Cheating Part 1: Who Benefits from Cheating?

I seriously don’t understand why people cheat to get certified. In a July 2008 blog post I discussed how certification is a valuable process and not merely a ‘piece of paper’. I’m going to discuss cheating in a few different posts over the next couple of weeks. I’m very interested in the comments that this topic generates. As this series on cheating progresses I will pose some questions please post your stories/comments in the blog comments (please don’t name any names).

In association with this series we’ve created a survey called "Cheating: How Bad Is It?" (completely anonymous) that will help us better understand cheating. I’ll post the results towards the end of the blog series.

Paul Sorensen,
Director, Oracle Certification


[UPDATE January 8, 2009: survey period ended, URL removed]


Paul, Cheating is foolish and wrong. I believe in honor and doing a great hard work to pass the exams. I learned some things by the many hours of study to pass my 10g OCA exam and it was beneficial to make the hard effort that allowed me to pass it. Only fools cheat themselves. Ben

Posted by Ben Prusinski on November 12, 2008 at 06:31 AM PST #

Paul, First off, thanks for bringing this topic up to the Oracle community. It's definitely a topic that needs more discussion. I've been trying to prevent cheating in the IT Industry for almost 3 years now and although the work I've been doing is making a difference, it's a slow and arduous process. I've had conversations with many individuals who are or were preparing for IT certifications; some we would consider cheaters, but most are genuinely interested in knowing the technologies, they just got caught off guard by the vast amount of braindumps that are available. Here's what I know. Exam Candidates who are shown their options without any bias will more often than not choose to take the honest road and prepare for their certifications using legitimate sources. Not everyone does, of course, but most do. Many of the people I have talked to either aren't aware that using braindumps is considered illegal, or they simply aren't aware that braindumps exist. For instance, the people that ask for dumps, "Hey, do you have the latest dumps for XXX-XXX?", often don't know that they are asking for cheating materials. The people who are asking for materials from a specific company "Do you have the xxxxxxxxx's XXX-XXX?" usually only know that the company exists, but don't know that the materials they are providing are illegal. Those are the people we call the "Inadvertent Cheaters". Most of the time I point them to my Braindump Information Page and they claim they had no idea and vow to stay away from braindumps. I understand that what they claim and what they do maybe completely opposite of eachother, but at least they are more informed and know what braindumps are that they're illegal, and that Certification Vendors are working to put a end to the cheating. Aside from the Inadvertent Cheaters, you've got the spammers. Those are the people that work for the braindump companies and are trying to get the word out about the many different sites out that that are putting your certifications at risk. I'm sure you've seen people come across your forums that just post somehing similar to "I'm studying for my XXX-XXX exam and want to know how's practice tests are." Those are the people that try to get the word out about the braindumps; and they're doing a good job I'd say, because they're prospering more than most of the legitimate practice test providers are. Do you know that there are over 1,400 braindump websites out there that are competing for the attention of exam candidates all around the world? And are you aware that most of those illicit sites all sell the same product? Care to guess where all the money is going? To help candidates determine which websites are good and which are bad, we created a search (it's been dubbed our "Braindump Identification System") that will give candidates instant results on over 4,000 certification related websites. We will tell them if the website is Safe, Braindump, Gunman, Link Dump (Ads), Dirty Forums, Test Vouchers, Bootcamps, Certification Vendors, Unethical, MassDistribution, Books, Testing Partners, Good Blog, Bad Blog, IT Job, Media, or Accredited College. I look forward to reading the remaining parts of your blog on cheating. Best Regards, Robert Williams, CEO CertGuard, Inc.

Posted by Robert Williams on November 13, 2008 at 09:06 AM PST #

Dear Paul, as you see this posting is from a not english speaking country. I don't say cheating to it, i say selfprotecting to it. As a not first language "english"speaker you must take the english questions. Otherwise you must translate the first language OCA/OCP questions to english and the answers to the english ones and then decide which is correct :-( , If you don't do that, you fail ! The translations are WORSE/FALSE or better known as a piece of crap ! On the other hand, you ("Oracle" OCA Exam) use a lot of "special" word's which are unknown in the normal "school" english. If you haven't heard / readed them before, you don't know what they mean :-( . So the most time is spend (in the exam) to decide what the text means and not : What is the correct answer ? You could be a professional for years and the best in your company and fail only because of not knowing a few vocabulary. That's frustrating and i can understand all the guys (non english ones) which read the questions just for "optimizing" their english. Don't understand me false, cheating is not correct !! But you help the cheaters a lot: so how about showing the answers "randomly" sorted. Yours faithfully, Anon one

