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

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

Depending on how bad the cheating was, I would probably just not say anything and then ask him/her about it after class (then depending on what I got out of it, maybe tell the teacher, but probably not).

Do nothing and keep working. I am not jealous because if a student has to cheat, his or her result is definitely not going to be as good as me. I am not reporting the student because that may result in his/her expulsion and i don't want to ruin a person's life.

Hmm, I must be in Italy. I feel like rates of obvious cheating fell here since middle school. In college it happens on homeworks (outside the classroom) or in very big lecture classes I don't even take. Anyway, I'd ignore it.

I am upset but would probably not tell the professor.

I do nothing.

I don't tell on them. I dislike them for cheating but at the same time wish I could be doing it too.

I let him

I try to assess if he or she was being a lazy jerk or made a stress-motivated mistake. I act based on my decision.

I will report it to the professor

I would be frustrated that the TAs did not notice, but would try to focus back to my own exam.

I would feel very uncomfortable, and try to better cover my answers.

I would ignore it and go on with my exam. In the long run this student is harming himself and will not likely pass the class.

I would move to a different place to take the exam and

I would notify the teacher once all the students have left.

I would only tell the professor depending on the circumstances.

I would think he is a very brave person and continue with my exam.

I wouldn't say anything. If it's someone I am friends with, I might talk to them about it later.

I'll do nothing, it's not my business, I don't wish to make enemies and rat people out. Their mistake is in doing it and the consequences will come one way or another.

If the cheater is a good friend of mine, I would talk to the friend and ask him why he cheated, and tell him that he should stop (because he will not learn if he keeps cheating, and he might get caught). If it's not my friend, I probably will not bother telling anyone about it.

Ignore him/her. It's not to his/her benefit if he/she cheats.

Ignore them. It sounds corny, but they really are just cheating themselves, at least most of the time.

It isn't right or fair, but he may do what he wants. I would not report it.

none of my business really but if it is off my test, tell them off.

Very unfair - thought.

"pssst...20euros et je dis rien."
non sans blague je ne lui dis rien, ni à l'administration sauf peut être si c'est lors d'un concours

Je continue mon examen.

Je l'aide s'il en a besoin

je l'ignore

je l'ignore

je le laisse faire car de toute façon c'est lui qui aura des problèmes s'il se fait attraper et pas moi. Il faut savoir s'entre aider.

je le laisse faire et reviens à ma copie, la chose la plus importante.Son échec viendra, qu'il réussisse à tricher ou pas

Je le laisserais faire avec l'espoir qu'il se fasse prendre.

Je ne dirais rien. Je penserais qu'il ne ressentira aucune gloire et n'aura aucun mérite s'il arrive à obtenir une bonne note

Je ne dis rien et continue mon examen.

Je ne dis rien mais je n'en pense pas moins

Je ne dis rien, il regrettera plus tard de l'avoir fait, tricher n'avance à rien et ne nous apprend rien.

je ne dis rien. S'il veut tricher c'est son problème

Je ne m'y attarde pas, tant pis pour lui car ça ne lui apportera rien de bon

Je reste le regarder et rigole s'il se fait attraper.

je roule des yeux et me retourne.

Je souris en pensant à la situation si un prof le surprenait.


Tant qu'il ne triche pas sur moi, je m'en fiche ! Se sera son problème s'il se fait chopper !


Je pense que si c'est lors d'un concours même si c'est très difficile je pense de pouvoir tricher j'irais me plaindre car cela fait un concurrent de moins! Mais si c'est lors d'un examen, devoir ça m'est égal!

Je serais dégoûté , mais je ne pense pas que je dirais quelque chose; je trouve cela triste, et je pense que l'étudiant le paiera un jour ou l'autre; en France, quand on est pris à tricher lors d'un devoir, on est interdit d'examen pendant 5 ans, alors... Comment cela se passe t-il aux Etats Unis?

Oups! j'ai oublié de vous dire que pour moi, les réponses des deux côtés de l'Atlantique sont identiques, et cela montre que pour ce point, la différence culturelle ne semble pas trop jouer. Qu'en pensez-vous?

So the responses are fairly similar but i noticed on the US side there are 3 people who would report this to the professor whereas, there are none on the French side.

This has been a very common dilemma because there are a lot of issues involved here: integrity, jealousy, friendship, possible Social ostracism experienced by the reporter

Ultimately i think the decision rests not so much on the culture of the person (i.e almost no differences between the french and the American), but rather on what matters to the person. If you value the friendship with the cheater, you would not report. If you worry about the possible hatred that you would create between the cheater and yourself, you would not report. If this is an important competition and you want to win it so bad, you would report. If you value integrity, you would report. 

