Should I copy?

Quick answer? NO!

What is an exam?

An exam is a way for you to figure out how much you know and have understood a particular subject. It is a way to match your wits against your teacher. The teacher also realises how good he has been in teaching the subject to the students. It’s a game the teacher and student play for mutual benefit – The student to find out if he knows enough to be declared an expert, the teacher to see if his teaching methods are working.


By copying in an exam you defeat the very purpose of taking the exam. You write stuff out that you have little to no idea about and get “good” marks when you shouldn’t. You get yourself certified to be an expert in a subject you don’t know and ultimately make a fool of yourself. Yes, in the short term, getting something you don’t deserve does bring some glee (Glee: Swimming in a septic tank and enjoying it!) and may give you a stronger head start in your career. But that victory will soon be for naught because you don’t know what your certificate says you know. You will be doomed to failure in whatever you are going to undertake which will require the knowledge of the subject you copied in. In some cases, your failure may not just affect you, but many others as well. This is where it can become really dangerous, because an innocent person may have to suffer the consequences of your lack of knowledge in a subject you claim expertise on.

You deny yourself the challenge and thrill of cracking a tough question… and the sure fire certainty of “knowing” that comes when you have not cheated.

Having said all this, I must admit that there were times when I copied. The very first was when I was in third grade. We were having a spelling test and the word to spell was biscuit. And I couldn’t for the life of me remember if it was biscuit or bisciut. I wrote out biscuit… It was the only spelling that I had a doubt about and was all that was between me and a perfect score. The teacher used to give out gifts to people who had perfect scores and she was a teacher I really loved. I knew there was a calendar hanging on the wall advertising Parle biscuits and I glanced up, just to check if I was right… Of course I got a 25 on 25, but I also had a guilty conscience. The teacher was giving out little trinkets to all of us who had got full marks, and when she got to me… I blurted out that I had copied and burst into tears. Very gently, she asked me what I had copied and in between sobs I told her the whole story… She smiled at my honesty and privately I think she must have giggled at my ingenuity – And she gave me a huge silver star, a christmas tree decoration that I know I still have around somewhere.

Then there was a time in college that I copied and got close to full marks in a subject I had no idea about. I copied because everyone else was copying… The teacher said we could if we wanted to, he would turn a blind eye. If he had not allowed it, I may have known more about Quantum Physics than I do now. And when I realised this, that finally I was the fool, that I had denied myself a chance to learn something wonderful. I stopped copying. I failed twice because I refused to copy. But both times, when I attempted the exam again, I was master at the subject and got medals which I am very proud of.

Yes, there were a few subterfuges and white lies that I did indulge in to get out of some subjects that I had absolutely no interest in – But those are stories for another time…

Study for Knowledge, not for marks. When you have the knowledge, the marks will come. Get an education, not just a degree… In life, marks and worthless degrees will not help. When push comes to shove, only your knowledge of your subject will bring you success.

All the very Best!

Jai Gurudeva!





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