The Most Common Types of Student Cheating and How to Battle Them

Types of cheating and how to fight them

It looks like the question of integrity in education has been around forever. In recent years though, since the technology became widely accessible and plenty of open-sourced materials can be easily found all over the Internet, student cheating rate has risen drastically.

Apart from the typical methods students go to obtain a grade for submission, there are truly innovative and sophisticated ones, which aren’t obvious and easy to detect. In this article, we will break down a variety of student dishonesty techniques and how you can beat them.

So, first things first. There are common types of paper-related cheating that aren’t something new but can still be overlooked by teachers, professors, and others dealing with student papers:

  • Direct plagiarism

Basically, it’s copying, word for word, a text by another writer without proper quotation.

  • Mosaic (patchwork) plagiarism

When some phrases and passages by another writer are borrowed and rephrased while keeping to the same structure and original meaning.

  • Paraphrasing

In general, rewriting someone else’s thoughts in different words. This one is considered cheating only when the sources aren’t cited properly.

  • Self-plagiarism

Turning in a paper that has already been submitted in the past and reusing your own materials without permission or proper citing.

  • Contract cheating

Paying someone (usually, fellow student or an essay mill) for writing a paper.

Interestingly, there is one thing all above-mentioned methods have in common, and that’s taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. According to the latest stats of plagiarism detection tools (, the average plagiarism rate found in student papers equals 38.5%. What’s more, 7% of students in the US and dreadful 50% in the UK ( admitted using essay mill service at least once during the school year.

With the growth of educational technology aimed at detecting various attempts of cheating among students, they have gone the extra mile in how to trick plagiarism detection software:

  • Letters substitution

By replacing characters in words to the duplicates from other languages, students intend to make the text look original for plagiarism checker.

  • Translation from a different language

This type of cheating is close to paraphrasing; the only difference is a student translates another author’s materials from a foreign language and presents as their own.

  • Adding white-colored text to both footer and header of the text

Including non-visible blocks of unique text is meant for lowering an overall plagiarism rate of the paper, which plays an important role in the final grade.

  • Inserting pictures with text

Uploading assignment in the form of the pictures with text doesn’t allow checking the particular text for matches; therefore, the text can be taken for 100% original.

  • Fabricating references

Adding a list of references that do not correspond to the content of the paper, or simply making up non-existing references.

This massive problem of student cheating is definitely something that should be countered in both strategic and tactic manners:

  • First, growing academic integrity mindset in newcomers: explaining to them why it is important to be authentic in their works and what consequences using plagiarism could have.
  • The other way is teaching students basic techniques of searching for information, analyzing it, coming up with conclusions, offering ideas, so that they understand the mechanism of dealing with facts and interpreting them.
  • And the third solution, which helps to assess students adequately and adds some additional motivation to be original in their writing, is using plagiarism checking solutions.

Current plagiarism detection software is not only seamlessly integrated into Learning Management System and does all the work in bulk and on the background. It also catches most common types of student cheating like mosaic, paraphrasing, or self-plagiarism and displays the final similarity score for every student work in the assignment.

What’s more, solutions like Unicheck perform a highly accurate check against the newest Internet sources and university library and provide a detailed clickable color-coded plagiarism report for each paper. easily detects letter substitution, which is a rare option, and most importantly, the AI-based functionality for detecting more sophisticated plagiarism forms including translation and contract cheating is arriving soon.

In other words, fully functional solutions to the student cheating problem already exist and really help to fight this phenomenon while the more strategic actions are being implemented.

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Source: Unicheck