AIPMT leak: The art and science of cheating, then and now

  • Soumya Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 17, 2015 10:51 IST

Students appearing for AIPMT exam had Bluetooth devices and SIM cards stitched into their shirts. They sat in the exams while someone else, in a distant corner of the country, recited answers to the candidates who paid as much as Rs 15-20 lakh each.

Obsessed as Indian parents are with getting a good education -- read heavy sounding degrees with or without the necessary skill set -- for their children at any cost, the spectre of cheating that haunts our educational system is not very difficult to understand.

The Supreme Court on Monday cancelled this year's All India Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) on Monday due to rampant cheating by tech savvy students. This was the 12th such national level exam which was marred by allegations of cheating and paper leak in as many months.

Has cheating become endemic to the Indian educational system? The answer is it always was. What started as innocent carrying of chits or having a quick look at the examination paper of the person in front has now metamorphosised into a racket with high-tech gadgets.

We look at how the cheating modus operandi has changed – from then to now…

Cheating then did the examinees do all those years ago when Bluetooth and microchips were still sci-fi? Wrote answers to multiple choice questions on the extra large Apsara non-dust erasers and passed it to our friends under the garb of ‘Miss, I forgot my eraser, can I borrow it from XYZ’. A few more exchanges and both you and your friend pass the exam with flying colours.

The best form co-ordination we could come up with was telling our friend from another section to meet us in the washroom at a particular time so as to discuss the question paper and bolt back to the exam room once we have gathered enough information to clear the exam.

Chits with answers were hidden in our socks, shoes or even underwear. Toilet flush, under the desk and geometry box were also good repositories. Some very inventive ones used the rims of their spectacles.

Magic ink came helpful to scribble some helpful notes on your thighs, feet and other parts of anatomy which were covered by clothes.

We also tried to get the paper leaked with the help of tuition 'sirs', the neighbourhood xerox-wallahs and the school peon. If nothing else worked, a helpful peek at the papers of examinees sitting near you was the last ditch attempt.

But all too cautiously, because if caught, our parents would surely disinherit us, unlike these parents…

These some super-supportive parents and friends climbed the walls to make answer chits available to students appearing for their Class 10 exams at a centre in Vaishali, Bihar.

Cheating now

We had massive erasers in our time, kids now have mobile phones at their disposal. Answers are just a quick ‘google’ away.

If you think the MO used during AIPMT was inventive, listen to this: Students remove the polarisation sheet of their personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cut it to fit their spectacles. Now, the invigilator will see a switched off media device without its casing but a student can read everything from the screen.

Examinees also use devices such as micro earphones, special clothes fitted with devices, button-hole cameras, tablet computer, wireless ear plugs and micro bluetooth devices to transmit the question paper to people outside during the examination. The answers are transmitted back to students via the same device.

The micro earphones are very small and fit deep inside your ears. The device syncs with any bluetooth cell phone allowing the person on the other line to hear what’s going on and giving them the ability to speak directly into your ear.

Pens that can scan question papers and are connected to a bluetooth system is another device used by a student. There are glasses as well that can scan the question paper.

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