You see a student next to you cheating on an exam.

Vous voyez un étudiant à côté de vous tricher lors d'un examen.

Call attention to it.

Feel frustrated. People should do their own work and not take advantage of other people.

first reaction: its not fair.

Hide my own exam so they don't cheat off me, but I wouldn't report them. It's their own fault if they end up not knowing the material well for future classes, and I believe that karma will get back to them someday.

I let him get caught.

I probably wouldn't do anything. It is their responsibility to be honest, and if they are not going to be I don't need to involve myself.

I will be annoyed but will not do anything

I would bring the proctor over.

i would do nothing

I would ignore it.

I would not do anything about it

I would not say anything

I would think about how them cheating will hopefully catch up to them someday.

I'll ignore him/her and concentrate on my exam.

If they were cheating from my paper, I would try to be more private about my exam, but if it was another person, I would not say anything.

ignore it. I am not going to tell on a fellow classmate.

ignore them

Mention to it privately to the professor afterwards.

My reaction would depend on what they are doing. I probably would not get involved.

no reaction.

Poor kid.

Privately tell the professor after class.

Shake my head and think internally how useless that is, but alas it is their choice.

Sometimes passing an exam a matter of life or death

You ignore it, so long as it is not off your exam. If it is, you hide your exam better.

ça ne me fait rien, peut-être que ça provoquerait un peu de jalousie si je ne suis pas à l'aise avec le sujet

C'est son problème.

Hey, donne moi la réponse.

Il fait ce qu'il veut

J'essaye de faire comme lui

je continue de travailler sans m'en préoccuper.

je lui demande de l'aide.

je lui demande de m'aider

Je lui demande de me passer ses réponses.

je m'en moque, même si je n'aime pas cela.

je ne dis rien, c'est son problème.

Je ne dis rien. S'il se fait prendre c'est son problème.

je ne fais rien

Je ne fais rien.

Je ne fais rien. C'est son problème. Je reste persuadé qu'il le regrettera.

Je ne fais rien. Il se pénalise tout seul en trichant. Sa conscience va le pénaliser.

Je ne jette pas la pierre !

Je ne m'en préoccupe pas

On perd souvent plus de temps à regarder ses antisèches qu'à tout savoir correctement... tant pis pour lui.

Si j'ai des difficultés à faire l'examen je penserai que j'aurais dû faire pareil, sinon je penserai que pour cet examen ce n'était pas la peine de prendre tant de risque pour le réussir

Tant mieux pour lui s'il ne se fait pas prendre.


Ce sujet est intéressant puisque nous pouvons voir une grande différence entre les réactions américaines et françaises.

De votre côté, que vous réagissiez ou non, vous pensez que tricher est quelque chose de profondément injuste et qu'il aurait dû travailler. Nous, sans exception, cela ne nous gène pas et nous ne réagissons pas.

Néanmoins, je dois préciser que c'est le cas et que nous réagissons comme cela à l'ENSAM. Mais lors des concours que nous avons passés pour les grandes écoles, personne ne triche (si on est pris on ne peut plus passer d'examen pendant 5 ans!) et comme le nombre de places est limité, nous n'aurions pas agit de la même manière.

En France, tricher est quelque chose de courant, et de ce fait moins mal vu. Est-ce plus taboo aux Etats-Unis ? Par exemple, certains essayent de "tricher" pour payer moins d'impôts, est-ce courant aux Etats-Unis ?

I agree that there are noticeable differences between the French and American students.  It does seem that the French have a more laid-back and accepting mentality towards cheating.  In all schools in America, cheating is looked upon very harshly, as it can result in expulsion.  However, I do think cheating occurs at many schools to varying extents.  The answers on this forum are from MIT students, which is significant because most students here are extremely competitive and therefore want to outperform their fellow students.  There is not as much solidarity among students as there appears to be among the French.  Students here want to distinguish themselves as the best and cheating will obviously effect their performance in the class, if many of their classmates do well undeservingly.  This also has to do with the fact that many classes are graded on a curve, so other peoples scores will effect your scores (if you do not cheat and get a poor score, while others cheat and get better scores, it will bring your grade down further with respect to the average score in the class).  Therefore, I think it is the intense competition among students here that is a large factor in the responses you see for the MIT students.

