Why I Miss Online School Tests: It Was So Easy to Not Cheat


Nichelle Wong

Tests were previously taken through the easy-to-use Google Forms software, but now teachers must go through the arduous task of making copies for in-person easy-to-cheat tests.

No matter how you felt about it, I’m sure you have at least some fond memories of online school. One of them is unquestionably test-taking at home. I’m certain we all agree that with online testing, it was so easy not to cheat. 

To expand upon this point requires a firm understanding of cheating, which is defined here as follows: (1) obtaining an advantage over others through dishonest means; and (2) being unfaithful in relationships. 

In virtual school, how would cheating even happen? You have no classmates to compare answers with, your camera is on (or at least a looped video background of you taking notes), and you actually get enough time to study because school ends so early. I dare say the only possible occurrence would be cheating on your main window with alt + tab, and that was probably just to toggle back and forth between Z[redacted]m and Discord. 

Now, it’s harder to refrain from cheating because in-person classes have so much useful content that some students might actually retain it! A strong memory counts as an advantage over others because not everyone has the same memory capacity. 

Some students are naturally able to grasp concepts quickly, while others take more time to process, leading to unfair grade differences if your teacher decides to have a quiz every week (this is 100% not directed to any of my teachers :). Therefore, memory retention = cheating.

Also, it’s not like anyone has the time to sleep with benchmarks, APs, extracurriculars, friends to talk to, decreasing mental health and 3-6 hours of homework every day except weekends thanks to our district. Everyone who has even a basic grasp of Psych knows that sleep is crucial for academics. Honest, hardworking students who pull an all-nighter to finish an essay are unable to focus properly if they have a test the next day, and not just because the CO2 levels are so high. 

On the other hand, liars- I mean those who get the recommended 9 hours of sleep are much more attentive and present, leading them to not only score higher in the dreaded participation category but on any tests. Thus, a sleep-deprived, high-achieving *cough tryhard cough* student may find themselves failing (it’s up to you whether that means a B or an F) while their well-rested peers score higher simply because they aren’t taking 6 APs and 20 extracurriculars for that UC college app. 

What’s more, other types of cheating are made easier by in-person testing. You can cheat on tests by studying and flexing your memory capacity, cheat on studying with a good night’s sleep, cheat on a good night’s sleep by bingeing Squid Game on Netflix (is that a dated reference already?), cheat on Netflix with pirated vide- my bad, that’s a tangent. 

My point is, it’s much easier to cheat in-person than online school, which is honestly sad. With all the pressure that our school culture places on us to succeed, is it really that hard to keep your eyes on your paper, laptop, or Chromebook (rip Chromebook users) and resist the temptation to sneak a peek?

Disclaimer: Author has never cheated.