Cheating and Plagiarism

What is cheating?

Cheating is defined as any illegitimate behaviour which may deceive those setting, administering and marking the assessment. Cheating in a assessment is a very serious academic offence, which will lead to de-registration and black-listing with SAQA. Cheating can take one of a number of forms, including:

  • The use of unauthorised books, notes, electronic aids or other materials in an examination.
  • Obtaining an examination paper ahead of its authorised release.
  • Collusion, i.e. the representation of another’s work or ideas as one’s own without appropriate acknowledgement or referencing, where the owner of the work knows of the situation and both work towards the deceit of a third party. This differs from plagiarism where the owner of the work does not knowingly allow the use of his or her work. In modules where ability in a language other than English is being assessed, unfair assistance from native speakers of the language is also deemed to be collusion.
  • Acting dishonestly in any way including fabrication of data, whether before, during or after an examination or other assessment so as to either obtain or offer to others an unfair advantage in that examination or assessment.
  • Plagiarism


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the the act of representing another’s work or ideas as one’s own without appropriate acknowledgement or referencing. There are three main types of plagiarism, which could occur within all modes of assessment (including examination):

  • Direct copying of text from a book, article, fellow student’s essay, handout, thesis, web page or other source without proper acknowledgement.
  • Claiming individual ideas derived from a book, article etc. as one’s own, and incorporating them into one’s work without acknowledging the source of these ideas.
  • Overly depending on the work of one or more others without proper acknowledgement of the source, by constructing an essay, project etc. by extracting large sections of text from another source, and merely linking these together with a few of one’s own sentences.


What should I do to avoid being accused of plagiarism?

In order to avoid being accused of the more inadvertent forms of plagiarism you need to ensure that you adopt the following aspects of good practice:

  • Adopt a good note-taking technique.
  • Make sure while you are reading and taking notes that you keep accurate records of the author, title, and publication details of source, including page numbers (if relevant).
  • Make clear in your own notes where you have copied a quote word for word from your source, so that when you come to write up your notes you know which parts are in your own words, and which are in the words of your source.
  • Make clear in your own notes where you have taken an idea from your source.
  • Make sure that you have referenced your work in accordance with the referencing guide set out in your departmental handbook; remember referencing conventions do vary between disciplines.