I was wondering, what are the values you guys were taught about when you were younger (primary school/ middle school)? 

Les valeurs que l'on nous a appris a l'école primaire et collège sont surtout le respect des autres.

J'avais remarqué la même chose que toi Linh! du côté américain quelques uns d'entre vous aurait été en parler au professeur et aucun du côté français !

Après je pense que ça dépend de le personnalité de chacun, c'est vrai que c'est énervant de voir quelqu'un avoir une meilleure note que nous alors qu'il a triché et que nous nous avons beaucoup travaillé pour arriver à ce résultat.


Les valeurs qu'ils nous ont été enseignés sont pour moi le respect des autres.

Chaqun est libre de ses choix, a près c'est à lui d'en assumer les conséquences.

Est ce que l'un d'entre vous s'est déjà réellement retrouvé dans cette situation?


I forgot to talk about the consequences of cheating in the States. This information is what I have from MIT's website on academic integrity

"The consequences of cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and other forms of academic dishonesty are serious. Academic dishonesty may result in suspension or expulsion. Faculty members will decide how to handle violations of academic integrity on a case-by-case basis"... "If academic dishonesty is found, the faculty member may fail the student on the paper, problem set, or exam, or the faculty member may fail the student in the class"

However,in Singapore, where I did my high school. cheating means "immediate expulsion". Well, singapore is definitely famous for being the strictest country in the world.


Yes, I have been in that situation before. Both sides of the situation actually: the one who cheated and the one who saw another person cheating

yup, I am not reluctant to talk about my cheating incident. So I grew up and studied in Vietnam until the end of middle school. So at school, we were kind of "trained" to be really good at something, for me it's mathematics and english. My classmates and I hence treated other subjects with minimal attention. so once we had a test on "moral education" (I know right!) which involved a big chunk of memorizing. So, we obviously cheated! I say about 75% of the class. It was like a joke. But someone reported me !!!(that person became an outcast by the way) and my mom had to use her "diplomatic abilities" to save me from a failing grade. That was a scare and I never cheated again

The time I saw someone cheating was very different. It was during the National Contest for Mathematics (aka Mathematics Olympiad in Vietnam). And i reported the incident after everyone has left the room. Possibly, it was because i felt bitter of that time I was caught and reported. But the greater reason I felt is because I worked too hard to see anyone having an unfair advantage!

In singapore, i haven't seen anyone cheating yet. The punishment is just too harsh. A decade ago, a student might be caned for cheating!

At MIT, I haven't seen cheating yet. I think it's because 1/ the exams are very difficult/ long. You don't even have time to cheat 2/ For a lot of the questions, you have to apply the principles to get the answers. The only thing you know beforehand is the principle (which very often is very simple and doesn't require cheating to know). we even have open-book exams!!!

Sorry for the long answer. I hope you guys don't get bored reading this.


qui n'a jamais tricher au moins une fois dans sa vie ? tout dépend ensuite de l'examen pendant lequel on triche, en france si on est surprit à tricher pendant un examen important (bac, concours...) nous sommes interdit d'examens pendant 5 ans donc nous ne pouvons passer aucun concours, aucun permis ...

il vaut mieux apprendre ses cours!!

Linh, je suis surpris que tu avoues avoir triché, c'est très honnête de ta part! Est-ce que si vous trichez à MIT et que vous êtes expulsé, vous êtes aussi interdit dans les autres universités américaines?

En France, presque toutes les universités utilisent des logiciels spéciaux pour débusquer les fraudeurs, ceux qui font du copié-collé; avez-vous la même chose?


Quelques articles sur le sujet...

Merci Linh! Je serais très embêtée si je voyais quelqu'un tricher, ce n'est pas normal de passer avant ceux qui ont fait l'effort de travailler! Maintenant, 5 ans d'interdiction, c'est peut-être beaucoup, alors que nos hommes politiques et nos banquiers perdent des milliards et qu'on ne leur fait rien...

Moi, je crois que j'irais voir l'étudiant à la fin de l'épreuve pour qu'il se dénonce lui-même auprès des profs, c'est plus citoyen!

I would also agree that cheating at MIT is hard because of the nature of the tests. However, being a TA I have seen many students cheat on their PSETS and normally I do not say anything because it always shows on their exams.

I feel American professor talk a lot about the consequences of cheating. However, when it comes to actually doing something, I'm not sure if they actually follow through with the consequences. I have never seen anyone cheating on test (probably cause I'm too concentrated on mine to pay attention to what people around me are doing), but I do have friends who are TAs and, like Ciara said, they notice their students cheat on homework. Some of them even tell the professor and the professor doesn't do anything. I don't know how it would work for tests, but I do know some professors ask you to please tell if someone is cheating.

