Cheaters in China slipped through despite drones

Reports of cheating are emerging in China following the biggest exam of the year, a college entrance exam called the gaokao. The stakes are so high and the temptation to cheat so real, authorities in Central China flew a drone to check for cheaters, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

To say it's a big deal and is dreaded is an understatement. The gaokao, which means "higher test" in Mandarin, is like the SAT on steroids and cheating is always a concern.

Hovering above a test center, the drone was said to detect suspicious radio signals transmitted by test-takers who secretly send answers via hidden microphones and earpieces.

Cheaters can be quite ingenious. In past years, on lesser exams, Chinese police confiscated a pen with a hidden camera, a rigged coin that triggers a scanner hidden inside glasses and a tank top with microphone and earpiece.

"If you have time to make those earphones, why not put the time into studying?" 17-year-old Kang Zi Feng said.

He and 18-year-old Zhang Pu Zheng just finished the gaokao. They're top students at a top Beijing school and say there were no cheaters there, but the stress is universal.

"There are too many students and a lot of competitors. They are very good at these studies and we hope to get a good score to go to our dream university," Zhang said.

Of the 9.5 million who take the exam, 2 million or so won't get in to any Chinese university. The scores can also affect careers.

To prevent cheating, students are fingerprinted and IDs are checked, but phony test-takers still slip through. Tuesday, the China Daily reported the ringleader of a suspected gang of cheaters was caught. The gang hired college students to use fake IDs and take the exam for clients.

Cheating students are usually barred from taking the exam for up to three years and adults who facilitate cheating can face criminal charges.