After over a year and a half here, the cheating never fails to frustrate/surprise me. On the good days it just makes me laugh. On the bad days it makes me blush in frustration (I really need to get over the whole blushing thing) and tell kids off in English (although my angry Portuguese has gotten much better, there are some situations that simply call for a flurry of English words). I know that I’ve written about cheating at school before, but this is my official:
TJ’s GUIDE TO CHEATING IN MOZ
1. Sit on your notebook. Your teacher will never notice (they’re obviously too busy talking on their telephones or correcting tests to properly proctor a test anyways). And blatantly staring at your lap for an hour is completely normal
a. When the teacher happens to notice that you are sitting on top of your notebook (not the easiest thing to conceal from even the least observant teacher), stall. Lie. Protest your innocence until the teacher forces you to stand up. Then state that you were just sitting on a notebook that happened to be for that subject – you definitely weren’t using it to cheat.
b. The more advanced option to sitting on your notebook is to put your notebook down your shirt. It is unclear how useful this method actually is, but it’s always fun to try new cheating strategies! Plus, it’s not as though anyone will comment on the fact that suddenly your stomach is rather rectangle-shaped.
2. Write on your hand. And then stare at your palm for a half an hour because you managed to smear the writing and can no longer read what you wrote. Or (my personal favorite) write information that is completely pointless for that particular exam. A chemistry exam on atoms and calculating the number of protons, neutrons and electrons? You should definitely make sure to have the definition of chemistry written on your hand, something along the lines of A=Z+n would be completely pointless.
3. Slip your exam review work INSIDE of your test. There is no way your teacher will ever know that you have extra pieces of paper on your desk (the fact that they’ve told you that you can’t even use a piece of scratch paper is completely meaningless).
a. When the teacher calls you out about using the review work to cheat say that you just forgot to turn it in and that you hadn’t even looked at the sheet.
4. Write equations and definitions in the smallest writing imaginable on tiny scraps of paper. Spend all the time you could have spent studying writing tiny notes that generally aren’t even all that useful.
a. As soon as the teacher announces that it’s time for the test, bring out your cheat sheet. Keep it on your desk in plain site.
b. Crumple your cheat sheet in your hand and hold it there during the test. If the teacher catches you, you have several options to escape getting a zero on the test:
i. Shove the note in your pocket (or down your shirt, in your mouth, or in your neighbor’s sweatshirt hood – be creative!). Swear that you weren’t cheating but mysteriously refuse to turn out your pockets
ii. Throw the cheat sheet across the room – the teacher will spend all of her time trying to find it and will forget who was cheating
iii. Use the good old “it isn’t a cheat sheet senhora professora, I was just using it to review.” Forget that you really can’t review in the middle of the test.
5. Use classroom materials to disguise your cheat sheet. Do you sit next to the window? Drape the curtain over your desk to cover the note – it’s not as though something that out of the ordinary will arise suspicion.
6. Put your cheat sheet INSIDE your pen. Doesn’t matter that the note will once again have to be so small as to make it completely illegible, what matters is that you outwitted the teacher.
7. Pass calculators back and forth with the correct answer on them. Put the fact that not everyone can afford a calculator so teachers have to let them share to good use!
a. When your teacher stops letting you use a calculator during tests, do it anyways!
8. Talk incessantly through the entire exam. The teacher is so old she must be going deaf. And if you speak in xitswa, she’ll NEVER know that you’re talking (if you can’t understand a language it means that you also can’t hear when someone is speaking).
9. Whatever you do, don’t stop cheating, the thrill/vague possibility of getting a better grade is worth all of the effort and almost certainty of getting a zero
We just finished yet another semester and all of the fun testing that goes along with it. I have mixed (yet very sarcastic) feelings about the cheating that is so prevalent throughout the exam period – for a large number of disciplines the students are expected to memorize insane amounts of information with little or no actual comprehension expected, so I can’t say that I don’t understand the motivations behind the cheating.
I’m getting ready to travel to Johannesburg to take the LSAT and will be traversing across northern Moz towards the end of the month (we don’t start classes again until July 22nd!), meaning that my blog posts might be more delayed than usual. But hopefully I’ll have lots of pictures and updates upon my return to Inhassoro. Then I have all of July to get my law school applications put together before I head out to Minnesota. Also, I would appreciate any finger crossing/prayers/other good luck rituals on the 11th, I think I finally have the hang of this logic game thing, but I’m still looking forward to never having to take another practice test!!