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Genuine exam software or a braindump? How to determine the difference

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by simongrahamuk, Oct 1, 2006.

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  1. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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    After a discussion about how to distinguish between what is a Braindump and what is a practice exam I took the liberty of contacting BBMichael at MCSEWorld.

    For those of you who don't know Michael is a former Transcender writer who is currently in the process of establishing his own test prep software company.

    I hope that this informaion helps some of you when making decisions about exam test prep software.

    Many thanks for that information Michael, and good luck with the new company.

    8)
     
  2. GmanUK

    GmanUK Byte Poster

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    Fantastic insight Michael, Thank you.

    And thank you Simon! :D
     
    Certifications: CompTIA N+, Server+, CCSN, ITILv3 (f)
    WIP: MCITP Security
  3. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Great post :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Excellent - nice one!

    Another way of telling is that if a site claims to be '100% Braindump free!' then it's a Braindump...
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. _omni_

    _omni_ Megabyte Poster

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    What??
     
    Certifications: MCSE 2003, MCSA:M
  6. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Top post Simon, thanks for your work on this.

    I now hope that everyone who reads this has a little understanding of what a braindump is and what it involves. It certainly is useful info for all of us.


    Many thanks Simon :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Looking at doing ..................
  7. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Superb post BrainBeacon Michael!

    Is this pinned? :rolleyes:
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  8. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    That's cool but his new company is called BrainBeacon?:blink

    If I had not read this thread and saw his website in a couple of months time, I'd have immediately though it was a brain-dump from the name alone!
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270
  9. r.h.lee

    r.h.lee Gigabyte Poster

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    simongrahamuk,

    For the specific case of "Microsoft Certified Practice Test Provider", the only recognized and certified practice test providers are MeasureUp and Self Test Software. I'm going to take that as an authorized list of non-braindumping practice test providers. I'm going to ask the tough question, why isn't Transcender a "Microsoft Certified Practice Test Provider?"

    Let's apply the "braindumps traits" test to Transcender:
    • products in PDF format - Transcender seems to be offering a "Transcender Study Guide Paks" that are "...We also provide you with a downloadable .pdf version of your study guide so you can take advantage of the file's search capabilities."
    • a large number of exam offerings - Transcender offers practice exams for: 1 ) Microsoft 2 ) CompTIA 3 ) Cisco 4 ) Sun 5 ) ITIL 6 ) Oracle 7 ) Novell 8 ) (ISC)2 9 ) PMI 10 ) Check Point 11 ) CWNP . Are 11 certification programs considered "large number" enough for this check?
    • a large number of questions for each product - According to the description for CERT-70-210 MSCert: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows 2000 Professional , it states "Our product features give you the edge! * 150 exceptionally realistic practice exam questions" So is 150 questions "large enough"?
    • low prices - Unless you're trained in marketing and statistics, it's not clear to know what a "low price" is. For a company who is a Microsoft Certified Partner with the mandatory requirement to retain two Microsoft Certified Professionals on staff, the price of $129.00 for the MSCert: Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows 2000 Professional product from Transcender may be low compared to loss of Microsoft Certified Partner status. However, for most of us studying here who's trying to make a conscious economic decision of "pay $129.00 for TranscenderCert" or "save $129.00 to pay for rent, food, etc." the $129.00 price may seem high thus the "attractiveness" of the lower prices. I don't think that newbies to IT certification are aware of the business relations between practice test providers and the test question writers. That's what you learn in a business law course.
    • offers to access all of their products for one low price - This is something that Transcender does not do, since each product is sold separately.
    • poorly designed Web sites containing poor English - Since I am personally not an expert in the English language, I will not cast the first stone. However, I do know that from a diction perspective, there are noticeable differences between British English and American English. Since the "audience" for a web site is the whole world, those living in countries where "poor English" speakers live in, how are they going to properly evaluate that the English is poor or not?
    • spam-based advertising tactics - Transcender does not do this.

    So if Transcender, one of the more reputable uncertified practice test provider can definitely fail 2 (offers to access all of their products for one low price and spam-based advertising tactics) out of 7 traits for a braindump, how is a newbie supposed to know the difference between Transcender and other well known braindump sites? On a slight sidenote, there's been many times I've seen within the "Ads by Google" ad bar for "braindumps." Assuming CF is supposed to be a "braindump free zone", how are newbies supposed to know that in this "braindump free zone" that there's an "Ads by Google" right above an anti-braindump post is a link for a braindump?

    I know I only joined CF on 18-Mar-2006 so to some folks, I myself may seem like a newbie but ever since joining, I've seen the braindump question asked relatively frequently. I know that when a post contains a well known braindump site address, that when a mod notices it, the well known braindump site address is edited out. From a pros and cons analysis, the pro is that CF avoids the potential legal liability to the extent of a lawsuit, but the con is that the question "what is a braindump?" or it's variants keeps on coming up. So there seems to be at least two solutions to this problem which is: a) have a list of safe practice test providers or b) have a list of UNsafe practice test providers. Option a) has the potential problem of sounding like CF is accepting advertising funds to specifically list the practice test provider thus losing the appearance of objectivity. Option b) might have more of an intended educational effect that people might know what materials they SHOULDN'T be using thus reducing the number of times the "what is a braindump?" question is brought up. However, it has the obvious unintended problem for true cheaters to just go straight to the "recognized braindump sites" and cheat to their heart's content.


    Links:
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCP+I, MCP, CCNA, A+
    WIP: CCDA
  10. mrobinson52

    mrobinson52 Security Maven Gold Member

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    A long time ago, I was a moderator and SiteCop at the now-defunct discussion boards that used to be at Cramsession. We were a rabidly anti-braindump site, and it does my heart good to see that CertForums is carrying on that standard.

