Assessments and exams: Know the rules and don't cheat!

Every year some students make mistakes.  They plagiarise, buy essays from the web, even write little notes that they hide and take into exams. 

The University has a term for this sort of behaviour "The Use of Unfair means".  More commonly, it is referred to as cheating.  Whether intentional or accidental, the University is very firm with any student that is found cheating.  The excuse, "I didn't know that wasn't allowed"' or "I didn't understand the rules" is simply unacceptable. 

So before you sit your exams or submit assessment work be sure to read the information below and save yourself from future disappointment.

Information for students about avoiding the use of unfair means in the assessment process

The University views the use of unfair means in the assessment process very seriously. We provide essential information on the use of unfair means here.

You should know that the University will take disciplinary action against any student found using unfair means (such as buying essays from the web, cheating in examinations, plagiarism or collusion). In
the last academic year (2017-18), the University took disciplinary action against a number of students for using unfair means, with one student expelled from the University.

You are specifically reminded about the following:

  1. Cheat websites often email students to advertise their services and you must ignore them. Essay mills often claim that Universities can’t detect anything wrong with essays bought in this way, but we can. In addition, the essay writers sometimes copy their work from existing sources so you might end up paying for an assignment which is heavily plagiarised. Sometimes the work is sub-contracted so you have little control over the work you pay to have written.
  2. You are reminded to arrive in good time for your examinations and to listen carefully to the Chief Invigilator's announcements. The Chief Invigilator is responsible for the proper conduct of examinations, including ensuring that they start and finish on time.
  3. Students found in possession of unauthorised material such as mobile phones or notes (hand or type written), during invigilated examinations, will be reported by the Invigilators and disciplinary action may be taken against the student.
  4. As far as your coursework and course materials are concerned, you must not share teaching materials outside of the University (e.g. presentations, handouts, or exam papers), as this also constitutes cheating and unfair means as set out in the University Regulations Relating to the Discipline of Students (see link below). Course materials are the intellectual property of the University of Sheffield, which means that your lecture notes and essays will also contain substantial amounts of University Intellectual Property too. Book chapters and journal articles which are provided to University of Sheffield students as part of their course are made available under copyright licences. Sharing such materials outside of the University is therefore a breach of these licences, as well as UK and international copyright law.

If you need further guidance on avoiding the use of unfair means as you prepare for exams and other assessed work over the next month or so, you should seek help from your tutors or supervisor.

Please also bookmark the following University websites to help you access further relevant information:

University General Regulations Relating to Examinations

Plagiarism, Collusion and the Use of Unfair Means in Assessment.

Library Information Skills - the University Library offers tutorials and workshops to help you avoid mistakenly plagiarising in your assignments.

Copyright Hub – you are responsible for complying with copyright legislation, and are liable for any breaches in law that result from misuse of copyright material. You can find out more about UK
copyright legislation via this link, or in our Student Handbook.

ELTC Writing Advisory Service – any student (whether a native or non-native speaker of English) can make an individual appointment with the English Language Teaching Centre to discuss a piece of

University Regulations Relating to the Discipline of Students – read the full set of rules governing the
University’s discipline procedures.