Cheating at exams

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EXAM CHEATING IS NOT A SOLUTION

Did you know that you can be expelled if you use texts or theories produced by others without referring to the source?

What constitutes cheating at exams?

An exam is a test at which you demonstrate your individual qualifications and skills within the framework and on the conditions laid down by the university for the relevant exam.

If you – intentionally or unintentionally – act in such a way as to improve your exam conditions compared to what was intended, you are cheating to obtain an incorrect assessment.

If you help someone else obtain an undue advantage at an exam, this also constitutes cheating.

Furthermore, attempts at cheating at exams will be dealt with in accordance with the rules regarding exam cheating, regardless of whether the attempt at cheating is successful or whether you actually intended to cheat. The rules regarding exam cheating are applicable irrespective of the type of exam.

Aarhus University has prepared a leaflet (Avoid pitfalls at exams), which provides several examples of what the university regards as cheating.

IF IN DOUBT, ASK
If you have any doubts about the rules regarding exam cheating, please ask your lecturer, supervisor or examiner.

Examples of cheating at exams

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a complex concept. In the context of an exam, plagiarism means that you present a text, an illustration, a structure, an idea etc. as your own work, when in fact it is not. Using texts, ideas etc. produced or conceived by others does not in itself constitute plagiarism. Plagiarism occurs when the examiner can get the impression that you are the author of the text etc. You must therefore be very careful and clearly indicate where the text and the ideas come from.

To paraphrase is to present another author’s text in a different way. The correct way to paraphrase is to process another person’s thoughts and ideas and formulate them using your own words and sentence structure. If you just rearrange the sentences a bit and replace a couple of words with synonyms, this constitutes plagiarism.

Read about plagiarism in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Direct quotation

Direct quotes must be marked accurately, for example with quotation marks, indentation or italics. If you quote someone without clearly marking it as a quote, this constitutes cheating.

Read about direct quotation in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Reusing your own exam papers

If you reuse texts etc. produced and used by you in connection with another exam, you must clearly state your source. If you fail to do so, this constitutes cheating.

Read about reusing you own exam papers in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Collaboration

In teaching contexts, collaboration is often encouraged, for example in groups. But you should note that an exam might require individual performance, which means that the exam is an individual exam and not a group exam. If the form of examination requires that an individual exam paper is produced, you must produce the paper yourself.

Read about collaboration in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Buying exam papers

If you let someone else complete or partially complete an exam paper for you, this constitutes cheating. Letting someone else write your exam paper for you is considered an aggravating circumstance. This applies regardless of whether you have payed for the exam paper or acquired it in another way.

Read about buying exam papers in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Unauthorised contact

In connection with on-site written exams, any contact with other examinees or persons outside the exam room is regarded as cheating, regardless of whether the person involved is helping you or not. If you produce your exam paper in connection with an on-site written exam and share your paper with your fellow students afterwards, for example by using file sharing systems such as Dropbox, this is considered aiding and abetting cheating at exams. It is also considered cheating if you send or receive an email on your computer during an on-site written exam regardless of the contents of the email.

In the rules for on-site exams you can find specific information about the rules of communication that apply to on-site exams.

Read about unauthorised contact in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Materials/aids not permitted

If you are not allowed to use any materials/aids at the exam, this means that you are not allowed to bring aids like a collection of formulas or a dictionary. This constitutes cheating regardless of whether you use them or not.

In the course catalogue, you will find information about the permitted materials/aids.

In the rules for on-site exams you can find specific information about which rules for storing non-permitted materials apply to on-site exams.

Read about non-permitted materials/aids in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Incorrect attendance information

For some courses, attendance is compulsory. This means that attendance is regarded as part of the exam. Providing incorrect information about attendance is therefore regarded as exam cheating. This applies regardless of whether you provide incorrect information about yourself or others. It is also considered cheating if you help an absent student register as being present when attendance is registered digitally.

Read about incorrect attendance information in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Aiding and abetting

Aiding and abetting others in committing exam cheating will also be considered exam cheating and will be sanctioned.

Read about aiding and abetting in the pamphlet “Avoid pitfalls at exams – a guide for students”.

Consequences of exam cheating

If you cheat or contribute to cheating at an exam, it may have serious consequences for you. Possible sanctions range from a warning to permanent expulsion from the university and are imposed on the basis of an overall assessment of the gravity of the offence in your specific case.

You can read more about the sanctions in AU’s disciplinary rules.

Sanctions
Section 5. The rector may impose the following sanctions:

  • Issue of a warning
  • Cancellation of exam
  • Temporary or permanent expulsion from the university.

