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Ping BBM

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Baba O'Riley, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    BBM, you seem to be quite passionate about people posting exam "style" questions on the forums. Out of interest, do you know first hand of anyone who has been stripped of their certs because of this behaviour?

    Also, I did ask you this in another thread the other day but I think you approached my question from a different angle to the one I intended. I asked:
    and your reply mentioned that exam writers don't actually tell you the pass mark etc which is all well and good. However, your comments here raised this subject in my mind again and it kind of relates more to what I was aiming at. Your comment suggests that you were expecting the CompTIA NDA to state you can't even reveal the rough nature of the questions you are likely to get.IE:
    So back to my original question. If cert providers (perhaps not so much CompTIA, but certainly Cisco) are so strict you can't even reveal the nature of the questions, how do you legally write practice exams? I know in the other thread, you said they base them on the cert objectives, but then so do the real exam writers. It's more than possible that a practice exam might entirely accidently contain a real exam question word-for-word. Also, say a real cert exam is all simulations, any practice exams would also have to be exclusively simulations to be worthwhile using. Again, this would be revealing certain aspects of the exam that could be seen to be against any NDA.

    If it went to court, how would the practice exam companies defend against this as on paper there seems to be no defence?

    I'm interested on hearing your thoughts on this.

    Cheers.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270
  2. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I don't know first hand anyone who has lost their certifications simply because I don't know of anyone first hand who has posted information that would likely get them into trouble. All I've heard are second hand stories. Thus, I warn people about what could happen if they violate their confidentiality agreements. It's written out plainly in some of them, like Cisco's.

    Bottom line, why risk your certification just to tell others what's on the exam? It isn't worth it to me, because if it were to happen, it could damage my career.

    The legitimate practice exam providers aren't prosecuted because they don't tell you what you're going to see on the exam.

    Sure, they can consist of only simulations, but unless the practice exam provider states, "On the XXX exam, you will receive only simulation questions," or "You will receive the same number and type of questions on our exam as you will on the live exam," then in what way would they be liable?

    Yes, there are only so many ways that you can ask certain questions. For example, there's only so many ways to ask "What are the 7 layers of the OSI model?". But to be honest, in the thousands of questions I've written, I've never once had a complaint that my content was infringing on the live exam. Either they're not paying attention or I'm doing what I should be doing.

    If it were to go to court, then the vendor would have to prove that the practice exam company copied content. If it looks like a large number of questions are much too similar, it would be up to a judge to make a... judgement call. A legitimate practice exam provider isn't going to create questions that will create a reasonable doubt in the vendor's mind... whereas a braindump company makes absolutely no attempt to change the test question content, other than to occasionally change company names. Personally, I don't know where the line of doubt would be... I just make sure I don't come anywhere near crossing it.

    Speaking directly to the question you ask in this post regarding revealing aspects of the exam... in my personal opinion, if you state in a post, "I just took 70-xxx and you will get two questions on DNS", then you've gone too far. If Microsoft wanted you to know that, they'd have posted it on their exam objectives page. If you state that you just took the exam and "you will get a question on DNS forwarding", and the exam objectives don't specifically state this as an objective or subobjective, then you've gone too far. Again, if Microsoft wanted you to know that, then they'd have posted it in their objectives.

    Take this for example. If CompTIA states that you need to know the OSI model, but someone comes back from an exam and says that they only received a question on what layer routers work at, if someone says that they only received a question about the order of the OSI model, then people (if not all, then at least some) who see that post are going to study ONLY what's asked on the exam and NOT study the rest of it. Or, they'll study that small portion REALLY well, and the rest they'll just skim. Either way, we end up with less qualified techs passing the exam... which lessens the value of our certifications.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  3. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Seriously? I dont think that would cause any harm, there are loads of potential questions on DNS so how does that cause a problem? :blink
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  4. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    Thanks for responding Michael.

    I agree with you that it's not worth risking your certs, but there seems to me to be quite a grey area over what is acceptable and what isn't.

    With regards to the last two paragraphs, if someone got two DNS questions and someone else went into an exam expecting two DNS questions they would be a fool as they could get none or they could get ten. Obviously, having pools of questions is one way to fight the braindumpers.

    Thanks again.:D
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270
  5. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Again, if they wanted you to know that, they'd reveal it. If you choose to reveal that info, it's up to you. Most likely, they won't say anything... but I mention it simply as a service to you all.

