Can You Cheat On A Scantron Test Using Chapstick?

Graded ExamClaim: You can get a perfect score by smearing Chapstick on your Scantron form. The Chapstick fools the Scantron machine into thinking you got all the questions right.

Status: FALSE

Students are always looking for an easy way through school. It’s not surprising, then, that there are so many rumors about cheating on Scantron tests. Different versions of this myth exist: some say to rub the Chapstick over the answer bubbles, some say to rub the Chapstick over the black lines on the edge of the Scantron, and others say to use your pencil to mark various places (such as the black lines mentioned earlier or the “Key” box). In reality, none of these methods will give you a perfect score.

Chapstick will not work because Scantron machines pick up on the reflective properties of #2 pencil lead. Since Chapstick is transparent and non-reflective, it won’t affect the machine one bit. Extraneous pencil marks on your Scantron are most likely to cause the opposite of the desired effect (i.e. getting all the answers wrong), since Scantron machines typically count answers wrong if there are any extraneous pencil marks. Marks in non-answer bubbles, such as in the “Key” box, may also result in the machine rejecting your Scantron, requiring your instructor to grade your test by hand. Even if marking the “Key” box did work, your instructor would most likely notice the fact that everyone behind you received bad scores, prompting him/her to take a closer look at your exam. Also, if the machine was fooled into thinking your test was a key, it wouldn’t print a score on your Scantron.

When it comes to test taking, the best way to pass is to study.

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Loren is a freelance writer from Tahlequah, OK. In addition to writing for The Daily Legend, Loren also runs the dessert recipe site Hardcore Desserts.

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7 Responses to Can You Cheat On A Scantron Test Using Chapstick?

  1. Are you sure? If i have the workings of a scantron test correct doesn’t it put little lines by the ones you miss and then count up the lines and mark it? You can’t write on wax so when the machine prints the little linen the wax it won’t show up and so it won’t tally the mark. I could be wrong but that is how i saw it working. Not nessarily effecting the machine

  2. Thanks for your comment! Scantron machines do typically mark incorrect answers on the test form, but I believe the machine keeps a tally of incorrect answers electronically. Like you, I don’t know a whole lot about the inner workings of Scantron machines.

    I suppose if you can prevent the marks from showing on the test form, you could argue with your instructor that the machine made a mistake; however, your instructor would most likely go back over your answer sheet and grade it by hand.

  3. When they get ran through the machine when an answer is wrong it marks it on the side. When it is done scanning all the answers at the end it will tally how many is marked then count the score. Now how to cheat is simple. Take a chapstick because it is wax. Run it one time through the part circled in the picture. If you didnt know you cant write on wax. So when you get a wrong answer and the machine tries to mark the scantron it wont print the tally and it wont count your answer as wrong ! Simple as that. Very simple very easy. is that right??

  4. The marks printed by the machine are for human reference. The machine does not go back and count the marks to determine a final score; the correct/incorrect answer count is handled internally by the machines software. Even if you find a way to prevent the marks from showing on the form, the machine still tracks which answers have been missed internally.

  5. So either way I’m pretty much f***ed for tomorrow.

  6. Too bad I tried this on my exam and got a 98% with the Chapstick.

  7. Jaime, how did you do it with th Chapstick?

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