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Freshers Survival Guide:

Plagiarism & cheating

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Do not be tempted to cheat – either by getting off-the-peg essays online, original essays written on commission, or just getting another student to write them for you. Cheating may seem a simple solution to ensure academic success but truth will out, penalties are severe and you will probably be sent down without a degree if you are caught.

Plagiarism is when you lift other people’s work without attribution, which is easily done when working from web sources. While it may seem like an easier option to writing original essays, don’t fall for it – university software makes it increasingly easy to detect plagiarism and it, too, can cost you your degree.

However, it can be hard to define precisely what constitutes plagiarism in the context of your course: the difference between quoting sources for the ideas in your written work and simply lifting text verbatim can seem unclear. Most universities take pains to see that you understand the difference between plagiarising (lifting) and using arguments from sources which you quote (attribution). Your university or course handbook, given out at the start of your course, should spotlight how the university defines it.

Some universities make you certify every individual piece of work you hand in as being your own work – that it is not plagiarised, and not written by anyone else.

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