Someone who helps someone pass an exam by taking his place - A replacer?

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Context and Question:

How to describe someone who usually helps others to pass an exam in order to get a certificate?

More often than not, this kind of persons are mercenary. This kind of situation (to help someone to pass an exam) won't happen in all kinds of school but some education-continuing institutes.

For example:

I was a student of a night school for adults, someone thought that my English is very good and asked me to help him to pass an exam to get a certificate.

How to call "Silver" in this situation?

Can I say a "replacer"?

Thanks a lot
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "Replacer" doesn't make sense to me, Silver:(.

    Can you tell us the sort of help that is provided by the people you're thinking of?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "Replacer" sounds like you're going to take the test for him (which is sounds very immoral). Also, "mercenary" has negative (military and criminal) connotations - a person who is paid to do a normal job is a professional.
    If you help someone to study for a test, you are a tutor and some tutors are paid.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't know what the current term is, but I believe Silver is talking about a stand-in: someone who takes your test for you, not a tutor.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    "Replacer" doesn't make sense to me, Silver:(.

    Can you tell us the sort of help that is provided by the people you're thinking of?
    Of course, I think the key point is that they do very well in study. They are perfectly knowledgeable in a specific subject.

    You give them money and they help you to pass an exam. But we know that it is morally unacceptable and factually illegal.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    "Replacer" sounds like you're going to take the test for him (which is sounds very immoral). Also, "mercenary" has negative (military and criminal) connotations - a person who is paid to do a normal job is a professional.
    If you help someone to study for a test, you are a tutor and some tutors are paid.
    I am sorry for the inadequate context, but I've added in the previous post. I am grateful for your constant help, My. And I think this kind of people take the exam for someone in order to get the paid. They are money-oriented if you thought "mercenary" wasn't an appropriate word.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I don't know what the current term is, but I believe Silver is talking about a stand-in: someone who takes your test for you, not a tutor.

    Thanks a lot, Mr.Copy. I think you always understand me very well. "Stand-in" is a good term but I still need to add something when I am talking to a foreign friend. Of course, the situation I've described might probably not have an equivalent term in English.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Stand-in" is a good term but I still need to add something when I am talking to a foreign friend. Of course, the situation I've described might probably not have an equivalent term in English.
    There may certainly be a current term in use among people who do this or hire it done. But I don't think you have to add anything really:

    Bill: I'm taking my chemistry test now.
    Bob: What do you mean? We're having lunch.
    Bill: And it's delicious, too. Relax, I hired a stand-in -- he's taking my test for me. Another glass of wine?
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    There may certainly be a current term in use among people who do this or hire it done. But I don't think you have to add anything really:

    Bill: I'm taking my chemistry test now.
    Bob: What do you mean? We're having lunch.
    Bill: And it's delicious, too. Relax, I hired a stand-in -- he's taking my test for me. Another glass of wine?
    Thanks a lot for your conversation context, it is really helpful. I think "stand-in" is a versatile term that can be used in every situation.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Also referred to sometimes as proxy test taking. The person fraudulently taking the test is a proxy.

    The penalties are rather severe (here). In one case the proxy was jailed for six months then deported.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thanks a lot for your conversation context, it is really helpful. I think "stand-in" is a versatile term that can be used in every situation.
    Yes, I hired a stand-in to answer you. I'm actually having dinner right now and then watching a movie after. :)
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Indeed, ringer may be right, but I've never liked the term (I knew you'd want to know). :rolleyes:

    It always sounds like something out of The Sting with Robert Redford and Paul Newman running around and player-piano music tinkling away in the background. Strange the ideas we have -- but it's the reason I don't use it.
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I prefer "ringer" to "proxy" because "ringer" has such clear connotations of fraud. Proxies may or may not be illicit (proxy marriages, for example). However, I prefer stand-in to both of them.

