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Hypothetically speaking should I help my brother cheat on an exam?

Tagged as: Cheating, Family, Friends<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (14 May 2017) 5 Answers - (Newest, 16 May 2017)
A female Malaysia age 18-21, anonymous writes:

Hi everyone.. I have more a family kind of question..

So basically recently I had an exam which my friend accidentally missed and she asked me what was in the paper.. and I know in the resit paper, they give the same thing in one of the section which is a map. So my friend asked me what the map was but I didn't tell her because to me, everyone studied all the maps on the syllabus and it's only fair if you don't know it.. like I mean we all studied equally hard and if I reveal to you, it's not only cheating but it's unfair to me.

So I told my parents I didn't tell her what the map was and they asked what if it's your brother? Would you tell him the map? I said no based on the same principle. I just feel like everyone should do the paper fair and square. And then all of a sudden my parents and aunt all erupted saying that I actually should tell him and help him. And I said this is an exam, I wouldn't help him cheat, I'll help him in studying and other ways. But I just don't feel right just telling him what it is. Now like my parents have some kind of impression that I'll never help my brother out in life.. but I did tell them before that I'll always stand by him for other things like financial situation or just being the sis that he needs. But now with this hypothetical situation, they're like saying you should tell your brother the map and so on.

So my question is.. am I wrong to not tell my brother the map? Cuz personally, I have strong principles on exams and I feel that it should be done fair and square. So just because he's my brother, I should just bend for him? ( I know it's a hypothetical situation, but knowing it's an exam, it would be like cheating)

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (16 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntStand by your morals. I like that you feel strongly about this. Don't ever allow anyone to tell you different or put pressure on you, that is bullying. They should take the exam fair and square just like you did.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 May 2017):

I relate to what you are saying and applaud you for standing by your principles. Keep that up and you will go a long way in life. Just because other people are flexible or more liberal in terms of exams doesn't mean even you have to be. It is like saying just because others cannot be perfect at something you should lower your standard and become imperfect in that aspect.

Honesty is one of your strengths and you are 100% perfect at it. It's not appropriate for others to try and change you. And afterall you did not say you would turn in your friend or brother to authorities if they did try to gain advantage. It isn't really cheating but taking advantage of a flaw in the system. It's quite obvious that people who take retest will find out what the map was, if not you from someone else, who doesn't find the guts to say 'no' to a friend or someone less strict in their moral code. So it's not really cheating but the fact that the authorities setting the exam are lazy and careless and are passively allowing paper leak.

I don't know what the system in Malaysia is, in my country we have 3 different versions of a paper A B and C sometimes even a fourth version D. A retest means complete new replacement of questions.

So overall, even as a strict person, the argument is not whether you should tell your friend or brother about the map. The question is that is it okay that the authorities allow the existence of such a loop hole.

Not everybody takes an exam to test their own knowledge. Some do it as a formality to pass out and get good jobs.

Do not change who you are! People like you are gems to the society and should be the ones on top as leaders. Given a chance a majority people would be corrupt, tempted to cheat, indulge in nepotism etc. And the world is suffering incurable social diseases because most people on the top as high officials are from that very category. It's only exceptional people like you who can make real difference when in power. Don't believe people who discourage you from being exceptionally good, be it dear cupid aunts or your parents. They don't look at you as special, but as any other human being.

If you do become a powerful person and follow such principles, the same people who criticized will then sing praises for you.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (15 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt Ok, I'll stick my neck out and I will admit that, while not disapproving or criticizing your strict ethic code, I am totally with your parents on this.

There are areas in which some flexibility is tolerable or at least understandable, I'd say. Or, it's just a matter of different priorities, of what matters more in a given time and occasion. So yes, I would definitely help my brother, or my best friend etc., in a situation just like the one you mention. It's a freaking map in ONE section of ONE exam ( oh, btw, if your friend, and/or other people, missed the first test and have to retake the exam at the next session, I'd bet they 'd give them a different map anyway ). A small, not very relevant step in a long, complex process.

Now, I can honestly say that I have no less moral integrity that the next person ,in general ; in fact I have often been chided for being " rigid " ( in work ethics , and other stuff ). But maybe my priority, in a case like this, would be more helping my brother or loved one to be successful,making their life a bit easier, and seeing them happier,- than taking on myself the responsibility to make sure that EVERYBODY works hard and studies all what they are supposed to study.

I don't take upon me to teach people how they should live ( unless they ask me ! like on Dear Cupid :) or to make sure that nobody gets a little break or a bit of luck which does not factually damages me or the world at large anyway.

I also try ( although it's difficult ! do what I say, not what I do :) not to " SHOULD " people to death.

Yes, your friend SHOULD have studied well all the maps... well, for all you know, maybe she skipped a few maps and used that time ,instead ,to assist a sick relative, or to compose verses of exquisite beauty, or any other worthy endeavour. ( Or simply, to go catch a movie , because she needed, absolutely, totally needed a break from her studies and workload ). She will have plenty of time later on to catch up with her knowledge of geography.

Or maybe karma will get her - leaving her stranded with no help in that area of the world whose map she refused to study :).

I am not tryng to convince you, though, - because it is , in a way, admirable that you are so strong in your principles, and because it is undeniably true that if there is a rule, the rule is supposed to be valid for everybody, brothers included.

I am just showing you where, probably, your parents are coming from.

Which brings me to the conclusion ... life is short, and within families, alas, there often can be causes for tension and strife without the need to go and artificially create further ones . Do not dramatize - defuse the conflict. Agree to disagree, and maintain your opinion while. though, showing respect for theirs. This is a matter about which, clearly, people can have different opinions, because they have different priorities and different boundaries- which does not make necessarily the people with the more flexible ones ( priorities and boundaries ) bad or dishonest people.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 May 2017):

I think you're completely right not to help your friend cheat on the exam, and even if that person was your brother I think your principles should stay strong. Just because the person could be your brother doesn't mean that he automatically earns certain favors from you like cheating for him on a test. Also, it's unreasonable for your family to flip out like that, when personally I think they should have congratulated you for sticking to your ideals. Don't change a thing you're doing. Such strong integrity is hard to find.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (14 May 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntCheating is cheating, whether it is done for your brother, your friend or a complete stranger, and you are to be commended for having strong principles on this.

HOWEVER, there are many ways of looking at this situation (apart from it being hypothetical and a bit silly to fall out over something which is never even likely to happen).

One way of looking at it is that it is just you helping someone to do better. It does not mean YOU or anyone else will get lower marks because you have helped this person get a higher mark. If it was a case of only a certain number of people passing the exam, then it would definitely be unfair of you to help someone cheat as that would mean someone else who did not have the same "insight" could fail as a result.

While your strong principles are to be admired, how would you feel if your friend (or, hypothetically, your brother) failed the exam, despite studying hard, and it meant a lot to them? Would you feel guilty?

If I have to make a difficult decision, I usually ask myself, if I was to be lying on my death bed tomorrow, would I regret this decision or would I be proud of it? The answer to that question usually gives me the answer to my dilemma.

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