In high school, a few kids used to take 20oz bottles of Coke, peel off the label, and tape a tiny sheet of notes on the inside, giving themselves a handy reference guide on tests.
Others would create a program on their graphing calculator that would basically be typed out notes from the book.
Some girls would write all over their jeans, casually adding a few answers.
And most opted for the old fashioned method of harnessing their peripheral vision to glance at the bubble test of the person next to them, assuming they studied more than them.
All of the above methods are what teachers would call cheating. When a student complained to our math teacher and asked why we couldn’t use calculators on the test, she fumbled to say that we wouldn’t always be near a calculator in real life. The iPhone currently in my pocket, which I’d run back into a burning building for without hesitating, has more computing power than the average PC while I was in high school.
In high school I never took a test that was open book, which didn’t make sense to me. There was an over focus on memorizing dates, names, and events without the larger focus of having to think in-depth about topics and how they shaped the world.
In college, my finance professor made every test open book. The tests were very, very hard because he wrote questions that forced you to think. It didn’t make a difference that you had the financial formula. You had to apply it, which is always the hardest part. High school was hard because you had to memorize a lot of data without the context of why it was important. High school is 100% what to do without ever knowing why you’re doing it.
If I could take a time machine back to high school, I would cheat mercilessly on tests. I’d eventually be getting paid to tutor all of the AP nerds on my methods. And the best part would be that I would never get caught, thanks to my undetectable method. All the answers would be in my mind.
A few months ago I taught myself how to memorize the order of half a deck of cards. Shuffle up half the deck, hand them to me and within 5 minutes I could recite back the order in which you gave them to me. I used the method of loci, often referred to a memory palace, to memorize the card order.
That’s how I would “cheat” in school. I’d take my childhood home and form visuals for each thing I needed to memorize and place them along the path. Then recalling each of the items would be as simple as walking through my house. It would for memorizing cards and it would have been amazing to know for high school chemistry. You can learn the method below. If you’re reading this and currently in high school, you’re welcome.