    Just an added note - this isn't a person who "helps you" pass an exam; they pass it for you.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    The two words that occurred to me first were "ringer" and "cheater."

    If "ringer" has pejorative connotations of fraud, that's entirely appropriate for the situation Silver is describing.

    In horse racing, ringers are used for fraudulent betting: If you substitute Fast as the Wind under the name of Old Slow Nag, most people won't bet on the horse that they think is Old Slow Nag; if you do, and Fast as the Wind wins, you'll win the money that the naive bettors put down on other horses.

    In sports, a "ringer" is a player of superior ability who isn't eligible to participate; in college sports in the U.S., "ringers" were classically paid players who weren't actually students. But I think "ringer" is an entirely appropriate term for a paid test-taker.

    Whether the actual test-taker or the student under whose name the test is being taken is the real "cheater" I will leave to the philosophers.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    To me "ringer" is exactly the right word. A "stand-in" is just a substitute person and there is no suggestion per se that the stand-in is pretending to be the person that is being replaced. "Ringer" has the clear indication that someone is pretending to be someone that they are not.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    To me, a "ringer" is someone who is sent in to play on a false sense of confidence in others or to misrepresent one's abilities by pretending to be less capable than they actually are.

    If there is a ringer in a choir it's a professional or semi-professional singer masquerading as an amateur. A ringer in many contests of skill is someone who is represented as an amateur when in fact the person is highly skilled.

    This is a different type of deception to me than sending someone in your place to take a test. It is a deception to manipulate the odds of the situation by underplaying a skill or misrepreseneting a skill level, not a misrepresentation of the identity of a person.
     
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    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    That fraudster is a personator. The verb is to personate and the noun is personation. The definition of these words includes the notion of pretending.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    That's very good! It definitely gets across the idea that it's a misrepresentation of identity. The only thing that seems odd about it to me is that I associate impersonation with someone acting out the speech patterns and mannerisms of someone else.

    How about "imposter"?
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    That fraudster is a personator. The verb is to personate and the noun is personation. The definition of these words includes the notion of pretending.
    Hmm... I'm familiar with impersonator, impersonate, and impersonation, but not a prefixless version. In the U.S., "impersonator" would be a good word for someone who takes a test for another, since it requires pretending to be someone else.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I think the underlying idea of "ringer" is pretending to be someone that you are not,whether it be pretending to be an amateur instead of a professional or pretending to be John Doe when you are really Richard Roe. "Imposter" can also have that flavor - you may be using your right name but pretending to be a licensed medical doctor or a trained airline pilot when you are not. An "impersonator" to me is someone who is imitating someone else, often quite openly and not for any fraudulent purpose (think "Elvis impersonator" to see what I mean).

    Any of these words could be used but there would probably need to be some context to show exactly what was meant.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    And to me, the underlying idea of "ringer" is pretending to be something you are not, as in pretending to be an amateur when you are really a professional. If you use your own name but over-represent your skill (as in pretending to be a doctor when you aren't) I wouldn't call you an imposter/impostor. I would call you a fraud or a con man. In the case of a doctor in particular, I would call you a quack.
     
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    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    It's all kind of a fluid concept really. If you look at the Wikipedia article on mposters (rather amusing reading), they include both people who assume different names and identifies, as well as people who use their real names but fabricate their resumes. But if you say "Joe sent in an imposter to take the test for him" it's pretty obvious what you mean. The Wikipedia entry on "ringer" starts out with one horse being fraudulently substituted for another horse but then morphs into an athlete underrepresenting his skill level, so it has both concepts also.

    The bottom line,I think, is that there is no standard term for a person who takes a test while pretending to be a different person.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Has anyone (else) checked to see what terminology is actually used in this context?
    Impersonator and proxy appear frequently in association with examination fraud.
     
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    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes! I am sure we used to do checks to look for personators when I was invigilating exams.

    To impersonate covers similar ground, but in a comic way in the UK!
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    A personator in my part of the world, is associated with election fraud - the crime of personation.
    Indeed, this is exam fraud, the crime of personation.

