This question is for those who are familiar with the format of CompTIA exams. Last week I took a test (and passed) which had two performance-based questions that I already knew the answer to. I had seen them verbatim on a recorded video series provided by my school, and my professor went over them with me in class and explained it. On Reddit, I saw posts saying to pay attention to the recorded video series in my class and to memorize the questions because they are very similar to the exam. So I had a feeling that they somewhat might show up on the exam but not 100%. Is this considered cheating?

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    Put yourself in the shoes of the instructor. What better way to make sure your students actually study your material than to regularly include some worked examples in the test? Commented May 15 at 16:31
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    @Stephan: Note that CompTIA is a standardized test; the instructor almost certainly did not have control over or inside knowledge of the exam.
    – cag51
    Commented May 15 at 16:38
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    Does this answer your question? academia.stackexchange.com/questions/178448/… Or this one: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/112239/…
    – Allure
    Commented May 16 at 2:16
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    CompTIA tests are also randomized ON THE SPOT by the machine. You didn't get the same test as the guy sitting next to you. You got REALLY LUCKY though, but this is definitely not cheating.
    – Nelson
    Commented May 16 at 3:21
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    Ultimate cheating life hack: store all the answers in your head so you can't be caught and they can't be confiscated! Professors hate this one trick Commented May 16 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


No, this is not cheating. It just means you did a great job studying. On most tests that I give, there will be at least a few questions that the students (those who are paying attention) know will be on the test. Often, I telegraph those, like "this is super important" or "you really need to know this for the test."

Similarly, when I was a student, professors would telegraph questions like that to me, both in undergrad and grad school (e.g., qualifying exams). Paying attention, studying, and correctly predicting a test question, is not cheating.

When I help students study for actuarial exams (similar to CompTIA exams) or the GRE, we go through lots of old exams. We figure out which types of questions get asked every year, and make sure the student is able to answer those. Later, my students often report back that at least one thing we studied showed up verbatim on the test.

Lastly, imagine the situation when someone prepares for job interviews. It's very common to try to guess what questions you might be asked, or to do mock interviews with others who have hired for similar positions before. I would argue that part of what's being tested is whether or not you understand the material deeply enough that you can predict the questions. If so, you deserve to get those questions right! Good job!


No ethical problem it sounds like. The nature of the exam type is well known. That nearly identical questions showed up just means they did a good job prepping you. That said, if you do feel not great about it, you may consider sending a note to the people who run the exam noting that those specific questions are available in the wild (although there are risks/downsides to that).

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    Comptia almost certainly knows the questions are in the wild. Its been a while since I took a Comptia test, but when I did I had to actively avoid places that claimed to list the exact questions with the exact answers based on actual test takers. And those are the ones that are open about using the exact questions. Study guides for those types of standardized tests are supposed to use questions very similar to the real ones. Commented May 16 at 22:58

It is not uncommon that the exam problems are taken from textbooks or copied from the exam materials from a few years ago. Thus, if you encounter problems that you have already see, this might be a proof that you studied hard. Also, most exam problems are "typical" ones, that is the goal is not so much solving the problem, as showing that you know the method that solves it. Thus, if you feel that you understand the method (rather than copying solution by somebody else) you are not being unfair.

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