Teachers Reveal The Most Creative Ways Students Have Tried (And Failed) To Cheat
Eyes on your own paper!!
It doesn't make you a bad person to have done it once or twice in life. Moments happen when memory lapses and you need a little help from a friend. Just don't make it a habit. Cheating is rampant in school (and in life for that matter) and teachers have to work overtime in this day and age of technology to be vigilant that kids use their own answers and not their friend's. But sometimes you have to laugh at the ingenuity of others when it comes to grabbing answers. Its too bad educators can't give out points for creativity in cheating. Its really too bad cheaters don't find a more productive way to use their minds.
Redditor u/german900 wanted the teachers out there to give us some stories about their students by asking.... Teachers of reddit, what is the smartest/most creative way of cheating that you've seen?
50. Steve Holding That GrudgeGiphy
No idea how my teacher didn't notice this, most likely just didn't care, but I whispered to my friend to tell me an answer to a question on the geography bee. He told me and I got it right. He then got his question wrong and I ended up winning the geography bee and representing our school in the state finals. I'm sorry Steve.
49. RIP Angelfire
Not a teacher (but both my parents are). In high school in the 90s we had to write a big research paper, but the main point of the project was to use sources from The Internet. We could use 1 or 2 from other sources, but had to have a ton from this Internet thing.
The thing was, I went to a backwoods school and was one of the few people in the school, including the teachers, that ever went online.
I found all the content I needed in some book from the library and had a heck of a time finding all the internet sources I needed. So I did what anyone would do. I made an angel fire page with a name close to my report topic and put a big Under Construction banner on it. Then did the same thing with Geocities. I cited both of them and got an A.
48. Coders In Training
While I am a teacher, this is in regard to when I was a student in high school.
I think it was back in 2002/2003. My buddy and I were allowed to use our TI-83 calculators in biology class (I don't recall why). You can connect these calculators to transfer data and programs between them, yet the cable is very short.
So my friend cut the cable and extended it using a landline phone cord. He sat in front of me in class and made it just long enough to reach. We covered the cable using our backpacks to hopefully not get caught.
I wrote a chat program that functioned similar to any basic instant messenger. During test time we would chat back and forth using our calculators.
47. Lost In The Shuffle
A kid in my English class would post the answers to vocab tests on a very cluttered bulletin board that he sat next to and the teacher never noticed. Did it for every test.
Not a teacher, but I used to write formulas on the inside of the wrapper to my water bottle and then re-wrap it.
Also knew a guy who would make himself throw up mid-test if he didn't know the answers and ask to go home. He'd get the questions from someone and re-take the test the next day. He ended up being diagnosed with "severe test anxiety" and was given his own special room to take tests in alone. 5 Sosonta
45. Beep Beep Boooooooop Beep
So this'll probably get buried, but at my college about three years ago there was a huge incident with a group of students who would use the reflections off their watches to signal in Morse code the answers to the test. They were only caught during the second test by a bored TA staring at the wall who happened to catch on. Blew my mind that someone would even think of that as a way to cheat.
44. The Cleverest Man
Heard recently from an acquaintance. He has 30% hearing and uses hearing aids, as he kept getting new updated ones, he gave the old in-ear ones to some of his friends in class. During a test, they would use the aids and configure them so that a very quiet whisper would be wholly audible between them but to no one else. They would just say the answers to each other very very quietly.
43. It Took Extra Work
Someone came to the test room early and had taped a sheet of notes underneath the desk. I thought it was odd that he was there so early. He wanted to make sure that he sat in that seat. He hid a small mirror in his lap so he could read the notes underneath the desk.
However, in the age of smartphones, anyone who continuously looks down at their lap is always on the proctor's radar. I saw the reflection of the lights above him on his face, found the mirror and he got a 0 on the exam.
42. Agaze Away
Not me, but from one of my elementary teachers.
