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Test banks = cheating?

sialoprojectsialoproject Posts: 32Registered User New Member
edited January 2012 in College Life
Ok, before i even start...i am sorry if this is the wrong place to post it.

Anyways, i recently entered UT and learned a lot from high school mistakes. So i figure i go around and ask around about some of the advices for upcoming freshmen. I asked a lot and one thing stood out more than other. In academic aspect, one of the advice was

"many organization has 'test banks', use them."

Ok so test banks are old tests that a professor previous used for previous year. And since some of the professor use the same test every year, it is pretty much a replica of what people will see on their test. So the question comes to....

isn't that pretty much cheating? Ok, perhaps just memorizing the answers on Genetics or organic chem might not guarantee a A+ on a paper, but it still will help tremendous no matter what. The test could change every year, but the knowing just the format could still help.

So i guess what i am trying to say is... are test banks considered cheating in college generally? or is it accepted as a form of 'legitimate studying'? I know the professors know they have test bank, and yet they still use the same test. But in the end...anyhow! if you think its legitimate/illegimate...please support your reasoning

thank you for your time

hook'em horns!
Post edited by sialoproject on
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Replies to: Test banks = cheating?

  • TarhuntTarhunt Posts: 2,138Registered User Senior Member
    I change my tests all the time, including the format. I do it for the very reason you've put forward.

    Technically, I'd say that test banks are not "cheating" because it is not a copy of the current test. If faculty members insist on recycling the same tests out of laziness, then they are at fault. I think a stong case can be made that old tests make good study guides, since they force people to learn what they should have been learning during the class.

    Having said all that, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life was taking over a survey course known throughout the school as a "gut" (easy) course. I waited until the drop deadline had passed before I hit them with the first test. From the screaming, you'd think I'd asked them to forego a good education ;-).
  • ClendenenatorClendenenator Posts: 1,671Registered User Senior Member
    It's not cheating at all as long as the same version of the test isn't offered the same year. If you're not sure, e-mail or talk to your professor in the class and ask if she/he will allow you to use a test bank; if they say no, then don't use it.
  • JinksJinks Posts: 213Registered User Junior Member
    if everyone else is going to use it u better to!

    i am jk that was my cynical side.... lol. But ahh yeah i guess ur at a tough spot. If i was u i would just drop a hint to the professor and see how he reacts.....
  • kevin63138kevin63138 Posts: 545Registered User Member
    Wow tarhunt that is so evil!
  • HuntHunt Posts: 22,054Registered User Senior Member
    How are these test banks created? If the tests are released by the professors, I don't think it's cheating to look at them. If they were taken improperly, then it is.
    Note: a test that may appear to be the same as last year's may not be exactly the same...a clever professor may have made subtle changes that will trip you up.
  • TarhuntTarhunt Posts: 2,138Registered User Senior Member
    Wow tarhunt that is so evil!

    Yes, but so richly deserved! ;-)
  • BigredmedBigredmed Posts: 3,676Registered User Senior Member
    Many fraternities and sororities have test banks.

    If the professor won't change exams at all, then they're inviting use (and abuse) of such a system. If profs don't like it, they can make essay tests.

    Other than that...how is a test bank different than any other sort of practice problems? The only advantage they give is that you have a better idea of how the information and questions will be asked by that specific professor.

    In my experience though, test files are helpful, but they certainly don't make up for not knowing and understanding the subject. And test files gradually lose relevance over the years as professors and concepts change, so they're only as good as how often they are updated and cleaned up.
  • weldonweldon Posts: 537Registered User Member
    This is not cheating, as long as the test is not obtained by illegal means. Saving and using old tests that have been handed back to students after grading is completely legitimate. But use at your own risk, the situation in a class may change on you for a variety of reasons (see Tarhunt story above), and the individual who decides to study just by blindly memorizing the old test can wind up hurting bad.
    I had an experience along these lines myself: a nutty old professor asked exactly the same questions on tests, year after year after year. The problem was, you really had no choice but to study by memorizing the old tests, since all the questions were also nutty, had nothing to do with the core course material, and could not be answered by applying logic or knowledge, but ONLY by having the stuff memorized. It was much easier and surer to pick up the answers from the old tests rather than having to write down each and every off-handed remark made during lectures.
    If you encounter a prof like I have just described, if you can I would advise that you try to find another class or section, even if it seems hard to give up an easy grade. Otherwise, your studying strategy (and what you get out of the class) can be totally subverted.
  • snarlatronsnarlatron Posts: 587Registered User Member
    It is not cheating - I taught in a university dept. that itself kept a bank of tests right in the office for any students to consult. However if going this route keeps a student from learning, then it may not be the best thing. You will need to know things in your career. (do I snip the red or blue wire to defuse this thing?) If you only learn to the test you will be cheating yourself.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 35,403Registered User Senior Member
    Perhaps the faculty can neutralize what some may see as unfairness in the access to old tests by simply posting the old tests on the department web site.
  • sopranokittysopranokitty Posts: 1,441Registered User Senior Member
    My bio professor during summer actually put up her old midterm and final from spring semester up on Blackboard so students could use them as study guides. It's not cheating if the professor provides them. The tests she had from spring semester and the tests I took were drastically different--sure there were questions from the spring exams, but most of them were new stuff not mentioned in her test bank, meaning I still had to study.
  • lilkdub503lilkdub503 Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    If I can get it on Google for free, I say it's not illegal (this DOES NOT apply to media lol). But I did a quick Google search for tests for my vector calculus class this upcoming quarter, and I found tests from the last ten years.
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    At UVa, many professors make students sign an oath under the Honor System that they have not looked at old tests.

    They have thrown out students who copied computer code for a programing class from a previous student.

    In any case, a prof should be smart enough to change their tests around every year.

    If a student relies upon a test bank, they will really get hit upside the head when the prof hands out a test that wasn't in the test bank. That is because the student will not have learned the material throughout the year. Or, they will flounder the next semester when they didn't learn the material that it is based upon.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 35,403Registered User Senior Member
    At UVa, many professors make students sign an oath under the Honor System that they have not looked at old tests.

    Seems like those professors may be recycling old test problems a bit too often...

    Of course, an instructor can also be "realistic" and give an open book, open notes test. It would be realistic in that most real life (academic or otherwise) problems are not closed book tests. It might also install fear in students who were hoping for "plug and chug" problems but realize that an open book, open notes test is not likely to have such problems and is likely to have problems that require thinking about the subject at a level more than just memorizing a few formulas.
  • theespys69theespys69 Posts: 523Registered User Member
    If it was cheating, then I'm pretty sure that test bank would have been shut down by now.
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