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cheating on exams...

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by BlueJasper, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. BlueJasper

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    Has anyone ever seen somebody cheat on an exam? If so, what should be done?
    Last week we had a final exam in cardio (which are web-based), and I saw one of my classmates accessing his notes. Should I say anything? I don't want to open a big can of worms (and besides, I have no proof). It is just really frustrating how you study so much, and your classmates are so dishonest. It seems as though you need to study extra hard to make up for those that cheat. Has anyone encountered this situation before?
     
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  3. -Goose-

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    Ouch.

    I had a similar experience in undergrad. One of my study group partners was cheating repeatedly off another member of our group. Culminated in a situation were the kid kicked (hard enough to leave a bruise) the other guy (one of my best friends) in the middle of a test... We had to turn him in.

    It wasn't fun, but unfortunately we didn't have a choice. If you are 100% certain he was looking at his notes (and not a login id for the test, for example), it sounds like you don't either (if your honor code is set up like ours, it is an offense not to report someone that you know is cheating).



    Good luck.
     
  4. Droopy Snoopy

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    If you are sure, just go talk to the person. Say you know they were cheating, ask them to turn themselves in or else you're going to do it for them. If you're not sure, leave it alone.
     
  5. JonnyG

    JonnyG IN the hospitals....
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    Cheating in medical really pisses me off more so then in undergrad. The problem is unless omeone in the administration catches them cheating nothing can really be done. It would be a you said, they said type deal. I would say to the administration you are concerned that there is cheating going on during these test and ask if they can proctor the tests better.

    At my school they caught two people cheating after the fact because there was erased writing on the back of their exams (wrote big for the other person). There is alot of cheating now where people just go to the bathroom during the exam and look at their notes. I finish exams rather quickly (1hr for a three hour exam) and yet the same people go to the bathroom every exam before i leave. I refuse to believe there is that much IBS and small bladders in my class.
     
  6. arsenewenger

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    Are u serious? I thought you guys are in medical school. why can't you just run your race and let him/her run his race. how is it your duty ,despite med school workload, to monitor who studies and who cheats!

    A friend once told be that "Blessed is he who do not see the fault of others because he himself/herself is busy with his own faults"
     
  7. JonnyG

    JonnyG IN the hospitals....
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    Besides the fact that you sign the honor code before every test that usually says you will report cheating.
     
  8. Droopy Snoopy

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    Tell me something my friend, suppose you're walking in to preround one day with a fellow student who is obviously high as a kite. Do you allow them to run their race and you run yours, or tell yourself somebody else will take care of it? What if he kills somebody? Time to grow up now, the stakes are getting bigger.
     
  9. OncoCaP

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    I'm a pre-med; in any case, I would tell the instructor what happened. I wouldn't worry about it beyond that, however. In my opinion, there is nothing the instructor will be able to do except to keep a closer eye if s/he cares whether or not people cheat. You'll encounter many people in life who are not honest; this should not come as a surprise in medical school or anywhere else (except Congress and the White House, of course, because we all know that our nation's top leaders are all honest ;-) ).
     
  10. Law2Doc

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    Agreed. In many schools (most with honor codes) it is, in fact, "your duty... to monitor who cheats".

    Even if it doesn't impact you directly, someone is going to get burned when cheaters knock them out of the top half, or top third of the class, etc., or if a prof decides not to drop a question because at least someone in the class got it right. You need to run your own race, but not be on your own track. Part of being a professional involves abiding by ethical requirements and policing your peers. That's a big part of what separates a profession from a job.
     
  11. Kfire326

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    I wouldn't recommend the 'someone else should/will deal with it' mentality...I'd turn the person in. I'd be really mad that I worked my arse off for that exam, and someone else is going to try to cheat their way through, possibly getting the same or higher grade than me.
     
  12. Ashers

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    People have been caught at my school when the professors are reviewing the videos taken during the exams, so they still can do something.
     
