The question (Is studying past exams I found online cheating?) was sort of relevant but did not answer my question, so please do not mark this question as a duplicate:

Onto my dilemma:

I recently had a raw score 20 points higher than my classmates and was suspected of cheating. I scored almost perfect while others only got around 60-75. I actually found the test beforehand (coincidentally) because my teacher passes back old tests and quizzes (and his sources are obvious). I sought online materials because the textbook and the practice problems are utterly inadequate for relatively difficult exams. I know it gives me an advantage, but couldn’t everyone just do what I did? Don’t I have the right to study things that are openly accessible on the web and use that to my advantage? It’s not like I hacked a school server to access materials.. I literally just found it by using some google search ‘hacks’ like verbatim, quotes, filetype, etc. I ended up not getting a score for that test, but did the teacher really have to do that? I didn’t even copy the test word-for-word. I knew how to do most of it and just used it to make sure that I knew what I was doing. I am currently under a lot of backlash due to this incident and am trying to justify my standing. What are your thoughts and what prevents me from using those sources?

Clarification: it was not even the teacher’s own test.

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