Are the new exam policies really necessary?

Hey everybody, back for more I see? Last semester I took PHGN100. It is a hard class, but not impossible. CAPA hurt, but in the end the exams hurt more. The week after the third exam, a cheating ring was discovered in physics 1 involving several students with some estimates as high as 40 total involved. When this was announced in class, I was like, whatever, those people will eventually fail so throw them out. I thought this wouldn’t affect me. Then, our lovely physics department heads decided to jack up the lives of every single student on campus by placing all these new restrictions on what you’re allowed to do in the exam rooms themselves.

Because of this cheating ring, you are no longer allowed to have a watch, even an analog one, in the exam room with you. Apparently, resourceful Mines students have figured out how to cheat using an analog watch attached to their wrist in plain sight of every single person in the room. Wow, we really are smart. Now, not being allowed to keep your phone with you is one thing, but saying you can’t use your 5-year-old TI-30XA calculator? Come on, that’s less advanced than the calculators provided. Perhaps the funniest thing that happened to me personally was when I took the final. I walked up to the front of the exam room and asked if I needed to turn in my car keys. I was thinking that they would just say no, you can keep those, no big deal. Silly me. Yeah, you have to check your car keys; those are very suspicious, I’m pretty sure you could figure out how to cheat with just a set of keys.

Now, this is not to say that precautions shouldn’t be taken to eliminate cheating, but it gets to the point of just being absurd. I realize that cheating is a big problem, but telling people they can’t have their wristwatch because they can use it to cheat is ridiculous.
The worst part, however, is not that I couldn’t use my favorite old calculator that I know better than the back of my hand. What bothered me the most is that instead of just making sure you couldn’t cheat, they made the exam so much more difficult than the midterms that it didn’t matter if you had cheated and gotten 90’s before, it would sink your grade so far that you would be in the same position anyway. Many of my upperclassmen friends last year had said that the final was much easier than the midterms, so much so that one friend raised their overall grade from a B to an A with just the final. Needless to say, I was excited by this, because I really wanted to keep my B, and I thought that maybe I could do that now. Thanks to those stupid cheaters and our wonderful physics 1 professors, I ended up with a C overall because I had to guess on 8 out of 30 problems. I’ve never seen an exam that difficult in my life, it was five times as difficult as the first Physics 2 exam!

I would like to send a message to the students that were involved in the cheating ring in Physics 1 last semester: I hope you get caught and thrown out of this school, and never allowed to return. Some of us work really hard to get the grades we deserve, and if you can’t pass Mines without cheating, you sure as h*ll don’t belong here. Thanks for listening, and until next time, this has been your friendly neighborhood POed Mines student.

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