    We introduced photocards for our students years ago which they have to have on their desk during exams. Invigilators have to walk around and check the names on their card, that it tallied with their entry and also that the photo matched the person in the chair. It is an issue for any large college where staff only know a few of the students. Especially now invigilation is not staffed by the teachers.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Is there a positive word for someone who takes an examination in another's stead?
    Proxy and stand-in are neutral sounding and certainly not as negative as mercenary or even fraud. What sort of connotation Silver is looking for might make a difference in what we recommend as a better or worse term than another.
     
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    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Also referred to sometimes as proxy test taking. The person fraudulently taking the test is a proxy.

    The penalties are rather severe (here). In one case the proxy was jailed for six months then deported.
    You bet!

    In China, although those "stand-ins" doesn't help students in all kind of schools to take the exam, they definitely would be punished if they choose to help others to pass an exam for getting money. They might be reported to the police and they would definitely be stigamized as lacking of honesty.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    The term I would use for this is a ringer.
    Thanks a lot for this suggestion. But when I almost finished all the posts in this thread, "ringer" seems to be more common in horse racing context, am I right?

    So I wonder if there won't be misunderstanding when I introduce this word to a friend who is also into horse racing?
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Wow, see what I've just found.


    Ringer:a student paid by another to take an exam.

    See here, whole page.

    We are moving closer.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    To me, a "ringer" is someone who is sent in to play on a false sense of confidence in others or to misrepresent one's abilities by pretending to be less capable than they actually are.

    If there is a ringer in a choir it's a professional or semi-professional singer masquerading as an amateur. A ringer in many contests of skill is someone who is represented as an amateur when in fact the person is highly skilled.

    This is a different type of deception to me than sending someone in your place to take a test. It is a deception to manipulate the odds of the situation by underplaying a skill or misrepreseneting a skill level, not a misrepresentation of the identity of a person.
    James, Your reply reminds me something:

    This kind of people would usually cause the misrepresentation of the identity of a person who really needs to pass an exam.

    More precisely, they pretend to be the person who really need to pass the exam by, for example, wearing wig or mustache or whatever.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've heard "ringer" used mostly in a sense similar to that James mentioned in referring to a choir (post #21): Bringing in a professional actor to perform in an amateur theatrical, often under an assumed name, when no one can be found in the group or neighborhood to play the part. It's not the same, to my mind, as cheating on an exam; the latter is outright fraud, whether or not any money changes hands, and both parties are guilty.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    I associated "ringer" mostly with sports or athletic fraud. The term might go back to horse racing but I think it was used in the 19th century, when U.S. colleges and universities were first developing sports (mostly baseball and football) teams that competed under institutional auspices. A "ringer" was someone who played on the team but wasn't actually a student at the college or university. By extension, a "ringer" could be anyone who competes for a team but does not meet the qualifications. It could be a "Little Leaguer" who is too old (examples continue to turn up from time to time), or, to cite a few of recent Olympic and World Championships examples, members of the Romanian, North Korean, and Chinese women's gymnastics teams who were too young according to the rules. By further extension, a "ringer" is anyone who does something under the guise of being somebody else—like take an academic examination.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I've heard "ringer" used mostly in a sense similar to that James mentioned in referring to a choir (post #21): Bringing in a professional actor to perform in an amateur theatrical, often under an assumed name, when no one can be found in the group or neighborhood to play the part. It's not the same, to my mind, as cheating on an exam; the latter is outright fraud, whether or not any money changes hands, and both parties are guilty.
    Once again, according to dictionary.reference.com, one of the meanings of ringer is:
    a student paid by another to take an exam (link)

    Probably the only difference is that is not always a student who paid by another to take an exam, it could be someone who is extremely professional in helping others to take the exam and as a way to gain income.

    It is very common to see this type of person in China now.
     
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