Cheating in exams is one of the biggest malpractices affecting a majority of students pursuing college education today. Cheating is amorphous since it comes in many different forms. For instance, a student can copy somebody else’s work and present it as his original work. This could be as simple as peeping at his/her neighbors’ work or asking a friend for answers to a question. It could also be more complex where students go online and get the solutions for the exam questions and present them as their original work. Some students even pay some third-party people to do the assignment for them. Cheating in examinations is something that should be avoided at all costs. The one who suffers the consequences is the student that is cheating.
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There are two broad categories of the consequences of cheating in an examination. The first category is the direct or immediate consequences. The direct consequences refer to the consequences a student faces when caught cheating. Different colleges have different policies for dealing with students caught cheating in exams. The second category of consequences of cheating in an exam is the long-term effects. This refers to the consequences that are cumulative. These consequences usually take a longer time to manifest. They could even appear years after successful completion of your college.
When you consider the immediate consequences of cheating, the most important is being penalized on the spot by your college. Different institutions have different disciplinary actions they take on such students that are caught cheating. Some colleges can even discontinue them. There is a variety of robust software in use by institutions today to detect any form of plagiarism. Once detected, a student’s work is not accepted and he is penalized immediately. An example is the University of Manchester which discontinued some students in 2008 for cheating (University of Manchester).
Another immediate consequence is the wastage of precious time. Copying a friend’s coursework may appear a good way to save time but this is actually not the case. This is because when plagiarism has been detected, one may be required to redo the work. While you backtrack to redo the work, your coursemates will already have already moved on to do something else. Moreover, some disciplinary actions usually involve suspension. This will mean that you have to wait for a whole year or so before you can get back to class. You could even be blocked from taking the course of your interest once the suspension is over.
But one may be thinking, “what if I don’t get caught?” Well, it is true that many students actually cheat and manage to graduate without their institution ever smelling a rat. But there are long-term consequences. You can cheat in an exam but you can’t cheat the system. Let’s take a hypothetical case of a project assignment that you have been given to work on as part of your course work. You decide to pay someone to do it for you since you don’t have the time for it. The project is done well and in good time. You get a good grade for the module. Some years later, your employer looks at your transcript, discovers you scored an A in the project, and decides to assign a task similar to what you did in college. Now you are in hot soup! You have absolutely no idea how to handle the task and you can’t say so. Your credentials show you actually scored an A. You give it your best shot but needless to say, you fail. If you are lucky, you will still keep your job but from now, your employer will always doubt your capability and credentials. If you are not lucky, you could end up losing your job.
Students who cheat always have a seemingly good explanation as to why they are doing so. Mostly, it is because they lack time. But before one justifies his/her actions, he/she should think of the consequences. While one may argue that cheating will save him/her time and he will do it in a way that will make it hard to be caught, the flip side is that students are continually being caught and are being penalized for cheating in exams. Do you really want to risk facing the consequences of cheating in an exam if you are caught? I wouldn’t want to be suspended or worse still discontinued from my course for something that I can actually avoid. Generally, the rule of thumb is, it is better to be safe than to be sorry.
University of Manchester. Cheating. 2010. Web.
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