Cheating on nursing exams - page 2

What would you do if you found out people were cheating on nursing exams? I don't mean just copying during the tests, but I've seen people share questions from the previous semester, since some... Read More

  1. by   MiaNJ
    Quote from justpoorfect
    So, what is it going to be? Are you going to try to destroy anyone who dares score higher than you on a test? Will you meet with the Dean to warn her that her teaching staff are too lazy to switch their tests up, thereby inflating the scores? Or just send an anonymous letter? Are you prepared to accept it when they "find" there is no problem?

    I feel you are posting to get approval for what you are contemplating (as most people do), and dismissing all other viewpoints (which is not so good as there is a great fund of talent and knowledge here.)

    You can attempt to control: a. yourself and what you take from your learning experience. OR b. everyone else. Which do YOU think will end up helping you reach your goals?

    Best of luck to you in your studies.

    NO, my motive is not to destroy anyone who scores higher than I do. I am not worried about that, since i'm happy that I have a good GPA so far, and most tests I have received an A or B+. But I earned them, and not cheated. I have a few friends that scored a bit higher than i did, and it doesn't bother me one bit. I know that I studied.
    It's not even that it bothers me that certain people get an A without studying, since I am GLAD to study and LEARN all about nursing. This is the purpose of the nursing school, to learn all you can before you get out there in the real world. Even then, there is more learning to do as you work, as I've been told by numerous nurses. So the people who get by with cheating in school will have an harder time, if they don't study the actual material.

    You seem annnoyed that it's discovered that people can cheat. It's been happening for a long time, in many professions. By the way, there are Ways of finding this out, and the reason I'm saying this is because I and some others have seen this 'exchanging' of test questions, and some people have been so foolish as to leave this cheating paper in the recycle bin in the public computers at school. We knew it was the test, since we had just taken it the day before, and saw that all the questions were Exact and it had answers. Now how would they have this before the test was scored and reviewed with the professor? But these cheat sheets didn't have any names on it.
    I am fortunate that I didn't need to go this route, and I woud feel that i cheated myself since i want to be a good nurse one day.
    I am not out to 'rat' anyone, but I think it's wrong, plain & simple.

    Maybe people justify themselves by doing this since they think if they are struggling they can pass. But what will they do when they don't rememer how to do something correctly in the real world, or how to carry out proper nursing process? It's also evident during our clinicals when certain students that are scoring very high on tests seem very clueless on common procedures, and when the instructor asks them a question they blank out.
    The clinical instructor has also pointed out to us, that just getting good grades on paper exams may not reflect our actual knowledge, and we need to study hard and try to absorb as much as we can, about nursing process, diseases, etc. etc.
    I'm not here for your approval about anything. I am merely posting my opinions, and I know for a fact, many others in my class feel the same way.
  2. by   MiaNJ
    Quote from justpoorfect
    So, what is it going to be? Are you going to try to destroy anyone who dares score higher than you on a test? Will you meet with the Dean to warn her that her teaching staff are too lazy to switch their tests up, thereby inflating the scores? Or just send an anonymous letter? Are you prepared to accept it when they "find" there is no problem?
    Best of luck to you in your studies.
    If you think that students exchanging previous tests questions and answers is not a problem..well not everyone thinks so, especially not the national boards of several health professions. If people cheat on their regular school tests, what's to stop them from cheating on their licensing exams, if they can find a way? According to this article below, from a couple yrs. ago, there are some students who do cheat on licensing exams, by sharing questions and answers taken from others who took the test before them.
    This article doesn't specify nursing, but it does state that it can happen within any health profession. If it was not a problem and people should just ignore it, then why do several national testing boards find this a problem?

    Here are quotes from the article (link below):

    ''The group that gives the standardized exam that is used to license physical therapists has filed federal lawsuits against four graduates who they charge logged onto an Internet chat room last summer and traded more than 100 questions that had been leaked from the standardized national exam.''


    "Harris, the Chauncey attorney, said a group of students at the Miami podiatry school held a meeting before testing began and agreed to circulate exam questions through a common e-mail account; the address was written on the blackboard. He said the plan enabled students who took the test earlier in the three-day period -- perhaps the better students -- to help those testing later.''

    ''In an article last winter in the journal "CLEAR Exam Review," the optometry board's Gross called systematic memorization of test material an "invisible, silent adversary," and he warned that an entire exam might be pirated by a large, organized university class. ''

    "Downloading records is one thing. But you know, getting a shortcut to get a license to treat human beings is another one," said the attorney for the physical therapy federation, J. Kent Culley of the Pittsburgh law firm Tucker Arensberg.''