You know how people tend to gaze towards the ceiling when thinking during a test? This one kid (admittedly ingenuous) put his notes up on the ceiling, cheating off of them while appearing to be in deep thought. He did, however, get caught. My teacher mimicked his stance, seeing the plethora of notes. Sadly for our hero, he ended up having his parents called. Would've worked otherwise...
41. The Missing
On my Organic Chemistry final, I came to the very last page of the test and had no idea how to answer the last two questions. So I did what anyone would do. Just ripped the last page plum off. Turned her in.
A week later I got an email from the teacher that something must have happened when he was assembling the test and I had not received the last page. He extrapolated my score from 85 points to 100 points and I passed that bia easily.
40. Bling Bling Cheat CheatGiphy
In college Asian Humanities, I was having a reeeeally impossible time remembering Asian names/dynasties and their years. I had an exam I had to get an A on to pass the class. I had to take the exam in the testing center (cameras and monitors at every desk to catch cheating) and I happened to get a copy of the exam from a friend that had completed it. Just memorizing wasn't working because it was a lot of Asian names and places that I just could not for the life of me remember and even though it was multiple choice, it was a 50 question test.
Sooo... On the way to the test I had an idea, I stopped at Wal-Mart and bought a box of little colored beads and a thing of string. I sat in the parking lot and made a "cheating bracelet". A= aqua B= blue C= copper D= dark purple And put a clear decorative bead at the beginning/end to show where to start.
It was actually a pretty bracelet, I finished it there in the parking lot in less than 3 minutes, put it in my wrist and wore it in the test. Each side of my wrist showed about 1/3 of the answers, so I only had to move a little or pretend to fittle with it once or twice over the hour to see the rest.
It was amazing.
I purposely missed a couple hard ones to throw off the scent. No one ever knew and I magically passed that class.
39. Just Normal Tricks Of The Trade
A guy I knew did something super clever (and super risky).
One of his law finals was an open book test (I think they were statutes or something - IANAL), so he printed out a bunch of precedents in the same format, font and size as the book he was allowed to take (on the same size paper).
He then managed to get a local printer/binder to insert the new pages into his copy of the book.
Got away with it, too.
38. Too Good To Discipline
My brother was taking some sort of maths class in college and the professor told them they could use whatever they wanted as long as they could fit it on a single piece of paper. My brother brought his roommate who was a math major and had him stand on a piece of paper. The teacher allowed it just because it was so inventive, but he changed the rules after that.
37. He Subverted You
My high school history teacher gave his first test, 50 multiple choice questions, collected it and then handed the tests back to us the next day for us to grade as he called out the answers.
I changed two of my answers.
Later that day he came by afternoon class and presented me with a photocopy of my original answer sheet and my changed, graded sheet and asked me to explain the discrepancies.
Busted. I admitted to changing it because I had felt those two questions were ones that the real answer was my second choice - and so gave myself a break...
Luckily I hadn't tried to change ALL my answers to correct. Had a long talk about honesty and I got off with a warning and my actual grade.
Never tried to cheat in his class again.
36. Morse Code Was Popular
Obligatory not me but my 7th and 8th grade Science teacher told us how about 3 or 4 years before we came, she would teach her students Morse Code. Anyway, these two guys figured they could share answers to each other by blinking. It took a few months, but she eventually caught on, made them both wear sunglasses every time there was a quiz, told the other teachers who also made them wear sunglasses during exams, and never taught the language again.
35. Cheating By Binder
When I was in middle and high school a lot of teachers didn't care about making the tests hard. I had a few who would release a "review" the day before the test, and it was literally just the test. I would take two, turn In one, and use other as a cheat sheet.
My mom also bought be a bunch (like 30) cheap translucent binders. You can't see the paper inside but if you press it down you can see the paper crystal clear. So if the teacher catches wise just lift your foot and cheat sheet gone.
