Is Test Banking Cheating?

Brian Snyder

Ayush Patel and Subaita Rahman

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Testbanking is NOT cheating

By Ayush Patel

On the first day of sophomore year, I walked in my AP Biology class with a freshmen year, innocent mindset. Shortly after the class began, the teacher announced that the first test would take place that coming Friday. As the class continued, the pace increased, and the teacher would give tests that covered three (or even six to nine) chapters weekly. I tried my best to keep up with the class’ pace, but I failed. Although I was upset, I maintained this routine for the majority of the first semester, and I was perplexed as to how other students performed so well.

On top of other difficult classes, many had to deal with time-consuming extracurriculars like DECA or marching band. Initially, I thought I wasn’t as smart as others. Maybe within that short time, they were able to memorize more information. Soon though, it wasn’t just those few smart people. Everyone else was scoring much higher than I had. That’s when I learned that these people had the answers beforehand. I found out that students had found a test bank online, which they used to memorize answers.

At first, I was one of the few who was uncomfortable using the test bank. I thought it was wrong to just memorize answers, but without the test bank, it was impossible to come out of the class with a decent grade. Test-banking is not cheating because it is an easily accessible tool, a justified way to deal with the teacher’s unreasonability, and a useful study tool to attain high test scores.

The test bank is easily accessible online. People consider it to be an advantage, but it isn’t an advantage if everyone uses it. With a simple search of “Campbell Biology 9th Edition Tests,” everyone can easily find a PDF with all the chapter tests.

“Cheating,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “acting dishonestly in order to gain an advantage,” but if everyone has this same advantage, it isn’t an advantage anymore. However, if someone used the test bank during the test, then the test bank would be a cheating tool because you aren’t supposed to use any study materials during the test. That is the only way the test bank can be used as an advantage and thereby be a cheating mechanism.

Sometimes, teachers are inconsiderate with our academic load. Yes, students go into AP classes expecting a higher workload, but the amount of work that we have is often more than what college students have. College students take three to four classes while in high school, we have six or even seven. When inconsiderate teachers fail to acknowledge this, students have to use shortcuts in order to study. For instance, I remember when the teacher gave us a four-day warning to study nine chapters. I had no other choice but to study the test bank for the chapters in order to be on par with the other kids.

Some people will still argue that the test bank is a form of academic dishonesty.If teachers choose to copy questions from the internet, they should understand that students often use online resources to test themselves and that all material on the internet is fair game. The test bank is simply another practice test and study guide.

It can be understandable how some consider test banking to be cheating. It does cut out the purpose of learning new skills. But when most other people do it, skewing the curves, there comes a point when you care more about failing than your morals.

Refusing to use the test bank is just like saying you refuse to use the textbook. Both have the same information and are equally essential. One is just simplified and easier to access than the other. Just because the test bank is far more convenient, doesn’t mean that it is cheating. At this point, it’s a preference of how you want to study.


Test bank is not something to really bank on

By Subaita Rahman

Students in the AP Biology classes of Irvington have a peculiar routine. They often spend the night before their frequent multiple-chapter tests frantically reading PDFs of practice tests or rushing through online flashcards of sample problems. To any bystander, this would be acceptable as a good study tool—except that those PDFs and flashcards aren’t just practice problems, but the actual questions that will appear on the test the next day. AP Biology students now have online access to copies of the tests beforehand in order to memorize the answers ahead of time. There are excuses, sure—there’s too much to study, it’s the teacher’s own fault, it’s simply a “study resource”—but these are just weak excuses to justify cheating. Yes, even coming from someone who has been through an AP Bio class and understands this problem, using the test bank is still very obviously cheating.

Irvington’s academic integrity policy clearly states that passing something off as completely your own when it isn’t is clear cheating, and the disparity of test grades from before and after students start using this handy resource is a clear indicator that there has been some outside influence on the answers they bubble in. The act of memorizing answers that are not your own and pretending those are your honest candid answers during the test, is unmistakably cheating. Unless you are one of the few who are able to study hard and jump from a D to an A on tests, which normally stay at the same difficulty, it is almost always done with the help of test bank. I know that for some, there is no other way to keep up with the frequency and difficulty of the tests without the test bank. However, these are merely excuses for cheating and still do not change the blatant dishonesty of memorizing answers. People have still passed the class by dedicating enough time for studying. No matter how “justified” or “unavoidable” cheating is, the rules don’t change— memorizing answers will never be the right thing to do, even if it is the only way to cope.

The test bank still has biology concepts, and it would be a good study tool or teaching resource if the tests were not pulled directly from these problems. However, its potential for learning is discredited when students use it solely to get a head start on a test. It has turned into a cheat sheet, and whatever value it has as a teaching resource is gone as soon as students are using it to memorize test answers instead of learning concepts. It would be naive to think that people use it to only nail key concepts when it gives them such an obvious advantage for their grades. Studying the test beforehand and studying FOR the test beforehand are not the same thing.

By choosing to take a class, you are choosing to endure every part of it, including the tests, regardless of where those tests come from. If students have too heavy of a workload or don’t actually care about learning the subject, then the real problem is why they would take the class in the first place. Borrowing tests from other resources does not render the test invalid—it is still every part a learning opportunity, and you can still take a test honestly even if the questions are not original. Students can’t discredit a test simply because of a teacher’s negligence, and it certainly doesn’t give them the excuse to stoop to the level of cheaters and cheat as well. The question here isn’t about who to blame, and pointing fingers does not excuse a student throwing away his honestly simply because someone else did as well. At the end of the day, coming from someone who is very familiar with the advantages of a test bank, cheating is cheating regardless of the reason.