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    Another just memorized the first ten digits of pi and randomly filled in the rest, assuming the instructors would be too lazy to check every digit. His assumption was correct.

    That one has to be my favourite.

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      I really wish it included a list of how everybody cheated.

      (My first ideas were “buzzer in shoe” and “learn to read braille”.)

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        One of my teacher in Highschool complained that we were pretty bad at cheating. She then decided to teach us how to do it properly. The idea was that is you prepare how to cheat, you’re in a way preparing what you’ll need the day of the exam, and having the knowledge of what you’d need was indeed better that not preparing it at all.

        For some of us, it was a nice way to point out that finding the most important parts of the class was half the work of preparing the exams.

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          Not really cheating, but one of the exams in my first year in uni allowed all materials you wanted to be present during the exam.

          Did it make it easier? Heck no.

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            I had several classes in university like that. One of them was both the most challenging class I’ve ever taken (exams included), even if you were allowed to bring in every scrap of information you wanted.

            The professor would create exams that, generally, would take about 5 hours to complete, but the exam was only 3 hours long. In his own words, students were not expected to finish the exam, and were to choose the questions they answered based on what they thought they could accomplish in the time given. Each question had a different point value (e.g. 15 points, 5 points, etc.), but the full exam didn’t have a fixed number of total points (well, you could add up all the points for all the questions, but seeing as no one was going to finish the exam, that was a non-starter).

            He would then grade all of the questions on all of the tests, and then determine the total number of points the exam was out of retroactively, based on the distribution of questions/points answered.

            I thought it was complete insanity at the time, but it actually turned out quite good. I was less stressed during the exam because of the complete removal of time pressure.

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              Lucky you. We actually had 5h exams. All the questions had to be answered. A couple of other teachers believed the maximum score (20 out of 20) was for God, the next best (19 out of 20) was for the teacher and the student could, at the very best, score 18 out of 20. GPAs were shot. Exam scores were not adapted based on the actual answers like you described, so sometimes more than half the class failed to reach the minimum score to pass (10 out of 20 or 12 out of 20).

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                This reminds me the “classes préparatoires” in France. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classe_pr%C3%A9paratoire_aux_grandes_%C3%A9coles)

                The best students are expected to be around 10/20.

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          I really like the premise of this, and the choice of test and scenario. But I’m a bit disappointed that nobody was caught. Some of these cheats are pretty obvious (the numbers printed on a soda can - really?). Did the proctors even try to catch anyone?

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            During the exam, we sought to further increase the stress and realism by walking occasionally among the student desks. We didn’t try all that hard to catch students, but that wasn’t the point.

            It sounds like it was a hands-on lab in the shape of a test. They weren’t testing the students’ ability to cheat; it was more to provoke discussion about how adversaries might consider cheating.

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            I think that the question to ask is why are you taking the exam.

            Most university exams (unfortunately) are designed to sort students for future employers. For that goal, preparing for exams by memorizing (often useless) facts and not cheating is an important skill. This about the cliche on whether you would trust your doctor if you knew he/she cheated on their board exams.

            On the other hand, if you believe that exams should measure how well you can solve real world problems, then the exams should be structured to reflect the kind of work environment mostly common in the field of study.

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              In this case the answer to “why are you taking the exam” is “the exam is specifically about thinking like an adversary in cybersecurity.”

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                The trouble is, of course, that it’s difficult to do “mass production” of students if we use the latter form of exams. A university (or even just a department/program) dedicated to that might be able to crank out a few dozen per year. But they need to do hundreds… and across the nation it needs to be many thousands.

                So higher education has drifted away from that sort of thing (to whatever extent they were invested in it earlier), and we get the “sorting for future employers” thing nowdays. Let’s everyone meet quotas.

                There’s simply very little value in individual expertise at the inhuman scale of our society. No single individual fixes anything worth fixing, a company does that, after a dozen or three dozen worker ants all look at it, scratch their head, and then pass it on to another who might fix it.

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                  I agree 100%, with the proviso that I don’t think there’s any more nefarious reason for the status quo than the fact that modern higher education is essentially an assembly line.

                  Intensive, one-on-one tutoring in the mold of the classic OxCam university simply isn’t cost-effective when the political goal is to give more than a single-digit percentage of the population a university degree.