When I started teaching physics about 25 years ago, students rarely (if ever) asked me for hints or help on doing problems on my tests and exams. They understood that they could ask for clarification if I hadn't written something clearly, but that was as far as they tried to go. But then during the 1990s I started to get more and more questions like this, and now it's a routine occurrence, even though I state a "no hints" policy on the first page of all my tests! Is this a local thing (caused maybe by one of my colleagues being overly generous), or is it a general phenomenon? Has this become a common practice in high schools, and it's filtered upward? I'm at the college / university level in the USA. Maybe this varies in different parts of the country, or in other countries.