Cheating on Tests

Interesting story of test-takers in India using Bluetooth-connected flip-flops to communicate with accomplices while taking a test.

What’s interesting is how this cheating was discovered. It’s not that someone noticed the communication devices. It’s that the proctors noticed that cheating test takers were acting hinky.

Posted on October 4, 2021 at 9:40 AM16 Comments


wiredog October 4, 2021 9:46 AM

Bluetooth connected flip flops remind me of the belt buckles with 6502s built in for beating roulette in The Eudaemonic Pie.

Peter A. October 4, 2021 10:47 AM

A cheating story from my uni: for an unknown reason, a lecture was rescheduled to another auditorium, usually used by a different department. While sitting in one of the aisles I felt something strange touching my knee. Reaching and then looking under the bench-top I discovered a nicely strung loop of fishing line mounted on ball bearing rollers at the ends of the aisle with crocodile clips attached. It would run smoothly in both directions. It was not visible from the front of the auditorium because it was obscured by the backrests of the lower aisle. A perfect tool for passing notes…

Another one: an algebra teacher was notorious for requiring students to take seats every other aisle and every third seat during exams, then breaking careful setups by telling: “gentlemen, let’s transpose this matrix” or “please switch rows N and M and then column X and Y” and so forth.

Bilateralrope October 4, 2021 11:00 AM

When I was at university around 2005, every semester they warned people that they would be running cellphone detectors in exams. That the only allowed place for a cellphone was in your bag at the front of the exam room. Every semester they caught people who still tried to cheat using a phone.

Assuming that the phone detectors were updated to detect modern phone signals, wouldn’t they have been able to catch these cheaters ?

David H October 4, 2021 12:07 PM

@Bilateralrope Bluetooth operates in the same 2.4 GHz band as pretty much everything else. The amount of traffic (usually encrypted) flying around in that band means it would be difficult to detect cheaters from amongst the myriad WiFi signals, peoples headphones paired with phones sitting in bags at the front of the room, etc.

Winter October 4, 2021 12:14 PM

Learn from other branches of cheating:

ht tps://,10916

ht tps://

ht tps://

ht tps://

- October 4, 2021 12:17 PM



Looks like a second person wants to use the ‘-‘ handle for some reason.

Or they were trying to impersonate for some potentialy nefarious reason.

I suspect quite a few remember back to when the Troll-Tools first bashing away at it started. The Troll-Tools repeatedly tried to impersonate @Winter, @Moderator and others including the @- handle.

One or two of the real handle users took some defensive measures the real @Moderator is aware of.

Beware of fakes, it may well be Troll-Tools bashing away at it again to disrupt the blog.

Leo October 4, 2021 12:22 PM

The response of the testers has been to ban shoes, socks, and flip-flops.

I see the DOS coming – someone is going to embed a bluetooth device into their clothing, and the response will be “Clothing free” testing.

Followed by bluetooth devices embedded into pencils and pens, at which point all testing will stop.

Someone wrote a book (or three) about this…

Winter October 4, 2021 12:46 PM

@- et al
“Beware of fakes, it may well be Troll-Tools bashing away at it again to disrupt the blog.”

I always keep in mind that the handle can be deceptive. Even if the post was indeed written by the customary original user of the handle, it can be a repost from a different discussion.

Unless We start to sign our posts with PKC, we cannot be confident (sure would be too strong a word).

lurker October 4, 2021 1:00 PM

No free education in India then: $8000/pair. Does 2600% markup reflect the risk in this market? “Successful” candidates are left paying off the debt on teachers’ notoriously low pay.

- October 4, 2021 1:30 PM


“No free education in India then”

Indian higher education is complicated and full of corruption at all levels.

The reason is that to get any kind of ‘professional job’ especially one funded from ‘taxes’ requires ridiculously high levels of education.

So to get the job you have to ‘pay off’ others in some way. So you are in significant debt. But having secured a job it then becomes your turn to be ‘payed off’… And so the ‘wheel of corruption’ turns and crushes all those with honest intentions before it.

Petre Peter October 5, 2021 6:51 AM

I guess this is an example of people being better at detection than processes. I am pretty sure that ‘hinky’ behaviour will be detected by machines in the near future.

Wesley Parish October 7, 2021 3:28 AM

Worth it as a test for security personnel too. If a security bod is acting hinky, you can be sure there’s stuff happening behind your back.

Erdem Memisyazici October 8, 2021 9:07 PM

“Some people try to get out of jury duty by lying. You don’t have to lie. Tell the judge the truth. Tell him you’d make a terrific juror because you can spot guilty people [snaps fingers:] just like that! Tell him it’s all about the distance between the eyes. Have a little ruler and measure the judge, he’ll like that.”
-George Carlin

Spencer October 10, 2021 1:30 PM

How is a unidirectional communication channel useful for cheating? Or did I miss some method for sending messages?

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