Remark Software has been in the OMR business for over thirty years. In that time, we have seen every test cheating myth under the sun from chapstick smears to writing all over the margins. With finals right around the corner, we decided to write an article to help save the time of some desperate students who would rather Google ways to cheat than study!

Myth 1: Smear lip balm/chapstick on your answers for a perfect score

This one goes back decades and is a complete urban myth. 99% of the time, the scanner will be able to read your original answers just fine. In the event that you completely glob chapstick on one of your answers and the machine can’t read it, you’re more likely to be marked wrong instead! In Remark Office OMR and Remark Test Grading Cloud, if any part of the scan comes back inconclusive, a window will appear with an image of the answer you gave anyway, allowing the teacher to grade you with a click of a mouse.

Also, your chapstick is likely to just rub off onto someone else’s test, ruining two tests, not just your own.

Reviewing exceptions in Remark Office OMR software
An example of Remark Office OMR’s data center, highlighting blank or incorrectly filled answers.

Myth 2: Lightly bubble in or smear your answers

Just like the first myth, this myth relies on the scanner and/or software being confused. Instead of marking your answers wrong, it awards you the points. While some scanning software may be confused by strange markings, they certainly will not mark your answer right. Instead, they will either mark your question wrong, or in the case of Remark Office OMR and Remark Test Grading Cloud, flag these answers for review.

An example of Remark Office OMR processing improperly filled-in forms.

Myth 3: Instead of a #2 pencil, use another type of pencil or a pen

Pen and Crayon Cheating on Test

#2 pencils are one of the first objects that come to mind when someone thinks of the term “school supplies.” Originally, lighter graphite pencils didn’t block enough light when scanned, and heavier numbered pencils smeared too easily, leading to incorrect answers. Pens had a similar problem. Today, however, most scanning software will actually read any writing utensil. With Remark, we go well and above most scanning software… use pencils, pens, crayons, etc. As long as you can read it, we can read it!

Myth 4: Writing outside the margins, or coloring in barcodes

Barcodes Cheating on Test

Obviously, if the machine can’t read your paper at all, it just won’t be graded. In Remark Office OMR, when a scanned paper has an issue, images will appear where the teacher can simply look through what went wrong. If you still want to try this trick, do your teacher a favor and save them the effort, just ball up your own test and throw it into the garbage where it will wind up anyway.

Myth 5: You can just copy directly from somebody else

Copying Answers Cheating on Test

Cheating off of the student sitting next to you is a tactic as old as when people took tests with stone tablets and chisels. If a classroom is large enough, and the teacher is inattentive, a crafty student can conceivably copy all of their answers from the student next to them. There’s a few problems, starting first with a moral one.

Prevent cheating on tests with remark

Remark Office OMR has features like the Student Response Similarities report, which lets the teacher know when any two students have too many answers beyond a determined threshold. Our Remark Solutions also allows teachers to create multiple versions of a test so you may just be copying the wrong test and do worse than if you had just done it on your own. In other words, even this form of cheating would get you caught.

In summary

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. You will have better results simply studying, blocking out distractions, and getting a good night’s rest instead of trying any of these old busted myths.