My friend caught on and asked for one of my stack. They were hard to find and eventually the rest of the class caught on. Sold one for $10 ea and made $150. Mom wondered why I ran out so fast.
34. Coating My Lies
I have to remind my middle school students that I used to be one myself so I know what I'm looking for.
However, one girl I tutor told me that she sits next to the coat rack in her classroom and she puts answers in a coat pocket and she's able to see it. She also writes everything she doesn't know on her palm in pink ink so it's easier to wipe off in an emergency.
33. Formulaic Concerns
Wrote all the formulas or even derivations that were important on the back of my calculator with a pencil in such a way that only if you look at it from a particular angle against the sunlight you could see them. So if a teacher does look at the calculator, It looks like scratches but if you tilt the calculator it has everything written on it. Did this for all 4 years of engineering. Pro tip : write all the formulas at the back of the answer sheet as soon as you get them when the teachers are busy. Then just rub off the evidence.
32. Coffee: More Uses Than One
Not a teacher, but as a student I would get a black paper coffee cup from the shop right behind my school and write the answers in pencil under the hot sleeve. Then just slide the sleeve down to look at them. If the teacher looked over I'd just take a sip. This got me through a final on all the presidents and their time in office.
I was really bad at French in high school. Year 2 started getting really difficult for me. Wrote some conjugations down on a small piece of paper, had it in my palm and was peeking at it. I look up, and my eyes locked with the teacher's. Without dropping eye contact, I put the piece of paper in my mouth and ate it. No proof. She definitely watched me like a hawk the rest of the year.
30. Cursive Counter-foolsGiphy
Not a teacher, but this was kinda creative. In one of my classes, I used to get my work done so fast that I was bored for half the period. Eventually, I decided that I knew the material and (probably not a smart idea) decided to try an experiment. I gradually started writing more and more in cursive in the class until my teacher got used to it, then I'd throw in errors to see if they'd catch it. They didn't, which confirmed my suspicions that they couldn't read cursive and just gave me credit anyway. So for the rest of the year, I would literally just scribble in my 'homework' and the teacher believed it was just my handwriting and gave me credit anyway.
29. A Troll By Any Other Name
Not a teacher, but last year my professor "accidentally" shared the link of the answers to the next exam, and he "forgot" to delete it.
Everybody thought that we were saved.
The link was actually redirecting us to Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up'
Mr. Bocska, if you see this, you da MVP
28. We're Just Innocent Nerds
Me and a few friends of mine actually learned tengwar and wrote our cheats in that.
None of the teachers could read it and we could hide behind the fact that we're just a bunch of Lord of the Rings nerds writing all kinds of elvish texts on our stuff.
We even had long sleeve shirts and other kinds of clothing covered in elvish looking texts which were basically giant cheatsheets disguised as teenage drive to "be unique".
27. Change Plan, Change Plan!!!
A few of my classmates found out that they had to take another exam in order to pass physics two days before and they had to learn 3 years worth of material. Obviously that was not a lot of time, so we decided that one of them is going to record the exam with a pen with camera inside, hand us the pen while somebody distracts the teacher, we would solve the exam and send it to somebody outside the classroom that was in communication with the guys taking the exam through a spy earpiece.
Well, not everything went according to our plan. The teacher sent everyone that wasn't taking the exam out of the classroom, so the only way we could get the pen with recordings was for the pen to be thrown out of the window. Fortunately, the pen didn't break and we helped them pass the exam!
26. Use Objectification To Your Advantage
I'm not a teacher but in high school I would wear a skirt every time I had a test and write a cheatsheet on my upper thigh. Would slowly move my skirt up while taking the test. I knew I couldn't get caught because a teacher could get in a lot of trouble for telling a student to lift up her skirt.
25. Indents, Lies, And Videotape
In HS I had a Dixon #2 (yellow pencil) with all the formulas for geometry carefully inscribed on it. I'd done it in such a way that the writing was an indent, so you had to hold the pencil just so to see the writing.
