Undergraduate Teaching

Distinguishing between cooperation & cheating

Distinguishing between cooperation & cheating

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Coursework marks contribute significantly to your overall Tripos mark.  Because this work is not carried out under examination conditions, the distinction between beneficial cooperation and deliberate cheating should be clearly understood.

The following information applies to all students.  There is also supplementary information for Part IIB students.


It is perfectly acceptable to discuss continuously assessed work with other students, or with demonstrators or supervisors.  Such discussions are beneficial and are to be encouraged.  Effective use of such discussions can lead to higher marks, always provided that the student has made the main contribution to the work submitted and understands all of it.


Cooperation can go too far, however, especially if one student is effectively carried by another or by the demonstrators.  For example, while it may well be beneficial for students to discuss a problem in computing, it is unacceptable for two students to submit effectively identical programs.  The named author must have made the main contribution to the work submitted and the report must be in his or her own words.

Electronic exchange of lab work is likewise acceptable up to a point.  Results obtained jointly in the lab may have only been recorded by one student in a pair, due to time constraints, and it may be more practical to pass these on in electronic format (e.g. for a word-processed report).  But analysis of the data, or production of graphs for the write-up, and all written sections of the report must be done individually, and may not be exchanged electronically.

Any deliberate attempt to pass off the work of others as being produced by the named author is cheating and constitutes academic misconduct.  All suspected cases of Academic Misconduct will be handled by the Director of Undergraduate Education in conjunction with the relevant Chair of Examiners, which may result in the case being referred to the University’s Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals for consideration under the disciplinary regulations.

Last updated on 02/10/2019 16:20