Tons of people cheat on tests. Some never get caught – ever. Some think of ways to cheat that are so genius that they probably actually spend the more time figuring out how to cheat than they do studying. Maybe if they would’ve used that time to study, they wouldn’t have had to cheat in the first place.
Reddit asked teachers, professors, and former cheaters to share some of the most clever ways people have ever cheated on a test.
Now, don’t get any ideas…
1. So smart, yet so dumb
Programming a TI-84 to feed him history answers, the only problem was that nobody brings a calculator to a history test. So after seeing him use it for like 5 minute I just asked him to see the calculator and saw that he was cheating.
How can people be so smart but so stupid at the same time?
2. Tattoos seem extreme
There was a group of students in my class who had the same 4 words tattooed on their right forearms. Whenever we had a multiple choice test, they would all discretely scratch the tattoo part that corresponded with the correct letter. I’m assuming they took the majority answer as they always finished at the exact same time.
They never got caught.
It’s not really cheating, but some students at Johns Hopkins recently took advantage of the system. Basically, a teacher had a policy that the highest grade would curve to a 100% on the final exam. Well, the students managed to stop everyone from attending. Everyone got a zero, which then caused everyone to get a perfect score.
4. Click click
I’m a university professor….and only one memorable one sticks out in…well, quite a few years of teaching.
I had a student years ago who took the test with one of those clicky ballpoint pens distributed by some company or other. The pen had a clear window in the body, and there was a rotating plastic cylinder that, each click, would shift and another little motto would appear. This clever wag wrote up some of the more difficult bits of class material on a piece of paper, cut it to size, and glued it to the plastic cylinder. Look like you’re nervous, click pen a few times, go back to taking the test. Voila!
But he didn’t give it a test run first, and he either glued it wrong or replaced the cylinder upside down. Caught him when he kept clicking the pen and then turning it around so he could read it.
5. Fistful of pens
I had a student that was holding all of his extra pens and pencils in his other hand–the entire time. I was curious so when I was walking around near the end of the test I asked for one, and he moved his fingers slightly. I saw writing. So I took one of them, and it was a transparent pen that had a cheat sheet inside it. The letters were tiny but the plastic acted like a magnifying glass. He had four pens with cheat sheets. Needless so say he failed and we don’t let anyone hold fistfuls of pens anymore.
I had a friend in high school who managed to get ahold of the answer key to a multiple choice test ahead of time, take pictures of the answers, and then make bracelets with beads corresponding to the correct letter for each question. A different color bead for each possible letter. Also made beginning and end markers on each bracelet to make sure she kept her place.
I thought it was genius.
7. Devour the evidence
My teacher in high school once told me he was taking a history final his senior year in college. They were allowed snacks because it was a long final. He wrote answers on Pringles with a food dye pen and ate them after he got the info from them.
8. Off limits
Girls who would usually wear real short skirts would turn up to exam with skirts below the knee.
On the top of their legs all the notes needed would be written. Any questions by the predominantly male supervisors regarding this was going to be viewed as some kind of sexual perversion. This was used throughout secondary school.
9. See Number 1
The best cheats are going to come from the students who didn’t get caught by their professors. I used to program shit into my TI-83 calculator for tests, easiest cheat ever.
Our school decided to pay students over the summer to paint all the graffitied desks in coats of cheap black paint for the coming year. As we approached our finals, seat numbers were assigned for every student. An important point of note, our school was open to undertaking personal study in a room on your own/group and most of the buildings were open till 9or 10 at night.
I know people who would go into the room where the assigned desk was and write out complete essay plot points, key dates, formula etc in light graphite pencils on the black desks. You could only see the notes if you tilted your heads a certain angle, and could easily be covered up by laying your arm out flat. Even better, they would then with a quick lick of their finger smudge it when done .
My favourite story was so blatant it was brilliant. A friend was really nervous about our last ever maths final, so nervous that he brought the maths book in with him under his sweater.
Halfway through the exam he just whipped the book out on the pages he needed got the info and boom hid the book again. Now, he did get really paranoid about one teacher who he thought had him rumbled, so he went to the bathroom claiming he was about to violently ill(clutching his stomach). Gets into a stall after the teacher had vetted the cubicle for no notes and process to wretch like a lunatic. At the same time he is opening the cistern and drops the book in there as quietly as he can. Teacher checks the cubicle once more after he is finished and seems satisfied . Years later we met the same teacher now an IT consultant on a night out and the story came to light. His response :”Ya cheeky bastard! The fricking cistern ! Glorious, lets do shots!”
