Since High School, I have cheated a lot in exams. But in college it became a habit and I developed successful ways of doing it, without getting caught throughout first and second year. But I eventually got caught, and I feel horrible about it, it was the most humiliating thing ever, but I guess karma comes to us all.

A lot of the other students know that I've cheated a lot throughout the course and lost respect for me, so they'll be happy now. This time, I cheated in the same way that has worked a lot for me in the past. I recorded full essays on my phone, put it in my pocket with earphones hidden up my jumper and sleeves, and I rested my head on my hand with the earbud in my ear, listening to the recorded material. I knew early on that this invigilator was more wary of my body language than any others have been before, she was a lot younger than any others and probably more alert about technology. I became a bit unsettled, and she noticed that as well. When the first essay finished, I put my arm down and she immediately came over to me and investigated me. My major mistake this time was that, instead of putting my phone in my pocket and covering the wire with my jumper, I had it between my legs with the wire sticking down the middle of my trousers. She saw the wire, bent down and pointed at it asking 'what's this?' then rolled up my sleeve and found the ear socket inside. I was busted, so I gave her my phone and earphones, then she took my paper of me and gave me a new one to restart. It wasn't subtle, the whole class knew about it and I saw a lot of them turning around to look at me. She then phoned her invigilator boss and told her about it to make sure she handled it correctly, and she said clearly 'I just caught a student cheating' in front of everyone. I just sat there for the rest of the time, not knowing anything because I didn't study for it, and wrote a letter to the marker about it. At the end, everyone left the room staring at me while she took a photo of the evidence.

I burst into tears when I was left with the invigilator on my own, and she told me to speak to my tutor. He told me that I'd fail the module, and I emailed the programme leader about it, who said he would wait for the invigilator's report. I think I'm going to have to go through a disciplinary hearing, but I have to protect myself. I can't admit that I've cheated in just about every exam in the three years I've been there, I'll have to say that this was a one off thing because of personal problems and lack of preparation.

But it's not a good feeling having a conscience guilty of such dishonesty, and more lies to tell. I can't get expelled from the course, because I want to get my degree, but I'll deal with failing the module and having a disciplinary record.

Am I just an evil person by nature? I know I don't deserve to be on the course having not been caught so many times, yet I'm doing everything I can to stay. A lot of people say honesty is the best policy, but I don't believe that is true within the business of living and getting success.

Also, how will a disciplinary record affect my future? Will employers/other education institutions know of it after I leave?

  • 40
    It seems to me like you only feel bad about the consequences of getting caught, not at all about the cheating you've done. Given your admitted history of cheating and complete lack of remorse, you certainly deserve to be expelled. Keep in mind that it's your dishonesty that has led you to this position, do you really want to double down on that?
    – Roger Fan
    May 8, 2015 at 1:43
  • 34
    I'm mildly shocked by the fact that your moral system has failed to develop beyond the stage of "doing whatever I can to get ahead as long as I'm not caught". You need to re-examine your fundamental assumptions of life.
    – Drecate
    May 8, 2015 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


Also, how will a disciplinary record affect my future? Will employers/other education institutions know of it after I leave?

I think the piece you're missing here -- and this is life advice, not college advice -- is that your future employer will find out very quickly simply because you don't know a lot. If you cheated on all of your exams instead of studying, you likely did not learn very much. You may have been able to hide this from your college so far because they only check on you during exams. But you won't be able to hide this from your employer because they will need to see results from your work, on a more or less permanent basis. If you did not learn anything in college, this will become apparent very quickly in work life.

In the long term, you have two options: (i) take a job that does not require a lot of skills, likely does not pay very much, and may not be very fulfilling, or (ii) study and acquire skills that qualify you for a better job. That choice is for you to make.

  • 2
    I think the problem is that I've been studying a course that isn't where my heart I truly set. If I enjoyed what I was learning, and was interested by it, I wouldn't resort to cheat. That's why I'm leaving this year and focusing on what I really enjoy. And for these exams, everyone forgets everything after about a month (as a class we discussed it) so it won't really affect our future. They're just short-term memory analysis by seeing how much information we can cram into our heads within a few weeks, after we've done the other projects and essay coursework
    – Jamie
    May 8, 2015 at 2:32
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    Even in the most desirable job, there will be times when it becomes a grind. If you don't learn to work honestly at something when it isn't fun you are unlikely to succeed at anything. May 8, 2015 at 2:39
  • 17
    @Jamie: You're rationalizing bad behavior. But that's not a strategy to be successful. May 8, 2015 at 13:29
  • 2
    "If you cheated on all of your exams instead of studying, you likely did not learn very much." If exam questions can be answered by just listening to an audio stream, one may question the real-world value of the exam.
    – pmf
    Jan 9, 2018 at 9:52

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