I am pleased to share that I recently passed the eLearnSecurity Junior Penetration Tester certification exam on June 16!

The Exam

According to INE’s website:

The eJPT is a three day, 20 question exam, that focuses on challenging you to prove your skillset in penetration testing foundations including programming, networking vulnerabilities, web attack vectors, and a host of other entry level skills… Covering a host of skills which include entry level web penetration techniques, the eJPT provides you with the confidence and knowledge to begin training for more advanced penetration techniques and specialities.

My Experience

There are thousands of reviews and suggested study guides for the eJPT on the internet. Thus, I will not try to reinvent any wheels with this post.


Before taking the exam, I spent about 3 weeks with INE’s Penetration Testing Student learning path (read: online course).

From my perspective and level of experience, the course material largely fell into four buckets:

  1. Introductory materials for elementary penetration testing tasks and concepts, such as computer networking, HTTP protocol basics, scripting with common languages like C++, Python, and Bash, as well as the use of basic tools like Burp Suite, Nmap, John the Ripper, and the Metasploit framework
  2. The use of other, broadly outdated, tools1
  3. Review of concepts and techniques I have previously learned (or been introduced to) via TryHackMe2 and/or miscellanious YouTube videos, blog posts, etc.
  4. Networking

I emphasize #4 here, as, previous to my eJPT preparations, I had only engaged with network routing and live host discovery in theoretical/conceptual terms. I have not yet made my way through any of the TryHackMe network-based rooms, such as Wreath or Throwback.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access the preparatory “eJPT Exam Preparation” module (1 of 4 in the course), which, ostensibly, contains opportunities to practice network enumeration. According to this Message from the INE CEO, the company has encountered significant unforseen issues with migrating eLS’ previously VPN-based labs to the browser-based INE teaching platform. While I don’t think this is particularly egregious in and of itself, the timing was certainly unfortunate for me.

Indeed, I was only able to practice my network discovery and routing through the “Black-box Penetration Test 1” box at the end of the Penetration Testing Basics module. “Black-box Penetration Test” boxes 2 and 3, unfortunately, do not involve “secret” servers, but pre-identified and directly accessible hosts.

Handy Resources

In addition to a smattering of reddit posts and similar incidental resources, I found the following guiding materials to be helpful in preparing for my exam:

Note: There is an enormous amount of overlap between each of these resources! Please don’t feel like it is necessary to engage with all of them.

Exam Impressions

All-in-all, I felt that the INE/eLS course and certification exam was an enjoyable and rewarding process. The exam, particularly, was fun and excellent preliminary preparation for future black-box exam scenarios, from both a methodological and emotional point of view.

With only approximately 3 months of experience in infosec, offensive security, and cybersecurity more broadly, I was able to complete the exam in approximately 9 hours. After approximately 6 hours, I had secured enough points to pass the exam, though I wanted to take the opportunity to use the extensive (compared to what I am used to!) exam network and complete the remaining tasks that involved my weaker subject-areas, such as Windows host exploitation.

  1. This distinction is made with the knowledge that eLS/INE are currently working on rolling out the eJPTv2. The INE course for the new exam, Penetration Testing Student v2, appears to have a significantly updated curriculum. ↩︎

  2. Relative to other platforms/courses, I have completed a relatively high number of THM rooms over the past two months. At the time of writing, I have completed 106 Rooms and have rank 11134. You can follow along with my progress by clicking here↩︎