How to Cheat on the LSAT (or not)

LSAT Blog How to Cheat on the LSAT
Cheating on the LSAT is serious business. There are documented cases where people have been arrested and charged with crimes for it. They've gotten criminal records and will never get to become attorneys.

In this LSAT Blog post, I review a few cases where people attempted to cheat on the LSAT, were caught, and faced the consequences.

I also discuss Caveon Test Security, the company hired by LSAC to prevent unauthorized sharing of test-related information on the Internet.

While the details of these cheating attempts may seem humorous, there's nothing funny about cheating on the LSAT.

As LSAC notes, "If you fail to comply with LSAC's ethical standards, you may be barred from admission to law school." Better to just study for the LSAT, comply with all rules and regulations, and get into law school on your own merits.

February 1997 LSAT Cheating Attempt:

Two college students in California, both in their mid-20s, hired a third (whom they met at a bar) to steal the exam for them (they paid him $600). He followed through, then brought the exam to a fourth person, who transmitted the answers to them in Hawaii via pager. (Of course, they went there in order to exploit the time difference between the two states.)

The plan went awry at three points:

1. "In trying to sneak the test out of the room...[the third guy] made too much noise. A proctor chased him and he pulled a knife."

2. "Test proctors here [in Hawaii] noticed the men paying too much attention to their pagers..."

3. "The two scored in the 99th percentile on the test...According to grand jury testimony, however, they performed less than mediocre in a 'variable' section of the exam that differed from tests in other states."

Bombing the experimental section but acing the 4 scored sections presumably raised some red flags. When these two guys were forced to retake it for LSAC, they both scored in the 40th percentile.

In addition to criminal penalties, LSAC sued all three of the culprits.

Penalties for the two guys who hired the third:

-shared payment of $97,000 in restitution to LSAC
-5 years of probation
-1 year of home monitoring

Penalty for third guy:

-year in jail awaiting trial
-shared payment of $97,000 in restitution to LSAC
-3 years of probation

Penalty for fourth guy:

-None. Apparently, prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to charge him.

2 Sentenced in Elaborate Scheme to Cheat on Law School Entry Test [LA Times]

(Read more news articles about this LSAT cheating attempt.)


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January 2007 LSAT Cheating Attempt:

A 30-year-old guy in New Jersey went to LSAC's headquarters and left notes on two LSAC employees' windshields. Both notes had $100 bills taped to them. The note on one employee's windshield stated:
"Hi, I know this is unusual, but please do not be alarmed by this letter. The purpose of this letter is to request your help in a matter that I would like to discuss with you personally."
The employees notified police, who then posed as LSAC employees over email. The guy offered $5,000 for a copy of the LSAT, met an undercover detective at McDonald's, and gave him a copy of The Economist with $5,000 cash wrapped inside.

Penalty:

-5 years of probation
-mandatory mental health evaluation and treatment


Details:

LSAT theft try lands New Jersey man on probation [The Morning Call]

(Read more news articles about this LSAT cheating attempt.)


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December 2010 LSAT Cheating Article and February 2012 LSAT Cheating Presentation

* In December 2010, the NYTimes published an article profiling Caveon Test Security, a company contracted by LSAC (among many other testing organizations, like the College Board and school districts):
For the Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT four times a year to a total of more than 140,000 people, Caveon patrols the Internet looking for leaked questions on sites it calls “brain dumps,” where students who have just taken an exam discuss it openly.  
“There’s all kinds of stuff on the blogs after the test trying to guess which stuff will show up in the future; there’s a whole cottage industry,” said Wendy Margolis, a spokeswoman for the council.
Caveon, which declined to reveal what it charges clients, sends letters to the people who operate those Web sites requiring them to take down the material under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

* In February 2012, Caveon published a slideshow from a webinar it conducted, titled: “Catch Them If You Can! Protecting Your Program From Online Cheats."

The webinar featured a test security specialist from LSAC and a Vice President at Caveon Test Security. It discussed how Caveon patrols the web on LSAC's behalf to make sure that test-takers do not engage in "brain dumps" of classified test material before it is officially released by LSAC.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation from Caveon itself, providing more detail (it begins on page 2).


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September 2010 LSAT Cheating Impersonation Attempt

In September 2010, I published an article about a test-taker who attempted to find someone to take the LSAT for him. No word on whether he was successful, but given the attention his post received, I'm guessing the answer is "no."


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March 2012 LSAT Cheating Article

In March 2012, I published an article titled, If The LSAT Were A Computerized Test, Cheating, and Theft. In it, I discuss how LSAC has studied "the possibility of organized, large-scale item theft" by "professional thieves" as a result of turning the LSAT into a computerized exam.


***


News coverage:

- February 1997 LSAT cheating attempt:

LSAT robbery prompts arrests

2 Sentenced in Elaborate Scheme to Cheat on Law School Entry Test

2 Men to Serve Year at Home for Law School Exam Caper

Three men charged in law school admissions exam theft, scam

Law exam scam? 3 suspects charged in admissions cheating

Law school exam cheats sentenced to year of detention

Law school cheaters sentenced

Briefly cheating ring sued by test administers

Man pleads guilty to exam scam; law school test answers were transmitted to Hawaii

Cell Phones Not Allowed At The LSAT

Book Excerpt



-January 2007 LSAT cheating attempt:

LSAT theft try lands New Jersey man on probation: He tried to bribe workers at the Bucks law school testing firm.

Cheating Could Mean Jail Time

Bribe Puts Would-Be Legal Eagle’s Fledgling Law Career at Risk





5 comments:

  1. The guy grabbed the exam and ran out the back door at USC? And the proctor ran after him? I just laughed out loud repeatedly...not real elaborate on anyone's part

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  2. Nipping budding corrupt attorneys from the beginning, nicely done.

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  3. For the few that are caught, statistically, 30% of those that pass, cheat and get away with it. Even if the test were given but once a year, there would still be cheaters that know how to buck the system. 'Tis the world we live in.

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  4. The retribution on those that would find that the systems (LSAC) which is propped up by law school deans, and the ABA is extortion is fast and swift. So glad the Arizona law school is taking GRE scores instead of LSAT scores for its determination. Nobody has ever filed a anti-trust suit against the LSAC. I wonder why?

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