Amid the pandemic, a test that has traditionally been in-class is now planned to be held as follows:

  1. The examiner starts a Zoom conference.

  2. The students join the conference from their homes, turning their webcams and microphones on.

  3. The examiner sends the students a link to a Google form. The form comprises of test tasks and questions and is to be filled out with answers.

  4. The students open the form and fill it out, keeping their webcams and microphones on. The examiner and his assistants watch the students via Zoom in an attempt to ensure than no cheating takes place. The students are not allowed to use any books or materials or get help from other people. A warning has been issued that if any kind of cheating is noticed, the cheater will face dire consequences. The entire session will be video recorded by the examiner.

  5. The students submit the form, and that's it. The form will be closed at the end of the test.

It appears to me that it's very easy to get away with cheating on the test. A student can simply give the link to a friend and ask him or her to secretly fill out the form and submit it on behalf of the student. Alternatively, a student can ask a friend to sit nearby, just outside the camera's field of view, and help pass the test. Also, a student can easily cheat by using Internet resources, but this way of cheating will not be very helpful for this particular test, so my main concern is about the easiness of getting help from others.

I wouldn't even consider cheating, and I wouldn't care whether others cheated, but the grading system for this test is relative, and the test is important. The purpose of the test is to measure how good the students are relative to each other, and the results will be used to divide the students into small groups so that each group comprises of students of approximately the same level of knowledge. Then each group will be taught in accordance with the abilities of its students. The test won't count towards my final grade, but I want to end up being in a group of good students, and I don't want to end up being behind a heap of students who will simply elect to cheat, although I have no idea as to how many actually will.

Knowledge-wise, I think I am better than an overwhelming majority of the students who are to sit the test, so my first instinct was to openly raise my concerns in an attempt to change the way the test is conducted, but I'm afraid I will achieve nothing but a reputation of a student who openly questions the integrity of fellow students. Knowing the examiner personally, I'm afraid he will strongly dislike my suggestion that he make extra effort to organize the test in a different way (e.g., by separately interviewing each student). Moreover, it well may be not even in his power to change the procedure. I talked to a couple of coursemates, and they were not enthusiastic to personally participate in any action about how the test is conducted.

What would you advise me to do?

  • Should I cheat? A senior friend of mine encourages me to accept his help with the test. He is prepared to fill out the form and submit it on my behalf or, if I wish, to sit nearby and give hints. He doesn't want me to fall victim of cheating by others. I'm weighing ethical factors and also trying to figure out whether there's any chance I might accidentally get caught.

  • What else could I do to address this?

I would be grateful for advice and, in particular, for pointing out anything I may be overlooking in this situation.

UPDATE: I'd like to explain why it is important to end up in a good group. In a better group, you get a better instructor, a better and more stimulating environment, and an opportunity to make social connections with better students. The practice here is that best groups get best instructors. Whom would you give the best English teacher - a group of lazy students or a group of students highly passionate about the English language? And the environment does matter. If you are in a group of good students, you will invariably become like them. Students take this test very seriously, and I do expect that some will cheat. And I don't want my place in a good group to be stolen by a cheater.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – eykanal
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:20
  • 4
    I think this needs a country tag (from the name I guess Japan?). If the OP says the best students receive large advantages in their system, we should take their word for it. Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 13:28

13 Answers 13


This is a question to the programme leader.

Frankly in a scenario where cheating is just waiting for an invitation, relative marking is grossly inappropriate. It is not just giving cheaters an unfair advantage, it gives the honest ones an unfair disadvantage.

Ask for guarantees that cheating by others will not directly disadvantage you.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – eykanal
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:20

I would advise two things. First, take the exam honestly. But also complain to the university and the professor that you find the conditions to be conducive to cheating and you question the fairness and validity of the exam under these conditions.

But you have to do the second part early, perhaps now, before the test is given and certainly before you are given any grades. Then there can be no claim that you are grumbling because of a bad grade.

Use the same arguments you use here. Zoom itself isn't secure and the "observations" provided by it are very possibly insufficient to prevent cheating.

I would also object, myself, on privacy grounds, that no one has a right to video (and record) you in your home. If any of the students aren't legal adults, then it might even be illegal in some places to do so. But I'm very serious about my own privacy. You may have a different standard.

