Cheating on your exam

Cheating on your exam can have serious consequences. Whether you knowingly or unknowingly cheat on your exam, you will be held accountable.

Cheating on your exam is never the answer

We want to help you avoid cheating - consciously or unconsciously - at the exam.

But what is exam cheating?

As a student, you most likely know that buying a ready-made exam answer or letting your wise cousin or your helpful roommate solve your exam paper for you is against the rules.

But in other situations, it can actually be a little tricky to avoid being guilty of exam cheating. Did you know, for example, that it is cheating, if you use other people's texts and theories without source references?

Below you can see 4 categories of exam cheating:

Illegal contact

It is not permitted to be in contact with others outside the 'exam room' - whether it takes part in a physical location or online. In other words, it is cheating if you send or receive an email or a message during a written location test – no matter the content of the message. In addition, you cannot communicate by text message or in any other way on your phone or computer.

Fun fact: Did you know that you are welcome to invite your family or friends to an oral online exam, as long as you do not communicate with them and you inform your teacher in advance.

Unauthorized aids

For exams without study aids, you cannot use any study aids during the exam in either physical or electronic form. Study aids are things such as formulas, dictionaries or notes.

Fun fact: Did you know that you are welcome to look in your notes right up until the exam starts. However, when the exam starts, you need to pack the study aids away in your bag.


In an exam situation, it is plagiarism if you let a text or illustration appear as if it is your own work when in reality it is not. Always remember to mark a quote with italics and reference the author, book/work, and page numbers.

Fun fact: This also applies even if you quote yourself from a previous assignment or your teacher, e.g. from a PowerPoint.

Helping others

If you help others cheat, it will also be considered exam cheating.

Cheating on your exam can lead to expulsion from your study programme

The consequences of exam cheating range widely. You risk everything from a warning to permanent expulsion from UCL in accordance with the Ministerial Order on Examinations section 22.

All cases of cheating are assessed individually and a decision is made as to what consequence the cheating should have.

Your diploma must reflect your qualifications

Exams are designed to test your knowledge and all the skills you have acquired during your education. A passed exam lets UCL and your future employer know that you are well prepared for your future career.

If you cheat on the exam, then neither you nor your future employer will get an accurate picture of your skills.

Further down this page you can read more about:

  • How to avoid cheating at the exam and plagiarism. 
  • What happens if you cheat?
  • What does UCL do to protect against exam cheating?

Prior to each test, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the specific rules that apply to each test. In principle, all aids are allowed, including electronic aids, but it is not allowed to communicate with others during the test.

NB! Other rules may apply for each individual test, so you must therefore always familiarise yourself with the Curriculum and relevant learning platforms prior to each test to ascertain whether there are limiations regarding the permitted aids, e.g. electronic aids may not be permitted.

In relation to citation rules and source citation rules, there may be specific guidelines that must be followed for each individual training programme in order to avoid plagiarism. some programmes use guidelines called 'Formal requirements for written assignments'. In other programmes, a special booklet of formalities or simply the guidelines stated in the Curriculum are used. Ask at your programme if in doubt.

When you submit any written material in WISEflow you must always confirm that your work has been completed without any improper help.

Your family and friends will definitely be disappointed in you if you cheat. But that's not all.

If you are discovered cheating on an exam, you may be expelled from the exam and you will use an exam attempt.

In the case of serious or repeated cheating, you may be expelled from your study programme.

Exam guards

Exams on campus and online exams are monitored by exam guards, who make sure all rules are followed.

The digital exam guards can keep an eye on the students who are taking the exam via their webcam. It is also the exam guard who identifies students before the exam starts.

If you are in doubt about anything during the exam, you can contact the exam guard. There will also be an IT supporter and a study administrative staff member who can help answer questions during the exam.

Plagiarism control

UCL uses a program to check for plagiarism in written exam answers. The program scans the entire text and looks for coincidences with other texts in a huge database.

If in doubt, ask.

If you are in doubt about anything related to the exam ask your teacher, your supervisor or the exam supervisor.

Exam Quiz