I had an exam yesterday morning which lasted 2 hours. There were two supervisors in the room for about 25-30 students.

Before the beginning of the exam and again 5 minutes before the end, they told us not to forget to write our name and student ID number on each sheet (we used our own paper to answer the questions of the exam sheet but they had in reserve in case we had not enough), something which was also indicated at the front page of the exam question sheet.

At the end, they told us to stop writing and not leave immediately, that they will now proceed to collect all exams and check that they have all of them, after what we would be allowed leave. To do this, for each student, they stapled his/ her exam question sheet with the other sheets on which he/ she wrote his/ her answers.

Now here is my problem: while they were collecting the exams, I noticed that I had forgotten to write my student card number (not the name) on one of my sheet. So I quickly took my pen and wrote it on the sheet, something that took no more than 2 seconds.

But then, once finished, I noticed that one of the two supervisor was looking at me with an angry frown while the other was stapling a student exam just next to him, so obviously he noticed that I had written something on one of my sheet.

They continued to collect all exams like normal. But once they were near me - I was the last student of the column -, the supervisor who had given me the angry frown collected the exam of the student in the row in front of me (there was one student sitting at each seat row end during the exam) and already directed himself with the pile of exams of our column to the main desk where they were gathering all exams, while the other supervisor was still busy stapling my exam.

So the second supervisor then took my exam alone in his hand. This supervisor then put my exam on the main desk and then put at least one sheet that I could not identify on top of it (so he did not put it on the exam pile of our column), and so I saw it disappear. They then said we could leave and began to sort the exams in alphabetical order (at least that's what it seemed to me they were doing)

So my questions are :

  1. Will I likely get accused of cheating in a few days?
  2. Did the other supervisor take my exam alone in order to put it on the side so they can identify who I am?
  3. Should I write a mail to them and explain what I was really doing?
  4. If I really get accused, how should I behave? Should I just tell them what I was doing even if they of course can not know if I am lying or not?

I already talked about it with my father, who is a law professor, and he said I am dramatising the entire thing and that if they really wanted to do something, they would not have let me leave the room. Moreover, he said they could not prove anything, especially given that only one of both supervisors noticed what I was doing (and there is no video surveillance in the room). That if I really get called in the office in a few days, I would just need to say that I was writing my student card number, and that's it.

I know this is a bit long, but the more I think about it, the more I think something will happen, so I would like your opinion about that matter.
Thanks for your help.

  • If something is not appropriate with my question, please say it in the comments so I can edit it. Thank you
    – user103892
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 22:48
  • 3
    There's not enough information here to draw any conclusions about what, if anything, is likely to happen, but I would nevertheless give you a bit of advice: You gain nothing by worrying about all the possibilities. As long as nothing has actually happened to you, don't worry about it. Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 23:07
  • 16
    I have no idea what they will do, but next time I think I would point out to the collectors that your ID number is missing, and write it in while they watch. Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 23:31
  • 1
    As a fun anecdote that might help you feel a little more relieved about your situation: once, upon collecting the exams, another professor in the room was collecting exams and came across a student still writing. The professor insisted that the student put his pencil down and attempted to collect the exam. The student actually grabbed the exam and held onto it, initially refusing to let the professor take it! After a few seconds, the student thought better of his actions, but needless to say, I was rather shocked. End result? A slap on the wrist from the professor (metaphorically). You're safe
    – Clayton
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 3:09
  • 2
    How can you prove it was "just" your student number - that is such an old excuse it is way beyond pension age...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 9:19

3 Answers 3


You are definitely overthinking this: in the worst case, they wrote down on their report that you wrote something when the time was finished. This could result in you getting your mark slightly reduced to account for the additional time.

I insist that this is the worst case scenario: this is clearly not a case of cheating, in all the exams I attended there are always a few students forgetting to write their student number and adding it at the end, some mistakenly writing their names, etc.

It is actually very likely that what you interpreted as a special treatment for your paper was completely normal. In my experience papers are collected in no particular order.

Take this angry frown for what it probably is: just a warning that you should follow the instructions.


It may turn out fine. But we will find out, won't we.

However, I have been in very strict military schools where pencils down, literally meant that. And your behavior would certainly be disciplined.

For one thing, you could have waited until the instructor got there and then got permission to make the addition (or asked him to make it for you). The instructor can't tell what you wrote, late. Neither can your classmates. Also, I have seen less strict schools where people did not honor the instruction to stop work. Behavior like yours is likely to make other students feel they can continue work and make it difficult to administer exams.

I would certainly support the instructors if they make any sanction on you.

In addition, the title is likely inaccurate. You got caught "writing", not "writing your number" after the exam. (The instructor likely does not know exactly what/why you continued to write or if it was just limited to the number.)


I surely agree with your dad. Don't over react over the reaction of that one supervisor. If he/she had seen you directly and doubted on what you're doing, on that moment he/she would have called your attention or not let you leave the room, cause definitely they will act on that exact moment. So just calm down for now, and if ever what your overthinking really happens (that they will call you to the office), you have nothing to worry and just say the truth.