  13. OncoCaP

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    Ah good. I didn't realize they had video surveillance of the exams. In that case, the instructor should be able to go back and hopefully catch the individual in question with hard evidence.
     
  14. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    I've never heard of video surveillance at my school, so I don't know if it's a normal thing. It might just be a few schools that do it.

    I'm sort of surprised that cheating is so widespread. As for the bathroom thing, though, I don't know -- I wouldn't automatically assume cheating. When you do have things like IBS (which is actually pretty common), exams might cause some extra trips to the restroom. Also, taking a bathroom break can be a psychological thing to just chill if you're having excessive anxiety. At my school, we're only allowed to use the restrooms right by the exam room, but I don't know how monitored that is.
     
  15. Tired Pigeon

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    Well, the "I'll run my race, you run yours" approach breaks down when someone cheating has the potential to have a direct impact on every other honest person in the class. At my school, honors go to the top 10% of students in each class. If one person cheats to get into that category, by definition they have taken the spot of someone who honestly deserved to be there.

    Additionally, do you want to someday be the patient of some jackass who cheated his/her way through medical school? Would you want this doctor taking care of your critically ill child? Would you trust this person with your life? That's what we're talking about here. The knowledge you are supposed to gain during your med school education has a purpose -- acquiring this knowledge is an integral part of becoming a competent physician.
     
  16. yeahok

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    I would report it. But I'm not sure how much would get done. At my school last year, there was a big thing towards the end of the year for the second years (now 3rd years). There was this guy that some of the students always noticed going to the bathroom every exam, and they made some of the faculty aware of it because among some of his classmates he had been known to cheat. So for their final at the end of the year, the guy got up and asked to go to the restroom, and they checked his pockets and he had notes on him. But i don't think that they could prove he was looking at them in the bathroom, lots of people have their notes with them until the last minute before exams and then just stuff them somewhere.

    So I THINK they check ur pockets when u go to the bathroom now, but i'm not sure, I've never left to go to the bathroom during an exam.

    Anyway, my point is I think you should report it, even though it may be hard to prove. At least your making people aware and they can keep an eye out.
     
  17. Law2Doc

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    Video surveillance won't help if someone is taking a test on their computer (as the OP described) and accesses their notes on computer unless the camera is correctly angled behind the screen, not in front or above. LCD displays have a very limited angle of visibility. Thus cameras will generally only catch people looking someplace they shouldn't, not people who have notes on a screen they are supposed to be looking at.
    Report it - let the profs decide if and how they want to do anything.
     
  18. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    Yeah, I guess the person at my school had notes hidden under the mouse pad. They also control the computer so you can only go to the test, and no other site. They then monitor who's still logged into the test.
     
  19. dilated

    dilated Fought Law; Law Won
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    I go through every exam once, put down what I think are the answers, then I go to the bathroom, stretch, think about the ones I'm not sure of, then come back and go over it again to double check. I don't have a copy of my notes in there, dude - some people just like to move around.
     
  20. BlueJasper

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    I am not sure that reporting the guy will get anywhere. There have been many rumors in my school regarding people cheating, and nothing ever seems to get done. I never really believed them until I saw it first hand with a guy I would never suspect. That tells me that rumors are true, and more are cheating as well.

    Our school is super lax and trusting regarding exams. All of our exams are web-based and the only rule is that you have to take them in the library (at virtually any time on test day). We are allowed to take breaks, walk around the hospital, etc. Furthermore, it is possible to access the internet during exams..although it is 'prohibited.' It is trusted in us that we will keep breaks to a minimum and not discuss the exam with anyone. However, I know that this isn't the case at my school. Last year, our exams were pen and paper in the classroom (set time and place), and now that they are on computer, our averages have been higher..go figure.

    btw..I am probably one of those students that gets "bumped off" the top 10% that makes honors, as you were saying. I am usually high pass/honors, which means I am always within a couple questions from honors :(
    So, what I saw last week really bothered me..but thanks everyone for all of their advice : )
     
  21. OncoCaP

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    So what are you going to do? How will you feel when one or more of the people who cheated beats you into a residency perhaps or gets some other commendation? What about the future, when some of your colleagues do something else that is unethical and that provides them an advantage over you ... what could you see yourself doing then? I know this isn't an easy thing to deal with. It just seems like this is an irritation that could build up over time and really get on your nerves.
     