In college, I had calculator apps for chemistry (periodic table, chemical naming/ formula, etc), and often had notes in the calculator.
In one class, the teacher handed out the key to the test as you were leaving and didn't confiscate phones. About 1/2 of the class (not me) got texted the answers and blew the heck out of the curve. The next test was significantly harder.... hardest I ever studied for a C (usually A's were easy). Jerks.
24. Fortune Smiled
In high school it was getting close to final exam time. I was studying for a Spanish final. For some reason I looked in the recycle bin in the class and found what I thought were old exams. I took a few to study with my friend. When it was time for the final exam the teacher brought out the EXACT SAME exam that I had spent a week practicing.
23. The Age Of Deception
I taught kindergarten (I teach another grade now), and between 5-6 is a really interesting age. There's a cognitive development that occurs between 5-7 where children become much more aware of the perspective of others, and therefore learn how to deceive their peers.
I could always tell when a student was a little ahead of the curve when they would cheat during games or activities. I caught one student during a math game deal out all of the low number cards to his peer while he kept all of the high number cards.
He kept winning every single round. I walked around the classroom and stopped to watch these two students. The student who was dealt the low cards had no awareness that he had been dealt a bad hand and was happily playing while the other student won every round and was cheering.
I had to stop the game to scold the student who was cheating, but in the back of my head I was just impressed that he was smart enough to cheat.
22. Just To Keep Consistent
We had a professor at my college who never changed his test problems, just slightly offset the numbers: this was calculus 2+3, so knowing how to set up the problem was most of the work, and the professor was a super harsh grader.
There was an 'inheritance' network for old tests. A person the semester before you would gift you their old tests, then you'd gift your email old tests and theirs to a student the semester after you. By the end of the year most people had 3 to 4 different versions each
21. Taking Down The Curve
In 10th or 11th grade US history we had a quiz each Friday where we had to State the president of the week (starting with Washington and moving forward) and name his party, years in office, former occupation, VP and cabinet members, etc. Rather than study for this very easy quiz, I would write the answers in my notebook hard enough that it indented the next page, then just trace the intentions for the quiz. Pretty much the whole class started doing this eventually. One day, the teacher told us to turn our papers over and flip them upside down. We all failed...
20. Creativity with Chocolate....Giphy
My teacher shared with us a story about how since she allowed eating during her tests, one person pulled out a giant bag of M&Ms and ate a specific color corresponding to A/B/C/D. It was a two student duo and they only got caught when another student ratted them out. babydragon0
19. Too smart to cheat!
In a lot of my college courses I wasn't allowed to use anything higher than a TI84. So I took the guts of my TI89 and swapped it into my TI84. Never got caught. NakedEngineer
Oh crap that's the way to do it! Blainezab
18. Classic Ways....
Not sure if this would work anymore, but if I had a paper to write on a book I didn't read I would find a well written paper online. Then translate the entire thing from English to German, German to French, French to Spanish, then Spanish back to English. Pull the original paper and the new one up side by side and clean up the grammar on the new paper and you've got the same concept, but written just different enough to not be plagiarism. Worked like a charm. Throwmylifeaway000
17. An Ancient Code...
I was supervising a final chemistry exam along with another coworker. Not 15 minutes in, a hand slams down on a desk and I turn around expecting the worst, only to see my coworker angrily shouting at a pair of really frightened 10th graders whose desk he smashed. Amidst the shouting I caught the words, "Morse code." The guy proceeded to take them to the office. I called a hallway supervisor to take over and ran after the group.
Apparently, the kids were silently tapping the answers amongst themselves in Morse code. Not even with their fingernails, just their fingertips. I never heard a thing, my coworker happened to catch "B" in Morse code or something. I honestly thought he finally went crazy solely because of his appearance, picture Robin Williams in "Jumanji" going WHAT YEAR IS IT.