    One of the reasons why I'd recommend NOT revealing that information is for the reasons I mentioned in my earlier post. If you find out that there are only 2 questions on DNS, and you're very weak on DNS, you could simply say, "You know, I don't need to know ANY DNS in order to pass", and not study it... at ALL. And then you'll be certified, and not know a lick about DNS.

    CompTIA, in a way, DOES reveal how many of each objective you'll get. For example, if it's a 100-question test, and 35% of it is on Disk Management, you can reasonably expect 35 questions of that type.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  6. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Yes, I agree, the grey area is quite large. I just don't want to be caught in the grey area when the cert vendors decide to start taking down people in the grey in an attempt to enhance the value of their certifications. It's only a matter of time... and I'd have to say that I'd applaud those actions.

    Course, to be fair, companies like CompTIA would have to word their policy to be quite a bit more strict. After all, if I remember correctly, nothing in their policy states that you can't reveal information to a third party! Wouldn't you think that would be of primary concern?!? It merely says that you can't take stuff out of the testing center.

    I agree with you - pools of questions are great... but only if they don't take, for example, 2 questions out of the DNS pool. In that case, my scenario still applies. If you could get 0-20 DNS questions, then the exam would be more secure against offense. But if that were the case... why bother telling someone that you got only 2 questions on DNS? Right? The information would be useless to other test takers... it would be like, "I got 2, but you could get 0-20."
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  7. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Surely each exam is different though? One person may get two questions on DNS however someone else may get ten questions.

    Also I read in another post that you need to know IIS inside out for the 70-290 exam, I dont recall getting any questions on IIS when I took that exam. It does seem like a long time ago though! :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  8. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I can neither confirm nor deny that every exam is always unique for each individual across all vendors. :disguise

    You might be correct in that you didn't receive IIS, but someone else got a bunch. So what would be the point in someone saying, "Dude! You've GOT to learn IIS!" If it's true that each exam could have differing numbers of IIS questions, then that advice is misleading, and could cause someone to fail if they focus on IIS. If it's true that you'll definitely get a bunch of IIS questions, then you study IIS to the exclusion of many other topics (or if you'll definitely get only one IIS question, then a tech could just not study IIS at all)... and you end up with an unqualified tech. Either way, someone loses.

    I'm not saying that it's legal or illegal to post such information (except for Cisco, who says "Thou Shalt NOT!"). I'm simply addressing the "helpfulness" of the advice. Most techs are lazy - they're only going to study what they have to.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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  9. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Fair enough, I have never structured my studying around a comment posted by a member in regard to what the basic content of the exam was for them.

    It is good to hear a general opinion on what an exam is like though, even if it’s a comment that the exam was “a tough one” or something like that.

    As I’m the only the person at my current place of work studying for the 70-291 its good to hear something about the exam from other members just to get a general idea. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  10. Bluerinse
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    The only cert exam I sat twice was 70-216 - I can tell you categorically that the two exams were completely different. They were different lengths, they had completely different question content and they were vastly different in difficulty.

    There is no point at all in publishing finite details regarding your personal exam experience, as it's likely to do more harm than good.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  11. Mitzs
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    Mitzs Ducktape Goddess

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    I'm afraid Im with sparky on this one.

    First off, I don't belive true hearted techs are lazy when it comes to their studies. Those that have been in the field will know what areas they are weak in and may only need to study certain parts.

    And anyone who would base their studying habits around what someone post they had on their exams is a walking idiot in my book. Not many people in this world have photogenic memories, plus the pressure of sitting an exam. I wouldn't belive that they really could keep all those questions straight.

    As for saying I had 2 questions on routers/ 3 on something else isn't giving anything away that the objectives does for an exam. I see nothing wrong in that at all. And before you start on me mike, you know how I feel about someone repeating the questions.
     
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  12. BosonMichael
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    I'm lazy when it comes to my studies. :clown

    heeheeheehee
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  13. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Rough thing is, there are quite a few walking idiots out there. Or, if not idiots, they simply don't know any better... yet. That's what my post was intended to illuminate... the problem of taking some of these "You Gotta Study THIS" posts too seriously.

    And all people have photographic memories. Some people are just missing the film. ;)
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
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