If they require you to actually register with zoom I would object on privacy grounds also, in that some of your private information is being given to a commercial entity.

If others also complain prior to the exam it will carry more weight, of course.

A poorly designed system shouldn't be used to disadvantage anyone.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – eykanal
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:25

I agree with @Captain Emacs.

My professor did something similar. The difference being he did not monitor us via webcam, and told us to simply sign a statement affirming we would not cheat.

I did not cheat, and suffered badly. I scored nearly the lowest grade in the entire class. I scored above average on exams before COVID-19. My assumption is that the grade was artificially inflated by cheating.

However, I would recommend not cheating, because somewhere along the chain of command someone will correct this. If you had an A average, like myself, before the exam, and you scored well below average on the online exam that is cause for suspicion. You can bring this up to your professor or department. Eventually you'll stumble upon someone who is rational along the chain of command. Student who were doing poorly then suddenly made A's would also be an abnormally to cite.

In summary, if you had an A before this exam, and did oddly poor after, you can likely easily make a case for yourself. The easiest solution to advocate for would be for them to throw that grade out.

  • 3
    There may, of course, be few or no prior grades available. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 5:11
  • 29
    This advice seems to contradict itself. You suffered. But you mention that somewhere someone will correct this. But you do not mention that this happened to you. Was it corrected in your case? Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 10:53
  • 2
    So how is your case coming?
    – Joshua
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 17:05
  • 5
    So, for my case somewhere along the chain of command someone did notice. Corrective action was taken for me. I do not know what happened to my peers, but I would assume any significant change in performance would have also been investigated. This class is a graduate level course, so everyone generally makes (A's 70% or B's 30%) anyway. If you are taking a more completely graded course (A's 20%, B's 30%, C's 30%, D's 15%, F's 5%), then you should bring up the case @CaptainEmacs and others made with department sooner than later. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 21:29
  • I think this same situation is about to happen to my girlfriend. Zero provisions against cheating, in an exam whose grade solely determines the course grade and which will likely be curved. I too advised her not to cheat but only because I think it's morally wrong. Absolutely nonsensical of the university not to postpone the exam.
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 12:03

If most students cheat and the grading is done in a relative way, then this disqualifies the test as a fair test. You should then cheat, as it's the instructor's responsibility to implement a fair system, it's not your duty to have to suffer the consequences of a broken system.

It's not any different from facing justice in a country where defendants bribe police officers, prosecutors and judges to get acquitted. Suppose you are arrested, e.g. by a corrupt police officer expecting a bribe. Would you then pay the bribe to get off or try to win, only to face more problems down the line when having to deal with corrupt prosecutors and judges?

  • 24
    I’m not sure I agree with your conclusion, but +1 for it’s the instructor’s responsibility to implement a fair system, and for the (very valid IMO) analogy in the second paragraph. This answer does a nice job of illustrating how corruption begets more corruption and dishonesty begets more dishonesty.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 6:40
  • 3
    @Ian: From your comment, it seems like you really never had to live in such a country. People from the Sovjet Union, GDR, North Korea, Syria etc. could/ cannot so easily leave.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 12:05
  • 1
    "It's not any different" yes it is. It's entirely different. That is a systematic corruption from the top. The professor is not expecting a bribe. I promise if OP gets caught, screaming "well everyone else does it" is not going to be considered a valid excuse at the expulsion hearing. Actions have consequences, and this could literally ruin someone's entire future career. Tread lightly.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 15:11
  • 4
    Disagree. Even if everyone around you is cheating, there is value in-and-of-itself to choosing the ethical path and not cheating. Do not cheat, on principle, by your own personal honour, even if that disadvantages you. So what if you end up in a lower set, you will know that you are someone who chooses not to do the wrong thing even when you could have done and even when others did. That has inherent value far more than this test, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Choose what sort of person you want to be and not because of reward or punishment, just because that's who you are.
    – croc7415
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 21:43
  • 1
    @corsiKa The prof may have "good intentions", but if they implement a system that incentivizes corruption, they are as guilty (by stupidity if not intention) in the destruction of honesty. There are cases of not-really-corrupt governments/leaders that, through weakness or badly chosen governance structures caused the system to go off the rails. I think the comparison is valid. So, some originally honest people gone bad may be caught and punished, but still the original sin was setting the conditions for corruption in the first place. Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 10:04

No, don’t cheat.

