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This article was first published in Feb. 2015 on and after hundreds of Chinese students were expelled by the U.S. due to their academic dishonesty and cheating in SAT test in Asia.

“Think You Can Cheat on the SAT? The College Board Says Think Again.”

This article was published after many students were suspected of cheating in two countries – China and South Korea. This begs the question “Can cheating be stopped in Asia?” While recruiting in Asia, it’s important to understand the social and cultural perspectives that explain why cheating is so prevalent in certain countries.

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Cheating Has Become Culturally Acceptable” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]Last year, many Chinese test takers were suspected of cheating on the SAT. Although the College Board’s warning “Think Again” may seem intimidating to westerners, it will not deter a determined Chinese student who is seeking a “competitive advantage”. It’s as old as China. As long as there is competition there will be cheating.

Cheating in China is an industry. There are plenty of opportunities to profit. A professional test-taker can make as little as $3 or as much $128,000 USD per exam.

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Chinese “Put the KGB to Shame“” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]The College Board distributes the SAT through the Educational Testing Services (ETS) to more than 190 countries every year. Security is very tight, and all involved do their very best to stay alert for signs of cheating. But nothing in China is completely foolproof. One China local news source once commented that Chinese (test) cheating network and tactics “Puts the KGB to shame.”

According to one online survey conducted in China, more than 70% of the 160 people who participated in its survey admitted to cheating on tests. Furthermore, 90% of them claim more of their classmates cheat on tests in colleges.

[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”To Cheat to Get Ahead” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]So, why cheating so commonplace and arguably even acceptable in China? The answer is tremendous competition and mian-zi (the need to save face). In a one-child-policy nation of 1.36 billion people, where one is expected to stand out by excelling, the social risk of “getting away with it” far exceeds the risk of getting caught.

As China’s population increases by at least 6.6 million (2012-13) every year, the lure to enter a better school, to get a better job, and to earn more money will only continue to fuel China’s test-cheating industry.

In another post I will discuss some common cheating techniques used by Chinese beginning as early as elementary school.

(revised and edited by T. Gray)