NDA: We Disclose All

October 7, 2008 at 8:02 am | Posted in Study hints | Leave a comment
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A while back in Trika’s post about Microsoft’s anti-test-piracy meeting, someone asked how the NDA applies to study guides and test prep providers. Because many (if not the majority of) certified IT professionals are genuinely worried about certification fraud, this person was concerned about the similarities between some vendors’ test prep materials and live exam questions, including our own.

As we write the practice exam, we have two main goals (well, two besides accuracy, because that’s always first. And, after I’m involved, rigorously correct punctuation. But besides those):

  • Does our exam cover all the vendor’s content from the test preparation guide?
  • Does our exam represent the format in which the vendor asks the questions?

I believe the second part is where people can become confused. Because we focus on preparing you for the entire exam experience, our practice test items can look a lot like “the real thing,” because we don’t want you figuring out how to work, say, a drag-and-drop on your first live exam; we want you focused on the content. So rest assured that while our tests might “look” real, they disclose no live exam questions (or, in Douglas Adams terms, they produce a beverage which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea).

As a followup to Robin’s post, I put together a comprehensive list of the common certification vendors, their general exam and certification policies, and their individual non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), where available. In many cases, the vendor also outlines the penalties for certification fraud, and answers explicit questions about what may or may not constitute “violating” the NDA.

Big List O’ Vendor NDAs and exam policies

Cisco Certification Exam Policies
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/le11/learning_certification_exam_policies.html

Cisco Candidate Conduct Policy (NDA)
http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/downloads/guest/learning/c644/ccmigration_09186a00803641d2.pdf

CompTIA Exam Policies
http://certification.comptia.org/resources/policies.aspx

CompTIA Candidate Conduct Policy (NDA)
http://certification.comptia.org/resources/conduct_policy.aspx

CWNP Certification Exam Policies
http://www.cwne.com/exams/exam_policy.html

CWNP Confidentiality Agreement (NDA)
http://www.cwne.com/exams/CWNPConfidentiaityAgreement.pdf

(ISC)2 Examination Registration Form PDF (see section 2.9, Examination Agreement)
https://www.isc2.org/download/exam_reg_form.pdf

ITIL Examination Institute Certification
http://www.itil-officialsite.com/nmsruntime/saveasdialog.asp?lID=124&sID=75

Microsoft: Frequently Asked Questions About Exam Integrity and Security
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcpexams/faq/security.mspx

Microsoft Exam Security Policy and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcpexams/policies/nda.mspx

Oracle Certification Candidate Guide
http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=179

Oracle Certification Program Candidate Agreement (NDA)
http://www.oracle.com/global/us/education/certification/canagreemt.html

PMI Project Management Professional Credential Handbook (PDF, p. 19)
http://www.pmi.org/PDF/pdc_pmphandbook.pdf

Sun Microsystem Certification Policies
http://www.sun.com/training/certification/register/policies.html

Sun Microsystem Certification Candidate Pre-Test Agreement (PDF)
http://www.sun.com/training/images/CandidatePreTestAgmt.pdf

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