Here are some random thoughts why; some are perhaps more philosophical than the other comments/answers Ive seen so far:

live with courage and integrity. it takes courage to live with the consequences of other people taking advantage of the system.

when you are a student, you feel that the class or the test is high stakes or of vast importance, it will determine your entire future, or your future happiness, and failing or doing poorly is the end of the world. As I’ve aged/matured, I’ve encounter many failures and disappointments have come to make peace with them (easier said than done). but i also see that people who have had more success are not necessarily happier and have their own problems.

You might never end up seeing it yourself, but the people who cheat - it will catch up to them sooner or later. (This has happened in my classes - students have gotten away with cheating on a few exams, and then eventually (perhaps in classes year or two later) I find out they dont know anything and they end up failing. Of course many students have gotten away unnoticed.

I think most professors know that online tests are very easy to cheat on and there’s very little we can do (even with the system you described etc) - heck, we can’t even control cheating in in person tests.

Professors can be sneaky. They can put questions that they don’t expect students to solve, then if some students do, they can come back and ask the student to explain their answer. Maybe they are able to monitor IP addresses of where answers are being submitted. That being said, it’s impossible for the professor to make any foolproof system, except perhaps one-on-one oral exams, which for very large classes is not practical.

the senior “friend” who volunteered to help you cheat will then have the ability to blackmail you. i advise you to stop being friends with him (no need to explicitly have a conversation ending the friendship, just stop frequently communicating with him). friends can really influence ones behavior, and when you have friends who behave badly, you can end up behaving badly. even though he is acting in a way to help you in the short term, being dishonest is a huge red flag. run away. i recently dumped a close friend who had some bad habits that i ended up joining in on occasion even though i didnt really want to, and even still it was very hard for me to terminate the friendship. but i am feeling so much better now that she is mostly out of my life.

life is so much easier living honestly. in the long run, you’ll sleep better at night.

students who cheat are mostly cheating themselves. (added in response to a comment that the previous sentence is not true: they are cheating themselves of learning the material, of the feedback on their level of mastery that exams provide)

  • 8
    To the last sentence: unfortunately not true.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 9:36
  • 1
    @user111388 you’re right, so I’ve added a bit of an explanation. but it still might not be true, i accept that.
    – usr0192
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 14:56
  • 1
    @user111388, your comment, fortunately, is not true. And dishonest people affect others besides themselves.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 15:20
  • 1
    @Buffy: Why not? People write here all the time about cheaters who get advantages in jobs etc. Those people cheat others then themselves.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 15:23
  • 3
    @user111388 "mostly... themselves", the answer never excluded cheating others, simply put the balance of harm on the cheater. The distinction may be subtle and nuanced, but truth often is. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 20:28

Unfairness Prevails

Suppose you are working for a large corporation, and your team is assigned a project. Many of your coworkers could cheat and take shortcuts to appear to produce more output, and the manager would not necessarily notice. Furthermore the manager is inclined to give bonuses and promotions based on each team member's output. Should you: A) do your work honestly, like a sucker, knowing full well that many of your coworkers are going to game the system to make it look like they did much more work? or B) claw your way to the top by pulling every cheat you think your coworkers will try, and then some?

I hate to break it to you, but the above scenario is much less hypothetical than we would like to admit. The world is not fair. Sometimes, people will cheat and get away with it. Sometimes that will affect you directly. At some point, you will be asked to put a literal price on your morals and values. This process has already begun, before you have entered the workplace in earnest. You must decide what price you will set, because nobody else can set that price for you.

Choose Your Destiny

What you will find is that while you cannot catch and expose every cheat in the world, nor can you avoid every situation in which you are asked to pay that price for your morals and ethics, you can decide which of those cheats you choose to continue working with, and which you will avoid. With diligence, you can find like-minded folks who will not put you in those no-win situations, and can prosper.

At the end of the day, a hiring manager or Ph.D adviser will want to see what you know and what you can do--not just what grades you achieved. If you end up with an unfair black mark on your academic record, don't think of it as a personal failure or injustice of the universe. Think of it as a test for those who would judge you. if they are so shallow that they would dismiss you on the basis of such a small thing, then they are surely not the kind of people you really want to work with/for.

