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Exam was identical to the last semester...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by nataliea2013, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. nataliea2013

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    I am taking an upper division chemistry class and we just had our first exam.

    Some students had the old exam (from last semester) that the professor did not provide. Apparently the exam we took this week was identical to the old exam. The professor is the same as the last semester.

    The professor however didn't let students keep the exam last semester. He didn't even post the answer keys or go over the exam. He just let the students see it once in class (or can review during office hour). However, some student(s) last semester took the pictures of exam behind his back and sent them to some students who are in the same class as me.

    I am so annoyed that 1) some student from last semester was so disrespectful that he/she took the pictures and 2) the professor reused the same exam. The professor tried to prevent the exam from spreading but didn't work haha...

    He curves each exam and I'm just so anxious if a lot of students actually knew the answers to the exam beforehand and if I did below the average.

    Would you do anything about this?
     
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  3. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-almost done!
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    Nope. That's life.
     
  4. Hospitalized

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    You didn't network :/ My apologies.
     
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  5. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Review the academic integrity policy at your school. If there is any chance that your silence would be interpreted as condoning this behavior and a violation of the school's policy, report it to the professor or the academic official in charge of the policy or the honor board. If you didn't have an unfair advantage and others did, getting out in front of this may save you from being swept up in an institutional action that will hurt your chances in the future.

    I see far too many posts from students who were "written up" because they broke their school's honor code without realizing it.
     
  6. Goro

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    What I would do is tell the professor so that s/he wouldn't be such a lazy ass and would make a new exam.


     
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  7. freak7

    freak7 Stuck in a tacky hat
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    To which his response will be "but tenure, bruh"
     
  8. Umyo

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    This happened in one of my classes. Someone told the professor anonymously through email. Come next exam, it was completely different. No announcement or action against anyone.

    I think you should tell the prof somehow.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
    #7 Umyo, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  9. ChymeofPassion

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    Life isn't fair bruh, time to make some friends.
     
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  10. GrumpyGus

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    This is why I adopted the policy of taking pictures of all my exams. It's not cheating if you always do it.
     
  11. aldol16

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    Somehow let the professor know - anonymously if you're concerned about retribution from your classmates, etc. Usually this doesn't happen because we make new exams every year (though closely modeled on old ones). The students who cheated were just unethical. Wait until you find out how you did and then figure out the best course of action for you.
     
  12. Michael_Scott

    Michael_Scott Best Boss

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    you will see this alllllll through your life (even in professional school)....this is just part of life. don't join in or you might get caught and face repercussions..
    ...and you should not rely on curves anyways...
     
  13. Turkishking

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    Welcome to life.
     
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  14. Michael_Scott

    Michael_Scott Best Boss

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    LOL...where did the logic go...
     
  15. Michael_Scott

    Michael_Scott Best Boss

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    hey man cool pic. you are such a young doctor... congrats
     
  16. Turkishking

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    Thanks
     
  17. efle

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    This happens frequently.

    I think reporting it is clearly the right thing to do. Covers your ass and lets the prof know that their exams are no longer valid/integrity is lost because of prior cheaters passing down an unfair advantage. This happens all the time through frats and sports teams.

    If the prof does nothing about it then it's on them, you tried at least.
     
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  18. baratheonfire

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    Why are you ruining this for everyone else, with no benefit to yourself?
    Back tests are a gift from god. Learn to use them.
     
  19. efle

    efle not an elf
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    Because there is benefit to him and other students to stop the disadvantage. I'd rather not take a curved exam against a group where a lucky subset already know the answers. The prof needs to make the same practice exam(s) available to everyone.

    Being sat within easy view of the smartest kid's exam is a gift from god. Learn to take advantage?
     
  20. baratheonfire

    baratheonfire Membership Revoked
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    Come on, man. That's a false equivalence; studying backtests is not cheating.
    It's definitely a greater disadvantage to take a test where there are no backtests, than to take a test where there's a possibility of obtaining backtests.
    I think it's a better idea to try to get access to the backtests than to report this to the professor and ruin it for everyone. If you disagree, that's fine.
     
  21. efle

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    At many schools/in many classes it explicitly is. Several of my profs specifically spoke to us about it. I consider it cheating in any case, even if not specifically addressed, because it meets the criteria of giving only a select subset of students the ability to see answers before the exam. Note that I only take issue when it's something that was obtained without professor knowledge and secretly passed around among certain circles. It's obviously great to study the old exams that the professor gives to everyone online.


    Only if you're in the right frat or sports team circle of friends and can get the backtest. For a student using the resources provided by the school and professor it's a huge disadvantage.


