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Woman Cheated on NY Bar Exam, Court Rules

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

A woman accused of cheating on the New York bar exam has lost the battle to overturn her misconduct charges.

Rose DeWitt sat for the bar exam in July 2009. The New York State Board of Law Examiners charged her with misconduct. They claimed she tried to copy other student's answers on the multiple choice portion of the test.

Specifically, a proctor saw her "craning her neck," according to Thomson Reuters News & Insight. They saw her make this strange neck movement more than once. They saw her do it on both days of the exam.

The board nullified her bar exam results. DeWitt sued, but lost in court. Apparently, there was enough evidence to substantiate the Board's findings.

Though there are many legitimate reasons one might twist their neck.

Maybe DeWitt had a cramp, or had sore muscles. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair for the entire exam period is tough.

Or, maybe she was trying to catch a glimpse of the clock on the wall. She might have also gazed upwards for another purpose: to appeal to a higher power to come save her from the mental agony she was undoubtedly enduring.

Hey, it could have simply been panic. Frayed nerves often make people twitchy.

Unfortunately, the cheating allegations will likely haunt DeWitt for quite some time. Individuals found guilty of cheating might have trouble passing their state bar's character and fitness requirements.

So what are some tips for would-be bar takers?

  • Remain calm. Remember that this test isn't that important. It just determines whether or not you can pursue the career you spent three years in school preparing for.
  • Don't crane your neck, look up, or stare at your neighbor. If you panic, just stare at your paper. Or, close your eyes and go to your happy place. Whatever you do, don't give anybody cause to think you're cheating on the bar exam.

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