While these days Chinese students have been known to utilize high-tech gadgets to cheat on the yearly gaokao examinations, hundreds of years ago scholars in China were forced to use more old school methods of deception.
A tiny book has gone on display in Hunan’s capital of Changsha. Inside, written in minuscule script, are the texts of the Four Books and Five Classics, Confucian classics that students were supposed to have memorized for their imperial civil service exam. Supposed to.
The owner of a local rare and antique book store explained that scholars of the Ming and Qing dynasties would smuggle books like this into exam centers by sewing them inside their clothes or concealing them inside the soles of their shoes, hoping that with a little extra help they would be able to secure a coveted spot in the state bureaucracy.
It’s not clear what sort of counter-measures test administrators of the time took to guard against cheaters. Nowadays at many schools in China, students are forced to take their exams outside, while being watched by teachers with binoculars or even drones.
Students are also sometimes prevented from copying off their neighbor with high-tech “anti-cheating hats“:
Or simply by the air itself:
[Images via Visual China]
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