It’s never been a big secret that teachers have super hard jobs – even before 2020, when they’re learning on their feet and putting themselves in harm’s way and somehow managing not to have breakdowns in the process.

One of the things they’ve always dealt with is cheating – kids are gonna be kids, and teachers get more experience every year thwarting their ever-changing attempts.

These teachers are probably still shaking their heads over busting these 18 creative cheaters.

18. Why not just write the paper?

One of my college professors told a story about a student who e-mailed him a word document filled with random symbols, to make it seem as though the file was corrupted, so he could have more time writing his paper. This professor was very tech savvy, and figured it out pretty quick.

17. How dumb do they think adults are?

Once I was attending a school spelling bee, where the contestant was allowed to ask questions like “can you repeat the word?” and “can you use that in a sentence?”. One of the children asked the judge to spell the word, and the judges reflexively spelled it for him.

They caught their mistake immediately, and gave him a different word instead. So I guess that sort of worked since he didn’t know the first one.

Clever though.

16. Now she could just wear her earbuds.

Girl recorded the answers to a test on an mp3 player. She ran a single headphone up her shirt, taped it to the back of her neck, and then to her ear.

The thing is, she wore her hair the same way every day. It went just past her shoulders, so her hair hid everything perfectly and she looked no different than she did any other day. It worked flawlessly.

15. That’s really not the student’s fault, though…

In my aquatics class we had a test on the computer where we had to identify like 50 fish. I had no idea what any of the fish were so I was panicking and looking for clues. I found that if you clicked save as then it would show the file name, which was the name of the fish.

14. He could have picked someone a LITTLE less well known.

Task: to write a sonnet.

Student hands in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 125 claiming it is his own work.

13. I don’t like this story.

In middle school I had a math teacher who wore a hearing aid, and boy, this thing must have been a piece of shit. It would constantly start ringing from feedback or something, and after a month or so we learned that he couldn’t hear shit when it was ringing.

So when the next test comes up, the ringing starts about 10 minutes in. All we had to do was keep staring down at the tests, and read the question out loud, and he couldn’t hear us.

This went on for the rest of the year. It also took me until my sophomore year in college to catch up for all the things I missed in that class… Before that math was my best subject. I learned a very valuable lesson.


Kid sat at the back of the exam hall, all pupil bags piled up at the back. One bag keeps beeping as messages come in. Regulations state bag must be removed and phone investigated.

Phone is receiving texts with the answers to the exam being sat. Pupil in question has galaxy smart watch on. He takes photo of questions with his watch when he knows he is not being observed. Watch auto syncs with phone which auto dropboxes his photo.

Parent at the other end then accessing dropbox to see questions and replying with answers. Phone sends text message to the watch. Kid fucked up and was caught because he forgot to put his phone on silence.

11. All for the price of a stick of gum.

I remember on a middle school history final the teacher had peers grade each other’s papers. Luckily some cool kid that I barely talked to (but gave gum too on several occasions) got my test and changed all the answers I got wrong. I got 100%.

10. There are all types.

ESL teacher here living in a foreign country. Fucking students cheat all the time. It’s terrible. I’ve seen some of the most clever cheating and dumbest cheating.

The most clever was when students would take their online quizzes, they’d have to take them in the lab on campus with a proctor. The test used to be set up so that it would give the students feedback and show the right or wrong answer for a few seconds on the screen. Students started taking pictures of these with their cellphones. Keeping in mind there are 6 quizzes per level and 4 levels, so we’re talking about 24 quizzes, at an hour-1.5 hours each. Enough students started doing this when teh teacehr wasn’t looking (classroom set up not really conducive to keeping an eye on every student all the time) that they had accumulated basically all the right/wrong answers for every question in every quiz. We teachers found out and had to throw away all our tests and rewrite them from scratch.

One of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen was when I was teaching at a private, degree millish, college. I taught night and weekend students, who had no base of english, little time to study, and zero desire to learn. Some students, particualrly elementary ed majors, literally spent more time and energy complaining about having to learn english than actually attempting to learn it. In one of these classes, there was a written (short essay) test. Another computer lab that was even worse as far as keeping an eye on students. Anyway, the assignment was to write about your favorite holiday, why you like it, and what you did last time. Mother’s day had just passed, so I made that one of the options/suggestions, it’s worth mentioning then, that the term “Mother’s Day” was written IN THE INSTRUCTIONS. Anyway, one of my students submits this essay talking about “Day of the Breast” “day of the breast” what she did on Day of the Breast. What happened was she used google translate, as many students do, and had zero language skill as for identifying misnomers and basic proofreading. So what’s with Day of the Breast? She wrote “Dia de la mama” in google translate instead of “Dia de la Mamá.”

9. Also, no one is going to check their legs that closely.

The girls at my school had it covered. They put on black tights with the information all over their legs….. Couldn’t see it when the tights were slack…. Stretch it out however and all was revealed. Sneaky!!

