Today I saw a photograph of an upcoming exam at my university. At first I thought it was last year's exam; so I took a closer look at it as I think it is okay to see last year's exams even if they aren’t officially published. Anyway, later someone revealed to me that it was the upcoming exam which we’ll take in about three weeks. It was taken by another student in my course, who took it while the teacher was on a break outside the room.
I feel bad and unethical about seeing it, as it seems to be cheating for me, and even more I’m worried about my further career if this ever comes out. On one hand I don’t want to harm the other student who took the photo, on the other hand I don’t want to risk my career.
It is a semi difficult exam; I would say you should pass it quite well if you learned for it. So what should I do? If I tell the university I’d probably have to reveal the identity of the person who took it, which I don’t want to do under any circumstances.
There have been some questions on how the pic was made: the prof brought the exam to a lesson to give a rough guideline on what to learn or not. During the break he went outside (as I and many others as well) to get a coffee and that's how the pic was made. I know for sure that it is the upcoming exam as it had a big heading with our course name and year.
For those who say it is also cheating to look at old exams: I think you agree on that seeing an actual exam before you are going to take it is another dimension than seeing a year-old one. Also this is very common where I study. It´s not like we are using really illegal copies, it is just that we often see pics of post-exam reviews. It is allowed to make them and there is no NDA on it (at least I never had to sign one), the exams just aren't published officially. I also bet every prof knows that this is going on here and tolerates it (some said so explicitly).
Also some said I should "rat" the guy who took it: I don't know the punishment for taking a photo of an exam, but I doubt it is modest, considering the - in my eyes negligent - prof. Also I don't want to be responsible for "destroying" the career of another, very young, student. Also it would probably come out who "ratted" him out, and I doubt that I would have much fun in the next two years then (I think you can say that in our course it is considered worse to "rat" somebody than to do to reveal something unethical, but I really doubt that this differs anywhere in the world).
Anyways: Today I have created a new Mail-Address and send the Prof a letter, including one question I remember as a proof, where I told him that the exam probably has been leaked. I asked him to keep the matter as private as possible and I also asked him not to write back to me what he decided to do or to ask any person-specific questions as I don't know any thing more than I told him already. For me the matter is therefore hopefully closed.