Cheating is normal. Students cheat, but it is not an easy thing. It takes an extra pair of nuts for a students to refresh memory while writing an exam. You will wet your palms, look around for any prying eyes, and it gets even more uncomfortable when you are sitting next to the diligent Christian Union enthusiast. If he sees you dabbing from some source, he might just raise his hand and report you to the invigilator. The other thing is, university policies frown on exam cheating- so much so that if caught pants down, the sentence is simple. One thousand academic days suspension with the probability of an expulsion. Believe me, you do not want that book thrown at you.

The possibility of being caught, together with the repercussions it attracts, puts dead weight on a cheating student. That is why cheating is not for the faint hearted. You need a double-decker backbone to bear the weight of that guilt.

When a student decides to cheat, it’s not that he is the devil’s incarnate. It’s only that if he fails to remember one single fact, date, or cramming formula, he will be judged as being dumb. And there is nothing as annoying as forgetting something during the examination period, only to remember it the moment you hand in your paper. When seeking employment, you will not have the luxury of explaining yourself that the lecturer who taught that unit only attended half of the scheduled classes. You do not get to explain that you had a lapse of memory. So you do what you have to do to get ahead.

Failure is not an option to your folks- they want an educated kid with a flowery transcript to show for it.

In a country where the end justifies the means, and a government that sets the pace for digital evolution, cheating practices have evolved from mwakenyas to smart phones. No longer do ladies wear skimpy dresses to expose thighs tattooed with the course outlines. No longer do guys have tiny papers scribbled in even more minute information. Nowadays exams are read for in the exam room.

The trick is to at least have a basic smart-phone that can read an Adobe reader or Microsoft Office. So all you have to do is know what part of a handout says what. That way when the invigilator steps out to stretch her knees, the scrolling begins. Just make sure that your phone is on silent mode- not even a vibration is permitted. That is what is called an ‘open smart phone exam.’

But just to be safe, ensure that the invigilator is on your payroll, so that even if the CU assistant choir master decides to sell you out, you are still sorted nonetheless. Fortune only favours the prepared smart-phone (read: 100% charged with at least 50MB internet bundles).

“Mwanafunzi ni kupanga kazi”

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