Beginning this week, over 9 million high school students in China will sit down for a test called the Gaokao, an exam similar in nature to the SAT. As China’s University entrance exam, the Gaokao, otherwise known as the Higher Education Exam, is both high stakes and high pressure as it helps determine which tier of University each student can attend. As CNN points out, “failure means no degree, poorer job prospects and possibly a life of regret.”

With so much on the line, some students over the years have increasingly turned to high-tech cheating in order to improve their scores.

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In an effort to combat that, Chinese officials have come up with a high-tech solution all their own. This year, China is deploying drones that will hover over exam sites in order to monitor any unusual or out of the ordinary communications that would suggest the presence of cheating.

The Guardian adds that the six-propeller drones being used are anything but cheap:

The drone cost hundreds of thousands of yuan – equivalent to tens of thousands of pounds – and is as big as a petrol station pump when extended, according to Lan Zhigang, from Luoyang’s radio supervision and regulation bureau.

Lan said: “A drone has its advantages. In an urban area full of tall buildings, various barriers limit the operating range of devices on ground, while the drone can rise up to 500 metres and detect signals over the whole city.”

Does this seem a bit over the top?

Perhaps, but once we take a look at some of the avenues some students will pursue in order to cheat, it starts to sound much more reasonable.

For instance, check out this photo of a device that a student was caught cheating with in the past.

Some other high-tech devices that exam proctors have discovered include discreet scanners and listening devices built into glasses.


A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.