For as long as there have been standardized tests, there have been attempts to cheat on those tests. The LSAT is no exception, and cheating schemes have ranged from clever to absurd. The two cases that received the most press coverage:
The Theft of the February 1997 LSAT in Southern California
In this scheme, cooked up over a five-month period, a copy of the February 1997 LSAT was stolen from a University of Southern California test center at knifepoint. Attempting to exploit the Hawaii-California time zone difference, answers were then transmitted to two test takers in Hawaii via pager. Proctors in Hawaii became increasingly suspicious as the two students repeatedly referred to their pagers throughout the test. The three men were convicted, spent time in jail, and were ordered to pay restitution of $97,000.
For more details, read the article in the LA Times.
The January 2007 theft attempt in New Jersey
This cheating attempt was simply ridiculous. A man went to the LSAC parking lot and left $100 bills on the windshields of two cars along with a note requesting help. The help requested? A copy of the forthcoming LSAT in return for a $5000 payment. A sting was set up at a local McDonald's, and the suspect was arrested immediately, and later sentenced to five years probation. The moral of the story? If your scam involves taping $100 bills to car windshields and meeting at the local McDonald's, it's probably going to fail miserably.
For more details, read the article in the Morning Call.
Of course, these are the two most widely reported cases. Because cheating attempts occur relatively frequently, LSAC has stringent rules and protocols in place, and a lot of cheating attempts never even make the local news. Those typically include scams such as hiring someone else to take a test, working on a different section of the exam while under time, or even discussing the test in detail after the exam is over.
Cheating on the LSAT is serious business, and the consequences are severe: if you are caught, you won't ever become a lawyer and you may end up in jail. In the next installment, we'll talk about how LSAC goes about catching cheaters, and some of the protocols in place to help combat cheating.