Student looking at other student's work.

Exam Misconduct

What happens if you're accused of cheating in an exam

If you are really worried about how you will perform in exams, or if you have a lot of pressure to perform from your sponsors, your family or others, cheating isn't the best way to cope with this. It might be appropriate for you to submit information into the Exceptional Circumstances process and get some academic advice and guidance.  You might need some support from Counselling and Mental Health Support.

If you are feeling that worried and desperate about your exams, you can talk to ASK and we can help you look at options which are best for you.  

Your behaviour in the exam room is monitored and you might get caught for cheating when all you did was forget some revision notes that were in your pocket, which fell out during the exam. Make sure you know the rules about exam behaviour:

University regulations about calculators in exams.

Information about what’s good and bad academic conduct is here.

Keele regulations on examinations and assessments.

You will be asked to attend an Academic Misconduct Committee to discuss the allegation.

The committee will talk to the examiner or invigilator about the accusation and you will be given the chance to explain what happened. If you have any Exceptional Circumstances that led to you breaking exam rules then it's important you make this known to the committee.

ASK can guide you through the process, help you prepare your case and any evidence and, if you need us to, we can attend the committee with you. We will need notice of University meetings, so contact ASK as soon as you are contacted by the Misconduct office.

If the Academic Misconduct Committee decides you committed the offence, the standard penalty is a mark of 0 for the entire module. If you have a reassessment attempt remaining, you are permitted to take it but you can only get the credits; your mark will stay at 0. This means you could still have the credits to graduate but your transcript and your degree classification calculation would include the 0 from that module.

If you have Exceptional Circumstances and they are accepted by the committee, your penalty could be lowered to one deemed more appropriate. For example, you might be allowed to take a capped reassessment.

Students who are studying on courses where the entire year is counted as one large module will have their penalty varied so they don't need to retake the whole year's assessments. These are usually students studying in the Faculty of Health.

Students who are found to have committed exam misconduct for the second time will be withdrawn, unless they have Exceptional Circumstances that might lower the penalty.

In some circumstances, you may be able to appeal the decision. You will only be able to do this if you can satisfy one, or both, of the following grounds:

  • procedural irregularity in the conduct of the original investigations of the Academic Conduct Officer;
  • exceptional circumstances, providing that these circumstances can be substantiated.

More information on appealing can be found on the University website. Remember that there is a deadline of 10 days to appeal.

If you would like to appeal or need some more information contact us at ASK and we will guide you through the process.

Students who are studying on a professional course will also go through the University's Fitness to Practise process to determine whether you are fit to remain on the course and enter your chosen profession. You may be asked to meet with your Head of School or with a member of staff chosen to investigate.

You may have to attend a Health and Conduct Committee and, if there is enough concern for your behaviour, you may then have to attend the Faculty's Fitness to Practise Committee. This final committee has the power to withdraw students they consider to be unsuitable for the profession.

ASK can help you to prepare your case and attend the meeting with you, including helping you write your statement exploring potential evidence.

If there have been reasons why you have committed exam misconduct, either intentionally or accidentally, we can explore these and help you to put your case forward to the Academic Misconduct Committee.