Career / Career Progression

The Dangers of Exam Dumps (And What To Do Instead)

by Josh Adams
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Updated on May 16, 2024

If you're studying for that certification exam, there's a good chance you're looking for ways to improve your study sessions. During that research, you might have heard something about exam dumps or brain dumps—and they might seem like a harmless shortcut you can use to pass that hard certification. 

They aren't. 

Let's explore exactly what exactly exam dumps are and why they aren't the shortcut you might think. 

What are Exam Dumps? 

Exam dumps are lists of questions and answers, often posted online, purportedly from a specific IT exam test. Someone takes an exam and immediately afterward spews as many topics and questions as they can remember online. Exam dumps may come in the form of PDF files, online forum comments, or flashcards—some folks even charge for them. 

While they might seem tempting to get a sneak peek at the exam, exam dumps are the absolute worst for your learning. Here are some of the top reasons exam dumps harm your learning experience.

They Violate Exam Policies 

First and most importantly, exam dumps violate standard non-disclosure (NDA) agreements. NDA agreements typically state that reproducing, sharing, or publishing exam content, verbatim questions, or identifying correct and incorrect answers is expressly forbidden.

If they catch you exam dumping, they'll revoke your certification credentials. They'll also revoke the credentials of anyone using exam dumps to pass a certification. In some cases, they'll even ban you for life– for instance, Microsoft's policy is to ban you for life for cheating.

Trust us, it's really easy for certifiers to figure out whether or not you've used a brain dump. For instance, vendors are now using data forensics to catch brain dump users, comparing against other test results to look for evidence of fraudulent activity. A forensic algorithm considers several factors from a learner's exam performance and compares that to historical trends, with various points acting as red flags.

Whether you are aware of it or not, if you have prior knowledge of the content, you are likely to display specific characteristics in answering questions and progressing through an exit.

So, it's better to use practice exams and train for real. It's not worth getting caught—particularly if you're testing with Microsoft.

They Go Against How Your Brain Learns 

Our brains are wired to learn slowly and over time. Short study sessions over weeks (or months, not hours) are the best way to learn complex information. Exam dumps require you to stuff a bunch of information in your brain at once—which just doesn't work. 

Instead, work with your brain by taking practice exams, watching videos, and using labs to actually do the work. That will help your brain retain the knowledge rather than trying to remember that the answer to question ten is spine and leaf. 

They Don't Work 

When using an exam dump, you don't have much to engage with—only the repetitive action of memorizing questions and answers.

You aren't actively retaining information by simply reading through questions and drilling the correct answer into your brain. You aren't really learning the concepts because brain dumps don't explain the reasoning behind answers. Memorizing a question and answer keeps you away from the concepts and skills that will make you better at your job and help you progress in your career.

When preparing to take an exam, you don't just need to pass it. You need to be able to apply every concept you have learned so that you can do your job to the best of your ability. The primary goal in taking an exam should not be just to pass it but to make steady improvements in your work.

If you feel jittery about an exam, buckle down on your practice exams. It's an effective way to get the same leg up on the exam, albeit legally.

You Might Get Inaccurate or Incorrect Info 

Brain dumps provide no quality control, so you don't know whether you're using a "reliable" exam dump. The questions, answer options, and answers could be completely incorrect, and you can only check them once it's too late. You can't even confirm whether the dumper actually passed the exam.

Actual certification questions undergo rigorous research, design, and testing before they end up in a question bank. With exam dumps, there's no way to tell where the information came from or how old or accurate it may be. You want the best study material available, and there's absolutely no way to guarantee that exam dumps can meet those criteria.

You're Risking Your Reputation 

Passing an exam using dishonest means can damage your professional reputation. If you take shortcuts on the exam (whether or not you get caught!), what else are you willing to cut corners on? 

Using exam dumps can tank your career for good. You risk losing a certification you've worked hard for, possibly losing your job, and stunting your career for years to come. Even worse — they aren't even that effective. 

Avoid Exam Dumps — and Do This Instead 

While exam dumps might seem like a convenient way to prepare for certification exams, using them can have serious consequences. Exam providers actively monitor for cheating and take measures to protect exam integrity. Relying on exam dumps not only undermines the credibility of certifications but also puts individuals at risk of penalties and reputation damage.

When studying for your next exam, there are plenty of practical strategies to help you learn the material: reading official study guides, taking practice exams, working in your home lab or other virtual environments, and even watching training videos.

Brain dumps, on the other hand, are one of the worst ways to study for that certification exam. They are illegal and will eventually expose you as a fraud on the job. Just don't do it!

Need some more practical studying methods? CBT Nuggets has you covered.


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