5 Ways of Creative Cheating

9 March 2018

By Klara Weygand – Alright, alright listen up! I do not condone cheating and I do not condone using cheating as a method for passing anything in life. Having that said, let me show you how my class (and almost every other pupil in Croatia) cheated in high school.

Now, what you have to understand is that in Croatia it is almost normal to cheat. It happens mainly in high school, because the high school students have an average of 13 subjects every academic year. And that is without extra-curricular activities and selective subjects. At one point I had 18 or 19 subjects total. Before I start listing the ways we cheated, it is important you understand we do not have final exams every year, we have many written and oral exams and then you get your average grade (There are final exams for graduation though).

So, it is understandable that the amount of knowledge that is supposed to enter and stay in our teenage heads is quite big. Obtaining knowledge is more remembering things by heart than full understanding of the subject. Therefore, being resourceful is a valuable skill.


The classic cheat sheet is writing notes on a small piece of paper. You write the most important information or the things you can't remember on a small piece of paper. This paper can be put in several places, such as between your thigh and the chair you are sitting on; under your exam paper; putting it in your pencil case; on the calculator or like my (bit older) friend did, put it in a tube for film tape. 

This archaic method of cheating is very convenient as it is small and if you adjust your own font size you can write down a lot of information. And because it was a piece of paper, you can easily crunch it up and throw it on the floor inconspicuously in case you think you are getting busted, as well as it being a white so it is not very different from the exam sheet. However, I had a friend that decided this didn't suit him and he would write information in Word using font 3 or 4 and print it out. The paper was so small, you had to be super close to the table because otherwise your chances of seeing the data are equal to seeing Eric Cartman appear in the classroom.


At one point a newspaper publishing house came up with a pen that had a piece of paper attached to it that you can roll out. I honestly was not part of this, as it was before my high school times but the teachers quite quickly realized how this pen can be misused and banned them in schools. It was probably the most evident tool for cheating.


Using smartphones for cheating became very popular as I entered high school. For some inexplicable reason, the teachers did not (always) see the students use their phones to cheat. Students would take photos of your notes, book pages, whatever. They made sure that it was ready to be viewed before the exam started and then just unlocked their phone, hid it behind a pencil case or some other place and zoom in and scroll through those photos. 

Clearly, if you did not turn off your phone audio and decreased brightness, your chances of getting caught were as high as Towelie. In addition to smartphones,  smart watches appeared by the time I was graduating. I heard a rumor that there was a watch designed for cheating (not the Apple watch) and that one student got caught using it on the final graduation exams.


Bluntly writing the answers on the whiteboard. Now, I won’t say who came up with this brilliant idea, but I am sure that brilliant person is not the only one who did it so naming him/her is not necessary. There was an exam in Latin (no, I am not a super smart person that wanted to study Latin, it is obligatory in high schools for at least 2 years to take it) and among other things we were supposed to learn the names of seven hills in Rome. To list seven things is not that hard, but when the names were to be as easy to remember as the likelihood of the Netherlands not being windy, my class turned to alternative options. So, we decided to write them on the board, as big as possible so 1, it doesn’t seem obvious, rather just looks like notes from the previous class and 2, so us cool kids can see it in the back rows. And, as hoped for, the teacher just came in the class, handed out the exam papers (she had to turn her back against the board at one point in order to come back to her desk after handing out the papers), sat down and start writing in the class. We hurried to write down the answers but we got busted when my friend started laughing which raised suspicion of the professor. This method does not work with every professor and every subject, but it is a fun anecdote I like to think about.


Writing the notes on school property. This is also one of the ‘old school’ methods but it worked. Clearly the teacher cannot scan the walls, chairs and desks so sometimes people would write their notes on the wall next to them, on the chair of the person in front of them or on the desk. On the desk was most risky, because those were clearly your cheating notes (unlike notes on the chair, that could be years old) and because your professor can move you to another place right before the exam starts. The notes on the desk could be written with a pen or a pencil, hidden while the teacher is handing out the exam sheets with your hands and easily erased using your fingers or an actual eraser. However, depending on your ethical standings, you are destroying school/public property if you cannot erase your notes.

There you go! These are some of the ways in which my generation cheated in high school. I should add that most people do not cheat on final graduation exams but rather use cheating as a tool to handle the overwhelming amount of information needed to remember for each subject. Sometimes while writing your cheat sheet, you learn what you need and do not even have to use it. Sometimes you are too scared to even attempt cheating so you just don’t. However, there are of course more cheating methods than this, like writing on body parts, sneakers or jeans and whispering. I do feel like I should add that by cheating you are risking the outcome of your future. In Croatia most often a pupil will not be expelled if one is caught cheating. His/Her test will be taken away and be graded 0. But that's Croatia.

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