Is It Ethical To Cheat On A Test?

In business, we are constantly being tested. Whether it is tough personnel decisions, investment opportunities, or even when hiring new team members, we are consistently challenged to have the right answer. For Christian business leaders, I think there might be more to each test than we realize.


College Test

I once read about a college student that was struggling in a particular class. The end of the semester was approaching and that meant he would have to do well on the final exam if he hoped to make the grade he needed.

In a surprising twist, the professor explained that she would allow a “cheat sheet” to be used when taking the final exam. The professor explained that she would allow them to include all of the information they could fit on one 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper. They could access this information during the test.

Confusing Behavior

When the day of the test arrived, the students were sharing the creative ways they crammed enormous amounts of information onto their sheets of paper. The struggling student did not participate. In fact, he sat quietly in his seat with a blank sheet of paper!

The other students could not understand why he had passed on the opportunity to fill his cheat sheet. They knew he was struggling in the class and would need all the help he could get.

Cheating Perfected

Finally the test was distributed and the class settled down. At this point, the struggling student went to the door of the class and opened it as if he was leaving. Instead, he motioned to whoever was standing out in the hall, inviting them in. Everyone instantly recognized the professor’s TA (Teaching Assistant) entering the classroom.

To the astonishment of the other students, and the professor, the struggling student then took out his blank sheet of paper and laid it on the floor. He again motioned to the TA and took his seat. As he did this, the TA walked over and stood on the blank sheet on the floor.

Surprise Strategy!

When the professor asked the student what was going on, he simply explained that he was exercising his right to access all of the information he could fit on a single sheet of paper. He planned to ask the TA for help with his test!

Of course, this caused a huge uproar among the other students! They cried out that he was cheating. They said, “That’s not fair!” Clearly, they thought the professor would stop this nonsense.

However, after considering her earlier instructions and noting that the TA indeed fit on the single sheet of paper, the professor granted the student permission to proceed with his plan!

Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts at this point? Do you wish you had access to this same type of information as you face the various tests during your business day? Or do you think that simply would not work in the business world?

The truth is that we have this very access. Unfortunately, we often do not realize it or we forget about it. Even worse, at times we use it and then turn right around and ignore it during the next test!

God Has All The Answers!

God created business. He knows all there is to know about our particular business. He knows the applicants we are interviewing. He knows the future we will face and how we need to prepare for it. There is not a question we can ask that He cannot answer.

So why is it that we do not call Him into our tests? Why do we ignore Him as we struggle to pass tests that He could breeze through? What would possess us to continue facing tests without using every resource available to us?


If we are honest, some would say that they are not sure God really cares about our business. Yet I do not understand how He could feel that way when He goes as far as to count the number of hairs on our heads and even give every star a name. It seems to me God is concerned about every detail in His universe. That includes our business!

Others may admit they do not know how to ask Him these questions. Or maybe asking is not the problem, but discerning the answer gives them trouble. I struggle with this issue as well. Fortunately, the more we read and study His Word, pray, and seek Him, the clearer His voice becomes to us.

Draw Closer To Him

When I am closest to Him, I find it easier to know His answers to my questions. When I stray from Him, it is impossible for me to hear what He is saying. Funny, it is always my movement away, never His.

Regardless of your own reasons, I encourage you to give this a try. Start seeking Him on your every decision. Whenever you face a test, force yourself to remember to approach God for the answers. I promise you He is faithful to provide.

Have you tried to take tests on your own?

Why is it so easy to ignore God for answers?

How do you plan to change this?

Photo by Chalabala / iStock

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  • I will not be telling my youngest about this strategy. Even as a jr. high student, he would try it! For myself, I all too often worry over what to do in a situation or even with a writing idea and neglect to ask God for help. Usually, I keep my mind so full & active, I can’t hear Him whispering for help I didn’t ask for. When I quiet my mind, I hear His voice saying, “Would you like my help?” I do this with my own kids, and He does it with me. Great lessons to learn & apply here.

    • Too late for me…I told my kids that I did this (I didn’t). They would not believe me!

  • This so parallel to my devotional thoughts found in Isaiah 8.1-10. God will bring floods into our lives when we seek shortcuts and scheme to get our own results. He reminds us that He is with us … Immanuel… Do our actions affirm or deny that belief in our life? Who is the real victim when we try to cheat?