Business administration students (HD) and students on an admission course for an engineering degree programme
If you are a business administration student (HD) or a student on an admission course to an engineering degree programme, your case will be processed and sanctioned according to the rules in the Examination Order on Examinations on Professionally Oriented Higher Education Degree Programmes.


Choice of sanction
 The sanction for cheating at an exam is based on a specific and individual assessment. The assessment includes a consideration of the type of cheating in question – and, in case of written exam papers, emphasis is placed on the amount of text produced by the student compared to the amount of plagiarised text. If you cheat at a major written assignment, such as your Bachelor’s project or Master’s thesis, this is considered an aggravating circumstance. This means that this type of cheating will be sanctioned more severely than other types of cheating at exams.

Materials/aids not permitted
If you use materials or aids not permitted at an on-site written exam, this is considered an aggravating circumstance. This means that this type of cheating will be sanctioned more severely than other types of cheating at exams.

Exam papers written by others
If you submit an exam paper that you have bought or had another person write for you, this is considered an aggravating circumstance. This means that this type of cheating will be sanctioned more severely than other types of cheating at exams. If your exam paper was written by a fellow student, that student might be sanctioned for aiding and abetting cheating at exams.

Direct quotation without proper indication
You should be extra careful to mark out direct quotes in your papers. If a direct quote is not properly marked, you can be sanctioned for cheating at exams in the same way as for other types of cheating, based on an assessment of the amount of text that is not properly marked as a direct quote.

An entire, cohesive page of plagiarised text
If an entire, cohesive page of your exam paper is plagiarised, this is considered an aggravating circumstance. This means that this type of cheating will be sanctioned more severely than other types of cheating at exams. An entire, cohesive page of plagiarised text will thus be sanctioned with more than just a cancellation of the exam.     

Rights during the case consideration process

Teaching and exam activities

Pending case
If you are party to a pending case regarding suspected exam cheating, you have the same rights as your fellow students during the period in which the case is being considered by Educational Law. This means that you are allowed to participate in teaching and exam activities at the university while the case is being considered.

In case of a sanction
If you have been reported for suspected exam cheating and a sanction is imposed, your participation in the exam may be declared invalid. During the case consideration period, you can therefore register for and participate in a reexamination, despite the fact that your case is still pending. Please note that the issue of a warning is the least serious sanction in connection with cheating.

In case of rejection or the issue of a warning
If the charge of cheating is rejected or if it results in a warning, and you have participated in a reexamination in the intervening period, you retain the best exam result.

Registration for reexamination
If you are party to a pending case regarding suspected exam cheating and want to be registered for reexamination in the relevant course, you must contact the administration for your degree programme. Registering for reexamination in the course via the self-service system is not possible while awaiting the results of the ordinary exam.

When a sanction has been carried out
If a sanction has been imposed on you for cheating, after the sanction has been carried out you may continue your studies on equal terms with the other students at the university. Consequently, no special measures will be taken to mitigate the circumstances, and you will not be under enhanced supervision during future exams. Cases regarding exam cheating are confidential, and the university staff has a duty of confidentiality in this regard.

Procedure for handling exam cheating

Reporting
Any suspicion of exam cheating will be reported to Educational Law, which handles such cases on behalf of the deans.

When a case regarding suspected exam cheating is reported to Educational Law, you as a student will be informed that your exam will not be assessed while the case is being investigated.

Therefore, any planned oral defence of an exam paper will also be postponed until a decision has been made.

Assessment
When Educational Law receives a report on suspected exam cheating, all details will be assessed before it is decided whether to reject the report or to continue the consideration of the case.

If it is decided to continue with the consideration of the case, the student will receive a letter on the written consultation procedure, including a summary of the actual circumstances of the case. With the letter, you will receive a copy of the report, a copy of your exam paper in which it is indicated which parts are suspected of exam cheating and a copy of the sources.

The purpose of the letter is to give you the opportunity to comment on the case before a decision is made.

However, you can request a meeting at any time during the consideration of the case at which you will have the opportunity to comment on the case. The person reporting and Educational Law also have the option of requesting a meeting if it is considered necessary for the consideration of the case.

Consideration of cases
A decision will be made on the case based on the report and the subsequent meeting. The consideration of cases regarding suspected exam cheating normally takes six to eight weeks from the time Educational Law receives the report until a final decision is made.

Exam cheating is not a solution

If you are considering cheating due to personal, study-related, family-related or other reasons, don't do it. Ask for help and find another way.

Find help and contact information here:

Also visit studentwelfare.au.dk and learn more about some of your options at Aarhus University.

Quiz

Test your knowledge about the rules on cheating at exams at Aarhus University.

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