Redmond CSI*: Catching the Cheaters

If you’re around today at TechEd:

  • Go to Shelby’s lunch session on Exam Forensics (LUN52) in N310E at noon… it should be fun and yesterday she told me about a few new things we just got OK’d to talk about yesterday that she’ll announce today.
  • Come say hi, I’m in the blogger’s lounge or at the booth until noon, at which point I will leave to learn about exam forensics…
  • If you don’t think you’re quite ready to take your exam on site, you can still stop by and take a free practice test (from one of our great partners SelfTest or MeasureUp) up in the study hall in S330. Go check it out.


If you’re not at TechEd, you can join the Exam Forensics live meeting in a week or so from the comfort of your own home.

CSI: Redmond – Exam Forensics and What Microsoft is Doing to Catch the Cheaters

Certification fraud is big business and a serious threat to the value of Microsoft certification exams. Cheaters, braindumps, and sometimes even the actions of your well-intentioned peers can damage the reputation of your hard-earned Microsoft credential. Come to this session to learn what Microsoft is doing to protect your certifications from braindump providers, proxy test-takers, and score-report fakers. You’ll hear how technical innovations in the exams themselves, our piracy teams, and YOU are helping to reduce cheating in the world of Microsoft certification. This meeting will be offered twice to accommodate worldwide calendars, to register for:


If you don’t follow cheesy U.S. crime shows, you can find out what CSI is here.

Comments (14)

  1. Erwin Blonk says:

    I have seen some of those materials that are sold. Some are word for word copies of the questions and answers, expect for a few changed names. How is that possible?

    Those companies sell their products out in the open, it should be easy to get a judge to convinct them for copyright infringement, I think.

  2. Hi Trika!

    We met today (and no, I’n not your mom posting!). I’ve long been a proponent of exam integrity as a Tutor on CertTutor – now part of WindowsITPro as a Forum Pro there.

    Looks like I missed a good session (I was at the security lunch one) – based on my previous experience with the NDA, my latest blog post (yes… from January!) would pass muster. Would it with the new NDA? Should I take it down?

  3. Welcome to Monday! It’s still a little early in Redmond, and I still haven’t posted a blog update in MONTHS… but would appreciate knowing whether or not exam thoughts as I posted are no longer fair game.

  4. says:

    Hi, GS, I sent your question to our NDA team and when I hear back from them I’ll let you know!

  5. Niall says:

    Hi Trika

    I have a couple of posts as well. Any chance I can forward them onto you for you to route to the NDA folks.. They are exam guides that I wrote but they are quite vague and dont reveal anything that isnt in the exam matrices. Just want to play it safe


  6. Niall says:

    Hi Trika

    Just a followup to my question in relation to discussion of question types contained within an exam. Peggy mentioned in her talk that 70-290 series and 70-431 contained simulations for example. Does that count as you said we can now use it??? 🙂 And this information on the simulations for example specifies which exams have them (well some of them anyways)


    Direct quote

    "Q: Which exams will include simulations?

    A: In the future, most MCP exams will include simulations. In 2005, Microsoft introduced simulations with Exam 70-290: Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment and Exam 70-291: Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure (core MCSA and MCSE on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 exams). Some exceptions apply in selected regions. Please check with your local exam delivery provider for availability."

    As you said splitting fine hairs on this one, but its better to know up front as this is a common question recieved by anyone who has done an exam.  Not the content of the questions just is there sims, testlets or the like etc.  

  7. Thomas says:

    Is there a recording of the Live Meeting available? I’m *so* looking forward to the explanation why there are word for word copies of the exams available, even in other languages than English, and what you are going to do about it.

    Hint: You need to change the German 70-620 test real soon as there is a website which is supposed to have a 99.8% copy of the actual test questions. This includes the correct order of the possible answers. 🙁

  8. Celerion says:

    I’d like to see the recording as well.

    @Thomas: There is 100% copy of almost any Microsoft Exam available…

  9. Bildos says:

    I’m looking for recording as well.

  10. WallyTgoat - MCSA, MCTS, A+, Net+, Security+ says:

    On one of my first job interviews I was asked what I wanted as a salary…  I quoted what I thought was a fair price given my level of knowledge, but the Owner only shook his head and smiled.  At that point I decided to boaster my position by reminding him that I held many hard earned certifications.  His response? "I don’t put a lot of stock into those things…”  I didn’t know what to say.  I had put many hours into earning my certs, only to have them dismissed at a decisive juncture.

    Quite some time later the Owner and I were having lunch together (Oh I forgot to mention, I got the job.)  I decided to take the opportunity to find out why he so easily dismissed my certification efforts.  That lunch opened my eyes to a something that I didn’t even know existed… “Study Guides”   You see I thought that everyone that sat for a test actually prepared for it by becoming intimately familiar with the subject matter.  They set up labs, ran scenario’s, tortured their families by converting their perfectly functional peer to peer network in to a Domain complete with User accounts, Active Directory, and a Server.  It had never occurred to me that someone out there would not only know the test content, but would be happy to sell you a copy if you were so inclined.  I was crushed.  

    I have endeavored for many years now to figure out a way to differentiate myself from those with access to “Study Guides”.   But sadly there is no good way to prove you know what you know without putting your hands on gear.

    I missed live meeting on the subject I hope it gets posted so that I can learn how MS is planning to defend the validity to the certification process.  Yes, I know they are only tittles…  They really don’t seem like much until you “Earn” one, and that makes all the difference.

    Thanks Trika.

  11. Erwin Blonk says:

    I know how you feel. I spent (and keep spending) a lot of time on it, time I could have spent with the wife and kids, putting my heart and soul in getting beyond just what it says in the SPTK’s.

    There are those who dismiss your certs, even if they are convinced you didn’t cheat. Oh well, it means I have to convince anybody considering paying for what I do, what my certs are worth. For those (very few) that dismiss you for having certs at all (you’ll find them here and there), so be it, can’t please everyone. I know my worth. And I know I payed out of my own pocket for every certificate since 3 years (and I did most of them in that period) and quite some of them in the time before that. Could have taking a nice vacation with that money. It was well spend.

  12. Erwin Blonk says:

    previous comment was in response to the 9:39 reply.

  13. says:

    Hi, all. I posted the recording link here:

    GS: "I think it’s fine.  I don’t see anything in there that’s not already covered in the prep guide…." Basically the idea is any info that we post on our prep guide is fine to discuss and share with others. When in doubt… DON’T SHARE IT.

    I’ll post a summary of our NDA "can/can not" share info in the next few weeks, including some thoughts on the "format of questions" question.

    Thanks for your comments you guys!