    Another thing, I'm not worried about this for me personally, but I personally feel if people cheat on health profession exams it's bad for society in general.
    I for sure wouldn't want to be cared for by a nurse, or treated by a physical therapist, etc. who got thru school cheating. How do i know they really know what they're doing?

    Yes, it may be a minority of people now, but according to the article the number of people who can get access to these tests can increase over time.
    Some people may feel a test doesn't represent their actual knowledge, but these tests are standardized, and if many people can pass with hard studying, then they are Not impossible to pass.Besides, it's not just the actual licensing test ,but if they got thru most of school without studying too much, what do they actually know?

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03215/208353.stm
  3. by   firstyearstudent
    I feel the poster has a legitimate ethical dilemma. When we see others do wrong we have a responsibility to do something about it. I might have a private conversation with the instructor or drop an anonymous note in a suggestion box (or send it through the mail). Be simply factual about it, don't judge other students or presume anything about the students or the instructor. I would communicate simply, without naming names or making assumptions: "I have observed students writing in class during exam review when the instructor has specifically asked that students refrain from writing."
  4. by   moongirl
    at my school, they never hand back the tests, which I think I good practice. You can go look at your test to see their rationales for what they said was right, but it is with your advisor,a nd you are watched. Personally, I would never give incoming students any test answers, I had to study and work for it, why should I give it away for free. And as another poster said,
    "karma".. it will all wash out in the end, memorizers wont get evry far when they actually hit the NCLEX, or any other class that they havent been given the answers for. Keep yourself honest, and when you make it thru, you cant be doubly proud that you did it on your own! Dont worry about those losers, and def dont associate with them, or you may look like you
    are cheating too
  5. by   sunnyjohn
    After every test I've taken I always try to write down as many questions as I can remember AS SOON as I leave that classroom.

    I'm anal retentive. I like to go home immediately ans see if I have the right answer. I can never wait for the grade.

    I also need my personal test bank to help me study for comprehesive finals. That's not all I rely on, but it helps.

    Of course, I would not write down question during test review if the instructor or program had a policy against it. However, I would try to remember as much as I could for personal study.


    With all the years I've spent in college I'm probably close to 80% accuracy when it comes to recreating a test. I have a good memory but I don't rely on rote memory. Personally I think my memory has helped me hone my critical thinking skills. I don't think I should be punished for something I was blessed with AND have worked on since grade school.

    If I SAW someone blatently cheating during an exam and I was 100% sure, I might be inclinded to slip an anonymous note to the college ombusperson or under the instructor's office door.

    For everything else, I mind my own business and lead a quiet life.
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Aug 26, '06
  6. by   MiaNJ
    Quote from sunnyjohn
    After every test I've taken I always try to write down as many questions as I can remember AS SOON as I leave that classroom.

    I'm anal retentive. I like to go home immediately ans see if I have the right answer. I can never wait for the grade.

    I also need my personal test bank to help me study for comprehesive finals. That's not all I rely on, but it helps.

    Of course, I would not write down question during test review if the instructor or program had a policy against it. However, I would try to remember as much as I could for personal study.


    With all the years I've spent in college I'm probably close to 80% accuracy when it comes to recreating a test. I have a good memory but I don't rely on rote memory. Personally I think my memory has helped me hone my critical thinking skills. I don't think I should be punished for something I was blessed with AND have worked on since grade school.

    If I SAW someone blatently cheating during an exam and I was 100% sure, I might be inclinded to slip an anonymous note to the college ombusperson or under the instructor's office door.

    For everything else, I mind my own business and lead a quiet life.

    I don't think anyone should be punished for having memory of test questions. I also have a good memory, and after the test go to my notes and books, and try to find answers, to check if I was right or wrong.
    I'm not arguing that here. I know many people do remember the test questions. Yet, it's precisely because people do remember the test questions, that they can also provide their friends with these questions and answers (once they get them on the review, or if they looked up the answer).
    There's nothing wrong with having a good memory,but there is plenty wrong with cheating. Even though many people don't want to get involved, doesn't make it ok. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but I just think it's wrong for students to pass a class which they never studied for, simply because they get test questions ahead of time. It's easy to memorize questions, as you pointed out. But understanding pathology, nursing process, etc. is totally
    different. Someone who gets the questions and answers easily may be less inclined to study or not take school seriously. I think nursing school is something to be taken seriously since we will be dealing with human lives. There have been many mistakes done by nurses, as pointed out by our clinical instructor, simply because they didn't know enough about the disease, lab work, etc. A nurse may not need to know everything a doctor knows, but they should know enough to realize what symptoms to look for, and what lab values need to be addressed to a doctor, and why.
  7. by   firstyearstudent
    After thinking about it, I wonder if keeping your anonymity or being private about this is best after all. If I was feeling particularly ballsy, I might raise my hand before the next exam review and say to the instructor: "I just wanted to tell you that the last time you were doing exam review I noticed that some people were writing, even though you specifically requested that we not write." It seems more open and honest just to bring it up with the whole class and the instructor. (However, be prepared to suffer retribution, even from non-cheaters, if the instructor becomes angry or takes action.)

