The Best Dumps One Can Imagine.

You may have noticed that people post to the certification newsgroups asking where to find "braindumps," word exam cheat sheets, etc. This could be because they don't know better, or use the term differently*, or they might really be looking for a shortcut.

In any case, some MCPranksters tell these people to contact (Microsoft Learning's anti-piracy team) to request braindumps. The unsuspecting braindump-seeker is told that "Thomas C. Tips" can hook them up (the TC actually stands for Training and Certification). This doesn't do much in preventing cheating, but sometimes it results in something funny along these lines:

"Hi Thomas, Please help me out by providing your famous dump for MCTS have the best dumps on 70-528 one can imagine..."

Oh, YOU! Stop. Just stop, with your pretty words.

But back to business. The function of TCTips is to report violations such as people or organizations selling braindumps, indivduals who have cheated on their exam, test centers or training centers who are not enforcing our security standards or who are facilitating cheaters, etc. You can learn more about that here.

Instead of directing braindump seekers to TCTips (even though it is funny), consider replying with something constructive which might do some good in the long run.

For example: Although I appreciate your interest in Microsoft Certification, you should know that "brain dumps” and “cheat sheets” are not an authorized way to study. When people pass exams by cheating, it devalues the certifications for those of us in the community who have passed because of experience with the product and studying wiht authorized materials. To find recommended and approved study resources for your Microsoft Certification exam, please visit the prep guides. For more information on upholding the high standards of MIcrosoft Certification, you can watch this Live Meeting.

You may find this cheesy, and less fun than pranking or belittling. But consider it anyway. 


* I understand that in some countries people say 'braindump' when they really mean a legitimate study resource--just terminology differences. In other class-act countries, like mine, people say 'dumps like a truck' but that has nothing to do with exams.

Comments (27)

  1. sayangh says:

    Awesome!! Can’t stop laughing at Thomas C. Tips!!

  2. Mitch Garvis says:

    You never let us have any fun! 🙂

  3. ddamir says:

    I have one pretty simple question, for which I can not find answer. In our CPLS we also have Prometric and VUE testing center. From time to time, there are some candidates who sit for exam, and finish it in 15-20 minutes with score of 900+. Obviously, they used braindump for exam preparation. The question is what CPLS (or testing center) can do about that, if anything?

  4. Peter Read says:

    I’d hope there’s a reporting mechanism for that, but I’d guess it’d be difficult to prove even though it seems highly likely under those circumstances….  (hey maybe 99.9% are, but that leaves 0.1% who REALLY know the product well enough to breeze 950 in half an hour)

  5. Paul Turner says:

    Cool post… People should actually *study* for an exam in order to pass it!!

  6. mdalligood says:

    First you guys change MCTS: Applications Platform, Configuring to MCTS: Applications Infrastructure, Configuring. Now you are telling me that Tom is not real??? Please, is there anything else you need to mention?

  7. Trika:

    All we are doing is trying to get people to self-report their desire to cheat, to report their own violations ("indivduals who have cheated on their exam", or in this case, will cheat) that you say the purpose of is.

    I agree with Mitch that it appears you are trying to ruin our fun.

    Of course, if they ask for the exam questions, as was done yesterday by "Soraya" in the MCTS newsgroup (see, there’s no doubt what they are looking for. (By the way, I normally preface my sending people to "Thomas" with a "you do know that what you are asking for is illegal, don’t you?") [Contrast Soraya’s request with the legitimate one of Alan T in the same newsgroup, same day, same exam.]

    If we can’t send people to Thomas C. Tips, can we send them to Mike C. Phelp? (

    Perhaps Microsoft should set up a "honey pot" e-mail address if "Thomas" is too busy that we can send people who really desire to cheat to. You could then have an auto-reply set up that would basically say what you have italicized above [along with monitoring their exams to see if they scored 1000 in 10 minutes]. I would suggest using a hotmail address to throw people off that it is a Microsoft set-up, or even better yet, a yahoo or gmail address would really help "Tom" catch more cheaters, as well as allow us to have our little fun.

  8. Lukas Beeler says:

    Peter, ddamir:

    I don’t know about you guys, but i never needed more than 45-60 minutes for an MCP exam. My scores were usually in the 750-900 points area.

    I always try to answer questions as quickly as possible, because when i think to long about a single question i start to doubt myself, making even more mistakes.

    For 70-620, which was one of the easiest exams i’ve ever seen i needed roughly 20 minutes.

  9. Peter Read says:

    Sure, I thought 620 was a walk in the park too.  I spend a little more time than you, generally about 1.5hrs for a 2.5hr exam, but that one took under an hour (about 50-55mins I think).

    But the issue I think is people who do an exam or two a week, get 900+ on all of them, and spend under half an hour on each.

    Maybe a bigger question pool to put people off is a better solution than I thought before I wrote this…

  10. Joe Blow says:

    Who cares if a source is "authorized", as long as it’s an honest way to study and it covers the material?  Not me.  My experience has been that "authorized" sources are usually the worst ways to learn, as the fact that they are "authorized" is usually more marketing hype than a recommendation for the quality of the educational content.  

    The Microsoft "authorized" training center I started my training with pushed braindumps at their students to get them through their "classes" faster.  I didn’t stay long, but was there long enough to make enemies out of the "instructors" who had gotten their MCSE’s by braindumping.  

    One last comment….  What’s the difference between getting your MS cert from a braindump site or a bootcamp?  One seems to be accepted, the other not, but they are both the same types of training.  All you really learn from either source is what you need to know to pass the test.  Both are worthless as far as I’m concerned, but I sure don’t see any outrage in the MS community about boot camps.

