Skip to Main Content


Cheating is the use of aids or supports in order to secure an unfair advantage during testing or other evaluation scenarios.

Why Do Students Cheat?

Students are motivated to cheat when they are short on time, lack interest or are struggling to learn effectively.(paraphrased from Murdock, Burton & Anderman, 2007, p. 3)

College life is demanding, but the time and effort you put in to your career-focused learning will pay off when you graduate.

Cheating doesn't help you learn the concepts required to be professionally successful. Students who cheat are more likely to continue to engage in dishonest practices in the workplace (Graves, 2008; Harding, Carpenter, Finelli, & Passow, 2004; Sims, 1993); such behaviours often become grounds for dismissal. 

Avoid the pressure to cheat by learning to use effective study strategies and time management.

Types of Cheating

Review the definitions, examples and case studies below.

Improper Behaviour in Testing Situations


Behaving in a distracting or disruptive manner, or behaving in a way that could be interpreted as cheating, even if direct evidence of cheating is not observed.


  • Talking or otherwise communicating with someone other than the professor, proctor or exam supervisor.
  • Making noises, such as speaking, tapping or humming.
  • Taking a photograph - even a selfie.
  • Having an electronic device (e.g. phone, tablet, watch, laptop, etc) within reach when none are allowed.
  • Sharing utensils or tools with another student (e.g. pencils, pens, erasers, calculators).
  • Refusing to follow a direction from a professor, proctor or exam supervisor.

Case Study

Van is taking his mid-term exam for his Mechanical Engineering Technology course. Van has studied hard and finds that he knows the answers to every question. Happy to be doing so well, Van begins to hum a song as he makes his way through the exam. The noises Van makes are distractions to other students taking the exam. This distraction may be considered an academic offence.

Using Unauthorized Aids and Assistance


Using aids, assistance or other sources of support that have not been authorized by the instructor in a testing situation or in the completion of work.


  • Communicating with someone other than the professor, proctor or exam supervisor during a test or exam.
  • Using unauthorized material or aids (e.g., cheat sheets, materials from file-sharing sites like Chegg) during an assessment, quiz, test, or exam.
  • Copying answers from another student during a test or exam.
  • Accepting answers given from another student during a test or exam, including online exams.
  • Using a phone or other device during a test or exam.
  • Using unauthorized material, aids or software (e.g., generative AI) during the preparation of an assignment.

Case Study

According to his instructor, Ivan can use a calculator for one of his final exams. However, he is required to memorize certain business math formulas. Before the exam, Ivan writes the most important formulas on a small sheet of paper and tapes the paper to the underside of the calculator. During the exam, Ivan looks at the sheet of paper for only one question. He remembers the formulas for all the other exam questions. Ivan has used an unauthorized aid, which is an academic offence.

Contract Cheating


The act of a student contracting another (for pay, for trade, or for a favour) to complete academic work (e.g., assignment, exam, paper, etc.)


  • Buying an essay or an assignment from a website, editor or tutor and submitting it as one's own work.
  • Paying or providing services to another student to take an exam or complete an assignment.
  • Purchasing or obtaining editing services that make substantial changes to an assignment to the point that it no longer represents the individual student’s own capabilities. 

Case Study

Frank is in his final semester of his studies. Frank has multiple assignments that are due around the same time, including a major research paper. Frank discovers a website that sells research papers. He checks out the website and finds an example of an essay that is exactly like the topic he would have chosen for his research paper. Frank decides to buy the essay and submit it as his work. He believes buying the work is OK because his version of the paper, had he written it, would be almost the same as the purchased one. However, Frank has committed an academic offence by not submitting his own work.