    Cheating does affect everyone. It seems likely that some students in our class cheated on an exam and the entire class suffered from the bad feelings and association when it came to light. There were some students who had a great improvement on the same exam because they had studied extremely hard -- and they fell under suspicion (it was sad). I was personally hurt because I stood up to the instructor and vouched for all my classmates, only to find out later that it is likely that people did cheat. Now I no longer trust or have faith in the honesty of my classmates.
  8. by   sunnyjohn
    Here's my thinking.

    There is not way someone can pass nursing school on rote learning. true, folks with a better memory have a slight advantage and memory when properly utilized can home crtical thinking skills.

    Even so, EVENTUALLY the design of most nursing programs and the NCLEX WILL trip them up.

    Rote learning is a learning technique which avoids grasping the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard. In other words, it is learning "just for the test".
    Nursing school and the NCLEX are all about critical thinking. What about all those prioritizing questions people talk about?

    Memorizing the facts and minutia are important because they are the reference that you draw from.

    Still, if you can't think your way through and sort out that vast array of facts and test bank questions, you're doomed.

    I agree with you. Cheating is wrong. Cheaters always get what they deserve, in the end.
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Aug 26, '06
  9. by   JohnBearPA
    We had several cheaters in our class, to the point that they would whisper answers back and forth during the tests. The class before us worked out an elaborate system of pencil taps on the desks to indicate the correct answer to whichever number question someone needed! It's a shame it happens, but it does. Several of us (I was oblivious,until a classmate and friend pointed it out to me, as I was always concentrating on MY paper) went to the instructor and let her know what was going on. From that point forward we had assigned test seats, and the problem pretty much stopped. Also, the people that cheated in class DIDN'T pass the NCLEX, so I feel vindicated for my honest hard work. Really, tell your instructors, and realize the cheaters probably won't pass the NCLEX, at least not their first time out.
  10. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from JohnBearPA
    We had several cheaters in our class, to the point that they would whisper answers back and forth during the tests. The class before us worked out an elaborate system of pencil taps on the desks to indicate the correct answer to whichever number question someone needed! ...
    OHHH, HECK NO!!!! See, I woulda' ratted those fools out! Yep, woulda' sent anonymous letters to the dean, president of the college AND the nursing instructor. All that time spent working out a "system" those dummies coulda' spent studying!

    ...Also, the people that cheated in class DIDN'T pass the NCLEX, so I feel vindicated for my honest hard work...
    Yep, there is no way you can "learn" those critical thinking skills if you cheated your way through the program
  11. by   Bala Shark
    My friend was absent in class one time on the test date..I was talking to her and gave her several questions and answers..Did I help her cheat? No, she was an excellent student anyway and she could have passed nursing school without any of my help..Sometimes friends do go out and help each other; that is what friends are for..And that was just one time..

    To have an eleborate plan like making out the whole test and giving it to the students or friends, that is a lot of work..I mean you have to a lot of proof that this is happening rather than just students just writing notes down.
  12. by   enoRN
    its not fair nurse, but u see, all professions have those who cheat, likewise ours, all we need do is pray for them and also educate those who cheat to change such act, if u knoe them just talk them out of it, it could change them.cheers.
  13. by   robred
    Some background.....10 yrs critical care nursing experience as an RN.

    You seem to be putting alot of emotional energy on this subject. My suggestion would be that you move that energy back into your studies unless you know for a fact that a fellow nursing student is placing the safety of a client second to their own needs. Believe me when I say that the day will come after state boards that you will be in a position of protecting the safety of a client...that is the bottom line. It will be your responsibility, just as your main responsibility today is to prepare yourself to be a knowledgeable, skillful, compassionate nurse in our imperfect world.


    Good Luck

close