by Jordan Carr
I think for a while we’ve all had a sense that there was a problem in our schools. Poor test scores, failing public schools, achievement gaps, all that bad stuff. We know that the Internet has made it impossible for young Americans, people barely eligible to vote while playing the lottery in a strip club, to “grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed.” In other words, we are not good at cheating anymore.
Some old people who have watched the college student in its natural habitat make the point that “We have a whole generation of students who’ve grown up with information that just seems to be hanging out there in cyberspace and doesn’t seem to have an author,” and that kids these days can’t see the difference between copying and pasting someone else’s work in order to pass it off as our own and “TV shows that constantly reference other shows or rap music that samples from earlier songs.” If Raekwon can sample Elton John, why can’t I sample John Milton? Sure, the one non-expert college student that the Times speaks with on this topic completely disagrees with this whole argument, but that’s not important. Run along and play, irritating anecdote, the adults are talking.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. dominated the world in K-12 cheating. We also dominated economically. In the 1970s and 1980s, we still had a lead, albeit smaller, in educating our population on how to cheat their way through secondary school, and America continued to lead the world economically, albeit with other big economies, like China, closing in.
Nowadays, Americans college students are cheating at merely a 3rd Grade level. Once again, American schoolchildren are being left behind as Europeans, especially those industrious Bulgarians [PDF] pass them by.
As Americans, we can’t stand for this.
The best-case scenario is that all these people are somehow misleading newspaper reporters into thinking we don’t know how to cheat. Greatest trick the devil ever pulled and all that. But we must prepare for the worst. In that event, here are some pointers on how to cheat and get away with cheating.
1. Don’t talk with old students.
You know, that old person in your class who for whatever reason spent a decade plus after high school off having a rap career or trying to bust their wrongfully accused brother out of prison, or, you know, earning a living and saving up for college, who can often be heard bitterly mumbling about how “in my day, we had to painstakingly write down our papers from books by hand, or buy the answers to the test from some hard-working nerd, when times were tough, threaten them with violence. Uphill.” These people are not here to make friends. They want to bury you, so don’t give them any advantage and let them know what you are up to. The jury is still out on Jack.
2. How to copy and paste properly.
If you are finding that you do not have the ability to copy and paste things so that they are all in the same font and color, what you do is copy the text by hitting the apple and the squiggly line thing + C (no need for instructions on PC because lord knows how we love our Macintosh computers!) and then put that blinking vertical line where you want there to be say, Wikipedia’s synopsis of “Regulate” by Nate Dogg and Warren G for your essay comparing Barack Obama’s First 100 Days to Warren G (THIS IS WHAT PASSES FOR LIBERAL ARTS LEARNING) and click on “Edit,” then “Paste Special” then select “Unformatted Text.” This way, your text won’t show up in all kinds of weird sizes and nobody will be the wiser.
3. How to beat Turnitin
Ok, now you may be concerned that they are going to run your paper through one of those websites that tries to catch students cheating. Switching letters into a foreign font where it doesn’t make a difference (the Cyrillic “e” works quite well, I’m told) may trick those things. Now, remember, the easiest way to do this is to go online, google “Cyrillic e”-
What am I saying? You’re obviously all too lazy for that.
Just go to this link and copy the “e” in that word “ÐeÑ‚” at the top. Then, Apple + F, which should bring up “Find.” After that, go to Replace and type in a regular letter e after “Find what” and paste the Cyrillic e after “Replace.” Then hit the button reading “Replace All” and you’re good to go. If it works, suddenly every word with the Cyrillic e will be misspelled.
If that sounds too difficult, and they are taking a hard copy of your paper to be used for grading purposes in addition to running it through a website, you can probably just save any old jumble of non-cheaty words with an appropriate file name, and you’re golden. They’ll probably never look at it anyway.
4. If all else fails….
God forbid, none of these options seem suitable and you end up having to write an original paper. Here’s how you avoid that as much as possible: play with the margins by going to File -> Page Setup, then switching the setting to Microsoft Word. Then hit the button “Margins” in the lower left-hand corner and make what is usually 1.25 a slightly bigger number.
Use the same find and replace trick from the Cyrillic letter, change the font size on periods and commas, and watch your paper mysteriously get a few pages longer. If for some reason you do decide to cite sources, use footnotes (Insert -> Footnote) instead of endnotes and always leave the entirety of the webpage’s URL in the bottom. Find a font that is slightly larger (remember: Helvetica > Times New Roman), or just upgrade your font to size 12.5 or 13 if need be.
None of this is technically cheating, which, I know, must be disappointing to you, the sky captain of the industry of tomorrow, but it’s the next best thing.
5. A few thoughts to remember.
Okay, so they caught on to our really, really elaborate schemes involving tiny boy band microphones and James Bond photo pens. No matter! We cheaters can never get too attached to one method. And besides, you don’t need to go high tech when the old methods still work. Take big lecture courses so that when the day of your test rolls around you can send someone to do it for you. This also works on the SATs if you need help to get into an institution of higher pretend learning, but you’ll need the person to have two forms of fake id identifying them as you.
There’s a whole world of old-fashioned and newer cheating methods that still work. Writing on your hand, or if you’re especially bold, bringing a piece of paper, but you’ll have to be willing to eat it if anyone comes near. Despite what movies would have you believe, breaking into the classroom and finding the test the night before is not a viable option. There’s not going to be a clearly marked drawer in a desk saying “Tomorrow’s Test here,” so don’t bother with that.
Instead, pretend you’re sick and get all the info from a friend, who was taking pictures with his camera phone.
Did you notice which paragraph(s) were plagiarized? Of course you didn’t! See? So easy.