Question: I’m a college student, and I had a classmate who came up with a testbank for review questions for the textbook we have in class. A testbank is basically a list of questions and answers for a certain subject/textbook. It turns out that the professor was using this testbank to give us our weekly quizzes. I saw my grade rise as I reviewed the testbank, but I haven’t been able to not feel guilty. Is it a shortcut that deceives my professor and students, and may not necessarily set me up for practice that I am supposed to learn in the real-world even though it is a helpful study aid? In some ways I feel guilt, in some ways, I am torn because it is useful.
Response From: Fr. Jim
Thank you for your question. The first question that I have back to you is: Is the test bank available publicly or is it only for professors and educators. If it is available publicly, I see no moral issue with you using it as part of your studying for exams. I often used similar subject matter recourses and textbooks beyond what was being used in the class in order to broaden my knowledge while studying for exams in university. If the test bank questions and answers are not publicly available or are for professors and educators only, then morally you are committing a sin by cheating. Although you are receiving good grades as a result of having the material that is available to the professor, you have not acquired those grades on your own merit, but rather by having information about the exact questions and answers that the professor is using in class. Often that tinge of guilt we feel when doing something is the sign that we should stop and evaluate if we are doing something wrong and make amends to get back on track. Being a follower of Jesus Christ does not mean we will not make mistakes, but it does mean that we will correct our errors and try to do better going forward.
May God bless you in your studies!