I'm 100% sure that if this coworker weren't in the room, they'd have gotten away with it for sure. itellteacherstories
16. ME! ME! PICK ME!Giphy
So, the teacher, let's call him Mr. A, had a reputation for being a phenomenal teacher who had every student engaged/invested in his class, no matter how mundane the subject. Any time he asked a question, every student's hand would shoot in the air with them shouting things like "call on me!" or "I know the answer!"
Simply, Mr. A developed a reputation in the district as one of its best teachers.
Fast forward a couple years and I'm grabbing coffee with Mr. A and I ask him "what's your trick? How did you get every student bought in?"
His response, "well, I told the kids every time we had a visitor in class, I need you all to raise your hand like I was giving away free candy. BUT if you don't know the answer raise your left hand. If you do know it, raise your right hand, so I know who to call on and we all look good. Worked like a charm." JuiceCastillo
15. Click Done!
In high school I was in a computer based learning program and our science tests were taken digitally. However, they used a program where once you entered the test your entire screen was locked into the test and the only way to exit it was to click the finish button on the test or turn off your computer which effectively did the same thing. Another feature of the program was that once you were in the test, anything you had in your clipboard (copied text) was not able to be pasted into the answer sections on the test to prevent the only other way to cheat.
However, after creating my own classroom at home, making fake tests and playing with the program to figure out a way to cheat I realized that it would allow you to copy things from inside the test and paste them elsewhere in this test. The developers of the program also did not take into account the sign in screen where you have to find the test and enter it.
Long story short, I could copy my entire page of notes I had taken on the test material, paste it into the section where I would enter my login information. Then recopy it, enter the test and paste it again in one of the answer sections, using it to answer every question and then deleting it before clicking 'finish.'
14. Use your words....
In elementary/middle school we had to write a paragraph each week featuring all the vocabulary words included in that unit. One clever kid wrote something along these lines:
One day kid's name had to write a paragraph for English class. He sat down, picked up a pen and used these words in it: "proceeds to list out all the words."
The teacher only let it go once because she never saw that happen until then. lukeydukey
13. Write it in Ink...
College physics, girl with a really intricate tattoo on her leg wrote formulas in between the tattoo lines. Even looking closely you couldn't tell unless you knew what you were looking for. You could tell it was test day because she wore shorts. ScarthMoonblane
12. Don't be a Lemming....
I can name the worst, and I've definitely shared it before, but it wasn't my student, it was a friend's.
She'd downloaded a worksheet for the kids to do while she was in a meeting of some sort. Kids found the worksheet's answer sheet online and proceeded to copy the answers. Last answer said "student responses will vary." And that's what one kid wrote as his answer.
Other times you'll see one kid misspells something or gets an answer wrong, and everyone who copied from him has the same error. Jubjub0527
11. That is some MacGyver stuff!!Giphy
One of my old teachers told us a story about a student who had rigged up a tiny scroll of paper in a wristwatch with notes written on it. He turned the scroll by winding the watch.
He ended up getting caught because he was winding his watch so damn much during the exam, but the teacher loved the creativity. vancouver-duder
10. The Staple Giveaway!
I remember a story from my O-chem professor. This student all semester who wasn't showing up to class kept getting his score improved significantly after re-grades. They got their tests back, had a day to review them, and were allowed to re-submit for a regrade. They knew he was cheating because of the unlikelihood of the grading mistakes on multiple exams but the TA's who graded it couldn't confidently say it wasn't their handwriting.
Ultimately it was an office worker for the department who figured it out near the end of the semester, his staples were angled different than the exams handed out that were mass stapled. He was recreating the test, printing it, re-answering it, and then grading it in the same pen as the TAs and had done a good job copying the writing style. 11JulioJones11
9. Stretch it out....
Stretch a rubber band around a text book, write whatever you want on it, then when you take it off the textbook, it'll just look like scribble until you stretch it to see what's written. Spanish conjugations drove me to do some incredibly unethical things. Reddit
8. It's like being a TSA Officer....Giphy
Writing down math formulas and putting them in the instructions insert of the calculator.
