Cheating on exams - Kunnskapsbasen
Cheating on exams
NTNU takes a serious view of cheating. Cheating in exams may have serious consequences. Students who cheat may be excluded from NTNU for up to one year. Exclusion means that the student loses all access to NTNU and may be denied the right to take exams at other universities and university colleges in the same period. The exam in the course in which the student cheated will be annulled.
It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and references, and what support material or aids you are allowed to use.
The rules on cheating in exams also apply to compulsory activities that must be approved before the student can take the exam.
Both the person who gets help and the person who provides help during the exam have cheated, and the consequences may be the same for both of them.
NTNU’s Appeals Committee decides on sanctions/reactions to cheating.
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Examples of cheating
These are some examples of cheating. This list is not a complete list of what counts as cheating. Ask your course lecturer or student adviser if you have any doubts about what is regarded as cheating.
- Plagiarism. This means that a person uses text or content that someone else has created and pretends that they have written or created it themselves. An example of plagiarism is taking material that someone else has created and using it without citing the source. Another form of cheating is including quotations from sources on the internet, other people's assignments, textbooks, or articles, without clearly indicating where the quotations or content have been taken from. More info on plagiarism below.
- Getting an answer paper from the internet or similar and submitting all or part of it as one’s own work.
- Self-plagiarism: Reusing one’s own previous work in whole or in part without reference. For example, copying or reusing content from a previous exam answer paper, thesis or assignment, without referring to the source. More info on self-plagiarism below
- Submitting work of a practical or artistic nature created by someone other than you.
- To generate an answer using artificial intelligence (e.g. Chat GPT), and submitting it as your own work, wholly or partially.
- Working together or communicating with other groups or individuals in a way that is not allowed. Check with your course lecturer if you have any doubts about what kind of communication is allowed for the exam in your course. See separate information about home exams that last up to six hours below.
- Changing an answer paper after submitting it.
- Using or having access to illegal support material or aids during a specific exam. For example:
- a calculator or PC with content/programmability beyond the limits of what is allowed.
- software installed in connection with an examination that makes it possible to access illegal exam support material.
- a mobile phone or other digital aid (this must be kept in the designated place during the exam).
- loose sheets, notes, a memory stick with content relevant to the syllabus.
- text relevant to the subject that is written or pasted into permitted exam support material such as dictionaries or collections of formulae, students’ own sheets of rough paper with a “draft text” that has been written beforehand, textbooks from the curriculum or other relevant academic books.
- illegal exam support material available in areas outside the examination room, for example, in toilets.
- illegal exam support material discovered in checks before the exam.
- Unauthorized use of permissible aids
- Improperly getting access to take an exam
- Getting someone else to attend the exam in your place or getting another person to write the answer paper for you.
- Getting someone else to sign for you in connection with compulsory attendance.
- Getting access to the exam question paper in a dishonest way before the exam.
- Helping another student to cheat
- Acting in other ways that could lead to an unfair advantage in connection with assessment or compulsory activities
Plagiarism and lack of citations
NTNU has a system that enables documents and exams to be checked for plagiarism. Assignments are checked for plagiarism against sources on the internet, text databases and other answer papers.
It is important to get to know the rules that apply to the use of sources and references. Here, you will find information on how to use and refer to sources, use of reference management tools and relevant courses.
If you are unsure of the rules that apply, contact your course lecturer.
Self-plagiarism: Reuse of own previously submitted work
If you quote or paraphrase from your own previously submitted work, you must cite your own work / yourself as the source. It is not enough to refer to the same sources that you may be referring to in the work you are citing from. In a new assignment, for example, you might want to use a paragraph from another assignment that you have written. If you do not refer to yourself as a source, this can be considered cheating in the same way as plagiarism.
For exams where the candidate is anonymous to the examiner, you must still refer to your own work if you reuse text from this. This may prevent you from being anonymous. You must therefore consider whether it is appropriate to reuse previous work in such an examination.
About communication during home exams
The exam must be individual, independent work.
For home exams that last up to and including 6 hours, it is not permitted to communicate with others about the exam questions or to distribute drafts of solutions. Such communication is regarded as cheating. It is also considered cheating for both students if one of the students helps the other during the same exam.
For home exams with a longer duration, it is not necessarily wrong to communicate with others about the assignment. Ask your course lecturer what applies to your course.
Exam support material and aids
There are strict rules for the aids and support material that can be used in exams, and you are responsible for getting to know the details of what applies to your course. On the web page for the course and on the front page of the exam question paper, you can find information about which aids and support material are allowed.
