Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Student Life

You’ve failed your exams – and you get an F in cheating: French mum dresses as daughter to take end of year English test


It was the perfect crime. The French newspaper Le Parisien reported that a 52-year-old Frenchwoman had been apprehended for impersonating her own daughter in an English exam.

A decent wheeze, no doubt, and she probably would’ve got away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids wondering why their mate had aged 33 years overnight. (Some adults were sitting the test, too, in fairness.)

It’s not quite the most ridiculous attempt to bump up one’s marks in front of an invigilator’s eyes, however. Here are some other students who if they’d put as much effort into studying as they did cheating would have passed with straight As:

The gender swap

A variation of the Parisian stunt, one Deandre Ellis, male and then 17, was arrested in Schenectady, New York in 2009 for dressing up as a female student to take a paper. Somewhat harshly, he was charged with burglary for entering the school to commit a crime.

The wraparound

The “answers written down the inside of the arm in smudgy ballpoint pen” gambit is as old as exams themselves. Or at least as old as ballpoint pens. A Kazakh student is thought to have taken this method to its logical conclusion in June last year when he was spotted fidgeting before the exam started. The reason was a 35ft-long sheet of answers containing 25,000 answers across a range of subjects such as maths, history, Russian and Kazakh. Probably easier just nipping a smartphone in your armpit.

The hidden camera

Two Canadian students tried to game their way through a medical-school entrance exam with skills more worthy of hapless spies. Houman Rezazadeh-Azar was accused of using a pinhole camera to feed back the questions to his accomplice, Josiah Ruben. Ruben had tricked three other students – who thought they were being interviewed for a tutor’s job – into answering them. Until they realised and grassed them up.

The earpiece

Georghe Dimitrov of Bulgaria played a similar game in 2007 when he wired himself up with his secret-service-agent father’s earpiece for a medical exam. Meanwhile, an accomplice fed answers into his ear. Sadly, the actual Bulgarian secret service were dealing with a state visit from George W Bush. He was dragged out of his exam and asked if he was part of a terrorist cell. And that’s why you don’t borrow earpieces.