That’s a bad idea. I’ll explain why in this article.
What Is a Brain Dump?
So what is a brain dump, when you talk about IT certifications?
A brain dump is a collection of actual exam questions and answers, that has been captured by someone who has recently taken the exam.
The aim of a brain dump is for someone to record all of the questions and answers that they had seen in the exam. They then provide these to other exam takers.
This process only works well for exams that have multiple-choice questions. Many of the Oracle exams and other vendors are like this. It doesn’t work as well for some of the hands-on exams, which are common in the networking or administration fields (such as Red Hat or Cisco).
What Are Brain Dumps Used For?
So, someone writes down all of the exam questions and answers that they remember seeing on an exam.
So what? How does that help?
Well, this is what happens.
- Someone takes an exam, and brain dumps all the exam questions and answers they can remember.
- They provide these “dumps” to people who are asking for them, either for free, or sell them on a website.
- The person receiving these dumps memorises the questions and answers, and takes the exam.
- They think they have a higher chance of passing the exam because they know the exact questions that are on the exam – and their answers.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, why would someone go through this effort?
Why Would Someone Use an Oracle Certification Dump?
As a database developer or DBA who is looking to take an exam, why would you want to get a brain dump?
To make it easier to pass the exam.
That’s the main reason.
But why would you need to pass the exam?
To get a job. Or to get a promotion.
In the IT industry, certifications (such as the Oracle SQL Certified Associate) are a recognition of knowledge about a subject. Job applications often list certifications as a requirement for getting the job.
So, if you’re looking for a job as an Oracle database administrator, then they might list an Oracle certification as a prerequisite.
If you want this job, you need to have this certification, and you might think that using brain dumps to pass the exam is the best way to get the job.
It can be tempting to use a brain dump. You need to keep up to date with certifications. Certifications can be expensive, and you don’t want to pay for an exam and then fail.
There’s also increased competition with more and more people entering the industry.
But, before you use a brain dump, let me tell you what happens if you get a brain dump for an exam.
What Actually Happens If You Use a Brain Dump For An Exam
So, what happens if you use a brain dump for an exam?
Say you get a brain dump for an exam you need to take, because you want to apply for a job.
You read and memorise the questions, the day before the exam.
You go into the exam, and sit the test. If you’re lucky, the dump that you reviewed contains similar questions – often it doesn’t.
Let’s say you pass the test and get your certification.
Now, you’ve got what you need to get the job – the certification.
You apply for the job, confident you’ll get the job because you have this certification. You’re a certified DBA now, who wouldn’t want to hire you for an Oracle DBA job?
In the interview, you’ll get asked some technical questions. If you’ve used a brain dump to pass the exam, you’ll struggle here. You won’t be able to answer the technical questions because you only memorised the exam questions and don’t understand the topic completely. You’ll fail the technical part of the interview and won’t get the job.
So, you’ve just wasted time and money to get a certification that didn’t help you to get a job!
Let’s say you actually get through the technical part of the interview. You get the job. But you don’t know the subject matter all that well.
You’re doing the job, and you’re getting paid. But then there’s a problem. Something comes up and you need to fix it.
Because you don’t know the subject very well, such as Oracle database administration, you don’t know how to fix the problem. You’ll get exposed by your coworkers or your manager.
And you’ll get fired.
Or, you think you know what to do, make some changes or do something to the system, and it will make things worse. You’ll also get exposed, and get fired.
All that work getting the brain dumps for the exam will be for nothing.
If that doesn’t convince you that exam brain dumps are bad, let me share a few more reasons.
Using Brain Dumps are Illegal
It’s a violation of certification provider policies to use or provide brain dumps to others. It’s essentially cheating.
There have been numerous cases of brain dump providers getting caught. One example is Robert Keppel, who got caught in 2003 and fined $500,000 for running a brain dump website.
Oracle also state in a post on their website that brain dumps is cheating.
You Can Get Banned and Stripped of your Certification
If you get caught using a brain dump for an exam, the provider can ban your for life, and even strip you of your certification.
Microsoft is one vendor who, if they find out you have used a brain dump, can ban you from getting any further Microsoft certifications, and strip your certification from you.
This is bad because it means you are no longer allowed to be called “certified”.
Also, what if you want to get another job in the future, that needs a certification from this vendor? You can’t get certified because you are banned, so what can you do?
It can have some serious implications on your career in the long-term if you get caught.
You Don’t Know How Old The Information is
If you get a brain dump from someone, you can’t tell if the material is new or old.
Testing companies change their questions every now and then. If you’ve gotten some exam questions and answers from a brain dump, and the questions have changed, then the dump won’t really help you.
This might be less of an issue if someone gives you a “recent” brain dump, but who knows how recent it is?
Companies that provide brain dumps can often say they are new, but they might not be. They make their money by providing stolen intellectual property, so they can hardly be trusted.
Exam Providers Can Work Out If You’ve Used Brain Dumps
Many exam providers have ways of working out if you’ve used brain dumps. They won’t say how, but software developers and their algorithms are pretty smart.
Some theories are:
- Questions may have been “planted” to catch brain dump users, which are out of place or are expected to be answered incorrectly.
- Questions are worded slightly differently to previous questions, which causes the answers to be different.
- Exams often contain adaptive questions, which means following questions are different depending on the answers to earlier questions. They often focus on questions that you get wrong.
- Providers often mix questions for different regions, and perform analysis on the data they capture, so they can narrow down where and who the dumps are coming from.
So, even if you’ve memorised the questions and answers, there is a chance you’ll get caught using the brain dump, even if you pass the exam.
And, even if you’ve gotten the brain dumps from a Facebook group, and not bought them from someone, the companies can still find out you’re using them!
Using brain dumps to pass certification exams might seem like a good idea, but it will hurt your career long-term because you don’t know the subject material, you can get banned, and they often don’t help in passing the exam.
Study the material. Know your stuff. Pass the exam. Get the certification.
And then you’ll be able to do your job better.
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