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Students who have not prepared for an exam somehow have the energy to devise a plan to cheat.

Although most exam proctors are wise to the cheating students' ways – no matter how elaborate their attempts are – there are a few whose clever ploys keep them from getting busted.

Curious to hear about the experience of exam proctors, Redditor Atlfitguy asked:

"Exam proctors of Reddit, what is the most elaborate attempt at cheating that you've witnessed?"

While Redditors shared what they witnessed in the test room, not all were witnessed by exam proctors. Some responses were submitted by students who were impressed enough not to rat out their peers.


These Redditors witnessed answers being relayed to students by an unassuming accomplice.

While the tactics may have looked good on paper, they failed to fool anyone.

Using A "Translator"

"At the test center I used to work candidates were allowed to bring a translator of their choice as long as it got approved by the state. Most of the time it was a family member and we would listen in on the conversation using a headset and record it. Once in a while, while replaying the recordings we would hear signals and patterns given by the translator telling the candidate which option to choose. Busted!"


Braiding Hair

"Not an exam proctor, but a student who heard of this afterwards. It was two girls, and the one who knew the answers sat behind the other. During the test, she started braiding the other girl's hair. When the teacher wasn't looking, the one in the front would make a number with her fingers on the side of her thigh (the question), and the other responded by pulling her hair on specific spots (A, B, C, D)."

"They made a habit of braiding each other's hair everyday days before the exam so the teacher wouldn't find it weird. I was the goody two shoes who never cheated, but even I had to respect them."


Tap Tap Tap

"My mom told me that she would sit in front of her (smart) friend, who would tap on my mom's back in some form of code to give her the answers."


Gender Bender

"I was proctoring a common exam for 5 different lecture sections. A male student came in and attempted to take the exam for his girlfriend. One had to scan their ID to be issued an exam... He scanned his girlfriend's ID and then claimed he was a transman who had recently transitioned."


Sounds Elaborate

"My friend braided her earphones into her hair and had recorded her written French exam essay which she then wrote down. Didn't get caught, have mad respect for people who cheat the shitty exam system."

"And I'm a teacher."

"EDIT: Should mention this wasn't for a regular exam. This was for her final GCSE exam."


Notes To Self

Some students used their own bodies to scribble down the answers – including on thighs, arms, and even mixed among freckles.

All that work disguising the answers could have been spent on studying.

Yet, here we are.

Notes On Thighs

"I'm not an examiner but my mate once wrote out loads of notes on his thighs then went to the toilet during the exam- the examiner led him to the toilet to check the cubicle out first etc then waited to listen for papers rustling etc. He wasn't very smart but that could well be the smartest idea he's ever come up with. Absolutely do not condone though!"


Nailing It

"Not very elaborate, but I used to very lightly write equations on my fingernails in pencil before math tests. At the start of the test I'd immediately write them down on my test packet (which wasn't unusual, we were encouraged to write them down first so we wouldn't get nervous and mess them up) then wipe off my fingernail with another finger."


Camouflage With Freckles

"I have a lot of freckles on my arm, which would turn lighter if I put pressure on the skin, which gave me an idea. If I used a marker with a similar color as my freckles, I could make dots that formed letters or numbers, and when I pressed my arm just right, the freckles would fade for a second or two, but the ink would remain dark. Couldn't write a lot like this, but enough for notes on more difficult concepts. Never got caught."


Two "BUSTED" Students

"Not a proctor but I witnessed two students get caught cheating while we were taking exams."

"One girl wore cheap/thin leggings that were slightly too tight. When she sat down, they would stretch out further and would basically become see-through over her thighs. She had a bunch of equations written on her thighs that one of the proctors noticed as they walked around the testing room. BUSTED."

"One guy had a bunch of stuff written on the insides of his arms, near his wrists . He wore a long-sleeved shirt that he would pull up/down. One of the proctors noticed him messing with it across the room and had him pull his sleeves up. BUSTED."

"Don't cheat, kids. You really don't want to have to explain to future employers or grad schools why you have an academic suspension or worse on your transcript."

Tricks Up My Sleeve

Instead of relying on accomplices or their own flesh canvases, the following students devised ingenious ways to cheat.

One proctor was astonished while watching one particular student who, like a magician, produced slips of paper from "everywhere."

Printing Personalized Labels

"I knew a guy who would make his own labels for soda/water bottles, but change the nutrition info to be useful equations for the test. The labels' material was identical to regular ones, even down to the gloss of the paper. Seems like if he spent the time studying, instead of making perfect labels for cheating, he wouldn't need the labels in the first place."


So 2020

"My friend came up with the realization that you can slip a paper into your mask and then pull it to see what you wrote."


The Pen

"In high school, circa 1996, I somehow obtained the answers to a 20 question test. I proceeded to go to the computer lab and type the answers and then printed them in size 3 font. Then I cut them out and taped them on one side of a white Bic pen. During the test I could roll the pen so the answers weren't visible, and then when I need to look I could tilt the pen slightly and see the answer. I missed two on purpose so the teacher wouldn't figure I cheated."


So Many Slips Of Paper

"Guy came in to sit an exam (along with one or two dozen others), wearing an eyepatch and with one arm in a sling with a prosthetic hand. Pretty unusual, but whatever. But I got suspicious when he started fiddling with his eyepatch, pulling it way away from his face and then putting it back. So I pressed the button on my desk that turns the cameras on (not sure why they didn't just record all the time, but this was back in the mid-eighties). I wasn't actually supposed to intervene in these cases, so I just sat there and watched, astounded, as this guy proceeded to pull little slips of paper from all over the place -- the sleeve of his supposedly injured arm, under his tongue... incredible. I don't know how he fooled himself into thinking nobody would notice."


False Alarm

"I used to make fake fire emergency posters with notes, and taped it to the wall next to my desk. I was never caught."


Dictionary Disguise

"For the german equivalent of the SAT, you get an English-English dictionary for use during the English exam provided by the school."

"Someone in my year bought the one used by the school, cut the cover off and glued it onto a German-English dictionary. The school found out when they tried to jam 11 books into the shelf-space for 10 books after the exam. The culprit wasn't found. Kind of looking forward to the 20 year anniversary; I want this mystery solved."


It must be amusing for fellow classmates or exam proctors to witness various methods students go out of their way for in order to cheat.

Their tactics are audacious and risky.

And while cheating on any exam is a cardinal sin, there should be a separate category for some students to earn points for the most elaborate schemes.

Writing on thighs? Not so much. But the hair braiding system was hardly a harebrained scheme.

However, the bottom line should be: Don't cheat on your exams, kids!

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