This is a test of your professor, too. If the grades really turn out to be wildly unfair, then challenge your professor: "I believe the outcome of this test indicates rampant cheating, and I believe if you spend a few minutes talking with some of the anomalous high test scorers about the relevant material, you will find that my accusation is not without merit." If the professor brushes you off, then you are free to make a personal judgment about that person. Accept that some people do not care so much for integrity and are just there to collect a paycheck. This, too, is a bitter lesson that we must all learn at some point.

What Doesn't Kill You...

On the other hand, a little adversity makes you stronger. Nobody can say definitively why more than half of "unicorns" are founded by immigrants, but I don't think anyone will say: "Obviously, it's because they have it so easy." On the contrary, second- and third-generation immigrants do worse than their first-generation ancestors, quite likely because they do "have it easy" relative to struggling to make it in a new country. Obviously, a lot of adversity can weigh you down with an unescapable burden. Hence, why folks in the bottom quintile struggle to get out of it.

Yes, this is a fancy way of saying that suffering some headwind might give you some fire which helps propel you past your cheating classmates in the long game. Instead of wasting your energy holding grudges and simmering with resentment, channel it into getting so good that no amount of cheating will hold you back. What you learn in your classes, and how you learn it is far more important to your future than what grade you get.

  • Yes, the best mental picture... Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 0:14
  • Of course, at some point one actual has to get that PhD advisor. In some fields, this is done almost entirely on the basis of undergraduate grades... Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 3:55
  • 1. While I think your corporate view on colleagues cheating their way up is mostly correct, keep in mind that people boast the merits publicly, while performance reviews are private. This means that a certain amount of cheating and over-advertising about performance should be getting caught by decent managers and accounted for. Particularly, when numerically grading performance, a good manager needs to normalize for "humbleness". People with nearly the same performance may self-all evaluate with 5/10, 8/10 or 10/10 depending on how humble or conceited they are.
    – Mefitico
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:08
  • 2. Regarding unicorns being founded by immigrants. Immigrants are, by nature, risk takers. Which is basically a requirement to found a start-up company. You need courage to leave your home country for a foreign land, where you might face language, culture and prejudice barriers. Second-generation immigrants are more usually people who had no say in the immigration decision, hence their risk appetite is not much observable from the isolated fact of being a second generation immigrant.
    – Mefitico
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:12
  • 1
    @KevinCarlson I don't have a post-grad degree, so I will take your word for it. But I thought that tests like the GRE give additional data points that would be taken into consideration. I would also hope that letters of recommendation might make a difference. I personally have a low opinion of any field which would rely on such narrow data. Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 22:35

The answer really depends on the consequences of a lower relative mark.

If the mark counts towards your degree, final school exam grade, ability to pass the year, or other long-term consequences, then consider formally escalating this within your school or university.

Your teacher should be receptive to ideas of ways in which their exam can be cheated. If they aren't, your school or university should have an appeals process. Whether you involve this process now, or whether you involve this process when all your classmates get unexpectedly higher results, that's something you need to think about. If you're under 18, you may need to talk to your parents about this, because they may be the ones who would need to raise it with the school.

If the mark doesn't count towards your long-term result, and there are no other real consequences, then don't sweat it.

Yes, you may be graded lower than your classmates on this exam. Perhaps you finish the year a few places down the class from where you expected to be. But if it doesn't make any long-term difference to the outcome of your education and grades, then it doesn't really matter. You know that you played fair. And more than that, the work you've done this year will benefit you next year, where your classmates who relied on cheating will fall further behind you.

Based on your name, I would make the assumption that you're in Japan. And based on that assumption, I would certainly mention this to your parents as soon as you can. A lower grade achieved honourably is better than a higher grade achieved dishonourably.

  • 1
    "where you classmates who relied on cheatinf will fall Further behind" A big NO! Cheating does not neccessarily mean "studying nothing". "Cheaters" I know study extremly hard like the others except that they look their missing knowledge up at the test. So they profited the same from the lecture but got a better grade.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 19:03

First of all. Don't cheat, and study more than you'd usually would to compensate for any unfairness.

