This student took advantage of a loophole in his professor's exam instructions
Exam season is one of the most stressful parts of being a student, and naturally, you do whatever you can to get ahead of the game as much as possible. While for some of us, cheating has been part of our past exams (sneaking off the to the toilet with notes in your pocket etc), one student found a genius loophole in his accounting exam and took full advantage.
This is Rob Beatty, an assistant professor at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. He's been teaching Financial Accounting for a number of years now, however, this year one of his students has become a viral sensation after their genius hack for bringing notes into an exam went out on social media.
When Beatty gives his class their first exam of the year, he allows them each to bring a 3 x 5 inch note card, on which they can write any information or notes. Beatty said that this exam is particularly important, because it tests his students on "the foundational information that all students need to learn to be successful ... in future accounting courses," he explained. "I have allowed a 3 x 5 note card for years."
But last week, Elijah Bowen, one of Beatty's students, noticed a loophole in Beatty's instructions and used it to his advantage. Elijah realised that Beatty had not specified the measurement unit when handing out this instructions. So, rather than showing up with a 3 x 5 inch note card, his was 3 x 5 FEET.
"My initial thought was that he wanted to get a few last minutes of cramming in before the exam started...after approximately a minute I realized this was 3 x 5 feet, and he had the intention of using it on the exam," Beatty said. The professor then says that he quickly referred back to his syllabus and all the other places "where I provide test instructions" to see if Bowen was breaking any rules, but he realised he never specified "inches" anywhere.
In the end, Beatty let Bowen use his poster of notes in the exam, saying "Well played and lesson learned" in a Facebook post which has now gone hugely viral.
Beatty says that in all his years of teaching, no one has ever tried to pull of a stunt like this. This was part of his reasoning for allowing Bowen to sit the test, with the professor saying: "I appreciate someone who A) had the intelligence to recognize this loophole and B) the audacity to put that together and bring it in."
Despite him allowing Bowen to sit the paper, Beatty has now officially warned off any future students thinking of doing something similar with him or another professor, informing them "I have updated the syllabus and course instructions", so no one can try it out for themselves.
Beatty says that he will always allow his students to "think outside the box," even if it means they are outsmarting him. "As long as students play within my rules, I always encourage creativity," he said. "It is great when people do not think or reason like everyone else."
Fair play to them both. Beatty could've been a lot worse about all of this, but he admitted his mistake and Bowen will no doubt be a class legend forever now - an example of teaching done right.