Some of us may have been guilty of hiding crib notes in our pockets or writing exam answers on our sleeves, but today’s students have much more sophisticated ways of cheating. That’s why some colleges and universities are banning all watches in exam halls—rather than examine the wrists of all students to see if they are wearing devices that would allow them to sneak a peek at notes or receive messages.
A representative for London’s City University explained the school’s policy on mobile devices to BuzzFeed: “Students are already asked to place mobile phones in a plastic wallet under their desk, so we adopted the same procedure for watches. Students either don’t wear them to an exam venue, or they remove the watch in the venue and place it in the plastic wallet.
“We also increased the number of large wall clocks available in the examination venues, bought small desk clocks for any student who requests one as well as a small quantity of RNIB-approved desk clocks for use by any student who needs one.
“We regularly review exam procedures to ensure that no student has an unfair advantage over any other student. We are really pleased that our students have adopted this new policy so readily.”
Look for this policy to become more common as the number of students wearing smartwatches continues to grow. The arrival of the Apple Watch in April should give enterprising students ample opportunities for finding new ways to cheat. Even if colleges manage to keep the most visible wearable devices under wraps during tests, the most tech-savvy cheaters will still find ways to conceal their digital crib notes somewhere.