Why Do Students Cheat?

students cheatingIs the burden too heavy? Poor time management? People tend to take the short route? Whatever the reason is, the fact is students cheat. Starting from elementary school, through high school, and all the way up to college, students cheat. While majority of young people recognize and admit cheating is wrong, almost every one of them has cheated once in his educational career. In the past, psychologists and sociologists regarded cheating as a deviant behavior. However, things have changed dramatically, to the point of which cheating is considered normal behavior. Everyone does it, so why wouldn’t you? There are several reasons why college students and students in general, cheat on exams and essays.

  • Everybody does it. The most common reason of all. If your friend cheats, and his friend cheats, and the guy in the second row cheats, why would you bother to study and work hard? The lack of moral conviction in no way justifies cheating. However, the fact is that students use this mantra as an excuse for themselves.
  • Information is free. The second most common excuse for cheating is that students don’t consider plagiarism wrong. The information is out there, it is available for everyone to reach it, and copying few words and sentences from a source is considered normal way of writing. Or in their words, patch writing. Students consider they are using one’s idea, and simply developing it, not copying it entirely.
  • An easy way out. We mentioned that some people simply don’t want to bother to study hard and write all the papers by themselves. Somebody else has done it already, so why bother. Expediency is one of the common reasons for cheating. The irony is that many students put a lot more effort in cheating, than they would need to study and learn the material by themselves. Imagine a world where a student is capable to program his phone, calculator or any other electrical device to help him cheating, but he cannot pass an algebra test. Ironically, isn’t it?
  • The adrenaline and excitement. For some students, studying is boring, while finding ways to cheat is exciting. Thinking about how to cheat encourages their creativity, and of pure boredom, they refuse to study.
  • Lack of understanding what plagiarism is. The awareness of plagiarism is at a low level at students. For some, plagiarism is an urban legend, a myth and nothing more. Since everything is public on the internet, there is no reason to copy it with a citation. Right? Wrong!
  • Unrealistic demands. When it comes to demands for academic achievement, students perceive it differently. For some, the material has no relevance to their lives. Cheating is their way of rebelling against the system, and the meaningless of lectures. And also, this includes the thrill of rule breaking. Let’s not forget there are anarchists between students.
  • Survival instinct. Not everyone has the time and effort to get ready for a test. Sometimes, life gets in the way of studying. Several factors can influence the lack of time student are faced with. And in those situations, their survival instinct prevails over common sense. They know that it is wrong to cheat, but they see it as the only way to pass the test and come through. However, poor time management also plays a role here. Some students simply cannot anticipate how much time they need to finish a paper, and leave everything for later.
  • Fear of failure. Last but not least, some students simply don’t have the required confidence to write a good essay, paper or take the test. They consider their writing abilities inadequate. The fear prevails, and they go for the other route, copying something that is successful.
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