Home > Articles

Finding Reputable Study Materials

  • Print
  • + Share This
Do a Google search on any Microsoft certification exam title, and you are sure to find hundreds of potential study resources. So how do you know which resource is right for you? This article discusses techniques that you can use for finding helpful and accurate study materials, while avoiding websites that are less than reputable.

If you do a quick Google search on any of the Microsoft exams, you are sure to be bombarded with listings for websites claiming to be able to help you pass the exam. Since it is nearly impossible to pass a Microsoft certification exam without some study aides, I think that it makes a lot of sense to examine the question of how you can go about finding something reputable.

Brain Dumps

There are countless so-called “Brain Dump” sites which claim to contain actual questions and answers from certification exams. Even though it may be tempting to take the easy way out and download a few brain dumps, I recommend avoiding brain dump sites like the plague. There are at least four good reasons why using brain dumps is a bad idea.

1. Exams Do Not Contain Every Possible Question

Microsoft exams are designed to pull questions from a pool of possible test questions. When you take an exam, you will only see a subset of the possible test questions. In fact, if you have ever had to retake a failed exam then you probably noticed that only a few of the questions were repeats from your first attempt.

Because of way that Microsoft pulls exam questions from a pool of questions, a brain dump will probably only have some of the questions that you are likely to encounter on the actual exam. If you only memorize brain dump answers then your odds of passing the exam go way down.

2. Brain Dump Sites Can Be Malicious

Although some of the brain dump sites are exactly what they appear to be, there are numerous malicious brain dump sites on the Internet. A few months ago, I was researching an article that I was writing for this site and went to what I thought was a brain dump site. To make a long story short, the site tried to infect my PC with malware.

As if the malware threat wasn’t enough of a reason to avoid brain dump sites, there are stories in various Internet message boards from people claiming to have had their credit card numbers stolen after they tried to purchase brain dumps.

3. There May Be Other Types of Bait Sites

For several years now I have been hearing rumors that Microsoft operates their own brain dump sites. While I do not claim to know whether or not these rumors are true, I have heard that Microsoft allegedly catches would-be cheaters when they register on a bait site.

4. The Accuracy is Dubious

One of the big problems with brain dump sites is that it is difficult to tell how accurate the information is. Often such sites simply contain a list of questions that were supposedly encountered on a Microsoft exam and the answers to those questions. The problem is that you never really know if the test questions are real or not, or if the person who posted the questions got the answers right.

The only brain dump site that I have ever seen that I feel comfortable saying was authentic was one that I stumbled onto while researching this article. Someone apparently smuggled a camera into the testing facility because the brain dumps had photographs of the test questions.

Even in a case like this, however, it is difficult to tell whether or not the answers are accurate, and it is possible that missing the same questions as the person who posted the brain dumps could send up a red flag. To give you a more concrete example, consider something that happened during my junior year in high school.

Someone who had English class early in the day would always write down all of questions and answers every time that there was a test. They would hide the list behind one of the radiators in the hallway so that friends who had the class later in the day could get the answers prior to going into the test.

This little scheme worked really well for several months. One day, however, the person who was supplying all the answers missed a question. The teacher became suspicious when almost everybody in all of the classes for the rest of the day missed exactly the same question. As luck would have it the person who had been supplying everyone with the answers was the only person in their class to get that question wrong, so the teacher had no trouble figuring out who had cheated on the exam. It is possible that Microsoft could theoretically use a similar technique to look for certain patterns of incorrect answers as evidence of cheating.

Legitimate Study Resources

Even though brain dump sites should be avoided, there are plenty of legitimate study resources available to anyone who is preparing to take a Microsoft certification exam. The remainder of this article will outline some of the better resources that are available.

Pearson IT Certification

At the risk of this sounding like a shameless self-plug, the first place that I recommend looking for study resources is this site. It contains numerous articles pertaining to various Microsoft certification-related topics. There are also a number of exam profiles that provide information such as how many questions you can expect to see, what the trouble spots are, and what types of questions to expect.

In addition to all of the great articles, the site also contains an online store in which you can order various types of study guides for the exams.

YouTube

Believe it or not, YouTube can actually be an invaluable study resource for those who are about to take a Microsoft certification exam. Don't bother looking to YouTube for pointers about tricky exam questions or about what types of questions you might expect to see on a specific exam. Occasionally you might find YouTube videos containing such information, but it is tough to tell whether or not the information presented in such videos is accurate.

YouTube is better suited for getting a handle on tricky exam topics. There are a couple of different ways to do this. One thing that you can do is to search YouTube for the exam number. For example, in preparing to write this article I did a YouTube search on the phrase “Exam 70-662.” What I found was that someone had posted nine different screencasts that demonstrated some of the material being tested. For example, there were videos on creating dynamic distribution groups and on ActiveSync policies.

Of course you can find relevant YouTube content in other ways as well. If there is a particular subject that you are having a hard time with, try searching for that topic on YouTube. Odds are that you will find several YouTube videos either explaining the topic, or demonstrating how it is used. Such videos can be extremely valuable, especially to those who do not have the time or the financial resources to attend a Microsoft authorized training class.

Online Forums

Another unconventional resource that can go a long way toward helping you prepare is online forums that are not specifically exam-related. Microsoft hosts forums dedicated to nearly all of their products, and there are also countless similar forums on third-party websites as well. Such forums are dedicated to providing help with various issues that may come up when working with Microsoft products. If there is a particular topic that you are having trouble understanding when preparing for an exam, you might consider posting a question within such a forum asking if someone will point you to a good resource that will help you to better understand the topic.

As a general rule of etiquette, you should avoid asking questions about whether or not a particular topic is covered on an exam (unless the forum is exams-specific). Moderators and those who frequent forums tend to not like it when people post exam related questions within non-exams specific threads.

Amazon

One of the best resources on the entire Internet for finding reputable study materials is Amazon. Sure, there are lots of websites that you can use to purchase study materials, but there is one thing that sets Amazon apart from the others.

Amazon is an extremely high volume sales site. This is important for two reasons. First, if you search based on the title of an exam you are sure to find numerous study resources. More importantly though, you will typically find dozens of different reviews for each product. You can use these reviews to find out which study resources are going to be the most beneficial to you.

One thing to keep in mind as you read the reviews however is that not all reviews can be trusted. I have seen instances in which a review looks as though it has been posted by the person who is doing PR for the product. Likewise, I have also seen reviews posted by someone who simply has a score to settle with the author or with the publisher. As such, I think it is important to look at the reviews as a whole rather than basing your purchasing decision on a single review.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020