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How Using Illegal Practice Exams can be a Career Ending Experience [Commentary]


facepalm (blog).pngAt some point in your HPE certification journey, you will need to sit an HPE exam. To some people, exams are a terrifying experience. Brain freeze, forgetting everything, sweaty palms, and knowing that if you fail, you may be the subject of ridicule from your peers. There are also people who would rather memorize all the exam questions and answers. This leads people to cheating, such as looking for exam dumps, buying 3rd party exam preparation guides, and even asking those for questions and answers. Seems like a quick way to prepare for an exam, but the risks outweigh the benefits of these tactics.

Don’t get Cheated by Cheat Sites (Websites selling exams)

You get what you pay for. In the case of cheat sites, you are buying old information or even incorrect information. Don’t waste your time or money on a product Hewlett Packard Enterprise doesn’t support and in fact considers cheating.

You really don’t know what you are buying. You are also giving these websites your personal information. We can tell you the exams you are paying for are not legitimate study material (read your candidate agreement) <link to agreement>. At the end of the day, these sites have taken your money and you’re left with content that is worthless.

Don’t Use Practice Exams

People tell me they want an exam simulation to get a feel for what it’s like taking the real exam. I can tell you from experience, sitting at home with all the questions and answers is not even close to the real deal. When you walk into a Pearson VUE test center, all eyes are on you. Even before you sit down for the exam, someone will have verified your identity, taken any electronics from you, and verified you are who you say you are.

You cannot simulate this at home with an exam purchased off the Internet.

How Accurate are These Exams?

We receive many complaints from candidates who’ve failed the same exam 3 or 4 times. They insist there are wrong answers in our exams and something must be wrong with the test. The reality is they have wasted a lot of time and money with nothing to show for it but wasted time and money. Each proctored exam is $200, plus the money spent on the cheat site exam and time spent memorizing it. They’ve wasted their money, given away their personal information, and have put their career at risk.

What’s Really at Risk?

Testing vendors, including HPE are fully aware of cheat sites. We continually and actively patrol for our stolen intellectual property. We have methods to identify candidates who rely on cheat sites. If you have used (or are thinking of using) exam cheat sites, think again. HPE can and will revoke your certifications, and ban you from our program. Don’t even accept material from a friend who may have purchased one of these exams! if you lose your certifications you may jeopardize your employers partner compliance. This could be devastating to the partner as well as to them personally.

Cheating is also a violation of the HPE Certification and Learning terms and conditions.. HPE has revoked partners’ status as a certified learner for violating our terms and conditions.

Why Risk Losing Your Personal Reputation?

I can tell you from personal experience what it’s like working with someone who used practice exams to achieve a certification. They memorized all the questions and answers, passed the exams (after several attempts), and are now out working for a partner. They have no practical knowledge or skills. Co-workers, employers, and customers will see this in the quality of their work. Losing your job, personal reputation, and a career in IT isn’t worth the price of taking a short-cut to certification.

The Right Way to Study

HPE exams test skills and competency, not memorization. If you can’t afford formal training, ask if someone in your company has taken the training. Mentorship is a fantastic way to expand skills and competencies. This is how I achieved several certifications. I borrowed courseware, studied, and shadowed my mentor.

Today, HPE provides learning plans, online training, self-study guides (HPE Press), and EPGs (exam preparation guides). Both HPE Press self-study guides and EPGs have sample questions and answers. Download an EPG to see practice questions.

“Download and read the entire EPG before planning a study strategy”

HPE exams are designed to assess whether you can successfully perform the tasks required in the identified job role. A certification exam tests both the knowledge developed from your past practical experience, and topics covered by multiple training courses.

EPGs are available for every certification exam. These guides describe the content, type of exam, required experience, exam topics, number of questions, and list the score you must achieve to pass. Many guides specify recommended HPE training, references, and additional study materials. HPE highly recommends that you use these additional materials to prepare, since the content they include may be covered on the exam.

All questions and comments are welcome below. Exam specific questions are forwarded to the exam team.

Do you have any comments or suggestions you give to people preparing for exams? We would appreciate your feedback!




Thank you,

Karl Kovacs
Global Sales and Partner Enablement
About the Author


20+ years in IT, including data center architect, pre-sales engineer, certification development and management. Passion for technology, gadgets and the outdoors. Always looking for ways to blend them together in one big adventure.

Bart Verberne

Let's be honest. A lot of exams test your knowledge of the course materials. As soon as it would test knowledge and skills, everything is open to interpretation. for instance, in the US a SMB customer has 1000 users easy. But a lot of partners operate in SMB customers of 10-100 users and consider a 1000 user company a huge enterprise. If you then would answer in the context of a 50 user environment, you very likely would answer incorrectly if the 'SMB'-related question would assume 1000 users.

As you sometimes have to certify for compliance reasons, you probably are tested on products you never see, environments you never encounter and so there is only one solutions : study.

