THE ETHICS OF COPYING

There’s always too much to study.

We all know something about everything and everything about nothing. Perfectionists that we are, we believe in the Each One Teach One approach – each candidate studies a designated fraction of the syllabus, which he contributes to the collective knowledge of the proletariat. And in an exam hall, what goes around comes around.

You take my breath away with your generous help but I hate it when you say nothing at all. There’s tremendous peer pressure to be part of such conglomerates. Ironically, copying our peers is the only way to relieve their pressure to copy.

A typical question that comes to my mind: Define Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnoea.

The typical answer that comes to my mind: No thank you.

Question papers are brief, unimaginative and boring, and have no more chance of igniting our minds than a candle in the wind. Why bother thinking of long, creative and interesting answers individually? Instead, we share the tension. Words, and (whispered) words are all I have, to take your part away.

Then there are those irrelevant, obscure questions that few in the room can answer. Can we let sadistic paper setters come between us and our friends? If you’re lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time.

Exams aren’t challenging; copying is. This is where we display our ingenuity in furtive communication. Here is where we show our spunk through careless whispers. The Nod, The Wink, The Shift – these are just some of our favourite things. Everybody comes out of the examination room knowing more than they did before, and at least somebody enjoys exams.

But invigilators nowadays aren’t what they used to be. They’re either paranoid hawks who have no faith in our honesty or lax dunderheads who take their duties too lightly. Either way, we will, we will mock you.

Doctors always work in a team. As tomorrow’s doctors, we are already cultivating team spirit. Gone are the days when results depended upon a student’s labour; it now relies upon the division of students’ labour. And loving thy neighbour.

I’ll be there for you; you’ll be there for me too?

Not I.

The only time I’ve copied was when I finished my paper well before time and inadvertently glanced at my partner’s paper to while the time away. His answer was different from mine. I smiled in realisation, corrected my answer and had submitted my answer sheet before I realised I’d just copied.

In a recent exam, my friend passed on an answer to me without my asking. I wouldn’t have thought of it if she wouldn’t have mentioned it.

I wrote her answer.

Was that wrong? Wouldn’t it be even more wrong had I deliberately written the wrong answer?

I don’t know. A senior has challenged me to graduate without once copying. But as long as I can, I intend to follow my policy regarding this matter:

Don’t ask, don’t tell. Copy that.

* * *

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6 thoughts on “THE ETHICS OF COPYING

  1. reminds me of pharmacy practical xam wher i, nihit n parth had exactly same answers in prescription writing…word to word…letter to letter…e1 the puncuations n the nob of words in each line…n the best part was the answers wer rong…!!!

  2. Although I disagree with some of your views…I find this article really entertaining! Not studying and copying just so as to pass an exam might be a grave injustice to your profession.
    But occasionally taking a sneak- peek into someone else’s paper might be helpful to remember that fact for a long time!

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