11. Real or fake
When I was in high school, I volunteered in a daycare/pre-school with 2-4 year olds. The kids had “tests” like colouring the fruit the right colour, drawing the right number of circles/triangles…easy, cute stuff. This was in Singapore, and toddlers got tests too.
During one of them, I saw this kid got up, did this adorable fake yawn and stretched out to look over her classmate’s “tests”. It was so cute, I let her get away with it. Now I have this suspicion it was adorably poorly executed on purpose and she’s actually the smartest cheat I’ve ever encountered…
There was a girl who was really smart and very meticulous and organized. There was a multiple choice test so she sat in the front row with four pens of different colours, if the answer was A she’d take the red pen and colour in the answer, if it was B, she’d use a blue pen… Everyone else would just follow her colour code . I know there are several flaws with the system, but agreeing on a letter-colour code is a smart move.
13. Let’s just say…
Let’s just say some one I know did this…
They took a piece of paper and wrote the notes they needed on one side – the paper was about 1.5″ by 3.5″. Then they coated the paper with Elmer’s glue. The stuff dries transparently and stiffens up the paper but does not make it too stiff. Then they punched a hole at one end of the paper and looped a rubber band through it. They used a second rubber band on their forearm, about half way up and attached the paper’s rubber band to it. So basically, they had the cheat sheet with the rubber band hanging from another rubber band on their left arm.
On test day they wore a long sleeve shirt. So here is how it worked. During the test they would use their right hand to reach slightly up the sleeve and pull out the cheat sheet now under tension from the rubber bands. They used the fingers of their left hand to hold the cheat sheet out of the sleeve – the back edge of the sheet was still under the sleeve. If the teacher came by, they simply straightened out the fingers on their left hand, and the rubber bands pulled the sheet back into their sleeve, hidden from the teacher.
Or so I heard.
14. You care too much
Most definitely the best, but not the most clever: A private music student of mine (who is in high school) texted me out of the blue at like 2PM on a week day asking me about major and minor chords. I took out my school folder, checked that school’s schedule, and noticed that his group was in a theory class. Also, it was end-of-term-exam-madness. BUSTED.
Used this one on my senior year physics final in high school. Made a fake 16oz soda bottle label for a bottle of Coke. Replaced all the lettering on the label in the ingredients and nutrition information sections with the harder to remember formulas.
16. Wrist Watch
So my friend got one of these little iPods that were completely square. He bought a wrist watch attachment for it, so he could wrap a strap around his arm and attach the iPod to it.
He would type out all the answers, and then he would upload it to his iPod. During the test, he would look at his watch thing and it would have all the answers on it, leading him to a perfect score. The iPod looked like a watch so no one knew he was cheating. Turns out he got caught and received a 0. I think he was suspended too. How he got caught? He was looking at the watch too much.
17. Drop it like it’s hot
I caught four on one test. Because of laziness, I wasn’t changing the test between semesters so students got scantrons from previous semesters, carefully marked the right answers on their new scantrons and then “took” the test.
I only found out because other students told me what was happening. So I changed the test that morning. They all got zeroes on that exam. I called them in and told them to drop or I’d turn them in for cheating. I was bluffing, I didn’t have any proof except for the word of the other student. I said, “You know what you did, and I know what you did. Drop or I’ll give you an F for the course.” They all dropped.
I work for a University in Australia and occasionally have to interview students who are caught cheating. The student that comes to mind whenever I talk about cheating wasn’t particularly clever, more gross.
This student was caught because she asked to go to the toilet several times in one two hour exam, now this happens occasionally for valid reasons but it always raises suspicion. Procedure in the case of toilet breaks is to have a supervisor escort the student to the toilet and wait outside. After the fifth toilet break the escorting supervisor decided to search the toilet after the student returned to the exam and found the entire semester’s notes in the sanitary disposal unit. The student failed and was excluded from the University.
I substituted for a differential equations exam. This student hadn’t written anything for the first 45 minutes of the exam. He was just sitting there with a panicked look on his face staring at the three questions posed on the sheet of paper. I get up to walk around the room and while I’m near the back he opens his backpack, shuffles around the contents, and doesn’t take anything out. I sit back down at the desk at the front and he’s spending his time furiously scribbling and staring into his open backpack. He looks at me and I’m staring right at him and I just shake my head no.
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