Second, while a complaint is well in place before the test even takes place, as suggested by Buffy, keep in mind a few things:

  1. This is a temporary fix for a temporary problem. Because people simply didn't do tests this way, there is hardly any field-proven cheating methods. Meaning, people don't really know their chances of getting caught, and a severe punishment is on it's way to cheaters. Hence, this should deter a generalized cheating behavior for the short term. Meanwhile, the school should find other methods of preventing cheating.

  2. There are tests where it's easier and those where it's barely feasible to cheat. The teachers should likely design the test so cheating is pointless. A question such as "1+2+3+...+99+100=?" is simple to cheat. But a question like "write a code that performs X action" has known methods for finding copied solutions. Further, giving little time for the answer to be conceived, making it open ended or adding variations like "chose an example you like" make it hard to adapt something you know little about, but allows identifying the students who know what they're doing. Have some faith that the test will be adapted to this reality and that there are tools to tell cheaters from honest students, even if those tools are fallible. Keep in mind this might not be the case for the next test you'll be taking, but should be increasingly more prevalent as these remote tests continue.

  3. I'm betting that despite any normalization that may be required by the university, most likely the grading system will be calibrated such that every student passes the course, unless someone really deserved failing. So, if you want to be a top student (and people inclined to cheat are hardly aiming at being top students, but rather just being lazy), then you should study hard and prepare well (as you always should). This should be enough to grant you a satisfactory grade for your goals and sacrifices, even if not the best one you'll get through the programme.

  • I am an instructor at a university and talked to some collegues about the cheating issue. A lot of them said basically "I know there will be cheating but I don't want to deal with this." So, your points are not neccessarily true.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:58
  • @user111388 : Are grades normalized where you work? I.e. could a student get a passing grade on a test, but due to curving he actually ends up with a failing grade? Do this same people actually care/deal with when students cheat on normal test conditions? Also, not wanting to deal might imply "I know I should handle this, but I'm procrastinating until it becomes urgent or a solution falls on my lap" instead of "I refuse taking any action to prevent cheating, or wasting time thinking or talking about the subject whatsoever".
    – Mefitico
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 19:11
  • @Metifico: Grades are not normalized. It is the "lazy" attitude (more precisely "I am tenured and a great researcher and I can be a bad teacher without consequences" attitude (which I find horrible)). But the reason why they don't care is - unfortunately - not important for the student, they just don't care. I think point 1 and 2 are true in an ideal world, but not in mine.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 19:24
  • @user111388 : To be fair, if grades were not normalized, and also assuming there is no ranking based reward-punishment system. OP should make a better point on why does he care if other students cheat.
    – Mefitico
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 21:35
  • @Metifico: I agree. My point is that it is not unthinkable (for me) that a prof makes a bad policy out of lazyness and there will be no consequences for cheaters. Your answer sounds like after suspious exam results there will always be an investigation and the problem will always solve itself. I disagree with that. (I am sorry if I misunderstood your point.)
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 22:30

Unless I'm missing something, from what you've described, you could have google running alongside Zoom and no one would notice you were looking up answers on your browser. If that is true, then you need to point this out to the tutor. That will presumably be enough that they won't run the exam in this format.

  • 1
    From what I know from my collegues, no, this is not enough.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 9:47
  • 2
    Yes, a student can cheat on this test by using Internet resources, but this way of cheating is not very useful for this particular test. My biggest concern is that anyone can secretly pass the test on behalf of anyone. I will update my question to reflect this.
    – Mitsuko
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 9:59

I would not cheat, as I take classes to learn things, and I tend to take my voluntary agreements and academic relationships seriously, and cheating would be violating my agreements and relationships.

As for getting selected into a group with the "best students", I would prefer the outcome I would expect from not cheating, especially if the cheaters really have a great score advantage. That way, given enough honest students, I'd tend to expect to place into a group of honest students near my knowledge level. If I cheated and got an inflated score, I'd expect to be grouped with cheaters, which I wouldn't want.

I'd also let my instructor know about any concerns I had.