More recently, kids will put the answers on their smart watches. It's to the point where I make all students removes their watches and place them on the classroom counter before the test starts. Reddit
7. It's just a Smudge...
I had class in the AM with a kid who was a TA for my physics class the afternoon before (weird period system at my old school). He would tell me the answers to app tests he had graded the day before and I would write them in black ink on the side of the sole of my black boots. I would then sit with my leg bent with my foot on my knee and read the answers during the test. You couldn't see them unless the light hit the ink just right. After the test I would just lick my finger and smudge the answers out. Joshiebear
6. Can you hear... the answers?
During a keyboard harmony lab exam (a room with 28 keyboards), one devious student had previously recorded another student's perfect performance of the exam piece on MIDI <in-out-through>.
The cheater played the recorded piece on MIDI, but used all the right hand motions on his keyboard at the back of the room to try to fool me that he was actually playing it in real time.
Unfortunately for him, the student he recorded happened to be my piano student, and I recognized the distinctive playing immediately. I didn't embarrass him during class by calling him out on it, but dealt with the problem privately - a lesson he told me later that would stay with him for the remainder of his life. Back2Bach
5. Follow the Context....
As a student, I remember when my entire year level was accused of cheating, as the test results came back consistently high. What the teachers failed to realize, was that some of the answers were actually hidden in other questions.
So if you got stuck on one question, you could find the answer later on in another question.
An example would be (this was a Japanese language test) "What does ___ word mean" and later on, a question would use that word in context, so you would understand what that word meant. Cont4x
4. Like you do....
Im not a teacher but I was a student. I had a friend who knew Kurdish and Turkish (We all know Turkish ofc) Anyway, he had to move from his city due earthquake and come to opposite side of the country (Istanbul). He was writing his notes in Kurdish on his desk and 1 desk in front of him. Since none of the teachers and us knew Kurdish it was like gibberish to us, but we knew he was writing down notes in Kurdish. berkaltun
2. The Patsy....
My sister in law is a teaching assistant at her kids school. Her youngest daughter (My niece) was 7 at the time. She stole the test the night before, pretended it was homework and had her mom "help her with her homework" then sneaked the answers in to the test.
One of the other kids caught her, let the teacher know and my SIL, who was overseeing test conditions, died inside when she realized it was the homework sheet that she'd filled out. jonnyg112
1. Mr. D "The Mastermind!"
I'm a high school teacher, but this story is about my own high school math teacher playing us and "cheating."
It was an honors algebra/geometry class, and it was well known that Mr. D re-used the same questions every year, just changed the numbers. He made a big deal about making sure we all gave our exam papers back to him after we had looked at our scores and gone over everything together to prevent cheating for the next year.
Well, of course, some of my classmates got their hands on a complete set of tests from the previous year. Soon, everyone had a set. Before each exam, we would sit together and make sure we knew how to solve every problem on that test so we could do it on the real exam with different numbers.
Years later, when I became a teacher myself, I saw Mr. D at a funeral. I confessed to him that this is what we used to do. He smirked and said "Who do you think leaked the test packet to get you to study?" Mr. D had figured out that kids won't study if the teacher suggests it, but if they think they're getting away with something, they totally will, so he managed to get a test packet out and circulating as contraband. Blew my mind. sarahsuebob
When in doubt.... be a Karen! LOL
We've all seen them and at times we may have been one A KAREN! You know who that is.... a difficult person, that's describing it politely. Karen's make scenes and do all that is necessary to get anything and everything their way. Working in any form of a service job, Karens are your worst nightmare.
Redditor u/externalodyssey wanted to hear from everybody about their Karen encounters by asking.... Managers of Reddit - what is a Karen experience like ? What was you worst experience ?