Universities are imposing blanket bans on all watches during exams to prevent cheating

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Before it was smartphones, and now as the wearable industry grows, smartwatches are unsurprisingly getting the same treatment in exam rooms. But since it can be a little tricky to determine if someone’s watch is smart or not, greater measures must be taken.

That’s right watch enthusiasts, Kyoto University is lumping in watches with their “smart” counterparts, and is banning students from wearing and using any type of watch during its entrance exams beginning next year to prevent cheating, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The university will be adding clocks in all test rooms so that students can still keep track of time. The ban makes sense, even if it’s a little funny, as smartwatches let you send messages, access apps, and even solve math problems. And of course, with more and more watches available in different shapes and sizes, it’s hard to tell if it’s smart or not, especially if you’re using an analog watch face.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, Kyoto University isn’t alone in imposing blanket bans on all watches during exams. The University of New South Wales in Australia and also London’s City University are among many institutions banning students from wearing watches during tests.

A representative from the City University of London told Buzzfeed News that it wasn’t practical to ask proctors to check each student’s watch and, based on research, found that several universities have enacted the policy to have students remove their watches when they enter their exam rooms, or simply not wear them to the exam. “As a result, the university now considers all wristwatches as equivalent to mobile phones,” the representative said.

Kyoto University’s entrance exams begin around February, which is when the new ban will take effect.

Though Fitbit is still maintaining its lead in the wearable race, Apple, known to have popularized smartwatches, is holding its own with the Apple Watch.


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