    I think it's better to try and sit near the smart kids yourself than to report the wandering eyes and ruin the system for everyone...
     
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  22. efle

    efle not an elf
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    Let me ask you this: your friend while in office hours sees a chance to take pics of the upcoming final that the prof left carelessly out. He does and offers to share the pics with you as well. Cheating?
     
  23. baratheonfire

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    You're continuing the false equivalence... Let's agree to disagree
     
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  24. efle

    efle not an elf
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    Answer the above first...much clearer equivalence. Exact same, really, since it's just you knowing the right person to see questions/answers ahead of time that other students don't get unless they also know this person.
     
  25. mcloaf

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    Not really sure how you can call circulating material which the professor apparently explicitly specified should not be reproduced or circulated anything other than cheating.
     
  26. efle

    efle not an elf
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    Bingo. Had this conversation so many times.

    "It's fine because anyone can get access to the tests"

    Well why do you object to letting the prof know they need to release the tests to the whole class then? Is it because you realize they wouldn't simply do that, they'd write a new exam, "ruining it"? Does it not seem like it must wrong then, the prof realizing scores lose their meaning when you can ace his test just by memorizing the key?
     
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  27. Doctor-S

    Doctor-S Talking About DDxs ... and other stuff
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    This is one of the reasons *why* I take the time to prepare new test questions each year: students are treated equally, to be fair and impartial to everyone.
     
  28. baratheonfire

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    When I'd posted my response your reply hadn't loaded yet.

    I'd consider that cheating.
    The difference between that and this is that there is no guarantee that the back tests will in any way resemble the actual test. The students got lucky that the test was the same; much like they'd be lucky if the test was just questions from review exercises in the textbook.
    Back tests are just additional study materials.
     
  29. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    Studying back tests so you can get an idea of how the professor thinks or the types of questions he likes to ask when the test will be different is not cheating, particularly if the back tests are made available to everyone.

    Memorizing answers to a test given last year so that you have all the answers is cheating. Big difference, and if you can't see it, you're either deluding yourself out of guilt or you're just a cheater.
     
  30. baratheonfire

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    But there is no guarantee that the test for the current year will resemble the one from the previous year.
    When I say studying back tests, I'm referring to the 1st scenario. The students in this case simply got lucky that the tests had not changed.
     
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  31. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    Yeah, but now that the first exam was identical, is there not a good chance that all of the exams will be identical? If the students are continuing to memorize the answers on the hopes that the next exam will be repeated, that's them hoping for a chance to cheat, is it not?
     
  32. baratheonfire

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    Still no guarantee. I know of several professors who who only change 1-2 tests out of 5 tests in the semester.
    The students are only screwing themselves for when the professor inevitably changes one of the tests.

    And if there's a significant drop in grades on the test that the professor does change, he'll know what's up.
     
  33. OchemOficionado

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    Old exams are only cheating if they were stolen or if you know for sure they are going to be reused. I know of a University that actually has a program for low-income and first generation students that has a collection of backtests for STEM classes. Members are not allowed to take pictures of the exams or share them with students outside of the program. The major issue for some is that the entire class didn't have access to everyone's study material. Welp, that's life. If you did your due diligence with the course notes and the textbook, you should be okay. Lastly, how the heck does OP know for sure it was an exact copy? You were in the know to figure this out but not in the know enough to be in that study group?
     
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  34. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    You didn't answer my question. If the first exam was identical, is it not cheating (or at least attempting to cheat) to memorize the next old exam in hopes that it too is identical?
     
  35. OchemOficionado

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    Nope. Doesn't mean there is a good chance the next test will be identical (based on personal experience). Also, get it out of your head that students are simply memorizing answers in hopes that they get lucky and the test is a repeat. People use old tests as study material, unless they know its a repeat and they know they're getting ready to cheat. It's exactly like when professors give practice exams or practice questions. You do them to learn and to get peek at how the professor operates. You aren't simply memorizing hoping the professor uses some of the questions.
     
  36. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    Were the old tests in that scenario identical to the ones being given? Because if not, then I don't see how that is analogous. Studying old tests to get a feel for how well you understand material and the types of questions to expect is not cheating. That's called prep work and is what you should be doing for the MCAT.
     
  37. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    You're conflating two situations. In the OPs example, the students had an old test that turned out to be identical to the one given this semester. My question is then if the students who have to old exams then make sure to know the answers to those questions in case the other exams are identical, is that not cheating? Just because there isn't a guarantee doesn't mean it's not cheating. It just means your plan might not work.

