I am doing a closed and open book exam recently. I was working so hard on it and hoping to pass the exam. However, I received an email that said there’s an evidence that I plagiarized. I was crying for days and couldn’t do anything. I can’t even concentrate on reading and understanding the link they send to me. In the meeting, they shown me an evidence and what surprising to me was, one sentence that I wrote almost 99% identical to a paper that I might read in the past. I have done some exercise question that is related to the subject/theme in the exam as well as listen to zoom classes audio. I’m not a native English speaker and I used grammarly to help with my grammar and the program most of the time suggest me to rewrite what I wrote, concisely. I also grew up in a country that used ‘memorizing’ as a way to study and answers exam. The evidence clearly not on my side but I am not cheating. I state that I am not guilty although it’s highly unlikely that’s going to be the outcome. Am I doing the wrong thing?
Am I doing the wrong thing?
Assuming your characterisation is honest and complete, it would seem that the university is overreacting. If you have studied by reading books and papers, and then in a closed-book exam write a sentence that is almost identical to a sentence from those books or papers, I wouldn't consider that cheating or plagiarism. I've never seen an exam where one is required to cite sources, and exam answers are not a publication, so I'm not sure if one even can plagiarise when answering questions on an exam.
If their evidence of cheating relies on one sentence that is very similar to a sentence from a book or paper, defend yourself. One sentence is not much. It is reasonably possible that you have read the sentence, that it is an obvious way of formulating it, and that you subconsciously came up with the formulation you had already read, during the exam. Bring that up as your defence.
I hope that the university will not bring serious consequences based on what seems to be rather thin evidence. Defend yourself, because a "conviction" of plagiarism or cheating may impact you negatively for a long time to come.
In case you grow up in a place like mine, where memorialisation is stressed too much, it is absolutely necessary to know the standards and ethics by studying and realising on our own. Especially when we aren't encouraged to embrace the ethics with life, and the ethics remains confined within some dull and boring literature or study material.
Read about different kinds of plagiarism. Plagiarism doesnt always have to be word to word copy. If you have took an information from somewhere else, may it be your textbook or may it be from an website, but do not credit it properly, it is plagiarism. Looks like in your case, you have done it unintentionally. Confess your situation. Don't feel guilty; your professor's behaviour is not your responsibility. The best you can try is to remain as original as possible. If I was in your place, I would be rather thankful for spotting my mistake.
My suggestion - Next time be original. Write what you feel. In case you cannot remember the source, write that.
For a place like ours, where people have to write absolute lies on essays, or there is 'a right way' to draw something; originality is punished. Still, in long run, originality wins.