Student Cheating!

Cheating in exams and tests is a serious problem for schools and colleges.

And as technology becomes more and more advanced the teachers find they have to be one step ahead each time. Students come up with the most incredible ways to help them pass the test.

In the following lesson, we meet Jay – a student who suffers from great anxiety every time he takes a test. He tells us of the perfect plan to help him pass the test. But he comes unstuck at the end.

You can use this free lesson plan as part of your English or ESL class. Also good for any test prep class like IELTS.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 


 

Introduction

 

Do students in your country cheat in tests or exams? How do they do it?

How do people feel about students who cheat in a test in your country?

Have you ever cheated in an important test? What method did you use?

 


 

Student Cheating!

 

I am terrible at tests. It’s not fair and I should be given some kind of compensation for this — but none of the teachers care. And my college doesn’t care at all.

I study hard. I work really hard and do all the prep. But when it comes to the test I just go to pieces.

It’s not that I get a little tense and feel nervous. I wish it were only that.

No, I really feel like I am having a nervous breakdown.

My brain stops working and I can’t remember a single thing. I have complete memory failure.

This happens in almost every test.

I don’t completely fail the test. I can do much of it. But I don’t get the score I should get. The score I really deserve.

So that is why I had to devise the method to help me get a better score.

I was very impressed with the way I thought of it. I should be praised for that alone.

I was at home, in my room and studying as per usual. I was staring at some charts on my computer and going over the books at the same time.

On my desk was a bottle of energy drink — I often have one of these drinks to give me more energy to study into the night.

Many students drink these energy drinks. They are perfect for all-night cramming sessions.

I was staring at the label when I noticed that it had a lot of information on it. I think legally it has to show all the ingredients and calories — things like that.

As I was looking at the numbers of sugar levels and carbohydrates that is when it hit me.

The text that they used to print all this information was very small. To read it you had to get very close to the label or you couldn’t read what it said.

And then I came up with the perfect plan — or so I thought.

I looked online for information on how to copy something — for example, a label on the side of an energy drink.

There are many apps online to help you do this and I found one very easily. Within a few minutes I realised I could copy the exact label on the bottle in my hand.

So that’s what I did.

Once I copied it, I then rewrote all the text.

But instead of it reading things about sugar and calories and stuff like that, now it had all the information I needed to do my test the next day.

I just filled the label with all the equations and calculations I needed.

It took me about three hours to get it near perfect.

Then I printed it off and cut it to the right size. I had some glue and I used that to stick the new label — my cheat sheet — to the side of the bottle.

I refilled it with water and studied it carefully.

It looked like just a normal energy drink bottle. The label was identical.

Apart from all my secret notes.

I did the test the next day and I got 98%.

I think I could have got 100% but I thought it would be a good idea to get one or two answers wrong to avoid suspicion.

My plan worked.

But then I tried it again — and again.

And then in the middle of one test, the teacher came to my desk, picked up my bottle and examined it.

He shook his head to me and told me to leave.

And that was the end of that.

It’s really so unfair.

 


 

Essential Vocabulary

 

compensation prep go to pieces
tense nervous a nervous breakdown
memory failure devise impressed
praised as per usual staring at
energy drink all-night cramming
legally ingredients calories
sugar levels carbohydrates when it hit me
text the perfect plan apps
rewrote stuff like that equations
calculations near perfect glue
cheat sheet refilled identical
avoid suspicion shook his head unfair

 


 

Reading Comprehension Questions

 

What is Jay’s problem? Describe it clearly.

Is he a poor student? Or good?

What happens when Jay does a test?

Is Jay pleased with himself about how he created his test plan?

What was he doing when he first thought of his method?

What was on his desk? What did Jay say that students use this thing for?

What information does the bottle have on its label? Why?

What does Jay use to copy the label?

What does he write on the label? Why does he do this?

What score does Jay get in the next test?

How many times does he use this method?

What happens in the final time he uses this method?

 


 

Discussion Questions

 

What do you think Jay means when he says I really feel like I am having a nervous breakdown?

He says: But I don’t get the score I should get. The score I really deserve. What do you think he means by this? Describe his attitude here.

Jay says that many students in his school use energy drinks for all-night cramming sessions. Do you or anyone you know use energy drinks this way? What do you think of energy drinks? Do you think they are healthy or unhealthy?

Do you think Jay is entitled? Or does he have a real condition that prevents him performing well in a test?

Do students in your country get stressed just before a test? Can you talk about this for a while?

Are tests necessary? What is the purpose of them?

What would be a better method of assessing students, do you think?

When was the last time you had to do a test? How did you do in it? Do you think you got the score you deserved? Why/why not?

In your country, do students cheat during a test? Talk about it.

How do you prepare for a test? Describe your methods.

Do you think cheating in a test is acceptable? why/why not?

If cheating is so endemic, maybe there is something wrong with the education system. What are your thoughts on this?

What is the most ingenious cheating method you have heard of? Can you describe this?

 


 

I hope this was useful in your class. Please tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Student Cheating!”

  1. I don’t like tests or grades. Teachers should continually provide formative assessment instead. ‘Exams’ only help administrators to pigeonhole students.

    The main reason student cheating is bad is that they graduate with a ‘false knowledge’. I mean would you want a doctor who cheated his way through medical school to operate on your heart?

    1. Yes, I agree. I think continuous assessment is a much better model. If you put students under this kind of pressure though they will always find a way to cheat.

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