Cheating for a better future? Students purchase exam questions online

It appears to be relatively easy for students to buy test questions that they will likely be asked in exam papers. Large online English-language publishers provide “test bank” files which contain a plethora of questions and answers intended for teachers to use as exercise material or as questions in their exams. The publishers say there is a clear caution on the website which instructs teachers to prevent students from using their account.

The University of Amsterdam denounce the situation

Saying it undermines the value of the degree and creates an uneven playing field between students.

Are the students cheating or just being canny?

The files are actually available for purchase and once a student has access they are able to trade it among other students. Is this cheating? The exam questions are, after all, a prediction of what the test will include. Is it cheating if the students cannily seek out potential exam questions? Or do the teachers need to revamp their exams and employ more originality to prevent repetition?

A helping hand

Students willingly share the links to the test banks on social media sites such as WhatsApp and Facebook. The Ad have screenshots of this. Many of the students also share the purchase cost together.

Has this happened before?

Last year during the compilation of a Business Research Management exam, one teacher found that students had access to an online forum which discussed the exam content. Teachers were made aware of the situation. Nonetheless, one spokesperson commented that teachers should be using test banks as inspiration and not as an exhaustive and definitive list of questions to ask in exams.

So, what do you think? Are the students cheating? Or just being canny? Would you purchase the test banks?

Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


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