Exam cheating

Good academic practice and scientific integrity are the fundamental building blocks of a university. Students must also respect and comply with academic codes of practice, including quoting and referencing sources correctly and not taking the credit for other people’s work – and adhering to rules that apply to exams. If students fail to comply with academic rules and codes of practice, this counts as cheating – even if they do so by mistake.

Cheating in exams is a serious offence and, as an employee at AU, you are obliged to report any suspicions of cheating you may have. By doing so, you will help maintain the quality of AU’s degree programmes and the credibility of the students’ qualifications.

In the graphic below, you can see the whole the process – from the initial suspicion to the final decision. Click on the individual stages to read more and to find the relevant templates to report suspected exam cheating.

Procedure for dealing with exam cheating

Instances of suspected exam cheating must be investigated and documented before the case is reported to Educational Law. The person who reports that case to Educational Law is obliged to inform the student that the case has been reported and that the assessment of the student’s exam assignment has been put on hold while the case is considered. After this, the procedure is as follows:

  • Educational Law will assess the report and can choose to dismiss the case or to progress with the case.
  • If they progress with the case, Educational Law will send the student a consultation letter, which will outline the details of the case and give the student the opportunity to comment on the report.
  • The student can always request a meeting and provide his/her comments orally.
  • Once Educational Law has considered the case and the student has been consulted, Educational Law will prepare a draft ruling to the dean, who will make the final decision on behalf of the rector.
  • The student and the person who reported the suspected cheating will be notified of this decision.

Educational Law endeavours to process all cases within 6 to 8 weeks of receiving the report.

Please note that all attempts at exam cheating will be processed according to AU's disciplinary rules regardless of whether the attempt was successful or whether it was intentional.

The student’s rights during and after the case consideration process

Whilst the case is being considered, the student has the same rights as his/her fellow students and may take part in teaching and other exam activities at AU. However, the student is not allowed to take part in an oral defence for the exam for which the report has been submitted, as the assessment of this exam is on hold. The student is also unable to take part in an any future partial exams on the same course for which the report has been submitted.

The student may be registered and participate in a re-examination for the course in question – even if a decision on the case is still pending. However, the student cannot register for the re-examination him- or herself but must ask studies administration to be registered.

Once the case has been decided:

If the case is dismissed or the student receives a warning – and in the meantime the student has taken a re-examination, the student is entitled to keep the highest grade.

If the case results in disciplinary measures and these are carried out, the student is then able to continue his/her studies on the same terms as all other students. This means that no special measures should be taken, nor should there be any stricter supervision of the student in connection with future exams.


All cases of exam cheating are confidential, and all employees with knowledge of these cases have a duty of confidentiality.

How to help students avoid exam cheating

At a university, everybody must respect the fundamental principles of good academic practice and scientific integrity. This means that students must comply with the rules and codes of practice that apply to exams – including referencing sources correctly and not taking the credit for other people’s ideas. If students fail to adhere to these rules, this counts as exam cheating – regardless of whether they do so accidentally or intentionally.

Educational Law has developed a slide set, which you can use when you inform the students of the rules. You are welcome to adjust the slides – and to share the presentation with your students e.g. on Brightspace .

You can also refer your students to AU's website on exam cheating where the students can read much more about the rules.