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“Too Much Pressure” by Colleen Wenke

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According to the essay “Too Much Pressure” by Colleen Wenke, the reason that students cheat on their tests is because they are under too much pressure to get good grades, which is accurately portrayed since cheating is usually seen as one of the only ways to pass tests and that’s what students are being stressed to do. Based on her essay, teachers should be teaching students right from wrong as opposed to pressuring to the extent of making them cheat. This is important to see because it is a way to solve a worldwide problem that can possibly, greatly affect the future. Wenke structures her essay in a way which we are in the perspective of a student, then documenting the process she went through, explaining more as she continues. Wenke uses devices such as premises and anecdotes to support her judgment.

Wenke uses a technique of point of view to help a reader better understand how students feel in the situation of cheating. This is shown in the quote, “You hear the clock ticking in your head, and your teacher keeps erasing, in ten-minute decrements, the time you have left to complete the test. You do not remember anything from the last month of class. You probably should have studied more, watched less television, and spent less time on the phone. All the “should haves” are not important now. You need to finish the test and get out of here.” (Wenke, 533) Many thoughts go through your head as your taking a test, which is greatly emphasized to show that is not easy to take a test and so students turn to cheating as the answer to their problems.

This is an effective method to get readers to better understand the issue of students being pressured to much to do good and instead the opposite is happening. Another quote that demonstrates this is, “ It came in many forms, from copying homework to giving out copies of the exam. Students even wrote the answers to a Scantron exam down the sides of number-2 pencils and gave the pencils to their friends. … The teachers knew that these things went on, yet nobody seemed to do anything about them.” (Wenke, 534) Students knew how to cheat, it was easy, and they didn’t get in trouble for it, which made it that much easier for them to do it. Showing the students perspective on it, the readers are allowed into their mind to understand how what and why they cheat. It’s a precise way to let the readers in on the cheating process.

Wenke uses devices such as premises and anecdotes to support her argument that cheating happens because of pressure and the simplicity of it. This is shown in the quote, “ The students who are trying to juggle too many activities are resorting to compromising their integrity for a good grade. There is too much competition between students, which leads to increased pressure to do well. Cheating becomes a way to get the edge over the other students in the class.” (Wenke, 535) This premise is an assumption that because pressure to do good has increased in schools, students are resorting to cheating in order to keep their grades up. This is a valid assumption because studies show that many of the students that cheat now are the ones which a goal to pass the test; the over achievers. Another example is, “I remember conversations over the dinner table with my parents on the subject of cheating. My parents were disgusted at the apathetic views my brothers and I held.” (Wenke, 534) This anecdote shows the life experience of the author, supporting her argument since she experienced cheating in her younger years. Overall, these methods thoroughly show why cheating is cause by pressure.

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