A member of the Exam Security Team from a major IT solutions vendor recently received an e-mail from an IT professional who owned up to the fact that he had inadvertently cheated to prepare for his certification exam.
"As part of my preparation I downloaded a couple of 'brain dump' exams off the Internet," says the student in his note. "My intentions were not to memorize these tests and cheat my way through the exam; although I must admit there were moments that I thought knowing a couple of questions would help. I had a hard time believing that the brain dumps could be the actual test questions. That's just not legitimate."
"Upon taking the actual exam, I noticed questions that I distinctly remembered from the brain dumps," continues the note. "I definitely got a number of questions right because of the brain dumps, and the dumps may have indirectly benefited me on other questions."
The note concludes with an air of penitence. "I wanted to let you know what happened and any action on your part is the consequence of my actions. Cheating in this fashion is not how I want to live my life and I am truly sorry."
A manager from the vendor's certification program office says this is the first time she has ever received such a note. As troubling as the message is, the manager views it as a good thing; it means that word is getting out that certification brain dumps are actually a form of cheating.