You can find info about exam support material here.
Consequences of cheating
If you are caught cheating, it can have serious consequences:
- annulment of the relevant exam or test, or annulment of recognition of courses
- exclusion from NTNU for one or two semesters. Then you will also lose the right to take exams at other educational institutions that are covered by Act relating to Universities and University Colleges in the same period (applies to all universities and most university colleges)
What happens when a student is excluded
- cannot register for or take exams at NTNU or other universities and university colleges in Norway covered by the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges
- cannot submit assignments or exercises, receive supervision or take part in practical training or teaching (except lectures that are open to everyone)
- cannot take the re-sit exam for courses where the exam was held during the exclusion period
- loses access to the online learning platform and exam system (Blackboard, Inspera, etc)
- cannot apply for student exchange during the exclusion period
- cannot ask for an explanation of a grade or appeal against a grade in Inspera – one can ask for an explanation or appeal in other ways (read more here)
- will have their access card to NTNU’s buildings blocked
Assignments and exams taken before the student is excluded will still be valid.
The student will automatically regain the right of admission to courses or programmes when the exclusion period ends.
The student’s diploma will not show that they have been caught cheating or that they have been excluded.
How suspicion of cheating is handled
Extremely thorough investigations are made in cases of alleged cheating. All students who are suspected of cheating will always have the opportunity to make a statement and explain their side of the case.
As long as a student is suspected of cheating, the student will have the right of admission to their courses or programmes as usual. It is only when the Appeals Committee at NTNU has made a decision on exclusion that the student’s admission privileges are blocked.
The student will be notified at each stage of the process, such as when the case is sent to the Appeals Committee, the date when the case will be considered, and whether an appeal has been forwarded to the Joint Appeals Committee (the national appeals body). The student will also be notified about new information in the case, where it is assumed that the student may have an interest in commenting on the information.
It usually takes a fairly long time for a case of suspected cheating to be decided. It will usually take about 4-6 months from the start of the case arises until the Appeals Board at NTNU has decided the case.
The student is entitled to reimbursement of legal fees if court proceedings regarding exclusion are brought. This means that the right to be reimbursed for legal fees starts when the case is sent to the Appeals Committee at NTNU with a proposal for exclusion. It is NTNU’s Appeals Committee that deals with cases of cheating cases and that may decide that the student must be excluded.
Consulting a lawyer is completely voluntary. If the student wants legal assistance, it is the student who must contact a lawyer.
Frequently asked questions about cheating
What happens if the student is taking part in a group assignment when the student is excluded? Then the student will no longer be able to participate in the group.
Will it be possible to get a grade/assessment on an exam if it was taken before the exclusion, but assessment takes place after the exclusion period has started? If so, who should you contact? Yes, the student will receive a grade. The student can log in to Studentweb to see the grade.
Will compulsory assignments that are submitted before the student was excluded be valid? Compulsory assignments or activities that are submitted before the student was excluded will be valid if they are approved. Whether they will be approved for a later exam in the course depends on whether it is possible to include previously approved compulsory activities in the course. The student must investigate this with the department to which the course belongs.
What happens if the student is excluded in the middle of a semester? The exclusion will then apply for the rest of the semester and possibly the next semester.
Is it possible to ask for exclusion to be postponed until a later date? The student can ask for postponement of the exclusion until the deadline for appeals has expired or until the appeal has finally been decided, but the main rule is that no postponement of exclusion is granted. If the student is granted a postponement of the exclusion until the appeal is finally decided and the appeal does not succeed, the student will be excluded when the appeal has been decided.
How can the student register for courses in the semester after an exclusion when the deadline for registration was during the exclusion period? NTNU can register the student. The student can contact their student adviser or the Examinations Office:
- Trondheim: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gjøvik: email@example.com
- Ålesund: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cases regarding suspicion of cheating must be sent to one of the following units:
- The Education Quality Division (cases on the Trondheim campus)
- The Education Section in Gjøvik (cases on the Gjøvik campus)
- The Education Section Ålesund (cases on the Ålesund campus)
For more information, see the guidelines on dealing with cheating or attempted cheating in exams at NTNU (pdf).
If you have questions related to this page, please contact:
- Anne Marie Snekvik or Ragnar Veien Tundal, Trondheim
- Ingrid von Schantz Bakka, Gjøvik
- Anniken Gjerde, Ålesund