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  1. Completely Clueless TechGromit's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Practice Exams or Brain dumps?

    In my quest to obtain my CCENT and CCNA, I've been looking for sties that offer practice tests. I took several free CCENT tests on the internet, but I've pretty much exhausted tests in the Free category, I paid for practice tests from BOSON, for $99 they offer three unique exams, one of which I took and I'm now studying my weak areas. Anyway before I purchased practice exams from BOSON, a co-worker told me about a site called *********, which on the surface looks like a legitimate site, but a little investigation it turns out they are a braindump site, they have been accused by Microsoft of providing actual exam questions from Microsoft exams on in there practice questions. So the question is how do you know a website is offering legitimate practice questions and which are braindump sites? Sites that advertise they are braindump sites are easy enough to identify, but not all website are as forth coming.

    I found this list of tell tale signs of from www.tomsitpro.com.
    • The site labels itself as a “brain dump” or “braindump” or uses one or both terms in its search labeling.
    • The site or product uses language like “Actual Exam Questions and Answers” or “Current Exam Content.”
    • The site or product comes with a “Pass Guarantee” with no related terms and conditions, or questions asked.
    • The site or product (set) includes enormous question banks for each exam, and covers the entire certification spectrum from Apple to Zend.
    • The site or vendor also offers one-price access to all of its practice exams or question banks.
    • The site or vendor offers coverage for exams with days or weeks of that exam’s release (legit practice test companies usually lag at least 60 days behind public release dates).
    Interesting enough Boson claims that We've replicated the timing and difficulty of the actual exam so accurately that if you can pass the ExSim-Max exam, you can pass the real exam — guaranteed.
    So are they guaranteeing I'll pass the exam? Is BOSON another brain dump site?
    Last edited by TechGromit; 01-11-2017 at 01:00 PM.
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    Biggest thing I would say is the following of the site.

    People know brain dumps because they don't hide the answers. It's just a list in PDF format or test format.

    Boson does offer a simulator. Same with Total Tester.

    Other times you will see stuff like this from Boson:
    Cisco Learning Credits | Boson

    It sounds silly but they do have to make a name for themselves if they want to distinguish from those sites. However being a partner is a big step and a lot of the test makers will point you in their direction as well.

    [
    Last edited by Plantwiz; 01-11-2017 at 11:18 PM.
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  4. Senior Member 7255carl's Avatar
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    #3
    Hi TechGromit

    there is a very good clue in your post above as to whether a site is a dump or not, techexams will star out the site name of known dumps, also these sites are usually quite open about using exam questions, if you are unsure as to the validity of a site post it on the forum I very much doubt there are many sites that the members of the forum have not come across

    All the very best with your studies

    Carl
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  5. Senior Member amcnow's Avatar
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    #4
    As 7255carl already mentioned, techexams will mask site names for known dumps. Another tool for weeding out known dumps is http://certguard.com/. With that said, the best tool is common sense. If you're less than 100% sure about the legitimacy of a resource, then err on the side of caution.
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  6. Happiness is !!!!! MAC_Addy's Avatar
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    #5
    When I first got into certifications as a whole, I spent hours, sometimes days trying to find the next practice exam. Don't be like me and waste your item. I would fixate on the questions I missed, go back through the test and make sure that I got 100%. I wasn't learning anything. I was essentially memorizing the questions and answers.

    Here's what you need to do:

    Read the book
    Take the review questions at the end of each chapter.
    If the book came with a practice exam (on CD), take it.

    Most of the time I leave the CD alone. I haven't taken a practice test since 2006 and I don't plan on taking anymore. If I don't feel 100% at the end of each chapter, I go back to review. That's all you need.

    Also, don't brain dump. If you're considering it, you're ruining for IT professionals that have invested their time and effort on something for their career.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    When I was studying for the Sec+ and CISSP I stuck to resources mentioned here so I would be sure I got reliable material. For the Sec+ I used Prof. Messer and Darrill Gibson and the CISSP I used Sybex and cybrary. They were touted on here as being the go-to materials so I stuck with that.
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  8. There is no spoon. p@r0tuXus's Avatar
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    #7
    You mentioned it yourself earlier on...

    The site or product comes with a “Pass Guarantee” with no related terms and conditions, or questions asked.
    The Guarantee that Boson offers is backed with a money back policy. I think that shows their faith in the tools, not the answers they provide. Although I haven't used Boson personally, I researched them enough to know I'll use them for some higher-level certs to pound in that knowledge more completely.
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  9. Senior Member Mooseboost's Avatar
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    #8
    I used the Boson practice exams for ICND1 and ICND2.

    Their exams are not brain-dumps. Their exam difficulty for the most part is about on what with what an actual exam will ask, or at least in my case it was. None of the actual questions from the practice exams appeared on the real one - though the material tested was about the same. Boson does a good job of asking you about the kind of things you will see on the actual exam and I think they update them occasionally if new things are reported on the exams or people are no longer seeing questions about XXX technology.

    That is my mileage with Boson. ICND1 was on par, but ICND2 was a little bit lacking. I still recommended them if you can spare the cost. YYMV.
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  10. Senior Member Devilsbane's Avatar
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    #9
    Transcender was always my goto practice exam material. Not only do they provide realistic questions (without compromising the test) but they also provide explanations to why each answer isn't correct (and ultimately why the one is). Memorizing question and answer doesn't really get you anywhere in the real world, which makes most practice tests not good study materials. (If you used them correctly then you can assess where you need to study, but they don't provide the study material themselves). Transcender can be study material though (although not alone) because there are flash cards and explanations to the questions.

    They are a bit spendy, but they do come free with a CBT Nuggets subscription (which is also spendy). I find it is a great way to learn and then test all built into one package. Plus my work pays for my nugget subscription now.
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  11. Woohoo! It's over 1000!
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    #10
    I think something which is worth disentangling in this is the difference between learning the material and studying for an exam. They are different goals. Ideally, you will learn the material, you will know the stuff and be able to apply it in the real world since for most of us, that is what we want to do (and what we are paid to do).

    Studying for the exam is a different matter. You can have a good grasp of the material and apply it in the real world, but still struggle with the exam. The best way to study for an exam ie to get good at doing the exam, is to practice the exam. So to do exam questions over and over (even the ones you get right) to practice retrieving information in exam conditions. Braindumps are, from a practical point of view, a good way to get that practice to pass the exam (assuming that the dumps are accurate in their questions and answers, which isn't always the case). So good in fact that they allow people to skip learning the material. And that is a problem, since the exam itself is attempting to certify that you actually do know the material and have some ability to apply it in the real world (yes, there is a huge debate about how well they do this).

    So Braindumps do get you passed the exam, but break the purpose of the exam. For this reason, they are contrary to the legal agreement that you enter when you take a certification exam. So they are unethical to use. They are also, in the long run, counterproductive since they can mislead you about your own skills, mislead you into the wrong roles (where you fail), and devalue the certification itself. So unethical again.

    Practice tests, from the likes of Boson, MeasureUP, Transcender etc are a good middle ground for studying for the exam. They aren't very good for learning the material, but once you have learnt the material, they are a good next step to prepare for the exam. Initially, use them to identify areas of weakness where you might need to learn material, and then use them exhaustively to practice retrieval in exam like conditions.

    TL;DR Learn the material, then study for the exam using good quality practice tests.
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