I do not know about the number of people that cheat on their taxes or not, but I think most people weigh the positives and negatives of breaking rules.  Most times the potential consequence (cheating on an exam can equal expulsion, cheating on your taxes can be a high fine or even jail time) is not worth the risk of receiving a marginal gain (slightly higher test score, a little less taxes paid).

I agree with Baris entirely. Many students in some of the more competitive American schools are inclined to only look out for themselves. If everyone succeeds, then there are more people to compete with for job offers and internships... I try to help people understand material during class and while working on homework, but when I'm taking a test, I think it's every man for himself (or every woman for herself, in my case).  And when I'm the one who's having trouble on a test, I don't even try to cheat because I don't want to get expelled.

It seems that, in France, students aren't as competitive with each other as students are here. Is that true? Do you ever feel as if your classmates' success could hurt you?

I'm wondering what the grading system in ENSAM looks like? How much you need to do right to get an A versus B? How much effort you put in a class to get an A, if say, you are not very passionate about the material?



If I see someone cheating in an exam, I'll feel sorry for him; since he's risking his own future. After many years, he probably won't remember getting a bad grade on some exam; but if he got caught, he would get expelled. I think MIT is trying to make it less competitive between students. There is no emphasis on ranking. And for almost all classes in MIT, as long as you get 90%, it's an A.

What's the consequence if the student get caught cheating in an exam? Will he get expelled? 

I wonder how important exams are in general to l'ENSAM students. Are there exams that are  of "matter of life and death" like someone mentioned on the American side?

I disagree with both Boris and Lauren.  Yes, some students mentioned they would say something to a professor or call over a proctor, but I feel there are more people that mention saying nothing.  I do not think that everyone at MIT are very competitive, although there are a few and those few make MIT the worse of places.  I particularly came to MIT because of the low level of competitiveness I found here compared to UC Berkeley.  However, with regards to the how cheating is viewed here, yes it is something that is bad and frown upon, but I think that most people here are not cheating. I think that it is those competitive people that cheat because they feel the need to surpass everyone else.  Anyways, most people on MIT's side say they will be annoyed or bother, but won't act on it.

In L'ENSAM, is there a large sense of competitiveness?

I agree with Carlos on this one. I don't think that MIT students are super competitive.  I was thinking of going to Johns Hopkins University and those students are competitive! If I saw someone cheating I wouldn't say anything because why would I waste my precious testing time? On that note, I have never seen anyone cheating on an exam at MIT.  I think that most of the students here are honest and would never risk getting expelled. Also, a part of it might be the way tests are structuered here.  Maybe someone can correct me, but I think it would be extremely difficult to cheat on a MIT test? They usually test applications and not concepts, so a cheat sheet would be unhelpful (in my opinion).

So on that note, how are tests structured at l'ENSAM?

oh and yes there are people who try to cheat the system to pay less taxes but a lot of them get caught and go to jail. 

Are there white-collar prisons (prisons for people who commit corporate crime) in France?

Since there is not too many answers, can only guess about the reasons, and assume it is similar to my country, where cheating is very common as well. Getting highest grade is very hard, and requires a lot of remembering, like dates, and facts. Sometimes it's just impossible to remember everything for each exam you have. It is like a medical school. Second, the grade is fixed. If the whole class gets an F, it means that everyone did not study. No one is graded relative to his classmates. Comparing answers during exams is very common. Sometimes it's just obvious for the teacher that everyone was copying each other's answers, because everybody did the same mistake. In this case, the exam is held again after regular school hours. There is no punishment, except getting a grade that you deserve, if a teacher catches you cheating, or having teacher talk with your parents, so parents make sure that you study and don't cheat again.

