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Crafty College Students Design Wild Helmets to Thwart Exam Cheating

A professor in the Philippines asks young engineers to come up with hats that prevent peers from copying test answers, and they deliver some brilliant creations.

A view of a bunch of students wearing their creative anti-cheating hats at  Bicol University's College of Engineering
Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz/Facebook

You've put in long hours studying for your college midterms and don't want anyone copying your answers. What do you do? You cobble together a wacky anti-cheating helmet that blocks your peers from seeing your test, of course.  

Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz/Facebook

That's what students at a school in the Philippines did on the prompting of their instructor, who asked them to create headgear that would prevent others from copying their work.  

Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz, a professor of mechanical engineering at Bicol University's College of Engineering in Legazpi City, told the BBC she initially asked students to make a "simple" design out of paper as a fun way to ensure honest exam-taking earlier this month. 

But these engineers weren't going to settle for simple.

Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz/Facebook

They tapped any material they could find -- from paper bags to cardboard tubes and boxes, bubble wrap, fabric, clothes hangers and even a tennis racket case -- to create headwear that obscures neighbors' views. 

One student placed an open umbrella canopy atop his head, while another wore headphones to hold two rectangular paper blinders in place over his ears. 

Another went with a plastic face mask like the one the thieves wear in the Netflix series Money Heist, only this version has a paper rim above it bearing the words "midterm heist."

Mary Joy Mandane-Ortiz/Facebook

Mandane-Ortiz posted images of the hats on Facebook, earning the students worldwide attention (and maybe getting them noticed by potential employers who value creativity). Pupils at another school in the Philippines, Palawan State University, even followed suit with their own handmade anti-cheating contraptions.  

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say, except if you're copying someone else's exam answers.