Linh, you shared some nice stories and it's very honest of you to share the cheating incident. As you pointed out, this is a very tough issue to deal with, as you all have pointed out, and I agree that it is more of a personal choice than a cultural choice.

I would also like to share a story from my high-school years of a time when I caught someone cheating: 

I was taking a Spanish class in which everyone cheated (Linh this is kind of like your story!), but it was not because they didn't care about the class; rather it was because the teacher was new to the school, her english was very bad, and she was not very confident or intimidating. In fact, she was the kind of person who wouldn't even realize it if the whole class was teaching--she was too innocent. So, people in this class took advantage of this fact and they would always bring slips of paper with the answers into their exams and she would never find out.

This happened several times, and I got a little irritated because I didn't like it that students were taking advantage of the fact that my teacher was a new/innocent teacher. So, at the end of one of the classes, I approached her and I told her that "there are students in the class who are cheating on the tests". She asked me for their names, but I told her that I cannot give the names because I didn't want to get anybody in trouble; I simply wanted to let her know that cheating was happening so that she could be watchful of it next time.

She was very thankful and even though I hadn't told her the name of any of the cheaters, I felt much better because now the teacher wasn't oblivious to the cheating.

I think, in most cases, culture (not necessarily at the national level...but the culture of a certain school or class) determines if cheating goes on.

This past summer I was at a (serious) math camp at Italy and the whole room in one of my classes became a network of traveling information during our midterm. I have to believe the professor saw this but didn't say anything because he just didn't want to deal with it. The whole time, people were whispering answers out the side of their mouths in ways that looked distinctly comical. I wanted to put down my test and laugh, it was such obvious and ridiculous cheating. After the test, a Romanian friend told me this kind of thing also happened at her old school. She felt angry, but personally I didn't. If I ever saw this go on at MIT, however, I would be mad. I think this is because I know it's not accepted here.

So, while some people would never cheat in any school, city, or country, I think, for many people, whether they'll cheat (or get mad over cheating) is just a question of the environment they're taking the test in!

The two responses that interested me the most were the "I would help him" on the french side, and "I would think him very brave" on the american side. I am wondering why the former came to be expressed? Would you actually help someone who is cheating, or was that a joke? Would you perhaps help a friend if you know he needs it?

Also, I think the way that cheating is regarded in schools is very different. In Russia, for example, cheating wasn't a big issue- it happened all the time, and it was fun/ a joke. Getting caught with notes wasn't a disaster- you'd get a bad grade on that exam, but you wouldn't fail the class. There are lots of kids stories of people having fun while cheating (usually not succeeding at it very well, but still), and my parents have told me of funny instances. People were very creative with these things- for example, exams always included an oral part, so people learned to read lips so that they could mouth hints to eachother if they were being examined at the same time by one professor.

Here, cheating is considered as something else entirely: we have been told from a very young age that it is wrong and immoral, and that consequences are very dire. We have special programs that check student essays against internet databases of previous work. I'm thinking that part of this heightened sensitivity to cheating is because people have gotten so much better and more subtle at it (downloading essays, for example) that it is hard to track down, and the only defense remains fear and conscience. I find it hard to believe that personal integrity is valued more in the US than it is elsewhere, but it is certainly more emphasized in school. 

How harshly are the French reprimanded for cheating? Is it often mentioned? Are there any specific measures in place to prevent it?

For me personally, I've never had this kind of cheating experience--like what Lina said, it's probably because I'm too focused on my own test to actually notice people around me cheating.  I think it's very interesting that the two sides had very similar responses, which leads me to agree with the idea that responses to cheating reflect personal values rather than cultural ones.  In my mind, most people tend to realize that going through the trouble to rat people out will only lead to making enemies, which is totally understandable.  So I think that it takes a lot for Anshul to do something like what he described above, pointing out that cheating is taking place, but not mentioning names. 

Also, just a curious question, how can you tell someone is cheating? If they're looking at someone else's paper? what if you happened to catch them while they were taking their eyes off their own paper just as a break?

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Linh and everyone else.

I think the way cheating in schools (and helping the cheaters, e.g. students that don't study hard) is regarded in the USA correlates with their distinct perception of "individualism," "every man for himself," etc.


Linh mentioned that cheating may often depend on the relationship between the cheater and the person observing the cheating (as shown by our responses as well). At my fraternity (a close-knit group of guys living together, like a dorm, but much smaller), we hold that if we catch each other cheating, that we tell each other to stop, because ultimately, we are concerned with our academic performance. By academic performance, I don't mean if we get caught, I mean that if a brother has to resort to cheating or copying, then they need some sort of help, or reevaluation of their priorities so that they can successfully do their work the right way, without cheating. (Whether this holds true in the field or not, I don't know, I just turn a blind eye to it).

