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I had an exam this morning. Last week the teacher had warned us that her exams are tough; this scared me. I wanted to see what her exams were like, so to study I searched through the exam repository at my school for an old midterm. Unfortunately, the exam repository only has final exams (including this course). Then I googled "(course code) (school name) midterm", and a couple of links came up. One was an online repository (not associated with my school) where people can upload old exams. I found a lot of old midterms for this course. These midterms were all in the same format but the exact questions were different in most cases. These midterms also had the answer key. I studied them to get an idea of how much the professor expected of us and to help resolve my confusion about some concepts. The practice midterms REALLY helped clarify things for me.
Last night, a student in the class posted a past midterm in a student-run Facebook group for the class. This exam did not have the official answers on it, but it did have the ones given by the student who took the test that year. After taking the test today, I noticed that some of the questions on this midterm were identical to the ones I studied online. It dawned on me that I may have committed an academic offense.
I am wondering, is studying past exams given in the course cheating? What if those exams are found in an non-school-sponsored repository online?