A cheat sheet (also cheatsheet) or crib sheet is a concise set of notes used for quick reference. Cheat sheets were historically used by students without an instructor or teacher's knowledge to cheat on a test or exam. In the context of higher education or vocational training - where rote memorisation is not as important - students may be permitted (or even encouraged) to develop and consult their own cheat sheets during exams. The act of preparing such reference notes can be an educational exercise in itself, in which case students may be restricted to using only those reference notes they have developed themselves. Some universities actively publish guidelines for the creation of cheat sheets.
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).
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.
- "GIMP Keys and Mouse Reference". Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- The dictionary definition of cheat sheet at Wiktionary