    What breaks my heart is that braindumps are being recommended by the instructors at my college, and I have heard from many others from different institutions, that it is the same there. It is really hard in these days of relativistic ethics to try to get people to understand that cheating is WRONG!

    Not only that, but in addition to cheapening the value of the cert, the braindumpers are going to fail when they have to take a technical interview, and do now know anything but the answers they memorized, and cannot apply any knowledge to real world tech problems.

    Bravo Simon for this thread! Braindumps are bad, bad, evil, nasty, and they cheapen the certs I work so hard for, and make getting a tech job that much harder! :mad
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCSA:Security, Security+
    WIP: CISSP
  11. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    I have to say, RHLee's post raises some interesting points. A list of safe/unsafe test providers seems like a good idea but will it be abused? Hmm...:hhhmmm
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270
  12. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Well, in my experience, a legit site rarely makes any reference to braindumps.
    However, if you find a site offering practice questions which has a front page claiming:

    100% Braindump Free!!!
    These are, like, totally *legitimate* test questions!!!
    This is NOT a braindump site!!!
    Wow, all these questions for only $9.99!!!
    They are REAL questions!!! But NOT from actual exams!!!

    Then there's something going on...
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  13. bloomfieldliam

    bloomfieldliam Bit Poster

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    It's weird how I have seen Transcender and TK and they are amazingly similar, I wonder who is copying who?

    Liam
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP XP, MA in IT, ECDL
  14. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Fair points all - let me just add in response to R.H.Lee's elegant post - CF remain anti-braindump at all times, however, we can only act upon ads that are served up to us by GoogleAds when they are brought to our attention. We do not have the resources to monitor these ads continuosly, so while I can accept your point that we may be seen to accept these ads and therefore exhibit double-standards, you'll soon find that when raised to our attention, they soon disappear :)
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  15. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    Fella - this is so far off the mark its not true. Not trying to start a flame war or anything, and I certainly haven't seen every single Transcender for every single test. However, I HAVE seen four of them (on the 2000 track - Network Admin, Network Design, and the two SQL exams) and I have NEVER seen an 'actual' test question come up in an exam that I had seen before in the Transcenders. True, there were a couple of questions on each that were quite similar, but there are only so many questions you can ask about DHCP, Full Outer Joins or DC placement, so this could easily put down to coincidence.

    Compare this with <Insert Name Of Shitty Braindump Here>. These are ACTUAL test questions, copied from exams and answered for the user. The ONLY thing required to pass exams this way is a good memory. Explain to me how you can pass an exam using only Transcenders?

    Comparing the two is like comparing Robin Hood with Pol Pot.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  16. bloomfieldliam

    bloomfieldliam Bit Poster

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    Likewise.

    Just observing what I have came across in the past.

    Liam
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP XP, MA in IT, ECDL
  17. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    OK - its good that we can have a discussion on this forum without it descending into childish abuse!

    Are you seriously suggesting though KestTing is the same as Transcender? For that to be true, Transcender tests would have to consist either entirely or largely of actual questions from MS/Cisco/Novell/Whatever exam pools. If that were the case, with Transcender being a US-based 'legit' buisness, the long arm of Redmond's lawyers would surely have crushed them to death a long time ago.

    If you can show me a question from a Transcender that is an actual MS exam question, then you and me could probably get rich grassing them up.

    Otherwise, I think Transcender's lawyers might get a bit peeved at what may be unfounded accusations about their business practices.

    I should point out here that I'm not particularly advocating the use of Transcenders over any other study material. In fact, if you didn't know the MS certs I used them for inside out, I would argue that they would be more of a hindrance than anything else - especially since being able to answer the questions on the Transcenders wouldn't help you if some subject matter came up on the exams that wasn't covered by the Transcenders. Two perfect examples:

    I had three or four questions on 70-216 that were about Certification Services - something not even covered in one of the Transcender questions

    Two of the questions on the SQL Design Transcender were flat out wrong!
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  18. bloomfieldliam

    bloomfieldliam Bit Poster

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    This may sound like a cop out but I can't get my transcender to work but when I used it amongst other stuff whilst studying, I got a feeling of deja vu, it's not exactly the same just different worded scenarios but the guts of the question and the answers are the same, when I came across this I felt annoyed that peeps were paying alot of money for this.

    I will reserve my judgement and previous statement until I can post examples but won't edit my comments so the thread still reads right.

    Liam
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP XP, MA in IT, ECDL
  19. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    OK - thats genuine enough.

    TBH - even if you find that some of the scenarios are very similar, provided they arent the exact questions used on the exams - and I don't just mean replacing 'Woodgrove Bank' with 'Braindump site' :biggrin then I don't think this counts as a braindump.

    What worries me most about braindumps is the fact that there are plenty of people out there who simply memorise the answers based on the braindump ones and pass their exams with no understanding of what they mean at all. Seriously - there is a guy on the helpdesk where I work at the moment, he's been there two months, has an MCSE and is absolutely fookin useless. He knows NOTHING - he couldn't even set a static IP on a workstation FFS. Now you know full well that he's just memorised answers from a braindump, and that plain sucks.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  20. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    there was a dude we had at work (well, i had to show him the ropes) to help with the project i was doing, he had A+ and MCSE, was getting twice the wages than me, working less hours and did not know how to stop and start a service :blink

    i told where to go (eventually) and he still got lost, then i had to show him where to go...

    ...hmmm, Braindumper?
     

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