The difference in responses made me wonder if there was a big difference in how cheating is punished. I noticed a lot of "ask him to help me" responses from the French side; whereas most of the Americans said they would do nothing, or maybe call over the professor, or think it wasn't fair. I know at most American universities, plagiarism/cheating are some of the worst offenses, along with things like hazing. That, along with the competitiveness, I think deters people from collaborating on cheating (and makes it seem so much unfair when people go unnoticed). How serious is plagiarism in France? And, is cheating a common thing?

I noted some discord between prior responses from the French students that seem to portray French people as very keen to adhere to rules, for example concerning social norms. But surprisingly, in this case, a lot of students were not bothered with cheating in exams - and some even said they would ask the person cheating to give them the responses! 

Are such 'transgressions' to the laws common in France? Or is this a unique case due to competitiveness in schools?


Cheating and plagiarism is much more frowned upon in the US. Students can be expelled if they cheat, and it is a very serious offense. Many schools will define a strict policy that punishes cheaters. Plagiarism is if a student were to copy another person's work and turn it in as his own on an essay, for example. 

Cheating on taxes is very different. In that case, it's breaking a law. Something interesting about that is there have been some major criminals (murders, or people in charge of gangs) that police couldn't find evidence for but were able to convict them of tax fraud. 

How do French schools deal with a student if he is found cheating? Do some people get away with it for a certain reason?


I understand that the responses on each side are very different, but I was wondering:  How common is cheating in France?  At l'ENSAM?  Here, cheating is rare (I think) simply because if caught the repercussions are so harsh.  Same thing for plagiarism.


Also, while competitiveness is definitely prevalent in high school and most colleges, I agree with Carlos that I like the far less competitive atmosphere at MIT.  But less competitive does not equal looking lightly on cheating.

I am curious as to how regular work and not just tests are treated in terms of people cheating.  Honestly, at MIT, we may not cheat or hear of cheating on tests, but on assignments, I feel it is regular in the sciences.  Is it so at ENSAM?

Carlos, if you do not think there is cheating at MIT, I welcome you to grade homeworks for me sometime. Exams are a more serious matter, but I would say plagiarism on homeworks is very common at MIT (it is not that hard to tell when students copied off eachother, especially when submitting electronic files), but most of the time graduate students do not tell anyone and, even if they do tell the TAs, students usually get a warning the first time. 

Also, in my opinion, I think you need to be competitive to be at the top of your class.  If you are happy to be in the pack, then being easy going is fine, but you aren't going to get to the top with that type of mentality.  Being overly competitive may not be the best quality when it comes to education, but in the real world competition is what pushes everything forward.  Coming out of MIT, it is true that essentially everyone will likely find a job, but if you want to choose your job and have every option open to you that you would like, it really helps to have the marks to back it up.  I have had UROPs (undergrads working for me in the lab), and some have been excellent students while others have been not as competitive, and I assure you there is a huge difference when it comes time for graduation and you are choosing your job from a whole bunch of offers, rather than hoping to get a single offer in any field related to your major.  And I am not saying that students are competitive to the point where they wont help eachother learn a concept or wont talk to other top students in the class, but I think most students at institutions like MIT have a desire to be the best.  Students come to MIT because it is arguably the best school in the world in science and engineering, and although some may be happy just to be here, I think most also want to prove they can strive here as well.  I also do not believe that competition makes MIT "the worst of places." Competition is what brought MIT to where it is today.  If MIT was not continualy competing against its peers, and outperforming them, MIT would not be the institution you know today.  If a whole bunch of very competitive students had not come before us, and had very successful careers, than MIT would not have the reputation it has today.  Those students that you think make MIT worse are likely going to be very large contributors to MITs positive reputation in the future, because they will be the ones pushing themselves to be better than everyone else once they graduate.

