The bad thing about the educational system in Russia is that they haven’t changed the content of the state tests in years. So it’s pretty easy to predict what’s going to be on your final exams. The great thing about the Russian educational system is that they haven’t changed the content of the state tests in years. So it’s pretty easy to predict what’s going to be on your final exams. Depending on what kind of a student you strive to be you can decided whether this is a good or bad thing. This is where шпаргалки come in. Most Russian tests require rote memorization, at leas they did in the subjects I specialized in: Literature, History, Linguistics. You have to be able to parrot back dates and facts and this is where tiny little notes either written in a tiny book or on the palm of your hand come in very handy.
The great thing is that they actually sell these little cheat sheets, often in the form of a tiny book or card, at bookstores. I am a nerd and love memorizing facts and dates so I stocked up on these little books, they had everything I could ever possibly want to know all organized and condensed into a handy little book that I kept in my purse and would read while I was on the metro.
I was genuinely interested in history and literature so it was no problem for me to learn all the little facts and figures, so I never used шпаргалки. Had I had to take a test on math, however, it may have been a different story.