumped 3 huge books on the desk in front of me, which I needed my wheels briefcase to carry out of the room.
We started training at 7 am, broke for a quick lunch, and were released with homework assignments at 6. During the 4 days of instructions and lab work, the instructor did not open or reference those books with us once. On day 3, I looked at them from the corner of my eye with anxiety and panic, and chose to trust the instructor and not open them, for the fear of more anxiety on why I won’t pass the test.
Like a good student (with anxiety), I did my assignments every night, re-read all the material, practiced the labs until midnight, and stayed up all Thursday night to study up on areas I felt I was weak on. I didn’t shut my eyes for even 20 minutes, took a shower, went to Starbucks and got two (2) Venti coffees, and was back on site for testing by 8 am Friday. I did everything I always tell my students NOT to do! The instructor went through a quick review of the material, and we started our test promptly at 10 am! As I turned the computer on for the test, I remember thinking to myself, “great, up all night to fail a test I had no time to study for.”
The first question came up, and I answered it quickly. The second question came up, and I answered it quickly too. The third question came up, and this one I answered quickly as well. I started to feel better and relax. I forgot about my anxiety, exhaustion and stress, and before I knew it, the test was over, and my results indicated “Passed!” This entire event, from start to finish, hoopla and self-inflicted drama, seems to always be the same with me, and totally unnecessary!
This last experience has taught me much about myself, and the test, which both things I want to share with you, my readers.
- Tip 1: Please don’t procrastinate due to fear and doubts.
- Tip 2: Don’t over dramatize things and just march towards your goal.
Although the degree of difficulty is measured by the particular knowledge base, so it would not be fair of me to say that the test is easy. But, I will say that in general terms for an IT professional that has been in the field and had general solid concepts of technical knowledge, the C|EH test should not prove to be too difficult.
Unlike the CISSP (where you must pick the correct answer from a higher managerial level perspective, which is based on technical knowledge) this test is fairly straight forward… meaning, you either know it, or you don’t. It is technical in nature, and while I don’t want to say that thinking is not involved, but with my testing experience, I feel that anyone that studies a bit over having a technical foundation should be able to pass this test.