  • 2
    There is no reason for me that cheaters would all be in the same group (the better or worser). Not every cheater autimatically gets the best grade.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:57
  • @user111388 True... that why I wrote "if the cheaters really have a great score advantage"... maybe I should put that part in bold, too.
    – Dronz
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 0:05
  • @user111388 ... (Thought continued:) ... If the cheaters don't have a great score advantage, then the significance of the original question, and the idea of cheating too, is pretty marginal, but the OP seems pretty convinced it cheating will have a big effect even on his assumed-strong natural scoring ability, and that's the context of the question. Practically any way I slice it, I think it's pretty silly to cheat in this situation, but I was trying to frame my answer to the OP's own idea of the situation.
    – Dronz
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 0:11
  • I don't quite understand. Say there are 5 spots in the best group, OP is the 5th best student and there is one cheater who takes 5th place because of cheating. Then OP is in the second group with the other cheaters or what I am misunderstanding?
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 5:24
  • @user111388 What OP seems to firmly believe is that he is a top student yet the effect of cheating in this case will put all the cheaters above him unless he too cheats. My suggestion is that, if that's true, the top group will be full of cheaters, so I'd prefer to be placed below all the cheaters, hopefully with the knowledgable but honest students. Now, I don't think OP is likely correct or that it's really that predictable, but I think his logic for cheating is flawed, which I tried to point out by the strategy I might use to try to get in the smart honest group, if I did think that.
    – Dronz
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 18:44

Suppose it's permissible to cheat if you think others are cheating.

If everyone followed this rule, if anyone had any doubt that anyone else was cheating (you seem to be saying because it's possible to cheat, it's logical to assume that someone will), everyone will cheat (to avoid getting a worse score than the "original" cheaters).

Everyone will get an A (except those without the means to cheat-- what about them?), so examinations will be pointless (and unfair to those who cannot cheat) unless the instructor can make it absolutely impossible to cheat, which isn't always practical, as is the case for your class now.

  • You seem to assume that everybody always behaves "mathematically" and rational in the sense of Game Theory. In my experiences with humans, this is usually not the case. Also, not every cheater autimatically gets an A. Where did you get this idea from? Moreover, if one single exam is pointless, this does not mean it will be discarded or investigated, especially in a situation like now where profs probably have much more work (I know I do.)
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 19:55
  • 1
    @user111388, I think you misinterpreted the intent here. The writer is pointing out the bad long term consequences of cheating, not recommending it. The tone may be a bit ironic, though.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 22:06

As far as I understand, this "exam" is not graded. It is a performance test to allocate students into groups according to their needs and abilities. Even from a purely egoistic perspective, cheating would thus be ill-advised, because it is in each student's rational interest to end up in a group that is a good fit, i.e. that is neither over- nor under-challenging.

There may be some students who mistake the test for an exam and try to cheat their way into a "stronger" group, although the stronger group would be worse for them. If that is so, the average group will in fact be "weaker" than the test results suggest. Yet there may also be students who understand the nature of the test and willingly perform worse than they could, because they prefer to be among the strongest in a weak group (big fish in a small pond).

Both scenarios may cancel each other out, but both are also completely hypothetical. My advice is not to sweat it and just answer the questions honestly.

  • From the comments, I understand that the better group has better teachers and better learning conditions. Also, I would consider the fact that being in the better group has advantages for grading or admission in later courses.
    – user111388
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 19:01

You have to decide yourself to cheat or not to cheat. Make sure that your risk assessment is right.

Instead of passing the entire test to someone else, you can simply communicate with a friend through some internet communicator when in doubt in case of a particular question. Moreover, you could use remote desktop software such as Team Viewer to solve the test together with your friend. Or even you could solve the test yourself and then ask your friend to correct your faulty answers.

Beware that the instructors during the test may ask you to share your screen with them through zoom to inspect if you are not cheating that way. That is also the reason why passing the entire test to someone else is risky. Also it may be impossible for both you and your friend to log in to the test, or even you could log in twice with the same credentials, but that could lead to the detection of your fraud.

  • Instruction on how to be academically dishonest have no place here, I hope.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:10
  • @Buffy - That's what downvoting is for :) For what its worth, the OP already listed these as known problem, so this doesn't really add much.
    – eykanal
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:21
  • @eykanal, so honesty/dishonesty is now just a matter of voting. Color me disappointed.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:57
  • @Buffy - Please take it to Academia Meta if you disagree. Speaking for myself, I try to really limit mod intervention to where something is obviously wrong (TOS, policy violations). I'm happy to do otherwise, as posts like this bother me just as much as you.
    – eykanal
    Commented Apr 23, 2020 at 3:21

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