Be smart: leave your smartwatch at home on exam day
Many of us are tech savvy these days with apps and gadgets for all manner of things that didn’t exist ten or even five years ago. Designed for cheaters? Many […]
Many of us are tech savvy these days with apps and gadgets for all manner of things that didn’t exist ten or even five years ago.
Designed for cheaters?
Many institutions have raised concerns in the past few months that a new wave of smartwatches on the market are designed specifically to enable students to cheat in exams, thus giving them an unfair advantage. Certain smartwatches advertised on Amazon give students the ability “to store and quickly view large sections of text and pictures… perfect for covertly viewing exam notes directly on your wrist”.
Perhaps the most important function of these watches is the ability to quickly display a clock face on the screen, should an invigilator be passing by. However, as well as displaying information, some watches can be used to take pictures of exam papers which can be sent to friends, while answers can then be fed back via a miniature earpiece that synchs with the watch.
Academic institutions are being encouraged to be vigilant of such gadgets, and many are banning them completely. Much like when mobile phones were banned from exam halls a few years ago, a strict, blanket approach to smartwatches and other gadgets seems to be the fairest option.
The Joint Council for Qualifications, which speaks on behalf of exam boards told the BBC that schools should tell students “what is and what isn’t allowed in the examination room”.
They go on to clarify that: “A candidate found in possession of anything used for cheating – like these watches – would be reported to the awarding organisation, which could result in the student being disqualified from the exam and the overall qualification.”
Some bodies have longstanding policies on the removal of watches of any sort within exams – and this is expected of and by all exam entrants – but there are of course critics of such bans.
As we all know, timekeeping is very important within an exam, to ensure you can gain the most marks in the given time frame. Many students like to be able to use watches to plan out how long they spend per question and keep themselves on track, and banning watches can be seen as a hindrance for this.
Most examiners should prominently display clocks around the examination room to enable those taking the exam to manage their time, and you are well within your rights to ask for this.
In order not to risk any accusations, and to keep you focused purely on your exam, we recommend not taking a smartwatch with you into the exam room. However, do check with your relevant institution what their policy on watches is.