To cheat, or not to cheat?

Discussion in 'MCAD' started by Mark, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Mark

    Mark Guest

    i'm confused. when some posters to this newsgroup ask about Testking
    and Transcender, they get flamed for even thinking about cheating,
    whilst others are left alone.

    can anyone (eg an MVP) give a definitive explanation of what's cheating
    and what isn't? or point me to where microsoft does the same?

    many say testking is short for "brain dumps" (whatever they are!).

    some say transcender is legitimate. if this is the case, surely thety
    must be extremely perspicacious to be able to 'guess' almost
    word-for-word what text is in the questions and answers (and case
    studies), not just the underlying subject/theory!

    is it legal/legitimate to use brain dump type info to compile practice
    tests (i guess not)? or is it legal to use said practice tests for exam
    prep (grey area?)? of course, actually using brain dumps for exam prep
    is illegal.

    can anyone shed any more light on the subject?

    mark (MCP, MCAD, LPIC-1, (1 exam left for MCSD :))
    Mark, Mar 23, 2006
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  2. Microsoft Learning site lists two certified practice test providers - Self
    Test Software and MeasureUp. So they are fully legal. I used MeasureUp tests
    for exam preparation. They often look like real exam questions but they are
    never the same. As someone in this newsgroup said - you can't just remember
    the answers and go to the exam with these test. You have to understand what
    is it all about.

    Can't say anything about testking or transcender. The only fact is that they
    are not certified by Microsoft.

    Before you start an exam you must sign an NDA agreement prohibiting exam
    questions disclosure. So any use of these questions is supposed to be

    It's up to you whether to use braindumps or not. But consider the result -
    if you pass exam without them then you confirm you know the topic (and you
    have learned it while preparing), and if you pass exam with braindumps you
    just get exam passed.

    PS The link is

    Alexey Peshekhonov, Mar 23, 2006
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  3. Mark

    Mark Guest

    yes; disclosing what's in the exams is illegal, eg compiling a cheat
    sheet or brain dump. but what about _using_ said compilations to
    prepare? or creating a practice test from said compilations (like
    Transcender, TestKing, etc appear to be doing)?

    does MS's recommendation/affiliation for/with MeasureUp and STS
    effectively mean that the others like Transcender are illegal?
    Mark, Mar 23, 2006
  4. Purely my opinion, but the exams are meant to validate you have the skills
    to be successful in whatever area and level the exam is meant to test at. In
    the case of MCAD, I would suggest that to be "able to develop applications
    using the products". For MCSD, it might be (not my cert or cert area; I do
    the IT pro side) design and develop enterprise-level applications.

    It is illegal to copy protected content and republish it (even on the
    Internet), and the NDA you accept before taking the exam spells out quite
    clearly what you are agreeing to around that prior to taking the exam.

    Is using braindumps illegal? That's a legal question, but if you do not have
    the skills the exam is testing and you use braindumps to "get past" the
    exam, then you are cheating yourself and the chances of you being successful
    at whatever job you land are not nearly as good.

    Andy Ruth
    Microsoft Learning

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no
    Andy Ruth [MSFT], Mar 23, 2006
  5. March 23, 2006

    You've hit one of the roots of the confusion in these newsgroups... is the
    universal phrase "brain dumps" directly in all cases "questions and answers"
    to the exams? I've heard "brain dumps" be used before when the person didn't
    actually know what they are thought to be... hence, got flamed before
    realizing people think they are asking for exam cheats when really they just
    wanted advice on study guides/books. This phrase "braindumps" really needs
    to be evaluated on an individual basis, although most of the time the eval
    will probably end in disclosure of NDA material.

    As far as the practice exams, I use the ones which come with the MS Press
    books. As far as whether people can take question & answers from the real
    exam into the practice exam... to distribute in any way Q&As from the exam
    is a direct breach of the NDA according to my understanding. Disclosure &
    breach of an NDA would almost certainly occur in some way for a practice
    test company to get the Q&As...

    Anyway, TestKing is reportedly said to have exact Q&As, and therefore has a
    bad reputation. Even if you don't mean to be asking for what would appear to
    be "illegal" material or whatever.... the phrases "testking" or "braindumps"
    is pretty sure to get you flamed in at least these newsgroups.

    Joseph Bittman
    Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
    Microsoft Most Valuable Professional -- DPM

    Web Site/Blog: http://CactiDevelopers.ResDev.Net/
    Joseph Bittman MVP MCSD, Mar 23, 2006
  6. Mark

    Saga Guest

    While we each determine what is legal and what isn't, here is a post
    that I found in
    another newsgroup. This guy gives the word "cheat" a whole new

    I left the post as-is, only grabling the emails.

