Officials are investigating an unusual jail break after the exam papers were smuggled out of a German prison.
The papers somehow made their escape despite a top security operation to keep them caged until they were due to be taken by school-leavers.
Examiners had hoped they had stamped out systematic cheating by deciding to print this year's school-leavers' exam in a local jail.
It was thought its guards and gates would make the prison printing press the safest place in Germany to produce the tests.
But they had not bargained on the prison's residents. Somehow th papers for the arbitur were smuggled out of Waldheim penitentiary, sparking Germany's largest case of organised cheating.
But the papers were not on the run for long. The fugitives were quickly sold to pupils in bars and discos for as much as pound;200 a copy.
The mass cheating attempt came to light when several pupils handed in astonishingly similar answers, which were almost identical to the official model answers in German, history, English and biology.
State prosecutors are still investigating how the papers made their great escape. But prisoners with children of arbitur age are now facing some difficult questions of their own.