I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with this exam. EC-Council appears to have made an exam that truly tests ones knowledge of basic hacking technologies. When I began taking the exam, I was confident and thought the questions were quite easy. Then I realized that 150 questions was a lot. :p As the test progressed I saw more difficult questions emerge. Many questions require you to have some experience with the tools. There were many questions that required analysis of logs, or dumps. Some questions asked what course of action should e taken in a situation. Overall, It was different from CompTIA tests, and even the entry level Security|5 exam in that it asked a variety of question types. Tools: I took the v6 version of the exam which has been criticized for being too "tool centric." For me, I was expecting to get quizzed on 200 different tools, it was not like that. I would say that my exam only focused on about 5-10 tools that required more than just a passing knowledge of their use type (i.e what it is used for, what OS' is it compatible with) Errors: I noticed very few grammatical errors in my exam, I would say less that 5 that had me take a second look. There were as you might expect however, "tricky" questions where process of elimination will get you the answer. Actually I have a feeling that individuals who are more adapt at this than others will not find the exam challenging if this tactic is used primarily. I feel it is important to note tis because I'm sure that somewhere, there is someone who can use elimination to pass the CCIE written or CISSP and claim that the exam was "easy" without knowing a thing. Relevance to training material: Very interesting on this point. I will say up front that using some study material as your only source of knowledge will fail you for this exam. The graves book is a good example. With its straightforward Q&A type it is not best for this exam, but it does give you the overview knowledge of the technologies and processes you need to know. I suggest reading this twice through, testing out the second time, then moving to either intense labbing or secondary material. A book I would suggest, would be grey hat hacking and hacking exposed. these books give a good overview of not only a tool, but its use, command line switches, ect. I would like to emphasis that IMO, a well labed individual with a few of the well known tools would be well prepared for this exam if they have a mastery of the knowledge behind it. Interestingly enough, this exam did a real good job on balancing knowledge vs experience. Self Study vs. Class: I personally like studying in a group and hands on experience. No chance of getting called into work the day before the exam (yes it happened.), no slacking off for a weekend. With the distance learning I also found myself going out of my study material, As you may know this may or may not be a good idea. All in all this is a good certification, and a decent start IMO to a infosec career. I would even say that due to the required knowledge of the use of certain tools, this is an intermediate level cert, not a beginner level cert. And FYI, its not all cookies and creme, there were a few questions out of left field, and one where I just stopped, picked up my marker that the testing center gave me and wrote the word: "Really?!" I cant tell you the question obviously but I can tell you that you will not find that specifically mentioned in ANY legit non braindump material. *shakes head* So where to from here? Well, I need to re-study for the CPT exam and practical. I dont know if I can schedule these on different days so ideally I would like to study for the exam, then the practical. After that then its the SANS 504 (im pondering the GCIH attempt).