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On an exam, you can often bring one A4 sized piece of paper that you can write anything on. What's that piece of paper called in this context?

  • It isn't clear to me whether the OP refers to a blank sheet of paper for rough work or a sheet of paper containing information which will be useful during the exams. – Centaurus Aug 30 '15 at 0:45
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Such a reference is known as a cheatsheet or your crib notes.

Note that the paper may be called a cheatsheet even if its use is sanctioned and you're not cheating by using it. Similarly, a crib note doesn't necessarily need to be cribbed.

Per Wikipedia:

A cheat sheet or crib sheet is a concise set of notes used for quick reference. "Cheat sheet" may also be rendered "cheatsheet".

Cheat sheets are so named because they may be used by students without the instructor's knowledge to cheat on a test. However, at higher levels of education where rote memorization is not as important as in basic education, students may be permitted to consult their own notes during the exam (which is not considered cheating). The act of preparing a so-called cheat sheet is also an educational exercise, thus students are sometimes only allowed to use cheat sheets they have written themselves. In such usage, a cheat sheet is a physical piece of paper, often filled with equations and/or facts in compressed writing. Modern students often print cheat sheets in extremely small font, fitting an entire page of notes in the palm of their hands during the exam.

  • 1
    It's totally unheard of in Britain, in any exams with which I have been involved. Students are allowed to take a basic calculator into Maths exams. And in the days when I was at school (over half a century ago) you were given a set of logarithm, trigonometric, and square/cube root tables for use in the exam. In my recent university experience, reading History, a minority of question papers were handed out a couple of days in advance so that one could prepare essay answers in advance, but one was not allowed to take any notes into the examination room. – WS2 Aug 29 '15 at 19:34
  • It's normal for some exams to include a basic information sheet (eg of formulas in GCSE maths). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '15 at 21:39
  • @EdwinAshworth For the GCSE, can the student bring in his own page of notes? Or is the info sheet standardized and distributed by the faculty? – Dan Bron Aug 29 '15 at 21:40
  • The latter; I was just giving a fairer picture of the actual situation than the above comment. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '15 at 21:44
  • @Edwin Thanks; and I imagine the situation is even more liberal than that. Some British professors must allow crib notes during exams: read the final para of the intro in the linked Wikipedia article: "The term can also apply to the fully worked solution for exams or work sheets normally handed out to university staff to ease marking.". Some BrE speaker wrote that (fully worked vs worked out, marking vs grading and maybe even university staff vs the university's staff). – Dan Bron Aug 29 '15 at 21:51

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