If you think that first tuturials were easy then you are on the good way.
Max 4 it's easy and on it you only go where you can go! ;) all depends on your way to understand Max working process. For me, the only thing that some one teach me was the "right left, bottom top" order, and the basic objects like bang, toggle, message box and object box. All the rest that is only logic...
you can only open a door if you have a key; else get a key!
Max5 is easier. the upgrade was not the number of functions of the objects... ok, one or two are different, but the philosophy is the same.. the real diference is about cleaning patches, and more clean, more eficient and easy to understand and correct and get it better.
My advice is: do not forget the PDF file called manual and put your eyes on all tuturials. On my last work I've read the manual 3 or 4 times to refine the patches to the maximum possible, and it work!