Tricks that students use to cheat in online exams

Last Updated: 03 March 2023

tricks students use to cheat in online exams

Even with the honor codes and resort to online exams to prevent cheating, cheating remains one of the most unbeatable vices for college students, high schools, and universities. Yale, Harvard, and other giant academic institutions have had instances when students have either confessed or been caught cheating in exams and essays.

The rationale behind conducting online exams was to maintain academic integrity. However, with the emergence of different technologies, cheating by students has become rampant. For instance, most students use collaborative technologies such as Google Meet, Zoom, and proctor software for their exams, which they always find a way to beat. Students have gained wind of the loopholes and are utilizing them to cheat their way through online exams to get the best grades.

At GradeCrest, our stance is that cheating is undesirable and disadvantageous to you as a student. We have written this article to enlighten you about some of the tricks people use to cheat in online classes and exams in the hope that you can do the right thing – work hard for your grades. It is burdensome and probably worthless trying to beat proctored exams, quizzes, and tests. However, we have found about ten tactics students use to get their way around the barrier.

As a credible assignment writing website, we emancipate you on these mechanisms of cheating online tests so that you are in the know. Equally, we cover the merits and demerits of cheating in online exams and leave you to judge whether or not you want to cheat or get prepared well. To get adequate preparation amidst many assignments, you can utilize our custom writing service for your assignments and spend adequate time preparing for the exams. We cover both proctored and non-proctored exams, quizzes, and MCQs. Read, get knowledge, and share with friends.

What amounts to cheating in Exams?

Cheating in exams entails any intentional or unintentional academic misconduct that allows students to have an unfair advantage over other students.

In most institutions, cheating in exams is a severe violation of the academic integrity policies, resulting in severe consequences such as expulsion.

We already addressed the question of why students cheat elsewhere. But of interest in this post is how students cheat in online exams, including tests with webcams or proctored ones.

Ideally, you could be a student reading this after searching “how to cheat on a proctored exam?” and although we will cover some common tricks, it does not necessarily mean that you should go down that road.

Pressure to succeed, lack of preparation, the convenience of cheating avenues, and the thrill that comes with cheating might appeal to you, but the bottom line is that you can ace an online exam without cheating.

After all, cheating is more of a social problem than it is a technological issue. This means that we cannot argue that technology enables cheating in online exams.

Related: Can using Chegg be regarded as cheating?

Clever Ways Students Cheat Online Proctored Exams, Quizzes, and MCQs

To date, students continue to craft ingenious ways to beat the systems meant to cover exam integrity. Most test-takers use these ten unique tricks to cheat in an online exam, whether proctored or non-proctored. We arrived at our conclusions following in-depth and broad research on the internet, focusing on universities and colleges' reports and scholarly papers. We also joined student forums where they shared these crafty ways they use to cheat in online exams. Here are our findings.

1. Impersonation

In the age where makeup and masks can make you be anyone, some prefer to go to this extent to cheat their way through exams. Students who look alike might take an online proctored exam, and they will never be detected. This has happened with twins or look-alikes, at least from the confessions we have read online.

Another common method is through asking another person to take your online exam, quiz, or test for you. This form of exam malpractice is common so that students can use their boyfriends, friends, and family members to do their exams. Exam impersonation takes many forms, and if well-executed, even the instructors or invigilators cannot detect it.

Students can use impersonation either before or during the exam. Students share their passwords with the impersonator who checks the course outline and materials in the pre-exam phase. The impersonator can then genuinely take the test when it becomes available. During the exam, a student can leave the exam halfway, and the impersonator takes over. With the susceptibility of exam technologies, the latter can be done unhindered.

2. Collusion with experts, friends, and family members

Another common clever method is sharing screenshots with an expert, friend, or family member who can help get answers. It is considered the safest approach by students, especially for the non-proctored exams.

Hiring an expert in a given field does not cost too much nowadays. However, these ghost exam takers require you to provide the necessary course materials for them to study beforehand. Then, during the Quiz, test, or online exam, you can send them the test questions and give you answers that you can feed on the online exam panels such as Zoom.

Note that the experts are sometimes already knowledgeable and will only need course material to know the scope of your test. When you send screenshots, they will read and send you the answer almost immediately. Even though risky, the risk makes it worth a try for many students.

To a larger extent, when a student is desperate enough, the experts can have the login details and either advise on how to study for the exam or take the test. But, again, only a student who is desperate to be caught can try this. Cheating has consequences, and this approach is one of those ways that take you straight to the consequences.

In what is referred to as abetting cheating, students opt to discuss the answers of an upcoming exam with an expert or friend. It is not limited to paying hackers to hack the exam database. It might also entail copying the questions and distributing them to other students, which amounts to cheating in online exams.

3. Using the internet

Categorized as an on-screen exam, cheating and using the internet to beat an online proctored exam is common practice. They often switch from the real exam screens and navigate websites and search engines to get answers.

Students also cheat using their own system. When they do not have privileges, the students opt to keep eBooks, PDFs, notepads, and other browsers apart from the secure proctoring browsers on a separate window and tab before an exam. They can then open them conveniently during the exam and cheat the remote proctor who cannot track all the on-screen activities.

And when they have navigation privileges (as some institutions allow access to specific third-party apps/software and safelist websites), students use this to their advantage and cheat in online exams.  For example, students might browse for answers on the internet through unauthorized websites and files, especially for open book exams. To do so, they log into unauthorized websites during the exam and find the best solutions from websites such as Chegg, CourseHero, or JustAnswer.