8. The perils of peer checking.

I helped my AP politics class develop a foolproof method for cheating. Our teacher would hand out a test each week, and make us write the multiple choice answers on a blank piece of paper with our name and date on it. After the test was done, we would hand the answer sheet to the kid behind us (last kid in the row handed his to the first kid in the same row) to grade it. The teacher would go over the questions orally and give us the correct answers.

I told each kid in the class to write the answer as a lower case “c”. If the answer was a, you close the loop and make a lower case “a”, and so on and so forth for “b” and “d”. Obviously, if the answer was “c”, you’d leave it alone.

We all also agreed that no one should get a perfect score. We had to always get 2 or 3 wrong answers to make the con work. The teacher could never believe we were perfect, and he wasn’t able to figure out everyone was getting higher test scores. We left the “wrong answers” up to the kid who was marking our paper.

It worked surprisingly well. No kids snitched because we were all riding the good grades gravy train.

7. When you’re not smarter than a first grader.

Years ago, I was an Assistant Language Teacher in the JET programme. I was…crap at Japanese. I could buy stuff and manage, but, well, crap. I decided I would learn some kanji, so applied for the 10th level of the Kanji Kaiten, a test of kanji knowledge for Japanese speakers, and this was the easiest level.

So, I showed up for the test, surrounded by five and six year olds. Which, given I’m 180 cm and 100 kilos, was amusing. Lots of first year elementary students going “Whoa! Look at the big foreigner!” basically.

Anyway, I took the test, and part of it is translating one form of phonetic Japanese to another (hiragana to katakana). In particular, one question was asking me the katakana version of す. I blanked. I quickly looked through the test to see if they’d used the character, as I was sure I’d recognize it if I saw it. No dice.

As I was doing this, I noticed the six-year old girl beside me doing something on the table with her hand. I kinda glanced for a second, but it didn’t register right away, and besides, test. Needed to work on that.

At the end of the test they gave you the answers right away, and this question was sticking in my head, so I checked it. Ah, ス! Of cour-

And that’s when I realized that the six-year old girl beside me had been drawing that character on the table. She had seen me struggling, and decided to help. And I was too dumb to understand it.

6. That is a horrible moment.

He was teaching an organic chemistry class, and after the exams, the students could look over their midterms and submit them for regrades if they believed there was a grading error on their test. A certain clever student used white out to turn a couple of particularly low scoring pages of his exam blank, then photocopied these pages.

With these blank exam sheets in hand, he then correctly answered the questions on the page, and used red pen to “grade” these phony correct responses as incorrect. He carefully re-stapled these pages into his original exam and submitted the doctored test for a regrade.

When my professor saw how utterly horrible the grading errors were, he became suspicious. He went into lab and examined this exam under a blacklight, what he discovered confirmed his suspicions. 7/10 pages of the exam glowed green, while the other three pages (the ones with the blatent grading errors) fluoresced blue!

Conveniently, the next lecture for the class was on photochemistry. He began this class by discussing the nature of fluorescence. He explained how many organic materials contain highly conjugated molecules that can absorb light and reemit it at longer wavelengths. In fact, many naturally occurring materials, such as cotton, wood, and paper contain polymeric molecules called lignins that exhibit this property.

He explained that different paper processing methods could lead to different ratios of these compounds and thus no two batches of paper were ever exactly alike. He brought out the doctored exam and a UV light, then demonstrated in front of the entire class how most of the pages of the midterm glowed green, but certain pages glowed blue.

He then said, “To the student who submitted this exam, and you know who you are, would you please see me after class? We need to discuss your continued enrollment at this institution.” He showed up after class in tears and admitted the whole thing. He failed the course.

5. Urban legend?

One of my professors said when he was in college in the late ’60s, people could smoke indoors during exams, so they’d just write information on their cigarettes and smoke away the evidence, churning through a half/whole pack over a couple hours.

4. Sometimes you gotta give up the ghost.

My favorite was a student turning in a short story that was the lyrics to “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and trying to claim it was original work. He insisted he’d written it, despite me playing the original song for him.

3. That’s not even clever.

Last year for a book report one of my sophomores copied and pasted the whole first chapter of the book and did nothing else.

2. Evil but funny.

I was a teacher aide a few years back and this 3rd grader kept bugging this girl sitting behind him to give him the answers to a math pop quiz they were filling out. He was very obvious about it and the girl humored him by mouthing the answers to him.

I let her continue after I realized she was giving him the answers incorrectly. She caught me looking at them and gave me this evil grin I’ll never forget. Kids are evil.

1. I mean, put in a little effort.

Dumbest way? I’ve had students turn in term papers that were completely cut and pasted from Wikipedia.

Now, I’m sure that happens a lot. What is particularly funny and unusual is when they’re so dumb, they don’t realize to take out the hyperlinks in the text and they use a color printer, so every fifth word is blue.


I was always too nervous to try cheating, probably because I knew I would get caught.

My mom was a teacher, so. Enough said.