The entire admission process into teaching schools in Michoacán had been under suspicion of fraud since the first stage of exams, on the last day of July, when it was revealed that several of the students had bought the answers for 15,000 or 25,000 pesos.
Although officially unproven, the claim was virtually confirmed by the astonishing test results in several Michoacán municipalities.
According to Mexican media reports, 50 applicants who took the exam had answered all 100 questions correctly, while another 300 had scores of 99 and 90 correct answers. This was unusual, as in other municipalities the highest score was 71 correct answers.
To eliminate all suspicion of fraud, authorities decided to repeat the test on August 21, and thus managed to catch at least 35 women in the municipalities of Morelia and Arteaga trying to cheat with a very ingenious system.
The Primera Plana Michoacan Facebook page recently published a video showcasing the very similar painted nail style of the 35 women, which reportedly represented the correct answer pattern to the 100 multiple-answer questions.
Although painted in different colors, the nails all featured the same dot motif. The pattern consisted of 10 different colored dots on each nail, corresponding to 100 responses in the exam booklet.
Interestingly, the cheaters were not barred from taking the exam. Instead, they were separated from the rest of the group and asked to either put on opaque gloves to completely conceal their hands, or at least cover their painted nails with sticky tape.
Gabriela Santillán Mora, who coordinated the application of the tests, confirmed that all the 35 women had the same color and dot pattern, plus each nail had 10 dots of the same color.
It should be noted that the exam questions were answered by filling in the options marked with circles on optical sheets, so it is clear that the dot pattern was the key to how and in what order they should answer.