The high price of cheating at an exam

Skrevet af Miel PedersenFelix Kasperek, versioning - Foto: originalbillede © Grzegorz Kula | - de to indkopierede skilte er fra CBS' antiplaigeringskampagne. - 2. februar 2012 - 15:170 kommentarer
The moral of this story is really simple: Don't cheat!

‘Thomas’ was caught cheating at an examination at CBS. At first, it ‘only’ costs him a semester’s suspension from exams, but the consequences grew bigger.

When the pressure of expectations grows unbearable
As a new CBS student there is a lot of focus on the grades. Everyone talks about them and asks about them, so the pressure to do well easily comers to grow bigger and bigger. For ‘Thomas’, who throughout the semester had only gotten grades of 10 and 12 (the Danish equivalent of B’s and A’s), he felt so pressured at exam, that he saw no other way out than to cheat. And he got caught doing so.

- The worst thing isn’t the suspension, it’s the thought of what other people think of you, Thomas says, describing the time when he was caught cheating.

And the point of what other people think is the recurring subject, both for the temptation leading up to cheating and for the worst about the consequences of getting caught.

Never anything even remotely indicative of cheating again
- I was in the exam-room with the yellow note-paper that I’d brought from home, meticulously folded in exactly the same way as the yellow note-paper you get handed out for the exam. But when an exam guard passed me, he could tell that there was a huge difference in how neatly my notes were written. I was caught red handed, ‘Thomas’ explains with a heavy sigh.

Had ‘Thomas’ known what the consequences would be, he would never have had the guts to go through with it. Today, when he goes to his exams, he doesn’t even dare leave his turned-off phone in his pocket.

- The consequences have been immense. At first, I thought that I’d be permanently expelled from CBS and excluded from other universities for up to two years. So when I was told that I would only get a six month suspension from exams, I was actually relieved, he recounts.

Lack of information extended the agony
It was a relief that would later become a heavy burden. When ‘Thomas’ thought he was suspended, he didn’t attend the summer exams, so when he was later (in October) told that his suspension hadn’t started until then, he could look back at an entire first year of studying at CBS resulting in only two finished courses as opposed to the normal six to eight.

Since the rules dictate that you can’t attend a re-examination without either having completed a first attempt or having a note from your doctor, he had to take the courses all over again. That meant that on his fourth semester he both had to take the mandatory 30 ECTS and on top of that the 37.5 ECTS, he didn’t complete in his first year – a total of nine courses.

- If I had known just how severe the consequences ended up being, I would have dropped out immediately. It was very hard to get information about the subject. Not knowing exactly what punishment I would get and what it would mean to my studies meant that I kept holding on. But it was very rough, and I have no problem imagining someone succumbing to the pressure in a situation like that, Thomas says.

Give us a loud and brash anti-plagiary campaign, please!
‘Thomas’ knew he was cheating when he sneaked the folded piece of yellow note-paper out of his calculator. But seeing as several of his classmates had gotten away with cheating, he thought: Why not? Something that could have stopped him would in ‘Thomas’ opinion have been a loud and brash campaign.

- If I’d been sitting in the exam-room and had read a poster that said “Cheating results in:…” and then three bullet points with information like “Six months suspension” and so on, I would never have done it, ‘Thomas’ claims.

All in all, ‘Thomas’ thinks that there is too little information about the subject. It’s difficult to figure out the rules before – and totally impossible to get an overview when the damage is done.

Good luck – you’re going to need it!
Today, Thomas has finished the hard task of double the work load, and even though it’s been hard, his grades are still fine. But as opposed to back in the day when grades were a popular and relevant topic, they never get mentioned when the friends talk to each other today.

For those who are contemplating cheating, Thomas has only two words: “Good luck!”. He, if anyone, knows that they may very well be in desperate need of it.

‘Thomas’ is a made-up name. His real name is known by the editors.