    If you don't think it's cheating, would you tell the professor to make the exams available to everyone? If not, why not?
     
  38. OchemOficionado

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    Sometimes some questions would be reused. You're assuming that every student viewing an old exam from their current professor is NOT "studying old tests to get a feel for how well you understand material and the types of questions to expect". I'm saying, unless they know the exam is going to be reuse, than they are most likely doing prep work. You're assuming they're rote memorizing in case there is an opportunity to cheat.
     
  39. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    I think there is a difference between a few questions getting reused and students who happened to see them getting lucky and entire tests being reused where a group of students is now getting a significant advantage by having access to the entirety of the tests.

    You are honestly telling me that after the first exam was identical, the students with the exams are not going to make sure to memorize the answers for the next exam just in case? Come on.
     
  40. OchemOficionado

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    Who says they have more than one old exam? Who says the professor is going to reuse exams for each test? Who says they are memorizing and not actually studying and practicing? You're conflating two scenarios. (That I've explained above). The last question is the one I've been focusing on.

    I've found old tests online before, no they weren't exact, but professors do recycle questions sometimes. Would I go ask the professor to make that available to the entire class? HAHA, no. They can use google just like I did.

    Wait, so, are we only asking the professor to make old exams available for everyone IF one happens to be an exact copy, or in general when an old test is found?
     
  41. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    And you still didn't answer. Would you ask the professor for the old exams so that everyone can be on a level playing field?
     
  42. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    Because there's not really a dilemma if they only had access to one test. They got lucky and now it's back to being level. The dilemma comes in if they have access to all the exams.

    That's different. They weren't exact copies of the exam, and everyone could find them.

    I'm asking you if in the given scenario, if you found out that a group of students had old exams where the first exam was identical to the first exam from last term, would you ask the professor to provide them to everyone?
     
  43. OchemOficionado

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    Sure, there's a difference. You'll never know what it's going to be until it happens. My point was that there are programs that allow SOME access to backtests and not others. You don't know how it's going to pan out. The point is, it's study material UNLESS YOU KNOW, which is cheating.

    At this point you don't know if the students saw more than one old exam. So, again, dismissing the students as rote memorizing cheaters isn't right or realistic in my opinion (unless the OP says they knew the professor was repeating the exam). I'm not even sure if part of the test was identical or the entire thing. Sounds like the OP is going off of a rumor.
     
  44. OchemOficionado

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    And you didn't answer mine.

    Sure, I'd ask the professor to distribute any old materials or practice materials they had. I already do. Would I say, "Hey, I heard some students have old exams so now I think you should give the whole class all of your old exams as practice". No. LOL, I'm never that concerned about what other students are doing. I focus on my own studying and it's paid off.
     
  45. mcloaf

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    You guys are missing the point. It doesn't matter if the previous test had zero similarity to the test OP took. The issue is students secretly using a resource that was stolen from the professor (presuming OP's story to be true). Just because it may or may not be helpful doesn't affect whether or not it is ethically acceptable. If you copy someone's answers in class but they got the questions wrong you're still cheating.
     
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  46. efle

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    @baratheonfire I don't understand the "not guarunteed" logic either. The smart kid isn't guarunteed to be getting the question right that you're copying down. The professor isn't guarunteed to use the exact version of the final your friend snapped pictures of in office hours.

    If you know that material you're studying was not provided to the whole class, it's enough to know that it can/will probably be an advantage only available to some students. Something doesn't only become wrong if you're prescient
     
  47. efle

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    Hah great minds think alike ;)
     
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  48. OchemOficionado

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    Who says they weren't exact copies?

    I asked for clarification about your question. You didn't provide it. I answered anyway, above.
     
  49. Rutgers does this. For Chem 101/102 their back test exams were about 85-90% similar. The public copies which were known to be crap and were released for the sense of establishing a false sense of equivalence had around 40% equivalence in comparison. And yes, I network. As in, someone stole a copy for me because they knew at the time that I was spending all my free time trying to score well and I would quit pre-med because I imposed a grade cut off on myself.
     
  50. OchemOficionado

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    Who is missing the point? The first thing I said on this thread was "Old exams are only cheating if they were stolen or if you know for sure they are going to be reused." My convo was more about old exams (not stolen) that everyone doesn't have access to.
     
  51. mw18

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    I once saw where a student got access to a textbook's question bank. She could have kept it to herself and aced every test, but she shared it around. Luckily not with me, but then when it got found out they all got hammered. The university's position was that if you use sample problems to help you study that's one thing, but once you take the test and the questions were identical then you have the responsibility to report it or it's cheating.
     
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