In China, Cheating On This Test Can Land You In Prison


China’s country-wide college entrance exam and the SAT are remarkably similar:

Extreme pressure? Check

Potentially life-changing implications? Check

Families huddling together as scores are revealed? Check

Cheating scandals? BIG check

This week, over nine million students filled exam centers across China to take the most important test of their lives: the gaokao. A student’s score on this standardized test is pretty much the only thing that counts when it comes to determining whether or not they can go to college and what schools they can attend.

Also see: Shit Asian Dads Say #1

With stakes this high, some try to get a leg up by cheating. Back in the day, a cheater had it easy: your parents were scolded for having raised a dumbass and your exam results were thrown out. Today, however, a student caught cheating could face a prison sentence.

Relieved students in Bozhou in Anhui province were all smiles after they finished the examination.

State media reminded students that a new law, approved last November, will deal with cheaters more harshly than ever before with punishments including jail time (maximum of 7 years in extreme cases) and a three year ban from taking the gaokao again.

Earlier this week, Global Times, a nationalistic Chinese newspaper, described the new harsher punishments as an important step for social justice.

“Educational authorities believe that by dangling the prospect of a harsh punishment in front of the test-takers, it will safeguard the fairness of the tests, widely seen as an important part of social justice.”

While we can all agree that cheating is wrong, reactions on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, were mixed. One user wrote that the punishments are too extreme, saying:

“That’s almost the same as the punishment for a hit and run.”

These harsher punishments are only meant to curtail the rampant cheating seen in recent years. And given the gaokao’s life-changing implications, parents are willing to get involved to ensure their children ace it. Some go high tech by hiring companies to secretly transmit answers to their children on exam day, while others resort to good old fashioned bribery to get a sneak peek before the test is administered.

Across the country, parents anxiously waited outside the examination halls as their children took the test.

This has led some provinces to crack down on cheating, going so far as to install fingerprint scanners in schools and ban bras with a metal underwire for fear that they might be concealing transmission devices. Last year in the city of Luoyang, in central China, the authorities even used drones to catch people using radios to broadcast answers.

The drone could fly as high as 500m, but officials said its optimum height was about 100m to 200m.

With cheating no longer an option, hopefully students will spend more time studying instead of spending that time thinking up new ways to game the system.

But if you’re going to cheat, you might as well do it right. Check out this video of Japanese students taking exam cheating to the extreme. And who knows? It might give you a few ideas for your next exam. Just don’t tell ’em where you got it.

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