Examination offences - cheating

Please note that it is an examination offence to be in possession of a mobile phone during an exam.

A few examination offences examples:

  • Obtaining or attempting to obtain access to an unseen examination or test paper prior to the start of the examination/test.
  • The introduction or use in an examination or test of any crib sheets, revision or other notes, books, paper or devices of any kind other than those specifically permitted in the rubric of the paper.
  • Failing to comply with the instructions of an invigilator or examiner, or with the printed instructions for candidates.
  • Removing from an examination or test any script, paper, or other official stationery (whether or not completed) unless specifically authorised by an invigilator or examiner.
  • Being party to any arrangement whereby a person other than the candidate fraudulently represents, or intends to represent, the candidate in an examination or test (personation).
  • Communicating, or attempting to communicate with another student or with any third party other than the invigilator/examiner during an examination or test.
  • Copying or attempting to copy the work of another student - whether by overlooking his/her work, asking him/her for information, or by any other means. Or, knowingly allowing work to be copied.
  • Making false declarations in an attempt to obtain modified assessment provisions or special consideration (e.g. of extenuating circumstances).
  • Attempting to persuade another member of the University (student, staff or invigilator) to participate in any way in actions which would be in breach of this Regulation.
  • Being party to any arrangement which would constitute a breach of this Regulation.

What happens if I'm accused of cheating?

Our invigilators are trained to spot you if you're breaching assessment regulations. If an invigilator suspects you of cheating during an exam: 

  • We'll endorse your script at the point you were writing when the alleged offence was discovered.
  • We'll remove any unauthorised materials from you. Normally we'll keep these materials for inspection by the central committee of investigation.
  • In exceptional circumstances, we may return property - at the discretion of the senior invigilator - at the end of the exam.
  • You'll be allowed to continue the exam. At the end, we'll give you a set of paperwork outlining the nature of the alleged breach.

We'll ask you to complete a response pro-forma which you must return within five working days. On this pro-forma we'll ask you to indicate either:

  • That you accept the allegation (you agree that you committed the offence). If you want, you can enclose a statement setting out any mitigation that you'd like the panel to take into consideration when dealing with your case. This doesn't guarantee a lighter penalty.
  • Or that you wish to contest the allegations (you don't believe that you committed any offence). If you choose this option you'll have the opportunity to appear before a central committee of senior staff to set out your case. 
IMPORTANT: Please don't ignore the allegations. If you don't respond we'll assume you've accepted that you breached the rules, and we'll impose an appropriate penalty. If you have problems completing this form, please email examoffences@plymouth.ac.uk. We can't deal with personal visits or discuss matters on the phone. 

Download the full copy of the University Examination and Assessment Offences.

How do I report cheating?

Before an exam:  

  • If you've got information about someone‚Äôs plans to breach the assessment regulations, you should inform the invigilator before the start of the exam. 
  • We'll keep your actions confidential and the person at the centre of the allegations won't be aware that you were involved. 
  • Your information will enable the invigilators to watch the alleged offender closely. If they're caught, we won't need you to appear as a witness at any stage.

During an exam: 

  • If you see someone cheating during an exam, you should raise your hand to attract the attention of the invigilator nearest to you. 
  • When the invigilator approaches you should either communicate your concerns quietly or write them on a piece of paper. 
  • We'll keep your actions confidential and the person at the centre of the allegations won't be aware that you were involved. 
  • Your information will enable the invigilators to watch the alleged offender closely. If they're caught, we won't need you to appear as a witness at any stage.

Please don't report your suspicions after an exam; we won't be able to take action retrospectively.

We take take any attempt to breach our assessment regulations very seriously. If you've committed a breach, you're likely to face a range of penalties - including reduction of degree classification or recommendation to terminate studies.