In the same line of reasoning, if the cheater is someone we don't know, or someone who isn't close to us, we couldn't care less about them; they'll face the consequences in the long run if not immediately.

@Ken, cheating isn't necessarily looking on someone else's paper. It can also include having hidden answers in your sleeves, in the label of your water bottle, under the bottle cap, etc. Cheating off of someone else's exam is considerably harder to notice, I feel, as you said, 'cause after all, they could just be taking a break and they could just have wandering eyes. I think there's a certain threshold of watching/leaning in a particular threshold that could be construed as cheating though.

Merci Linh de ta sincérité et tu ne m'as pas ennuyé bien au contraire, c'est toujours intéressant d'apprendre des choses qur quelqu'un.

Etant donné que tu viens du Vietnam ( si je ne me trompe pas ), est ce que tu perçois beaucoup de différences au niveau de la façon d'étudier, de l'éducation.. entre les USA et le vietnam?

"Also, just a curious question, how can you tell someone is cheating? If they're looking at someone else's paper? what if you happened to catch them while they were taking their eyes off their own paper just as a break?:

Kenneth, yeah I found that odd too. How can you catch someone cheating unless you have superpowerful peripheral vision that someone is cheating off of you if you aren't looking around as well?

I would personally not want some to cheat from me on an exam, but come to think of it, I'm probably not even aware of any cheating if it does happen at all.

I do think it's interesting that more American students are competitive and grade obssessed and as a result, would find it natural to report concerns of cheating to a teacher/professor/TA in order to rectify the situation.

Anton, I think you bring up a really good point about the relationship between the cheater and the observer. In the case of fraternities and brotherhood, where students are extremely close to each other, I have noticed that cheating takes place all the time and friends often encourage or support it. However, I should clarify that this "cheating" (I don't even know if you can call it that) that occurs amongst fraternity men may not be as "visible" as the kind where you "write answers under your sleeve" or where you look at someone else's paper. Rather it's the exchange of answers for Problem Sets, often "photocopying" someone else's homework, etc. 


I don't know if this is cheating. If it is, then I think it takes place everywhere at MIT--dorms, fraternities, even amongst casual friends. After all, students are busy people and I'm sure many of us have ended up having to get someone else's Homework (I certainly have) due to lack of time or inability to complete it oneself. If someone were to complain to the teacher/professor about such cheating every time it occurred, the teacher would receive a constant barrage of emails/messages and would probably be quite frustrated. Long story short, I think cheating outside of class occurs frequently amongst friends, and currently students who are aware of that type of cheating never tell their professors about it (to some extent, I think professors are already aware of it).


This brings up another point about "how serious" the cheating is, and should the seriousness of the cheating affect our reactions to it? That is, if we see someone cheat, how do we judge the severity and decide if it's the kind of thing we might want to bring to the professors attention. Or are we ALWAYS inclined to ignore it and not tell the professor about it... 


I guess it's difficult to answer a question like that. As Anton pointed out, it depends on relationship between observer and cheater, and my guess is that it also depends on various other arbitrary factors--how one is feeling that day, whether one has done that same type of cheating himself/herself in the past and is guilty, etc.



Moi je dis que si tu vois quelqu'un tricher et que tu le dénonces, le jour où toi tu tricheras tu devras également te dénoncer ... Assumes jusqu'au bout !

Est-ce que tous les tricheurs que nous sommes :) réagiront comme cela dans ce cas-ci ? Je ne pense pas, ce serait trop bête !!! C'est pourquoi je ne dénoncerai personne en cas de tricherie à un examen (sauf si ma place est en jeu).

I agree with what Irina said about the nature of the class dictating the amount of cheating that occurs: teacher's attitude, size of the class, etc.

Some professors think that writing a few words after the test has officially ended is considered cheating. Luckily, many professors don't think this way.


comme cela a été dit auparavant, en France, quand on triche on n'a plus le droit de se présenter à) un examen pendant 5 ans, ce qui est très long, mais cela n'empêche pas certains de le faire parfois; cette année, il paraît que dans un des départements de l'IUT, les profs de maths ont interdit les calculatrices programmables car certains étudiants y mettaient tous leurs cours et ils n'avaient plus qu'à recopié; ils ont du acheter des calculatrices pour collégiens!



Pas de réponse sur les logiciels anti fraude?

Est-ce que les français trichent plus que les autres? Regardez ce site !!!

(plus de détails sur le sujet)