Students have always employed other means when they don’t have the confidence to pass their examinations. While some are successful, others, not so much.
These are just some bizarre ways professors and teachers on Reddit have caught their pupils cheating.
1. The ball point trick
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.
2. The pen is mightier than the sword
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 Bic 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.
3. Cuteness rules all
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, an Asian country, kinda crazy over tests so yes, 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…
4. Confronting a female student could get awkward
Girls who would usually wear real short skirts would turn up to an 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. Some of these ladies are now doctors 🙂
5. It’s all about teamwork
Had a kid who would raise his hand and say something like “I need help with number 13” or whatever number. (I’m a teacher’s assistant) either myself or the teacher would go over to him and tell him not to speak out loud, and give him whatever help he needed that we could give (I work in a special needs school, so sometimes they don’t know definitions of words or struggle getting a point across if its a short answer)
It took me a few times to realize, but about 20-30 seconds after this student would say that, another would sharpen his pencil manually. And he would twist the pencil either once (a) twice (b) three times (c) or four (d) so that the other student could hear it (imagine manually sharpening a pencil, that kind of click sound)
The look on both of their faces when I took the sharpener away and told them to stay after class was great.
6. A window to all your answers
Not a teacher, but a story passed on by my father. When he was attending Gymnasium (Germany’s equivalent of a grammar school or a publically-funded prep school), history lessons were all about memorizing dates. The classroom used for history also had one large window, which the history professor usually had his back turned to while speaking to the students. This large window behind the history teacher would fog up in the winter.
On one test day, some students decided to write out entire events and their dates on the window, using their fingers. The history teacher passed out the tests, the windows slowly fogged up, and behold everybody in the class could see the dates on the window. Except for the professor, whose back was turned to it.
Once the tests were collected, the history professor finally turned around, and saw the window. All he said was, “That’s good.” The professor then graded the papers as normal. He must have seen too many instances of cheating that one finally impressed him.
7. Citing the non-existent
The other prof had a student turn in an essay and, again, his spidey-sense was tingling. A lot of the citations and quotes were too perfect. But he did some Googling and maybe TurnItIn and couldn’t find any evidence of plagiarism. In fact, that set him on the right track. The prof went to the library to look for the books and articles the student had listed under “Works Cited” and discovered that they didn’t exist.The student had fabricated the whole thing.
He did such a good job at faking the citations, he probably could have done the actual assignment in the same amount of time it took him to invent his sources.
8. The height of desperation
I taught public speaking when I was in graduate school and a freshman thought it would be a good idea to use his roommate’s speech as his own. He may have gotten away with it if he didn’t forget to erase his roommate’s name off the first slide … then swear to himself and delete his roommate’s name in front of all of us … then give the speech by reading everything word for word off the screen.
9. Revenge never tasted so sweet
I’m a teaching assistant. At the end of the semester the prof gets an email from someone telling us that he had completed all of a students homework that semester, giving us all of said student’s information including copies of all five homework assignments. Apparently said student didn’t pay him, so his retaliation was to turn him into us with enough proof to guarantee he got punished. Of the handful of times people have cheated since I started it was certainly the most bizarre and unexpected.