  22. Law2Doc

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    Well, that assumes the folks who cheated did better than you, which isn't always the case. But either way, they are screwing somebody over down the line, so turn 'em in. I too doubt the prof will do anything, but it's his/her call -- it shouldn't be your concern what they do with the info. Just pass it along.
     
  23. Droopy Snoopy

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    I don't know about you guys, but that's just about the dumbest school policy I've ever heard of. I mean they're just asking for it. Not only does it make it easy for the cheaters to cheat, it might tempt someone who never would otherwise to try it. I know I'm not the only one who's been on the losing end of an exam from time to time and would've been sorely tempted if it'd been this easy. Well anyway, if nothing gets done or you decide not to say anything, it's not nearly that easy to scam Step I. So not learning the info will come back to bite them in the a** anyway.
     
  24. beastmaster

    beastmaster Senior Member
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    Talking to the person is always the wrong move. Don't ever do it. That's like the sucker option they ask you about in college interviews. When you threaten someone that way, the only outcome is denial or revenge (he'll report YOU for cheating; try to defend that!)
     
  25. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Most med school honor codes (if not all) say that students should help keep one another honest. This is in preparation for when you become a doctor, and you will be expected to report a colleague who injured a patient because he was drunk/negligent.

    Sorry, that's how it works. If you don't like it, don't become a doctor.
     
  26. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    I know, but, at my school, that's what they tell you to do. You're supposed to talk to the student first. If he gets angry, belligerent, or aggressive, then you go to a student professionalism committee or a student dean. They'll take care of it from there (theoretically).

    I think that it's supposed to limit the number of trivial and superfluous accusations - it really makes you stop and consider how important your concerns are if you have to accuse someone to his face.
     
  27. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    I would recommend telling the professor confidentially. It is unlikely that any retroactive action will be taken, especially if there is no video tape of the exam. However, the professor may be able to prevent further cheating by keeping a closer eye on the student, putting them in the front row of the exam, or simply having a talk with him/her. This is good not only for the overall academic honesty of your class, but also may indirectly help the student "change their ways" by making them aware that people have seen them. That is far better for their career than eventually getting caught in the act.

    I would definitely not approach the student directly. No matter how obvious it seems to you that a classmate has cheated, there is always the possibility that you are wrong. Regardless, you will make an enemy, and believe me, things like that come back to haunt you during your clinical years. The "ultimatum" approach is more likely to make you look like an a$$ than actually get any results.
     
  28. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    I agree, that is a really dumb way to administer an exam. Why did they switch from paper exams to online exams? Is it to prepare you for USMLE 1? If that's the case, then they should MAKE it like USMLE 1 - no scrap paper allowed, nothing in your pockets. Just you and that dry-erase board.

    If you can give course feedback on how to change the course for next year, maybe you could suggest that they put in surveillance cameras. (It's shame that it comes to that.) Also, they could use LockDown browser, which is what my school uses for online quizzes. LockDown prevents you from opening up any other programs (i.e. internet explorer/firefox/mozilla) while taking the exam.
     
  29. akpete

    akpete Drinks, anyone?
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    :eek: I didn't know that!
     
  30. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    Yeah, I think 2 or 3 classes ahead of us
     
  31. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    Yeah I do this too. We do three subject exams in a morning but the computer program opens each test seperately. In between each test I get up and walk to the water fountain or whatever just to stretch my legs and let go of whatever stressed me out on the last one so I can start fresh again. You can't assume someone's cheating because they go to the bathroom more often than you think is necessary.
     