    <end of my post>

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    results)100% passing gaurantee

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    MICROSOFT,CISCO,COMPTIA,ORACLE,SOLAIS certified without efforts......

    friends i have five vue and prometric testing sites here in, i will do the exams on the behalf of the candidates,
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    5. correct exam numbers.......

    so, if anyone is really intrested in this then jsut mail me these
    details then he will be certified within a week....

    rates :-

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    thanzzzzzzzzzz friends

    Saga, Mar 23, 2006
  7. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Before you start an exam you must sign an NDA agreement prohibiting exam
    i wasn't trying to start a discussion about individuals' ethics. nor
    was i asking whether or not you think i should use brain dumps. i was
    attempting to discover the definitive rules governing the use of various
    'practice tests' eg testking, transcender, etc (as they appear to be
    based on brain dumps).

    perhaps i could have chosen a less equivocal subject line for my
    original posting. maybe something like "TestKing, Transcender ==
    Cheating?". appologies. i should have known better :/
    allegedly(!) both testking and transcender somehow manage to compile
    practice tests that mirror the actual exams literally word-for-word on
    many questions. they often match both the questions and answers even to
    the extent of using the exact same names of the companies, servers,
    databases, etc used in the case studies! how could they possibly do
    that unless they used brain dumps or similar tactics that contravened
    the NDAs?

    posters talk of certain practice test providers as being 'certified' or
    'authorised' as you did, eg measureUp, Self Test, implying others like
    testking and transcender are unauthorised. this is rather misleading
    and, at worst, incorrect(?). i cannot find any microsoft documentation
    that authorises [the use of] some providers over others. they merely
    appear to be recommending MeasureUp and Self Test SW, whilst
    conspicuously failing to mention all the others [example ref:]. please correct me
    if i'm wrong.

    i don't think it would be unreasonable to assume microsoft has some
    financial deal w/ certain providers to allow them to be linked from
    microsoft's web site in this way. i would hope microsoft vets a
    provider's material to try and discern whether they appear to have used
    brain dumps to complile their material. this would explain why testking
    and transcender are not 'recommended'/listed on

    some people get flamed for merely asking about testking! transcender
    seems to have more acceptance.

    the 'mirroring' of the actual exams combined w/ the fact that microsoft
    don't recommend the material leads to many people's inference that it's
    illegal at worst, unethical at best and at least unauthorised. a novice
    may go out and buy material from testking w/ no idea that they nor the
    provider are doing anything unethical --as was pointed out by J Bittman.
    instead of flaming such people, shouldn't these people be directed to
    or provided with some sort of faq or 'best practices' info, eg from an
    mvp, as it seems to be a very common query? of course, even that would
    be unnecessary if microsoft were to address the issue in the first instance.

    even if transcender and testking did 'have to' use brain dump sites to
    compile practice tests, it wouldn't be hard for them to obfuscate or
    otherwise modify the content so the questions were more generic;
    maintaining the theory/concept but removing any specifics. it appears
    they're _trying_ to make their practice tests match the exam questions
    in order to appeal to the less ethically motivated people.

    this is the crux of what seems to separate the practice test providers
    into the two camps. the question is, where is the line through this
    grey area drawn (in terms of legality, etc)? and who draws it/should
    draw it? personally, i think microsoft should certify practice tests so
    that we as consumers can make well informed judgements on what material
    to use and to remove the possibility of using ignorance as an excuse for
    (indirectly or otherwise) cheating.

    i think it's quite shameful of microsoft to avoid such a poignant subject.
    forgive me, for i don't understand what it is you're trying to say here.
    this is not conducive to the intended goals of this thread. fyi, i
    don't cheat!

    Mark, Mar 24, 2006
  8. Mark

    Mark Guest

    accepted ;)
    suprised? i was knocked off my feet!

    the thing is, the NDA only says its illegal to disclose what's in the
    exam, not that it's illegal for a company to trawl the web for brain
    dump type data and compile a practice test/Qs from it (as far as i
    know), or illegal to _use_ such practice tests to prepare.

    i think this could even be taken as far as saying that the dedicated
    brain dump web sites are not illegal either (but i'm no legal expert)!
    surely the only lucidly illegal persons are those whom disclose what was
    in the exam in the first instance (eg disclosing to a brain dump web
    site after sitting an exam). if they _were_ illegal, i suggest we'd
    have heard by now of microsoft taking these brain dump site people to
    court, wouldn't we?

    this (if true) would also go some way to explain why microsoft are
    conspicuously avoiding defining exactly what is legal and what isn't, or
    which material providers are illegal/legal, or why they're
    'recommending' some providers over others. think about it ...if
    microsoft were to tell everyone that it's not actually illegal to use a
    brain dump (or practice tests that appear to be based on them), nobody
    would think twice about using them and the quality of the cert would be
    substantially reduced.