Don't get me wrong, i oppose to cheating. Not only does it lower the value of a certification for people who did the exam the correct way, it also does not learn you anything. And that will show in how you perform in a customer environment or sale, and will eventually reflect on and lowers the compettitive edge of the company you are working for. 

The problem is sometimes the availability of training possibilities. In every locality/country trainings are available, or available within the timeframe needed to comply HP requirements. Selfstudymaterials should be complete and sufficient to sucxcssfully complete an exam. I'm sure that would also convince people to use that route.

There's a question i have. I will doe HP0-J80 in the near future. I downloaded all materials for selfstudy. The regular training is 5 days, but there are also exam-trainings offered, where in a 2 day ILT training you can prepare for the exam. Would you consider that cheating too ?






Jim Lucari

We appreciate your desire to keep the certification value high, and your desire not to participate in improper study practices.

Proper study materials that we have on HPE Press and other locations can help.  Cheat sites actually use our exam questions from real exams.  They also attempt to give the correct answers.  True study materials actually write questions that make you think about similar types of problem solving and the types of answers you will need, but make no attempt to duplicate, copy, a live exam.  That's the difference.

Additionally, there may be courses you can take from us, or HPE Education, or other learning providers.  However, there is no real substitute for experience, as you rightly mention and know.  When we build exams we use industry standard practices tailored for our needs to produce the exams.  These exams test to the right level of skill and knowledge required by the job role for a given level.  Partner SMEs acutally help in building the exams and reviewing them.  They also help determine what should be in the exam and the supporting courseware.  We don't do this in a vacuum.

However, the exam items of the higher levels require more "thinking," or "problem solving" that uses multiple pieces of information from courseware and experience in problem solving, to answer. The courseware is designed to help the candidate, but you must admit that if we are testing and validating skill for five years of experience, we certainly cannot put all that experience into the courseware.  While five years of training may help, four, or three years, or even a month would never help you gain enough experience through the courses alone and your managers would not allow that much time out of office.  So, you are correct, extra study and experience are necessary, and you need the right study materials.  This is especially true if you have never touched the equipment prior, as you illuded to here.

It is unfortunate that you must take certifications simply for partner business compliance.  Any partner business obviously needs to know they have experienced staff, but unfortunately some businesses chose simply to meet compliance for program requirements rather than determing if they have the correct skills in their staff.  In your specific situation I would encourage you to work with your manager, or at some partners you will have a focused education manager.  Work with them to determine your path to sucess and sucess of your business. 

I understand your plight.  I hope this has been helpful.  Keep up the great work you are doing, and thank you for your commitment to Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  


Ralph Luchs


Thanks for your posting. and for your interest in our upgrade path for HPE MASE Storage Solution Architect. To clarify one item in your posting, the materials to prepare for the HPE-J80 exam are rated at a maximum of 12 hours of self-study, and they have been available free of charge as course ID 01064175 on the HPE Learning Center at There are also ILT preparation courses for this exam available from HPE Learning Partners, but none of our preparation materials will take more than 12 hours - 2 days max to complete. If you see a 5-day self study option offered somewhere, it is likely not official study materials from Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

I wish you best of success with your studies and in taking the exam. Please let us know, if you have any problems at all accessing preparation materials for the HPE-J80 exam and/or completing the materials in less than 2 days of study.




I have a sour and lonely feeling driving home or back to the office after failing an exam. The one benefit that I learn from failing is knowing specifically where my lack of knowledge and uderstanding is. it is a costly price to pay both in time and money. The benefift is well worth it because I then focus on areas that I need to improve and understand in greater depth. Of course I am not proud of failing exams although I am proud that I stepped up went back and passed every exam that I failed. The article says that people criticize the exams because they might have wrong answers and that questions that were marked wrong were answered correct. I don't think so. I find that you really have to read the questions and pay close attention, especially after reading the selection of ansewrs to choose from. I do think that from time to time I come across some questions that I feel are a little bit "obnoxious." Pass or fail, I always go to the study material shortly after taking an exam.


Thank you for the time you have taken to provide feedback on your exam experience. Yes, I know the feeling well. Not carefully reading a questions leads to assumptions and incorrect answers. 

You have pointed out a problem many people run into when sitting in front of a monitor staring at question after question. What I recommend is answering a question to the best of your ability, mark it for review, complete the exam, and then go back and review the question(s). I find when I'm rereading questions, I've misinterepted a question and end up changing my answer. It happens to the best of us when under pressure in a proctored exam center. 

HPE takes pride in the quality of our certification exams and we strive to ensure the highest level of accuracy.  Candidates are encouraged make comments on questions that they find unclear.  We do regular audits and investigate comments that are made.

Good luck on your next exam!


JIm Lucari

Thanks for writing an honest assessment of taking certification exams.  We are certain you are representing Hewlett Packard Enterprise well in all you do.  All the best on your next attempts.

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