gotmilklol

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I was wondering if you could possibly get in trouble for taking old tests from previous years class?
This has happened in my HS before and people have gotten into trouble for some reason. Will it be the same in colleges?
 

themulya

more specific than amulya
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depends. If the professor is giving you old tests as a study guide then it's fine. However if you get the tests from another source that is not the professor it is considered cheating and it would be best to avoid that situation.

The reason it's cheating is because you're getting an unfair advantage over other students in the class. Not everyone has access to that resource unless the professor is that source.
 

Jetninjin

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Oct 4, 2008
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depends. If the professor is giving you old tests as a study guide then it's fine. However if you get the tests from another source that is not the professor it is considered cheating and it would be best to avoid that situation.

The reason it's cheating is because you're getting an unfair advantage over other students in the class. Not everyone has access to that resource unless the professor is that source.
This is definitely NOT the case at all universities. At mine, the profs don't typically distribute tests but they are aware and accepting of the fact that other students do. The only thing they say about it is "ask around for a test if you want, but I don't want to put together a study guide myself so it's all on you"

I have even gone so far to ask a prof if it is OK to give old tests to my friends, since some of the test questions are recycled year after year and the prof does not give out sample questions. She said it was fine, and thanked me for asking.
 

themulya

more specific than amulya
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This is definitely NOT the case at all universities. At mine, the profs don't typically distribute tests but they are aware and accepting of the fact that other students do. The only thing they say about it is "ask around for a test if you want, but I don't want to put together a study guide myself so it's all on you"

I have even gone so far to ask a prof if it is OK to give old tests to my friends, since some of the test questions are recycled year after year and the prof does not give out sample questions. She said it was fine, and thanked me for asking.
Yea it'll probably be different from professor to professor. I've never had a science class (bio, chem, phys) where the professor didn't give us a test from the previous year. My only experience of ever seeing someone get caught was in a history class where a kid brought and old test to cram right before the exam and the TA caught him and I think brought it to the professor who failed him.

Maybe my advice should have been to play it safe. Make sure that your professor is ok with whatever you use to study. You don't want to be one of those people who posts on here "OH NOES I GOT ACCUSED OF CHEATING"
 

confettiflyer

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Depends on the situation, I got tests all the time as an undergrad... rule of thumb is if the professor makes no effort at collecting the test after the exam, feel free to do whatever you want within the confines of copyright law.

We had issues where previous students would take those exams (and lectures) and compile study guides & adjunct tutoring courses for ~$1000 a class (for anyone at UCI prior to 2004, the now defunct company was "Galaxy Tutoring").

If the professor tells you not to share the exam (or access it) but makes no effort at restricting access to material, that's going to be your call. There was a huge discussion about this on SDN a while back. It's like giving your friend a music CD vs. making 1000 copies and selling it on the street. Consider your likelihood of getting caught (practically nil), tolerance for risk, and your own morality.


My take: once the information is out, without an assertion of property rights or attempt to restrict by the professor, it's free to the world, have at it.
 

confettiflyer

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My only experience of ever seeing someone get caught was in a history class where a kid brought and old test to cram right before the exam and the TA caught him and I think brought it to the professor who failed him.
History exam? What an idiot, does no one know discretion anymore?

I had an issue last year during a statistics class where, by the end of the course, we figured out the questions the professor gave at the "exam review" were identical to the ones on the exam. So guess what we did for the final review? We set up a bank of laptops for typing and cameras to take notes....very exact notes.

I've taken notes by camera before, so it's not like we stole the files or did anything wrong. There were no restrictions on note taking or photography, express or implied. Someone argued we had an unfair advantage having cameras and laptops...but that's the same as arguing that the person with a pen/paper has an advantage over the person whose pencil broke.
 

delano2000

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depends. If the professor is giving you old tests as a study guide then it's fine. However if you get the tests from another source that is not the professor it is considered cheating and it would be best to avoid that situation.

The reason it's cheating is because you're getting an unfair advantage over other students in the class. Not everyone has access to that resource unless the professor is that source.

agreed:cool: