The Irish Times recently posted an article online about cheating during the Leaving Cert, after a student revealed on boards.ie that there had been some cheating in her Carlow school. Notes in socks and phones and laps, stuff like that. And we're supposed to be surprised by this? I mean, there are literally dozens of ways to chear during exams. Dozens. I've heard loads of ways people have cheated over the years, in big exams and in small exams, and so this student's post that people are cheating in the Leaving Cert didn't really catch me off-guard (by the way, if you have no idea what the Leaving Cert is, it's the set of exams Irish second-level students have to take to determine what third level courses they can do).
It has been pointed out by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) that they are aware that cheating happens. Last year, with both the Leaving and Juniors certs, there was a total of 89 investigations into cheating, 83 of them in the Junior Cert. The only difference this time around is that the media have been let in on what's happening. The SEC also dismissed the myth that any student caught cheating would be exempt from sitting exams for four to five years; only in extreme circumstances is this measure taken. However, they never specified the period for how long the student wouldn't be able to attend exams.
This article really annoyed me for a couple of reasons; firstly, that the student in Carlow thought that cheating in her school ought to be announced to the SEC by her - if she was aware of it happening, she should have first told her principal; secondly, that no one on boards.ie was able to clarify whether or not the myths were true; and thirdly, a remark made by a student in oppositon of the Carlow girl - the system cheats students, so students who can't remember facts and other such things should be allowed to cheat during exams so they can get into third level.
News flash - college exams require the same, if not more, attention to detail and memorising of facts as the Leaving Cert. If you don't learn to memorise things in a way that suits you, then you're only option is to cheat the entire time. And if you get caught in college, do you know what happens? You get kicked out. No SEC to back you up. If you make the mistake of cheating (or getting caught), then you have to suffer the consequences. Encouraging cheating in the Leaving Cert to get into third level is just a load of bull. It doesn't get easier when you get to college. You can't cheat and expect to get away with it like so many people do at second level.
And the shock at cheating. Oh. My. God. Would people get over themselves? This isn't a perfect little world where everyone does what I do at exams. I study. I don't study well, mind you, but I study. I don't cheat and I don't even give myself the chance. That doesn't make me better than people. I can tell you one person who did better than me in the exact same exams this year who didn't cheat, either. I don't actually know too many people who cheated. At all. My point, though, is that not everyone does things my way. Which isn't the best way, mind you. I was in a panic the entire time. I'm just saying - people shouldn't be shocked at cheating. The world isn't filled with crazy people like me. Lets face it - lots of students bring something into an exam to cheat with. But that doesn't mean they use it. I mean, they might have a note in their pocket, or something, but that's a safety net. I don't believe in them, because I'd be afraid I'd get caught not using it.
Like I said, crazy.
No, cheating isn't as shocking as the Irish Times article shows us people think it is. People really have no idea of the world if they think no one cheats. Heck, lying and cheating is what many people do to make sure they can keep living their lives. It's not bad as such. Okay, it's a bit bad. I wouldn't recommend it. But at the same time, I acknowledge it happens. People not paying taxes, or people lying about their health to get benefits, or people using a quick-fix method at work for something, or stealing someone else's work despite the copyright disclaimer at the bottom of the page. It happens. Get over it. It's technically cheating the system.
All I can say is, those students need to look down at their feet. There's a welcome mat there, right in front of the Real World.