Why Cheating is Not a Good Test Prep Strategy
It’s the proverbial elephant in the room any time a group of students starts talking about how to get ready for the upcoming test: The method that many of them will use is cheating. Maybe you’re even one of them. You might be surprised to hear that this article will at no time preach at you about why cheating is immoral. Instead, we’ll talk about why cheating ultimately hurts you in the class. If you consider cheating on a test, things have definitely changed and there are numerous hi-tech ways that you can get caught. Here is a discussion in the new frontier in catching cheaters.
Generally, these types of hi-tech solutions to catching cheaters are going to only be present in the larger, well financed standardized tests such as the ACT, SAT, or one of those. If you are writing a Nursing Entrance Test, or a High School Tests, there probably won’t be cameras zooming in on suspicious behavior.
First, though, let’s be honest: Most people have cheated on a test, even though most people will admit that they believe that it’s wrong. Why do your friends and classmates cheat? There are several reasons:
- To save face. This means that many students cheat because they don’t want to look bad in front of their friends, while others are more concerned about what their parents will say. Either way, cheating is a way of not being embarrassed in front of someone who matters to them.
- Because they find the course meaningless. A good number of students just don’t think a class’s content will mean much to them later in their lives. For them, therefore, it’s pointless to spend much time learning the material. They might as well just cheat.
- To stay alive, academically speaking. Some students get in panic mode when they realize how much a test is worth toward their final grade, and worry that if they blow the test, they will blow their GPA. For them, cheating is a survival mechanism.
The problem is that cheating is a short-term solution. In the long run, people who get into a habit of cheating hurt themselves in several ways. Here are some reasons that you might want to reconsider cheating on your test:
- Courses are built like a building. You start with a foundation, and then everything is built on top of it. If you skip learning earlier materials, it will make it extremely difficult to master the later material. When you don’t understand that later material, you’ll be forced to cheat again. It can become an unending spiral–and eventually, if you keep cheating, you will get caught.
- This is related to the previous point: Because courses are built one unit upon the previous one, when you study for this test, you’re actually studying for all tests still to come. Think of it this way: If you’ve cheated your way through a course, then when final exam comes, you’ll either have a lot more studying to do, or you’ll be forced to cheat on the final. And trust me: Teachers and professors monitor finals closely.
- You never know when the instructor might throw an essay question into the mix. And then, it’s either know the material or mess up badly on the test. Even worse: You’ll be in serious trouble if you get all of the true / false or multiple-choice right but then do terrible on the essay. Then the instructor will know that something is fishy.
- Getting caught cheating can be far more embarrassing than you realize. That’s because, if you’re in high school, your parents will likely find out. If you’re in college, it could get even more serious: Maybe the advisers of any of your extracurricular activities or sports teams will be notified. You could even be suspended from participating.
Yes, cheating is a moral issue. Even more, though, it’s a strategy that will just mess you up on future assignments and tests as you get deeper into the course. See our post on Students Sharing information online.
Interestingly, online services offering term papers and similar are coming under pressure as Universities launch legal action, which includes “charging the Internet services with wire fraud, mail fraud, racketeering and violating a Massachusetts law banning the sale of term papers.”