4. Planned Test Disruption or Excuses

Among the myriads of crafty ways students use to cheat in online exams includes the use of disruptions or excuses. For example, students might decide to trick the system or proctor by purposely logging out of an exam. To do so, the students can blame it on a power disruption, poor internet, unintentional unplugging of their device, or any other frivolous excuse they might think of. Students have cheated their ways through this approach as long as they can justify the glitches- it is a subtle and unnoticeable tactic to beat an online proctored or non-proctored exam.

5. Electronic Devices

The advancement in computing technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) further complicates the online exams cheating process. According to Proctortrack, students use electronic gadgets such as spyglasses, micro earpieces, small Bluetooth devices, google glasses, and unique calculators and wristwatches to cheat their way through online exams. In addition, Bluetooth collar devices and micro earbuds have always been used in cheating during online exams. However, sneaking such devices into an exam room remains a significant burden for whoever chooses to use this strategy, thanks to the advancement in scanning systems.

6. Smartphones

Apart from just using tech to cheat on homework, students now use smartphones to cheat on online exams. It is not uncommon to find students with pre-loaded smartphones with course content, exam answers, formulae, and valuable materials needed to pass an exam. Even though smartphones in exam rooms might be prohibited, crafty students always find ways of sneaking them in. in rooms with Bluetooth, LTE, and WIFI jammers, such devices become useless, but the notes therein can give a student an unfair advantage over others. Such approaches are practical and possible when students take exams from their own rooms, remote locations, or café. Students can also use apps like PhotoMath and Socratic to scavenge the internet for answers to complex mathematical tasks, and they can sure do the same for other fields. As long as a proctored exam is taken remotely, cheating in that online exam can be unhindered.

7.      Virtual machines

Crafty as they are, some students have gone the extra mile of honing their technical skills in computing to cheat in online exams. Knowing that some of these online proctoring companies host their applications on open-source systems that can be hacked, they hack into them.

They use virtual machines, insider assistance, and spyware apps; students can use their computers to access critical files remotely. Cases of rigging exam questions online have surfaced.  Using software such as Team Viewer and AnyDesk, students can manipulate and impersonate the actual users on the proctoring company’s end. Alternatively, students also set such systems on their computers and have someone else handle their paper far from the exam site. The virtual machines make a single computer accommodate two users at the same time. A student might pretend to be doing the exam while, in an actual sense, another person is doing the exam for them. It is a strategy that has helped bypass lockdown browsers used in online tests and assessments.

8. Screen mirroring or sharing

Technology is only great when used appropriately. However, students always find a way to bend the rules and use technology in online cheating.

Apart from the virtual machines, students can also opt to use screen sharing or mirroring that helps them use two or more monitor screens. So, when a student is doing an online text, they use one monitor to access the questions and the other monitor that mirrors the original monitor to access the questions. In this case, an expert, friend, or student can access the questions, research, and craft answers faster without detection.

It is one of the oldest forms of cheating in online tests, which has efficiency given that everything is simultaneous. It seems ingenious because while the student is actually at their worksite, someone else is busy helping them in the background. However, when institutions use secure browsers for online tests, it becomes challenging for students to find their way around.

Such secure browsers inhibit unallowed access to third-party apps or websites. Proctoring exams also help manage screen mirroring, making it impossible to cheat as online examiners have access to every activity on the student’s screen.

9. Projectors or Camera

In a rather crafty way, students use projectors to cheat in online exams. An ideal method for this is by using the projector or camera in a room full of other students. Once they have access to the questions, the other students can either write them clearly on a white paper or whiteboard or make non-verbal cues that signal the exam-taker. Cameras can also be used with micro earbuds or other Bluetooth devices.

Given that proctored exams detect eye movements and unnecessary body movements, the chances are that the candidate can raise suspicion. However, there is no need to go to such an extent to revise well and prepare for your online exam adequately.

10. Pre-recorded videos

When a proctored exam is to be taken at home, café, or remote location, students can also pre-record themselves in an exam position and cheat the proctoring software. They can then access the answers, share them with friends, find the answers online, or consult their texts without being caught. Alternatively, they can also hack the correct answers by using special online software that highlights the answers from the databases.

Like we have said before, the cost of cheating in online exams is too high. You will pay the price you would have avoided by being smart. For instance, if a bunch of essays are troubling you and deny you time to revise for mid-terms or finals, we can write premium-grade essays for you. You can use our model essays to know how to research fast and write an essay better. Besides, they also broaden your scope of reasoning.

Parting Shot

Online exam proctoring has been adopted by institutions to prevent students from cheating in online exams. Applications such as Veripass can be used to assess and validate your data. Furthermore, there are myriad ways to know whether or not you cheated in an online exam. Therefore, it is not worth a try either. You can plan your time, study well, and consult widely or even seek help with burdening tasks that consume your revision time to avoid cheating in online exams that comes with hefty consequences. After all, cheating is becoming expensive lately – you do not want to be top of the news for cheating. You can imagine the laughter and ridicule you would attract. There is honor in failing credibly than passing fraudulently.

For the honor of online courses, always take your time to understand the course materials. If your professor is unreachable, try to hire an online tutor to help you digest the material. Also, you can look for someone to mark your essays and comment using smart paper provisions to enable you to learn how to craft answers.

Academic dishonesty is a monster that can either work in your favor or disfavor you. So naturally, you would rather be on the safe side.