The views expressed here are mine alone and have not been authorized by, and do not necessarily reflect the views of, Citrix. 

Imagine this scenario: You have been studying for several months for the CCEA certification; finally the day comes when you are going to take your final exam, the 456. After sweating out what seems like an endless amount of questions and simulations, you hit the Done button and receive your score – you just passed! You’re thrilled and relieved to have passed after hearing and reading so many stories from colleagues and others around the world that had tried and failed to attain one of the most prestigious certifications from Citrix. All that hard work paid off and you can officially say you are a Citrix Certified Enterprise Administrator! As you’re walking out of the test center, with score report in hand and a smile on your face, another test taker approaches you and asks if you were also taking the 456. She asks you if you found it difficult – of course it was difficult, you had studied and practiced in your lab at home for months! Then she drops the bomb on you – she didn’t find it that hard. What?! She mentions she simply looked up the 456 exam from a braindump site and was able to pass the exam even though she has only installed XenApp once in a lab environment.

How does that make you feel?

For most test takers and certificants, this story would at the very least result in some kind of annoyance or anger. For those that truly value their certifications, outrage would be a better answer. As someone who develops exams and has taken some in the past, I completely understand this level of frustration. That is why over the last several years, Citrix Education has taken considerable measures to try to reduce the number of fraudulent braindump sites, increase test taker awareness of our testing policies, and improve communication between ourselves and the certification community.

For example, Citrix Education is dedicated to rooting out as many fraudulent sites, sellers, bloggers and test takers as possible. Web monitoring tools are leveraged daily to ensure the integrity and value of Citrix certifications are not being undermined by those trying to take the easy route or make a buck. In addition, data forensics has been used to run statistical analysis on exams that seemed “too good to be true” (e.g. 100% in 5 minutes, is that even possible?). Leveraging these tools and techniques has been very successful in helping defend the value of our certifications by rooting out those who take the easy way out and decide to cheat the system. You may be wondering, well what happens to those who are found to be participating in these kinds of activities? In short, consequences for those using braindump materials, blogging about the exam content or even selling the content include a cancellation of their test scores or certification, when they are deemed “indeterminate,” and, in some cases, testing bans.

To avoid those consequences, test takers are encouraged to use our Exam Prep Guides to focus their studies. To locate a guide, visit www.citrix.com/examlist and click on an exam. The guide will be at the bottom of the page. However, as someone who has taken plenty of exams, I also recognize that test takers sometimes want study materials beyond what our Exam Prep Guides currently offer. If this is a situation you find yourself in I suggest you use www.certguard.com to ensure you are NOT buying or using illegal braindump material because using such materials, in effect, devalues the worth of the certification you are trying to attain. And if caught, can lead to significant negative consequences.

More recently, the exam team has re-designed the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in order to simplify that message to candidates across the world. If you have taken any exams over the last month, you have probably seen the new NDA and noticed that it can be understood without the need of a lawyer’s interpretation. This was done purposefully to ensure that every candidate is fully aware of what is and is NOT allowed when taking our exams.  

However, a big problem seems to be a lack of test taker awareness with regards to Citrix exam policies and the effect their choices can have on the value of our certifications. Let’s begin with the most basic policy, the re-take policy. It states that:

  1. If you do NOT pass an exam, you must wait 24 hours before your second attempt. That means, if you took the A06 exam on September 29th at 10:00am and failed, you would have to wait to take the A06 exam again at least until September 30th at 10:00am.
  2. If you do NOT pass an exam after the 2nd attempt, you must wait 14 days before attempting the same exam again. To be perfectly clear, this rule means 14 calendar days, not 14 business days. The reason for this rule is simple: Exams typically have two forms and odds are pretty good that if a person takes the same exam twice in 24 hours, they will likely see both forms. If the test taker fails on the second attempt, it is probably best for him/her to take some time and study the product and materials a bit more before attempting it again. In addition, this rule helps protect the content of the exam by preventing those who try to cheat from “harvesting” our exam questions. Yes, that might sound crazy but it does happen.

Next, we can move onto Citrix Education’s Candidate Conduct Policy. Now, this policy is a bit longer so I won’t go line by line here. You can read it yourself here: Citrix Candidate Conduct Policy. However, let’s cover the biggest rule that a lot of test takers don’t fully understand:

  • No candidates will participate in any cheating incident, breach of security, misconduct or any actions that will compromise the integrity or confidentiality of a Citrix examination or otherwise compromise the integrity or confidentiality of Citrix Certification programs. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:
        • Making public the questions, answers or any of the content of this exam with any person, without prior written approval from Citrix;

Basically, this means that you won’t share or sell any content (questions, answers, graphics) from the test with anyone once you are done. *This includes blogging about specific questions, posting “helpful hints” on support forums or any other instance where you are sharing actual content.* If you want to help a friend, simply refer them to our Exam Prep Guides, which can be found here: www.citrix.com/examlist. People who post to forums, blogs and other social networking sites have had their scores made indeterminate as a consequence of violating this crucial portion of our conduct policy.

As you can see, Citrix Education is constantly trying to protect the value and prestige of our certifications by reducing the amount of cheating and fraud that can make once valuable certifications insignificant. However, tracking every braindump, blog, and forum on the internet can be a daunting task. That is why I ask that you participate and help maintain the prestige of Citrix certifications by pointing out fraudulent activities and sites to Citrix Education. Whenever you see a blog posting that contains materials, let us know. If you see a braindump site selling our exam content, let us know. Your help can make a difference in protecting the value of your certifications. You can contact us at [training@citrix.com] or contact me directly at [orlando.martinez@citrix.com].