Making a permanent impression since 1994
September 19, 2005
A cheater's manual
By Stefan Koski
“The secret of
life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.”
-- Groucho Marx
a well-known fact that cheating, while an extremely beneficial short-term
solution, only hurts the well-meaning student in the long run. It’s also
against school policy.
why nobody should cheat.
is, however, nothing wrong with “participating in a cooperative learning
experience.” It can boost grades and self-esteem with relatively little
effort. So here are some helpful tips to making the most out of any cooperative
1. “Cheat sheets” is a rather harsh term. “Convenience sheets” sounds much better. Having said that, don’t write out convenience sheets – type them, reduce the font size, and print them. It keeps large amounts of text small enough to be easily concealed but still legible.
After using such a convenience sheet hold onto it until the end of class. After
exiting the classroom, tear it up into as many pieces as possible. Nonchalantly
discard half the pieces into the wastebasket of the next class, and the other
half of the pieces in the wastebasket of the class after it.
Restructure the sentences of any copied papers. For example: “Sally and John
went to McDonalds this afternoon because they were hungry for hamburgers,”
versus, “They were craving hamburgers that afternoon, so John and Sally went
When in doubt of the answer, start writing smaller and smaller, and then start
scribbling cursive. People who write in cursive look like they’re smart, even
if they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Graphing calculators, while bulky and expensive, can be programmed to do a
number of different functions, such as calculate slope, compound interest, and
the area of any shape or figure, without any significant amount of thinking from
the user. It’s well worth the money to buy a Texas Instruments graphing
calculator and a cable to connect it to a computer. Go to www.ticalc.org
and download any programs that are needed. Games can also be downloaded for
those who are easily bored in math class.
Don’t bother wasting time trying to find books at a library for the required
number of print sources for a paper. Simply cite books off Amazon.com. If quotes
are needed, look for books that are part of Amazon’s Search Inside program,
which allows users to search the book’s text for any terms and view the pages
they appear on (when parenthetical referencing is needed). Google Print has a
similar program – books in its database can be searched at http://print.google.com.
Don’t write any helpful notes on the palm of the hand. No one looks at the
palm of his or her hand while taking a test – it looks unnatural, and it’s a
dead giveaway that the student is participating in a cooperative learning
experience. Instead, write it on the upper part of the leg, just above the
kneecap, where shorts or a skirt can hide it. If that’s not possible, write it
on the side of the forearm, where long sleeves can conceal any incriminating
marks. Alternatively, information could be written on a piece of masking tape
and then taped to the leg or arm, allowing the student to rip it off and destroy
it once done with the test in addition to providing a much better writing
surface than skin.
Twice as much can be accomplished if half the effort is put into everything. If
it’s not graded, it’s not worth doing.
Copying papers takes time – time that whomever has the work done often can’t
afford to give when an assignment is due. Better to photocopy someone else’s
work, and then return it to the owner. This gives ample time to copy down all
the needed information. As soon as the paper is photocopied, rip off the name at
the top of the photocopied page. Tear it into as many pieces as possible and
dispose of it immediately. After copying the information from the photocopy,
dispose of it in the same manner as a convenience sheet.
Most important of all, when someone else asks in an exasperated tone, “Are you
cheating?!” calmly reply, “No, I’m cooperatively learning.” Then make
something up about how the assignment is not even graded, it’s just notes for
your own use. That always works.
cheaters never prosper. Cooperative learners, however, get straight As.
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