As a further example, if you go to graduate school and you work on a hot topic, such as cancer therapies, tissue engineering, etc., there could be hundreds of labs across the world, with really brilliant people, trying to solve the same problem that you are.  If you come up with a breakthrough, but you do it one week after somebody else has already solved that problem, years of hard work and research are essentially meaningless (possibly unpublishable, definitely un-patentable, and you may not even be able to use it towards your thesis).  This competition is what pushes students, at least graduate students, at MIT (I was not an undergrad here, but I have TA'd and graded many undergrad courses so I have had ample opportunities to observe). There is not always intense competition between students in the lab itself (obviously almost everyone gets along well), but all of the people in my lab are highly competitive people.  Anyone associate Linus Pauling with advancements leading up to the discovery of the DNA double helix?  Probably not, because he lost that competition, as Watson and Crick came up with the correct structure first.  Same can be said for many other discoveries.  Bottom line is, in my opinion, one of the underlying qualities of nearly all highly successful people  is being extremely competitive.  I am certain that most students at MIT have the ambition of being highly successful.

Carlos, there is a lot of competition here at MIT. But something that I noticed is that everyone at MIT is very approachable and down to earth - more so here than at other colleges. In general, people are very helpful. 

I agree with Baris, that a lot of people at MIT tend to copy psets. 

Beaucoup de réactions à ce sujet ... je vais essayer de répondre un peu


Il n'y a pas beaucoup d'esprit de compétition ici

On veut juste passer dans l'année suivante, sans avoir de rattrapage si possible, c'est à dire avoir 12/20 de moyenne

Donc on peut même aider quelqu'un a tricher pour qu'il ait 12...

Etre 1er ne nous intéresse pas plus que ça.

Si quelqu'un se fait prendre a tricher il ne lui arrivera pas grand chose, il a aura surement 0 à l'exam mais c'est tout ...

ça rend l'ambiance bien plus agréable en tout cas! mais du coup on ne travaille pas beaucoup...

Par contre comme l'a dit stéphane, lors des concours pour rentrer à l'école ce n'était pas du tout pareil, personne n'a triché, et si on se faisait prendre on était interdit de concours pendant 5ans.




Je rejoins complétement Pierre sur ce sujet. A l'ENSAM il n'y a pas de compétition mais surtout de l'entraide, l'objectif étant que tout le monde réussisse à avoir son diplôme. Pour vous donner des exemples, pendant les contrôles nous sommes dans des grandes salles, un par table, mais lorsqu'on a un QCM par exemple, les réponses peuvent être envoyées par téléphone par un élève à toute la promo. Concernant les devoirs à faire à la maison où les comptes rendu de TP que nous devons rendre en fin de séance, nous disposons des travails des élèves des années précédentes et de ceux qui l'ont déjà fait pour nous aider...

Ceci n'est pas spécifique à l'ENSAM et je pense qu'en France, tricher fait presque parti de la vie étudiante (encore une fois, ceci lorsqu'il n'y a pas de compétition et qu'on a déjà intégré l'école).

Pour répondre aux autres questions concernant la "transgression", je pense que de manière générale, en France, c'est quelque chose de fréquent de contourner et non transgresser la loi. On va dire qu'on aime bien être sur la "border line" mais je ne pense pas que nous trangressions plus les loi qu'ailleur..

Il faut tout de même bien comprendre que l'esprit de compétition inexistant n'est pas commun à toutes les écoles en France. Il est clair que pendant nos années prépa, la compétition existait, et même à un niveau parfois limite abérrant dans certaines écoles. Mais depuis notre entrée à l'ENSAM, il n'y en a carrément plus. Nous avons tout de même un classement en première année qui est utilisé pour nous offrir un échange à l'internationnal. Mais malgré cela seul 10 % (physs) des notres garde l'esprit de compétition. Je rejoins Stephane pour le fait que les Francais aiment contourner les lois.

MIT is definitely a compeititive place. Although there is a collaborative spirit and people help each other, everyone wants to do well. I have observed a good amount of cheating here. There is definitely a lot of copying answers on psets (homework). There is less cheating on exams, although I have also seen this happen a few times.