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    Cheating Essay

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    Cheating has seemingly become an everyday phenomenon during exams at most Hungarian universities. Many students prepare for exams by creating cheat sheets, choosing strategic seating arrangements, and some even use their mobile phones to fill in gaps in their knowledge. Stories of cheating during exam periods circulate in the corridors of the School of English and American Studies, as well as other faculties of ELTE and other universities in our country. This may seem surprising, but the story is not fiction. In fact, a student at ELTE told it to HVG last year. I always elaborate on all the possible topics at home and write them down on A/4 sheets of paper,” the student admitted.

    My special examination suit has an A4-sized pocket. I always put the sheets into it. At the examination, I wait until the topic of the essay is given out, then pick the right sheet in my pocket and hand that one in.

    Research Questions: Is cheating really such an everyday phenomenon as it appears to be? Is cheating so easy to manage? What about morals?

    Theoretical Background: Brown, Earlam, and Race reported in their practical handbook for teachers that sitting for written exams is one of the most stressful parts of life for many pupils (p. 44). The book also suggests that if candidates get away with cheating, it will be regarded as the teacher’s fault. Most teachers feel uncomfortable encountering cheating and do not think it is their task to prevent pupils from doing it. They try to minimize the possibilities by telling students to leave their bags far from the desks. Before starting the exam, they remind students to double-check that they have nothing on their person that could be interpreted as a crib (Brown, Earlam & Race, 1995, p. 44).

    But there are always a few who take the risk. Better safe than sorry!” say students afraid of not knowing a single answer to the exam questions. This is why they invented their own means, the illicit aid, as termed by teachers: the cheat-sheet. Students know hundreds of methods to avoid spending long hours preparing for examinations and tests. Of these, everyone can choose the one which best suits their cheating skills and, of course, their aim.

    Cheating begins in senior primary school. The most widespread methods at this age are hiding small bits of paper containing relevant information in pockets, under the question sheet, or in pencil cases. Creating these small cheat sheets is time-consuming and requires patience as kids do not use computers to design them. Writing on one’s hands is risky as there is no way to remove the text when the teacher approaches suspiciously.

    As you can see, these methods are quite elementary and easy to discover. In fact, they are mostly done to amaze classmates rather than for learning. The next age group, 14-18 years old, uses more sophisticated methods. Modern technology is often of great help to secondary school students. The computer-edited A4 page can be reproduced on a much smaller scale. Experts on the topic say that the smallest font legible to students’ eyes is the 3pt size. The laziest students do not bother with typing; they simply photocopy the book at about 8 pages/A4 rate and cut the pages apart.

    University students prefer the previously-written essay method, which is often much more dangerous than the others. That is why they use those as well. Everyone tries cheating once. After that, they decide whether it is worth it or not (Rka & Bunny, 1999). In September 1996, research was carried out at the University of Economics (BKE), Budapest for personal purposes under the coordination of G.

    Vass (personal consultation, March 3, 2000). A small group was interested in students’ opinions about honesty. Similar to us, the research group used a questionnaire as a measuring instrument, which had 5 questions about cheating at university examinations among 45 others. They asked about 100 participants from different faculties to fill out the questionnaire. However, the research has not been published in any way. The first two questions on the topic had four possible answers: Always, Often, Sometimes, and Never.

    The first question concerning cheating was the most obvious one: Do you cheat on exams?”

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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