  32. lord_jeebus

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    Urology. 2004 Nov;64(5):866-70.

    Prevalence of interstitial cystitis in young women. Parsons CL, Tatsis V.

    OBJECTIVES: Traditional epidemiologic studies have significantly underestimated interstitial cystitis (IC) prevalence because they surveyed populations for diagnosed cases rather than screening for IC symptoms and evaluating suspected cases. Our earlier data have suggested that IC affects almost 25% of women. To test this hypothesis, we used a validated IC symptom questionnaire and intravesical potassium sensitivity testing (PST), history, and physical examination to determine the prevalence of IC in a fixed population of young women. METHODS: All female members of the University of California, San Diego, third-year medical student class were asked to complete the Pelvic Pain and Urgency/Frequency (PUF) scale. All those scoring 7 or greater were asked to undergo clinical evaluation, including urinalysis, urine culture, and PST. RESULTS: Of 52 potential subjects, 49 (median age 26 years) completed the PUF scale. Of the 49, 15 (30.6%) scored 7 or greater; 5 of those 15 volunteered for PST. All 5 had negative urinalysis findings and were PST positive, for a 10% (5 of 52) rate of positive voluntary PST in the medical student population. All 15 subjects with PUF scores of 7 or greater reported being sexually active. Dyspareunia was present in 13 (87%) of the 15 women, including all 5 PST-positive subjects. CONCLUSIONS: We identified probable IC in 30.6% and documented IC in a minimum of 10% of the female medical students. These data suggest the estimate of IC prevalence in the United States should be vastly increased from approximately 1.5 million to perhaps 25 to 30 million women and that IC is highly prevalent in young women. Screening for IC-specific symptoms is a useful method for identifying undiagnosed IC cases.
     
  33. @rpy2848

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    At my medschool if u get cought cheating u get exmatriculated!!!! So u do it on your own risc......
     
  34. georgia_md

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    Yes, cheaters suck. If he actually was cheating then by all means, do report him. It is certaintly not fair that everybody else has to work very hard to earn their grade, why should he be an exception?

    But be certain he was cheating. Maybe he was just jotting down notes on blank scrap paper. Don't go ruining a person's future and reputation just because you assumed he was cheating. Thanks
     
  35. Law2Doc

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    If you read the OP's initial post, this is all web/computer based -- there is no jotting down of notes or other use of paper at issue. He was taking a test on computer, and allegedly accessing his notes on computer.

    FWIW, it doesn't really make sense to ask someone if they were cheating -- odds are someone who will cheat will lie about it too.
     
  36. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    There was a cheating issue at my school a few years back. I guess alot of students actually petitioned to administration to expel the girl who got caught. That's pretty hardcore.

    If you are cheating in medical school you are, in my opinion, a joke. If you need to cheat to pass, you don't belong.
     
  37. JonnyG

    JonnyG IN the hospitals....
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    Its a much higher number than 10% and its the same people at pretty much the same time. I also KNOW people go to the bathroom to cheat. There have been incidences of people getting caught in the past and other students complaining they have been in the bathroom when there was cheating occuring (yes i know its not proof).
     
  38. guitarguy09

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    Wow, where have I been? I didn't even here about this and I'm in the same class. Oh well... I'm glad they caught them... what was the punishment, expulsion?
     
  39. lord_jeebus

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    I don't doubt it.

    100% of med students are ex-pre-meds, it would be hard to keep some cheaters from slipping in.
     
  40. Theyareajoke

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    I thought cheating was the only way you morons are able to make it through medical school? That has been assumed by all of us forced to see your dumb......
     
  41. Critical Mass

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    This isn't going to be a popular response, nor would it be something I'd say to others in public. I agree that cheating is bad and that it is my responsibility to report it if I see it, however...

    I would probably just look the other way if I saw somebody cheating. Why? My deans are a--holes, and they'd just make it about me vs. somebody else. Then they'd come to make a speech about cheating and continue to use it as an opportunity to strike fear in our hearts of them.

