We all know cheating in exams is almost an academic crime. However, a friend of mine has some extraordinary circumstances.. He works full time job and studies at uni at the same time five days a week so he has no time to study.

He can't quit the job as he is paying for uni and he can't stop his studies as he needs a IT Bachelor degree for his job (He is actually working some administrative stuff for the meantime).

He is very hardworking and clever guy. He does all his assignments very perfectly.It is only that he doesn’t find time to memorize stuff for exams i.e. he studies for the important content exams such as coding but he doesn't for the theoretical parts such as: "define system administration" or "explain validation in JS", and this sort of thing, using cheat sheets.

He deserves full marks for his hardworking and attention. That's why he cheats the theoretical parts in exams. He gets full marks and -until now at least- survives in every exam he cheats although many of his colleagues get caught.

He is feeling guilty. He doesn't want to lose marks over theoretical content he can't find time to study, and at the same time, he doesn't feel proud nor happy with all his 'A' grades he is getting- the curriculum is full of theoretical contents.

He thought about confessing to his professors but what is the benefit of that!

He asked me, and I am asking you in turn, for any suggestions he can/should do.

  • 18
    What should he do? Stop cheating, get his butt in gear, and study. And he doesn't "deserve" anything he hasn't earned.
    – Bob Brown
    Dec 11, 2015 at 10:43
  • 8
    Working full time is no excuse for cheating. Many people have done it for both undergraduate and graduate studies. There is no need to get As in all courses.
    – Alexandros
    Dec 11, 2015 at 11:46
  • 21
    He deserves full marks for his hardworking and attention — No, he doesn't. Grades (are supposed to) measure mastery, not effort.
    – JeffE
    Dec 11, 2015 at 12:54
  • 7
    Weekends only? Bah! During my grad school days, I worked a day job for eight hours, then studied and did school work for another 6-8 hours, getting home around midnight. Your friend should put on his big-boy pants and get to work.
    – Bob Brown
    Dec 11, 2015 at 15:43
  • 6
    he needs a IT Bachelor degree for his job — If the classes your friend is taking are as useless as you seem to think they are, he should look for a better degree program. But by taking the class, he's agreed to be graded according to the instructor's standards. Moreover, by requiring an IT degree, your friend's employer has accepted that social contract and is expecting your friend to do the same. If news of his cheating got back to his employer, I expect he'd lose his job pretty quickly.
    – JeffE
    Dec 11, 2015 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


He should stop. YMMV with regards to confessions...

He's both harming himself and the reputation of his university. Future employers will look at his qualifications and expect him to know certain things. If he has no idea, then that's not good for anybody.

Being in the unenviable position of having to work full time in order to pay for your studies is no excuse to cheat.

  • 2
    If he's hired as a system administrator, his employer will expect him to know the scope of his duties, in other words, to know the definition of system administration. Your friend is rationalizing his cheating, i.e. lying to himself.
    – Bob Brown
    Dec 11, 2015 at 15:46
  • 4
    @Jad the fact that most people quickly forget how to answer a precise question word-for-word neither excuses cheating, nor means that the knowledge they had is 100% gone. It comes back easily enough. Cheating is wrong – you cannot rationalize your way out of it.
    – Moriarty
    Dec 11, 2015 at 16:17
  • 7
    Don't tell me you're still memorizing theory from college days! — "Theory" isn't something one can memorize. But yes, I'd be in pretty serious trouble if I couldn't give definitions for the basic vocabulary of my field.
    – JeffE
    Dec 11, 2015 at 16:19
  • 1
    @JeffE But you construct those definitions based on a thorough understanding of the concept in question, not on memorising a string of words, which appears to be what is expected of Jads friend.
    – gerrit
    Dec 11, 2015 at 17:03
  • 6
    @Jad cheat: to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. I honestly don't know what else there is to add. It's not our burden to persuade your friend. We have quite unanimously told you that it's wrong, so unless you intend to steer the discussion in a productive direction I suggest we leave it at that.
    – Moriarty
    Dec 11, 2015 at 18:15

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