Cheating is serious and could result in severe consequences.

Casual young female student handwriting information on diary notebook while reading book and work on laptop computer with white cup of coffee on the table at home.

Cheating is serious and could result in severe consequences.

You could:

  • Fail your course
  • Be suspended or permanently excluded from your studies at UNSW
  • Lose your visa
  • Lose your degree (even after graduating)
  • Be embarrassed or shamed in front of family and friends
  • Be at risk of blackmail

This video was created by former UNSW students Zheng Zhou and Phranque Li. It was the winning submission to the 2020 Academic Integrity Communications Competition run by Arc@UNSW and sponsored by UNSW Sydney.

As a UNSW student, all of your work must be your own.

You may be cheating if you: 

  • Copy the work from someone else and submit it as your own.
  • Share answers with another student/person during an exam.
  • Use unauthorised materials during an exam.
  • Fabricate data or references in an assignment.
  • Use generative artificial intelligence in an unethical manner.     
  • Ask someone to help you:

    • Write an assignment
    • Take a quiz or exam on your behalf
    • Edit your work
    • Check your work through Turnitin
    • Check test or quiz answers

Forms of cheating

    • Involves engaging a third party to complete an assignment, quiz or exam for you.
    • Often advertised on social media as proofreading, study help or tutoring for a fee.
    • Been offered money to promote a cheating service to other students? You are breaking the law if you engage with a cheating service in this way.
    • Contract cheating services will often request your ziD and Password, and it's very important that you never share these details - not even with friends and family.
  • Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s work or ideas as your own and can include:

    • Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks.
    • Inappropriate paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas without acknowledgement.
    • Inappropriate citation: Failing to cite a source which you have not read and including sources in your reference list that have not been used in your assignment.
    • Collusion: Presenting an assessment as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part through unauthorised collaboration with others.
    • Self-plagiarism: Re-using or submitting your previously submitted work as new without properly acknowledging it. Though it is your work, you must reference it. 
  • Students will fail courses if they commit academic misconduct during an exam, both in person and online.

    Exam misconduct can include:

    • Using unauthorised materials during an exam, such as notes, or electronic devices to look up answers.
    • Copying answers from another student or online source without proper acknowledgement.
    • Having someone take the exam on your behalf.
    • Unauthorised communication.
      • Communicating with other students in an assessment when it is against exam guidelines.
      • Includes online chat (such as WeChat and Discord).

    How do I avoid exam misconduct?

    During any examination, take-home or on campus, open book, or otherwise, you must not:

    1. Be located where other students taking the same assessment are located.
    2. Communicate with any other students taking the same assessment task, for any reason, assessment related or not.
    3. Communicate any element of the assessment with anyone outside of the university.
    4. Access any chat rooms or website.
    5. Seek assistance from anyone.
    6. Give assistance to anyone.

    Further information students should be aware of:

    • The use of notes: Be aware of sharing notes with other students. If your answers are similar, you may be suspected of collusion or exam misconduct.
    • Note taking & sharing: Be conscious of the risks of note sharing. Discussing ideas is okay and considered collaboration, which is not plagiarism. However, once you write things down, share and use those notes for an assessment, it starts to turn into collusion. It will look like unauthorised communication has occurred.
    • Using notes in an open book examination:
      • Ensure the notes are your content and not someone else’s.
      • Don’t share notes during the exam.
      • Sharing notes before an exam is risky because your exam solutions can be reproduced by another student. 
    • Communicating with other students in an assessment when it is against exam guidelines. 
    • Includes online chat (such as WeChat and Discord).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • If you are struggling it might be tempting to engage a third-party to complete some or all of your work. But don't. You always have other options.

    You can: 

    • Seek an extension from your lecturer if you’re under too much pressure, or apply for special consideration if you’re eligible.
    • Talk to your tutor or email your lecturer and seek legitimate help. 

    If you have already engaged in contract cheating, UNSW has agreed with ARC that if you come forward to admit to this conduct, the default penalty for 1 assessment cheated will be 0% for that assessment. If you have cheated more than once penalties will be stronger (see below), however you will still benefit from acting honestly. 

  • We understand that students can benefit from working with legitimate tutors.

    • If you already work with a tutor, you can talk to the Academic Skills Team to ensure they are providing the right kind of assistance.
  • Students who have engaged in contract cheating may be targeted by blackmailers.

    The person or company that did the work for you may demand money and threaten to tell UNSW about the misconduct, if you do not pay them.

    While UNSW does not condone contract cheating, students should not be scared to come forward and get help if this happens. If you find yourself in this situation, please do not keep quiet. It could cost you so much more than just money.

    If you need help, you are encouraged to contact the Conduct and Integrity Office, who can talk you through your options. 


  • While the technology changes, our values around academic integrity do not. Your work must be your own and where the use of AI tools like ChatGPT have been permitted by your course convener, they must be properly credited, and your submissions must be substantially your own work. In cases where the use of AI has been prohibited, please respect this and be aware that where unauthorised use is detected, penalties will apply.

  • As cheating is a very serious breach of academic standards, the penalties issued by the University can have a heavy impact on your educational and professional development. 

    You can find more information on how penalities are applied, as well as which penalities the University may apply in the Student Misconduct Procedure

    UNSW is constantly improving its ability to detect contract cheating.

    The risks do not end when you graduate. UNSW will rescind your degree, if we find you engaged in contract cheating during your studies, even after your graduation.

    UNSW is also aware that some students have been blackmailed by the people who completed the work the student submitted. Blackmail is a crime and could continue affecting your life long after you have graduated. 

  • You can also seek more specialised help from the university, and nearly all of these services are free.

    Academic Assistance

    • Academic Skills offers academic skills support to all students enrolled at UNSW, including consultations to help you work on your assessments. 
    • Academic Integrity Module: A self-paced module that you can complete and receive a certificate.
    • Academic Skills on Plagiarism
    • Academic Skills Workshops on Plagiarism. What it is and how to avoid it.

    Library Assistance

    • Library Peer Mentors are third year students who can offer guidance and support in understanding coursework, breaking down assisntment questions, finding the righr resources, sharing study skills and time managment tips and encouraging you on your academic journey.

    Student Support 

    • Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.

    Student Advocate

    Health and Mental Health

    UNSW Health Service

    • UNSW Health Service  provide a quality health service to the students, staff & visitors of UNSW. Their doctors, nurses and administration staff are non- judgemental and have a special interest in youth health. 
The new UNSW Code of Conduct & Values takes effect from Friday 17th May 2024
Learn more