Recently I had a Java exam at university. Usually how I prep for this kind of programming exam is studying with my best friend. We were studying object oriented programming using lists, double linked lists etc.

There were three tasks on the exam, the first one was about linked lists, the other two were some random math tasks. I did the first one and my friend did all three. We both got 0 points because our first task, which can only be done in two possible ways, was too similar. The obvious reason for this is because we spent quite some time studying together and using the same syntax.

I do not know what to do now and how to confront my professor without him getting mad and making it worse. I feel bad now and it hurts me much so I was thinking about dropping uni due to it's flaws.

Is there anything I can do to to recover from this?

  • 5
    I’m voting to close this question because no question is asked. – Anonymous Physicist May 31 at 11:18
  • 4
    @AnonymousPhysicist, certainly one is implied. "What should I do now?" – Buffy May 31 at 11:52
  • 1
    I suggest you, CupidONO, add an explicit question to the end of your post to avoid complications here. I think people are being overly picky about the rules here, but being explicit would end that. – Buffy May 31 at 12:20
  • 1
    I edited to add my understanding of the implicit question. The OP can edit the post as usual. – Buffy May 31 at 12:24
  • 2
    @FedericoPoloni, no "harm" for a long time user, perhaps, but a bit insulting to a new user when the fix is easy - easier than getting the question reopened. Being overly didactic isn't helping here. – Buffy May 31 at 12:35

I think your best option is to explain how you studied to the professor. If you saved any of the work you did while studying it would help to show it. Perhaps it was just a matter of using similar names for things - which might be natural for two people studying together.

But, if you haven't cheated on the exam, just continue to insist that you did not. If you don't get satisfaction, escalate it up whatever chain of authority is open to you.

It would be fairly quick and easy for the professor to give you a short, possibly oral, exam to see whether you know what the test was supposed to measure.

  • Thank you very much for the help, i do have folders of all of the exercises i did and the dates of projects.A lot of them were same as that first task on the exam. – CupidONO May 31 at 11:23
  • I think the response is good, but OP should give more time before accepting, as others may have further replies. – Captain Emacs May 31 at 12:01
  • They can change the acceptance at any time, of course, @CaptainEmacs – Buffy May 31 at 12:06
  • I did that, feel free to give your opinions as they mean a lot. – CupidONO May 31 at 13:47
  • 1
    @CaptainEmacs, owie owie owie. ;-) – Buffy May 31 at 15:28

Universities generally have a process for arbitrating disputes between professors and students concerning accusations of cheating. Ask at your department or major adviser what the process is. Typically it will go something like

  1. Talk to the professor and informally try to resolve the dispute.

  2. If that does not help, file a written petition explaining what happened and why you believe you were unjustly punished.

  3. In some cases you will have the right to a hearing in which you can present your case to an independent panel of people other than your professor. You may even be officially entitled to enjoy the benefit of the doubt, in the sense that in such a hearing it is the professor who will have the burden of proving that you cheated, rather than you having to prove your innocence.

I was once part of a panel in a university hearing of this type where a professor was convinced that two students collaborated in a coding assignment because some automatic plagiarism detection software assigned their assignments a high plagiarism score. Looking at the work, we concluded there was no plagiarism and ruled against the professor.

When you pursue justice, keep in mind that no one wants to punish you unjustly, and certainly no one wants you to drop out of university. Even the professor is likely just misguided in his beliefs rather than having bad or malicious intent. He is quite likely to be open to persuasion via reason and facts. Argue your case calmly and logically and I’m fairly confident you will prevail. Good luck!

  • Thank you sir, i will defend my case with good arguments.What hurts me the most is how all of this was unnecessary to me and to my friend and even to the professor who thought we cheated. – CupidONO May 31 at 18:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.