“Rest of World” took a deep dive into the world of cheating on online standardized tests, including the PTE, IELTS, TOEFL, GRE and Duolingo English Test.

They note:

“A university student in the central Chinese province of Henan told Rest of World in November that she recently hired a company to help her with the Toefl test by sending answers to her phone during an at-home exam. The company initially asked for 18,000 yuan ($2,548), but she bargained it down to 15,000 ($2,124). The student said she felt bad for cheating, but she was eager to obtain a high score before the application deadlines for the fall 2023 master’s programs in the U.S. “I think everyone struggles [with ethics],” she said. “It’s not a good thing after all.” 

Helping others cheat on state exams is a criminal offense in China. But test-prep professionals say Chinese authorities have little interest in how they exploit the security lapses of international tests. On social platforms including WeChat, Xiaohongshu, and Douban, test-prep agencies openly advertise cheating services for other online-proctored exams such as GMAT, the PTE Academic exam, IELTS Indicator, and the Duolingo English Test. One company contacted by Rest of World offered cheating services for the LSAT, a rigorous exam required by most law schools in the U.S., charging 40,000 yuan ($5,662) to obtain a score of 160 out of 180, and 60,000 yuan ($8,494) to hit 170, good enough for a Harvard Law School applicant.”

Representatives from testing organizations counter that they are working hard to reduce cheating and provide secure platforms. 

This is a subject I have never felt comfortable writing about on the blog, but it matches what I’ve heard over the past couple of years.  Cheating is not limited just to China, of course.

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