Exam Development Procedure & Item Challenge

Exam Development Procedure & Item Challenge

Exam development is a pivotal process that emphasizes on the technical, structural, semantic, and linguistic quality of exam items. Exam quality checks are done by a team of independent experts and professionals to ensure that the exam items are clear, error-free, unbiased and/or unambiguous.

Development Process


An invaluable input from industry experts was considered in the CEH exam development, especially on how the CEH qualifications and credentials are exercised worldwide. The CEH exam is meant to meticulously and unsparingly transcend ordinary knowledge so as to reflectively gauge the necessary knowledge and skill required by experts in the domain of ethical hacking.

Development Phases


The CEH exam development process is comprised of 9 phases that cogently focus on optimizing the exam to reflect qualities of relevance, validity and reliability.

Objective Domain Definition
Subject matter experts (SMEs) highlight the significant job functions of ethical hacking.

Job Analysis
The job analysis identifies the tasks and knowledge important to the work performed by professionals in the field of IT Security; and, creates test specifications that may be used to develop the CEH exam. The result of a job analysis is a certification exam blueprint.

The tasks and knowledge statements are transmuted into a survey that experts would use to rate, measure, and assess the skills and knowledge required. These ratings are used to rank the statements and determine the number of questions to stem from each exam statement.

Scheme Committee Approval
EC-Council Scheme Committee, a group of experts, inspects and validates the objective domain and the approach used in the job analysis prior to the authoring or writing of the exams.

Exam Writing
SMEs write the exam items to measure the objectives stated in the exam blueprint. The exact number of exam items that they write is dependent on the feedback of the job analysis phase. The approved items are those that are technically, grammatically, and semantically clear, unbiased, and relevant.

Standard Setting
A panel of experts other than those who write the items will answer and rate all items to deduce a minimum passing or cut score. Scores vary from one exam to another due to the score dependence on the items pool difficulty.

Final Scheme Committee Approval
The EC-Council Scheme Committee give their final approval of the whole process prior to the beta exam publication.

Beta Exam
Once the Scheme Committee approves the scheme a beta exam is published. Candidates are to sit for the beta exam under identical conditions to the real exam. The distribution of the beta exam scores enables EC-Council to assess and calibrate the actual exam for better quality.

Final Evaluation
The number and quality of items in the real live exam is determined by the scores and results of the beta exam. The analysis of the beta exam includes difficulty of items, capability of distinguishing level of candidates’ competencies, reliability, and feedback from participants. EC-Council works closely with experts to continuously inspect the technical correctness of the questions and decide the pool of items that will be utilized for the live exam.

Final Exam Launch
VUE and ECC operate and oversee the administration of EC-Council certification exams in their centers around the world.

The appeal process is comprised of three primary stages:

If the candidate believes that a specific part of the CEH exam is incorrect, he/she can challenge or request evaluation of the part in question via the steps enumerated below. This should be done within three calendar days of the exam day. Such a process is necessary to identify areas of weakness or flaws in the questions but the exam itself cannot be re-scored. Nevertheless, all possible efforts are not spared to assure the candidate’s satisfaction. The candidate’s feedback is paramount to EC-Council certification exams.

Steps for Challenging Exam Items

Fill and sign EC-Council Exam Feedback Form as detailed as possible. The detailed and clear description of the challenge will accelerate the review process. No candidate’s exam item challenge of the exam’s items will be considered without completing the form.

The form should be submitted within 3 calendar days from exam date to http://www.eccouncil.org/Support/ticket-new with the subject line typed “Exam Item Evaluation”. Only requests received within 3 working days from taking the exams will be reviewed.

The candidate must fill a separate form for each exam item he/she is challenging.

EC-Council will acknowledge receipt of the request by email. This may include a conclusive result of the evaluation, or an estimated time for the evaluation process to be completed and results to be shared with the candidate.