I am a member of a private community of Microsoft Certified Trainers on a well known networking site. In the last couple of days one of my colleagues complained that his students were passing their exams by using Brain Dumps, and that these tools diminished the value of the certifications. He opined that this would not change until Microsoft made the exams harder.
What Brain Dumps are is simple; they are the actual exam questions. They are called Brain Dumps because it is believed that people are paid to take the exam, memorize the questions, and as soon as they leave the exam to dump whatever they memorized into a repository. This is, in my opinion, a very trusting position. I suspect that there are testing centres that allow certain people to take recording devices into the test with them and record the actual questions and answers.
Brain Dumps are, in a word, cheating. They are illegal, and go against the non-disclosure agreement that the test taker signs before taking the exam. They are actually cheating from both ends, because just as it is illegal for a test-taker to disclose anything he or she learns during an exam, it is equally cheating to study using these devices. Both are grounds for revocation of your certifications, but as they seem to continue to be a profitable endeavour I am sure people will continue to make and sell them, and others will continue to buy and use them.
The following is my reply to this MCT; others replied in kind and I want to be clear that any form of cheating is frowned upon by most MCTs that I know.
It is simple… any troglodyte can memorize the questions and then pass. The fact that candidates are cheating does not diminish the certification program nor diminish the value of the certifications. It means that people who cheat – and that goes not only for MCP exams but anything – are STEALING the certs, and it is your responsibility to let them know that.
I understand your point that the questions have become more simplified over the past few years. There are reasons for that which I won't go into. However it is my experience that the longer and more detailed the question the easier it would be to memorize and if you are intent on cheating to do so.
Braindumps do not diminish the value of the certification, they diminish the value of the person using them to pass. I used to be affiliated with a training company in Montreal who had a sales person who was not technically inclined. I walked out of my class one day and saw her sitting outside the exam room with a Test King book in her hand. I don't know if it was her intent to take it into the room or just to memorize it well enough to pass, but I let her have it. Later the exam proctor took me aside and told me I owed her an apology for MY behaviour. I told him I would apologize as soon as she called Microsoft Learning and confessed to stealing her certifications, and I would even grovel if he would admit to them that he had helped her. Bottom line is nobody apologized to anyone.
Tell your students that if they want to put letters after their names they can cheat; or they can take your class and pass legitimately and be proud of those letters.