Are there English words used to describe the materials used to cheat in an examination? If yes, please I need some examples.

  • Just looking at first 2 answers, and it seems we have different interpretations of question. May be worth clarifying your question !
    – k1eran
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 14:28
  • 1
    To add to what k1eran says, are you looking for a general term for all articles that might be used for cheating, or some specific terms? Depending on the exam subject, prohibited articles may include notes/crib sheets, textbooks, copies of answers, communication devices (phones etc), calculators/translators/other electronic aids, or many other things (including people writing messages on their arm or clothing).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 16:19

4 Answers 4


Yes! Cheat sheet or crib sheet. Found here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheat_sheet

  • Again, not strictly true, but equally not entirely wrong; this is an opinion rather than a strict definition...
    – NeilB
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 19:32

A Crib or crib-sheet is defined by the Cambridge online dictionary as

a piece of paper that contains notes or information to help someone remember something, especially one used for cheating during an examination

I believe that this is the term you are looking for

Any other unapproved source would already be called a crib

The cryptanalysts of Bletchley park in WW2 also referred to some of the tools they used to determine the settings used on the Enigma coding machines by the Germans as cribs. This link gives some details of the process.

  • A Crib-sheet is not an aid to cheat in an exam, it is a legitimate tool for remembering things - it is a note or sheet of paper on which you write key formulii or other Reference material, so you do not need to memorise it. A Crib-sheet can be used to cheat in an exam, but this is not its true definition. Similarly, "Cheat-sheet" is a pejorative or jokingly used term to describe a Crib-sheet, it implies the potential for mis-use.
    – NeilB
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 19:29
  • @NeilB The Cambridge dictionary specifically mentions cheating using a crib, If the exam regulations permit aides-memoires then it's more of an open book examination and the notes aren't a crib. There may be a difference between US and UK usage, of course.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 15:43
  • You're not wrong - don't remember the last part when I checked... I suppose I was thinking more of the "to copy or take someone else's work" sense... of Crib: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/crib
    – NeilB
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 13:00

Normally the examiner says either no prohibited items or unauthorised items.

e.g. Glasgow University example:

Please avoid taking any prohibited items into your examinations. If you are caught with a prohibited item in an exam, – even if you had it with you by accident – it will result in a penalty which could cost you your degree.

e.g. University of Tennessee example :

Do not bring any personal/unauthorized items into the secure testing area. Such items include but are not limited to, outerwear, hats, food, drinks, purses, briefcases, notebooks, notes, pagers, watches, cell phones, recording devices, and photographic equipment. You are not permitted to access any unauthorized items during the exam administration.


When I was in Latin class (50 years ago) a translation that you copied instead of translating the Latin yourself was called a trot. Apparently the word is still in use. OneLook Dictionaries, under “Quick definitions from WordNet,” says this for trot: “noun: a literal translation used in studying a foreign language (often used illicitly).”

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