Posted by Anonymous on November 25, 2008 at 02:58 AM PST #

Paul, First of all i want to thank you for bringing out this topic in the certification blog. Especially because more often than not candidates get lost in the technology while studying for their respective certification exams and thus forget about the rest of it. Being an OCP, I have myself experienced the stress of the exam but I must tell you the inspiration and proud one feels after being accredited by ORACLE. However, the same degree of sadness is inflicted on a certified professional when someone says ' Oh, it is no big deal to get ORACLE certification as lot of people can get that through some easy arrangement'. Such things not only vilifies the reputation of ORACLE certification program but more so do the damage to the credibility of a lot of existing certified professionals. So, I think ORACLE should take some very serious steps to minimize the chances of someone duping the test. Talking about the stress, let me tell you that it is very tempting for people to cheat on the exam, not because the paper value of the certification is very high, but also because having worked so hard, people don;t want to loose it all in 1 or 2 hours. So, I think Oracle must come up with some practical,more comprehensive test methodologies like the one for OCM. Another thing is that ORACLE should make the exam more guessing and not necessarily more tough. Like the GRE and GMAT may be ORACLE can turn the certification exam into a fully Computer Adaptive Test so that no one can dare to cheat on an exam. Candidates should be penalised for wrong answers and once reviewed there is no way one can revisit the same question. In the end I want to stress on the illegal test centres who promise the candidates an easy way of acheiving the certification. ORACLE should make sure that it does not qualify XYZ institutes as its channel partners or education partners or authorize test centres etc. etc. Because in the local market, it is the reputation of this XYZ institute and not that of ORACLE that would be attached with each certification such institute offers.

Posted by Deep on December 16, 2008 at 05:49 PM PST #

Some actions really need to be taken to remove the dumps from the sites..These dumps results in any person passing the exam which decreases the value.. of oracle dba. certificaton. Imagine i had given a upgrade exam ofcourse i had studied for long time .. i cleared my upgrade easily but one hour before the exam i just referred some dumps and most of the questions came from the what it meant was if any person had read all those exam sets even though he is not a true expert he can pass the exams.. no one should be able to predict what the questions or from which dump set the questions are gonig to come or you need to see to it atleast 50% of questions are completley new questions which are changed every one month.. snice there is a gap for 1 month for aperson to give the exam.. I mean a failed exam. i am currently focussing on my oracle masters ..but since i have been focussed previously not on certification but on being a true expert i Can sucessfully give my ocm certification.

Posted by paulj on March 08, 2009 at 12:51 AM PST #

Hi, I think it's some kind of relation to the desire to quickly get advanced, money-wise and carrier-wise.. Nevertheless, on the long term, by cheating... you will cut down your chances of doing a great job in the future company... and it will come by itself the poor performance. Anyway, i was just wondering, what's your opinion about one case that i happen to know... I know a guy, who started about 1 year and couple of months ago to work as a DBA (as he states, never did it before). In a very short time (up to december last year - that means after 1 year of working) he got OCM!!!! :-ooo How do you think is that possible? I am struggling myself with Oracle for the past 3 - 4 years, and it is only now that i started to look for certification paths... But even now, after all this while, i still find myself diving in a large ocean, which i barely know how to realize the greatness, yet to have known all depths. All in one, i think the game doesn't worth the candle... go for the pure path, and reach Everest by your own forces, not by flying helicopter-assisted.

Posted by Mihai on March 01, 2010 at 05:47 PM PST #

Robert, I didn't actually know that braindumps exist either, so thanks for pointing that out. What is a site that is considered a braindump? I guess I can just Google it and find out - I've never heard of the term before. I didn't realize that there is so much cheating going on to be certified in Oracle. That's too bad because it will likely create an image problem for the industry when people can't seem to do their jobs. It's too bad. Vic

Posted by java training on May 20, 2010 at 03:23 AM PDT #

The more I think about it, the more I agree.

Posted by Alaina Steib on December 06, 2010 at 08:28 PM PST #

Hi there;
I have known about braindumps for years since my CCNA certification. Even back then it flooded the market with MCSE certifications. The Oracle Certifications does however carry a lot of weight BUT only if you go up to OCM level. That's at least in my experience.

A true expert is one who has passion for what he or she does and will not take shortcuts. I can tell you that I gained experience by teaching others for free and its hard work.

Do what you belive is great work and the only way to achieve this is to love what you do. There is no shortcuts.

Imraan Grace

Posted by Imraan Grace on February 11, 2013 at 01:07 PM PST #

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