  11. Joey says:

    I love your sense of humor "dumps like a truck".  You must have been watching VH1’s I love 1999.  I’ll leave the title of the song unmentioned.  Great web cast on Wednesday by the way!

  12. Rachel A says:

    When I worked at a CPLS there was so far as I knew any reporting mechanisms (That I & my CPLS knew of) for the exam taker who barely had enough time to read the questions yet passed with 900+.  I understand once in a while this is possible to legitimately pass this way, however some folks did this for a whole MCSE track – very fishy.  I would be interested to see what happens if someone emails TCTips with a such a report.  Does MS follow up on these type of reports?

  13. Wesc says:

    Naw, lots of people have been developing for, or working with, MS products for a long time, and just decide one day to get certified. I don’t think a lawyer or auto mechanic could walk in off the street and get a 900, but someone who knows the technology would have no problems finishing quickly. I’m nothing special, and I zipped through all three MCPDs in a few weeks (7 exams). Tests took maybe an hour, with me going back over all the questions again. I could have easily just devoted a day or two to taking the exams and been done with it. The tests aren’t designed to *crush* you with difficulty, but just to make sure you know whats up. In fact, many of the questions seem designed to be answered quickly– either you can spot this obviously correct answer, or you can’t. Next.

    The time it takes to finish an exam is a horrible way to judge cheatiness, IMO.

  14. Peter Read says:

    Wesc – I’d probably agree with you as far as the couple of development exams I’ve taken, but the non-developer/IT Pro exams have a wider scope I’d say.  Admittedly I spend most of my time that side of the fence, so may be biased, but having taken both forms there’s a lot more ‘if you know the object models, you’ll walk it’ about the dev exams.  IT Pro questions often give more than one ‘sane’ answer to someone who knows how to use the tech but not that deeply.

  15. says:

    Oh, you got me! I want to ruin your fun! Cat’s out of the bag! I want everyone to have a horrible life.

    Red-handed! Now you know the truth.

    It’s a relief, really. I’m exhausted from pretending that I want you to be happy.

  16. says:

    Wesc, I like the term "cheatiness."

    All, I know our team studies trending (specifically by center, if pass rates are crazy high all the time at one place… or country) and I’m sure they do trending by exam, too, to look for patterns. As far as time by invidual, I’m not sure…I can follow up and see–I’m interested too.

  17. Ian says:

    Just passed 649! Whilst no Braindumps or other cheating methods were available!

    And it feels good – Can many of you paper MCSE’s say that??


  18. Peter Read says:

    Ian – out of curiosity, Vue or Prometric?  (I done it with vue, no result yet)

    & why would a paper MCSE hang out here anyway?  Surely they’d be after the 5 year old exams with the bezt uber cheet sheetz? 😉

  19. Ian says:

    Hi Pete. I sat it with Prometric – Don’t think VUE are an option any more.

    I think many of our "paper" friends will end up on this blog – largly due to blog being filed under "braindumps, cheating" :p

    Hope you get your result soon! I’d be going out of my mind!

  20. Peter Read says:

    Still no sign 🙁  I’m really reluctant to move on to the next one until I know the outcome of this, but I said the same 3-4 weeks ago & could probably have done the sql2k5 TS by now :-/

    (because I’m an MCDBA and support/implement/design sql2k5 solutions regularly, not dumps 😉 )

  21. Wesc says:

    @Pete:  You might be right Pete, but I felt the same way about the MCSE exams a few years ago. The difficulty and propensity for "choose the best, though all will work"-type questions is about the same as the developer tests, from my experience.

    Just for fun, how about we have a huge debate about it on Trika’s blog. She’ll love it. Wanna?

    You’re WRONG. I have spoken.

    🙂 Just playin’. The point is that it depends on the individual. People with lots of experience can blow through the exams. After all, someone who has read about 20 .Net books in a few years, or has been coding for MS since PC-DOS, and have been in the trenches solving diverse problems for actual companies with serious business problems… the tests are nothing. The same is true for the admins keeping servers alive, and the DBAs.

    You never know who’s taking the exam, or what their skill level is, so it’s a mistake to presume cheating based solely on how long it takes. And it’s a waste of time to even worry about it, too. Another way to maintain the value of the certs is to simply do great work. At least that’s something in our control. 🙂

  22. Hessam says:

    I agree.

    Although I just did 5 exams in 7 days with extensive studying, I still could not pass through them less than 1.75 hours each. I don’t know how some people sit and get out in 30 min with 900 score.

  23. Peter Read says:

    5 exams in 7 days??  Crikey….  I done 2 in one day once, that was a mistake (passed one, failed one).  

    I usually average 4-6 weeks between exams when everything’s going smoothly, sometimes longer depending on work pressures & hands on time with whatever technology I want to certify on.

  24. Run Forrestt Run says:

    c’mon, we all know that what Microsoft asks for on the exams and what’s actually implemented in the real world are two different things in many circumstances.  The braindumps are a good supplement to all the reading and labs you do to prepare. It’s even better when you find a question that has all wrong answers even if one is selected correct.

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  27. Kevin QA-X says:

    Well done to all of you that have passed using proper methods – instructor led training, self study and hard work.

    Shame on all those that cheat, you do not deserve the title let alone to work with the technologies.

    I’m reading the Security + material, and studying for the LPI exams, it’s not (that) easy but when you come up against it in real life, at least I know the answers. I just hope that you "Paper" cert holders don’t get the job I’m going for

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