Test banks, promoting smarter learning or is it cheating?

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Some consider test banks a smart, intuitive way of studying for a test. Other regard the studying of previous tests nothing short of cheating as students can sense patterns as to the kinds of questions and topics a professor is more inclined to test students on.

Various associations and groups have test banks with catalogs of past test, students can study in order to sit and pass a test.

Those against the existence of test banks, mostly professors, consider them a nuisance since having a test bank where semester course tests are stored and distributed means the professor has to revise each semester’s or different class’ test so that everyone has a fair chance of succeeding.

The same professors are keen to also point out that students consider test banks the easy way out. A test bank distracts students from the real purpose of a course or a test, which is the acquisition and application of new knowledge.

It’s a common phenomenon for students to only study past tests, to not attend classes and overall, avoid getting involved in their learning. They simply turn up for an exam they studied for almost exclusively through previous tests.

Professors who consider test banks cheating, are often vocal of how such banks rationalize the use of shortcuts. Learning can only truly take place when a student engages actively with a body of knowledge; by attending lectures, completing assignments, participating in shared projects and being actively contributing to each class.

Have you ever looked at previous test when studying for a high-stakes exam?

If studying past tests is cheating, is lecture-notes sharing also an unethical shortcut?

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