ⓘ Cheat sheet


ⓘ Cheat sheet

A cheat sheet or crib sheet is a concise set of notes used for quick reference.

Cheat sheets are so named because they may be used by students without the instructors knowledge to cheat on a test. However, at higher levels of education where rote memorization is not as important as in basic education, students may be permitted to consult their own notes during the exam which is not considered cheating. The act of preparing a crib sheet can be an educational exercise, and students are sometimes only allowed to use crib sheets they have written themselves.

A cheat sheet is a physical piece of paper, often filled with equations and/or facts in compressed writing. Students often print cheat sheets in extremely small font, fitting an entire page of notes in the palm of their hands during the exam.

Crib sheets are also fully worked solutions for exams or work sheets normally handed out to university staff in order to ease marking grading.


1. As reference cards

In more general usage, a crib sheet is any short one- or two-page reference to terms, commands, or symbols where the user is expected to understand the use of such terms but not necessarily to have memorized all of them. Many computer applications, for example, have crib sheets included in their documentation, which list keystrokes or menu commands needed to achieve specific tasks to save the user the effort of digging through an entire manual to find the keystroke needed to, for example, move between two windows. An example of such a crib sheet is one for the GIMP photo editing software. Other examples include "Read Me First" and "Quick Reference Card" documents included with consumer electronics.

Some academic and technical publishers also publish crib sheets for software packages and technical topics. In some cases these are also intended as display items in that they are colorful and visually appealing. Web-based crib sheets, such as references to terms, commands, or symbols, have become extremely common.