“Just what the heck is that legal document I have to sign to take a test?”

October 6, 2008 at 9:41 am | Posted in Study hints | 1 Comment
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I recently received a rather disgruntled e-mail from a customer, stating that he didn’t see a single item from our practice test on the live exam. My initial reaction was happiness – we work hard to not violate the vendor Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) when we assemble our tests. It was quickly followed by concern over the customer’s expectations. After e-mailing back and forth with the customer, explaining the theory behind our tutorials, he began studying the tutorials in depth instead of passing them over after answering a question correctly. He said later he was surprised at the amount of useful information they contained. (For more information on why this technique works, see the blog post entitled The Secret Path to Knowledge and a Better Exam Experience.)

Thinking back on this exchange, I realize that many certification candidates may have unrealistic expectations of a legitimate practice test vendor. Our job is to prepare you for the content you will see on the test. But we straddle a fine line – one between serving our customers’ needs, and ensuring that we do not violate the NDA. You should never expect to see the exact same questions on a practice test and a live exam. This is a direct violation of the NDA.

But you may wonder just what an NDA is. An NDA is that little agreement you “sign” just before your live exam starts. If you’ve taken a certification exam, it’s that screen that looks like a legal document that you probably do not take the time to read, but it is very binding. By clicking the I Agree button, you are saying that you will not violate the policy in any manner. While NDAs across vendors vary, they all include guidelines about NOT sharing test content with the public that includes removing notes, taking pictures, and so on. Punishment for violation of the NDA varies, but it can lead to losing all of your current and future IT certifications.

Now all of us have seen or heard of braindump sites (or companies that call themselves practice test vendors) that claim that you can memorize their test questions and answers and pass the test easily. You probably even know someone who has used them (but of course, have never used them yourself).

Nothing frustrates me more than to have someone compare Transcender’s products to these sites. They have nothing to do with legitimate test preparation. These sites directly violate the NDA; some of these sites have even been prosecuted by certification vendors. Their products generally are just the questions, options, and (someone’s opinion of) the correct answer. (Some of these braindump tests have passed over my desk, and let me tell you, the companies just care about making a buck; they don’t care about accuracy. I have often seen the wrong answer marked as “correct.” But how are you going to complain after you’ve used their product to cheat on a test?)  They usually do not include tutorials or references. They don’t tell you the why or how of an item. They are just a way to cheat and cheapen the value of the IT certification.

This is such a big topic that it can’t possibly be addressed in one post, but we have a series of articles planned about what IT certification fraud is, its impact, and the countermeasures that vendors are taking (including targeting the consumer – that’s you!).

Until next time

1 Comment »

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  1. EXCELLENT post and topic, Robin. I look forward to seeing the future installments.

    You may or may not have heard about me or the website I created, but braindumps are exactly what we try to warn candidates about.

    As for the number of candidates who aren’t sure if Transcender is a braindump or not, all have to say is that you’re not the #1 searched ‘Safe’ website for no reason. There are many people out there that truly don’t know,but we’re hoping to get that word out to them.

    Here are two links for you to pass around if you like:



    Thanks for an awesome set of products and helping to keep the value of certifications up!!

    Keep up the great work!

    Best Regards,

    Robert Williams

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