    If I knew the person, I'd probably say something to them. If it was really bad, I would say something to the proctor. I don't see myself bringing it to admin.
     
  42. lord_jeebus

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    The worst part is that the ones that get into med school are the ones with the most sophisticated cheating skills -- never caught, great grades.
     
  43. OncoCaP

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    I remember fretting about cheating classmates as an undergraduate. One of my classmates decided she didn't have time to go to a particularly upper-division chemistry lab, so she simply copied all the labs from a person who had the labs last year (they did not change); I'm not sure she ever even showed up for lab, but she got an "A". It also bothered me in graduate school when some instructors gave "take home" exams that were supposed to be timed (only spend 3 hours on this exam that is 25% of your grade!).

    Once I actually started working full-time, I realized that cheating and dishonesty are common in the working world, and some extremely wealthy, happy people break the rules & laws all the time; it is almost a game to them to see how much they can scam. A few get caught, but even of those, most get out of it with a slap on the wrist or maybe a good lawyer.

    There are plenty of people who play by the rules, of course, but life isn't always fair. Sometimes the honest person gets the short end of the stick due to a cheater. We should do what we can to encourage fairness & honesty on exams and other situations, but the situation may not always improve. I'm content to get a lower rank than a cheater because my own integrity is a reward in and of itself (for me anyway).
     
  44. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    :rolleyes: don't you think that people who are probably completely hopped up on tons of energy drinks might have to hit up the bathroom? I highly doubt that people are hiding their answers in the toilet for a quick sneak peak in the middle of an exam.
     
  45. Tired Pigeon

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    Um, I think the geniuses at my school just pull the answers out of their pocket once they get in there. No need to put anything in the toilet before the exam ... at least until the proctors institute strip searches.
     
  46. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    :squats and coughs:

    I can't believe how lax the OP's computer exams are. We're all in a room with key-card access only, on computers that have been ghosted the night before, on a secure online system that won't let you access anything else on the computer (I haven't exactly tried Ctrl-Alt-Del, but it's probably disabled), and we're all supervised with privacy shields on the monitors with strict time limits.
     
  47. OncoCaP

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    One of my bio profs had a policy was that you couldn't go to the bathroom at all without turning in your exam :thumbdown:
     
  48. 45408

    45408 aw buddy
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    we have to hand our exams to the proctor if we want to go to the bathroom, and only one person of each gender is allowed at a time.
     
  49. OncoCaP

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    Only thing is ... if you have a cheat-sheet in your pocket ... it would still make cheating possible to some extent (as would a laptop or notebook tucked away in a locker or shelf somewhere). Maybe a PDA would be more of an issue for cheating in the bathroom.
     
  50. kelaskov

    kelaskov Junior Member
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    I belive most cheaters in med school end up doing the most damage to themselves. Studies show that one's board scores generally correlate with how well one does in his/her classes (although I guess these results may be skewed if everyone is cheating)...the point is you can't cheat on the board exams and people will know if you're not prepared on the wards.

    At my school, there was talk of a particular student who cheated on exams. Those who witnessed the cheating did not report it. The alleged cheater (who told me they high-passed all their classes and always tried to give me unsolicited advice on how to study) was back repeating a class this year and delayed taking boards. The truth comes out eventually.

    ..perhaps you should do a study....
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7281/250
     
  51. peppy

    peppy Senior Member
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    Yeah, cheating in medical school is a terrible idea.
    They kicked someone out of my class altogether for cheating last semester...and that's after we've all had two years to rack up a nice chunk of student loan debt!
    Is it really worth the risk of ruining your career prospects and finances just to get a couple extra points on an exam? Not to mention ruining your reputation with your colleagues.
    Obviously none of us want to repeat a class/year, but if you truly can't assimilate the information on your first try, it's probably for your own good (as well as the good of your future patients) to repeat and actually learn it.
     

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