Examination Misconduct

Information for Staff


  • Student Conduct Team deals with all on-campus exam misconduct, plus all Honours and PG online exam misconduct, plus repeat offences at any level.
  • Schools deal with online exam misconduct at UG non-honours levels.
  • Source materials and/or other appropriate evidence must be provided, as with plagiarism allegations.
  • For on-campus exam allegations, scripts should be removed from marking and ‘7’ returned as the grade.

Online examinations

Since the pandemic, with the move to primarily online examinations, the types of allegations the Student Conduct Team receives has changed. Rather than allegations of prohibited material, which form a small percentage of current allegations, we now receive a large number of allegations of plagiarism in exam answers, collusion with other students (or external assistance) or violation of exam duration instructions. For Honours and postgraduate students, and in cases of repeat offences, such allegations should be reported to the Student Conduct Team with, where appropriate, the plagiarism referral form and marked up sources. We appreciate hybrid working can make the finding and marking up of sources more challenging, but without this evidence we cannot take cases forward. For non-Honours undergraduate students, Schools may handle these cases in accordance with the guidance.

Separate guidance for students about their conduct in online exams has been produced.

In-person examinations

Students are made aware of examination instructions in advance of all examination diets and should be clear about which items are permitted and which are not. Additionally, large posters indicating this should be present at examination venues, and the invigilator’s announcement gives a final summary of the rules – and a final opportunity for students to remove any prohibited items - before the examination starts.

Students found to have brought prohibited items into an examination will be reported by the invigilator to Registry, who will then advise the Student Conduct Team and the student’s School. When Schools are advised about the allegation, they will be reminded in the email that the student’s answer book must be removed from markingIn some cases the original paper will be required to be, and sent to the Student Conduct Team – we will advise you if that is the casePlease ensure this is done if requested and that the paper is not accidentally sent for markingThe Student Conduct Team should receive the original answer book, not a copyIf, for some reason, the paper has already been sent for marking before the report of the allegation is received, no mark must be returned to the student. 

A result of 7 (‘deferred') should be returned in the student’s record for the course concerned. The Student Conduct Team will advise on any change to this once the case is concluded.

Although some students will be sent warning letters (for very minor misdemeanours), most students will be interviewed by the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct or have their case considered in their absence by the Senate Assessors. The typical penalty applied for examination misconduct, where the student could potentially have gained an advantage by the misconduct, is grade H for the examination, sometimes with no resit opportunity. In very severe cases credit may be refused or the case may be escalated to the Committee level. All students are made aware of this in advance of their examinations.

Sometimes staff members submit letters of support for their students. We welcome this. However, staff members wishing to do this should bear the following in mind:

  • Intentionality cannot be taken into account.
  • The offence is bringing the prohibited item, regardless of whether it was used, consulted, or relevant to the exam questions.
  • A student’s previous good standing does not mitigate the offence.
  • Penalties applied need to be fair to all students committing a similar offence and, although the proportionality of penalties is taken into account, the range of possible outcomes may be limited.
  • Avoid speculation and unfounded comments or criticisms (of, for example, the invigilator's motives or actions).

Once the student has been interviewed (or their case considered in absentia), the School will be advised, via the outcome letter, of the result and whether any resit opportunity is to be permitted. In cases where a conduct matter has not been resolved in time for the resit diet, we advise students to take the resit so that they do not miss the opportunity, but on the understanding that their paper may not be marked if it is ultimately determined that they either did not need to take the resit, or were not permitted by the Assessors to do so.