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May 05, 2014 08:07 AM EDT

Plymouth Removes Anti-Cheating Posters with Math Formulae

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Plymouth University's attempt to discourage cheating in exam rooms by placing anti-cheating posters has backfired. They have in fact helped students to cheat.

The posters installed ahead of the summer exam season warned students against using their smartphones or scribbles on their hands during exams. However, the signs were recently discovered to contain answers related to math subject. An image of a hand featured in the stock image revealed complex mathematical formulae that could help students during exams, Metro reports.

Even though parts of the hand are concealed due to a large red prohibition sign, significant parts of some formulae were still noticeable. The formulae are believed to include a version of the complex De Moivre's theorem and cover chapters of probability, trigonometry and probability. The anti-posters could have assisted students writing exams relating to degree-level maths, science, statistics, engineering and six other mathematics degree courses, the Daily Mail UK reports.

The University officials didn't realize the mistake until an unidentified student uploaded the poster on Reddit, Thursday.

The student, who identified himself as hazzapp 123, claimed that the posters helped him fetch better marks in a final-year maths exam. "Just took a maths final with this on the wall of the exam room. It has formulas on that were needed in the exam. The poster got me an extra 10 per cent on the paper," NY Daily News reports.

Students claimed that they were seated within 10ft of the posters during final-year exams. As of now, it is unclear as to how many students benefitted from the signs.

The university officials have torn down all the copies from exam rooms although they claim that the students could not have benefitted from the posters during exams as they were hung far away from them. The formulae would not have been clearly visible from their desks.

"They were located in the exam hall at a distance where the individual formulae would not have been observable by any student taking their exam," the officials said, the student newspaper The Tab reports.

But certain campus community members alleged that the additional help provided by the posters could have enhanced results by an entire grade.

However, the officials did accept that the picture taken from the stock photography website Shutterstock, did involve actual mathematical formulae.

"The posters used to remind students of the dangers of cheating contained official stock imagery, which included genuine mathematical formulae. In light of the concerns raised, however, the University has replaced the posters," the officials said.

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