    i also think that people 'in the know', eg those who actually work for
    microsoft, etc all know that the above is true and purposely avoid the
    contentious issue in fear of letting people know the truth, or upset
    their employer/peers.

    of course, this is all speculation and hard to prove either way. and so
    it's left to continue unchallenged...
    can you tell me a bit about this MCNGP thing? does it stand for "Mean
    Certified News Group Poster" as described in MCP Magazine article
    <>, which
    describes you guys and gals as follows:

    "[...] a group of trolls claiming to hold the MCNGP (Mean Certified News
    Group Poster) certification have established their own little fiefdom.
    Woe to the individual who posts to that newsgroup unaware of the evils
    that lurk there -you will be flamed."

    reading that, you'd be forgiven for thinking MCNGP is a new microsoft
    certification, yet i can't find any reference to it on! uses the "®" (or "(R)") character to claim a Registered
    Trade Mark is held (eg MCNGP®). do you know who owns this? or is it
    also a part of the general attempt at humour that seems to underly the
    group? is it all meant to be taken with humour, or are you MCNGPs
    honestly expecting people to take you seriously in these newsgroups?

    i've visited the and web sites, but suprisingly,
    the site's faq does not explain what the letters stand for (i found it
    to be empty).
    can you ellaborate further? exactly who (or what dept) did you talk to
    about it and what is this action you say they're doing?
    interesting. so is it pretty meaningless to put "MVP" in your usenet
    name or signature w/out qualifying it w/ the subject it's for, eg

    thank you for an interesting and useful conversation :)

    Mark, Mar 24, 2006
  9. March 24, 2006

    "> I think your original post asked for an MVP to reply. I was merely
    interesting. so is it pretty meaningless to put "MVP" in your usenet
    name or signature w/out qualifying it w/ the subject it's for, eg

    I got my first certification at barely 13 years old, and so have had over 2
    years of certification monitoring & experience. As far as the MVP signature
    question and about their validity of answering questions in other fields
    than "their" product... although not an exact science, from what I've seen,
    MVPs have a higher reliablity for providing accurate information than
    otherwise. Also, even though I'm not an MVP in certification, I don't give
    out information which I would not do myself if I was in the poster's
    position. In this way, if someone posts a question about certification paths
    regarding circumstances containing jobs, employers, career paths,
    certification versions, I attempt to think as much as possible as if I were
    in the same exact situation. I then decide whether I know enough of the
    subject to *at least* provide information which I would feel would be very
    much appropriately applicable in the situation... and if so, I post what I
    would do in the situation. I won't post if I feel I might lead someone on a
    wild goose chase, or if it has a likely downside.... I feel most MVPs think
    along these lines whether or not the topic is in the MVP's product's scope,
    and therefore I believe "we" have a higher degree of reliable and specific
    posts than a random sampling of non-MVP posts. Just my thoughts...

    As far as putting MVP - XXXXX in their signature, I still feel one could
    feel better about taking advice from any MVP in any area (assuming the MVP
    wouldn't give advice if he/she didn't feel it would be very close to
    accurate & helpful), although if the topic is the exact product they are an
    MVP for... it makes it much better. :) As far as mine, it is System Center
    Data Protection Manager - Microsoft's new disk-based backup solution. I was
    also given the choice of being one of Windows Server 2003 R2's MVPs,
    although I decided to go with DPM. I have been using computers since I was 4
    years old, and therefore have 11 years of experience in IT. People
    frequently state I have more knowledge and can apply it better to situations
    than adults. I was voted by R2 beta testers as one of the Top 5 R2 Beta
    Mentors, and was also the Technical Reviewer for DPM's e-learning course.
    Recently, I was invited to all 11 of the new developer generation beta
    exams, which I just completed. In this way, although my product is
    specifically DPM, I still have broad experience in many many fields, and
    feel the information I give out is accurate enough to act upon it myself.

    To re-cap, I think MVPs aren't limited to just their product scope for
    accurate information. By making sure the information they are about to
    provide in any subject is very relevant and accurate, an MVP in XML could
    provide the same quality of post & information as I could in DPM's NG. . . .
    It just means the XML MVP most likely isn't going to be able to provide the
    same quality on as frequent basis as myself. In other words, I think all
    posts by MVPs are of the same "quality", just that a certain product helps
    distinguish the "quantity" of posts expected on a specific topic. If I drop
    into a VB newsgroup, it doesn't mean I can't answer a certain specific
    question as well as the next... but just that I'm not expected to be able to
    answer lots of other questions. -- I hope this helps clarify and make sense.

    BTW, Frisbee, it was interesting to hear your opinion in a polite fashion.

    Joseph Bittman
    Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
    Microsoft Most Valuable Professional -- DPM

    Web Site/Blog: http://CactiDevelopers.ResDev.Net/

    Joseph Bittman MVP MCSD, Mar 24, 2006
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