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Success Tips & Avoiding Cheating

Academic Integrity is essential to Cal State San Marcos, as such, students are expected to perform their own work (except when collaboration is expressly permitted by the course instructor). When practiced, academic integrity ensures that all students are fairly graded. Cheating, however, undermines the educational process and will not be tolerated. Cheating demonstrates a lack of respect for oneself, fellow students and the course instructor.

Tips for Academic Success

  • Read through your course catalog. It is helpful to know and understand the rules and regulations of the University.
  • Review your course syllabi and make sure you understand your instructors’ course/assignments expectations and responses regarding academic integrity violations. 
  • Ask your professor about what constitutes cheating and plagiarism in their classroom.
  • Get assistance early if you need it. There are a number of resources on campus that can educate you on what plagiarism is, how to do research, how to write a paper, assist you if you have a learning disability, give you tips on time management, and assess your current studying style, etc.
  • Meet with your professor on a regular basis. This will allow you to get feedback from them on your progress in the class and what you need to work on. 
  • Manage your time wisely. Good time management usually means good grades.
  • Invest in your work. Remember why you’re here and that is to get an education.
  • Focusing on the end result should not be the only goal.  The process of how you get there is just as important. Integrity counts!

Things to Avoid when writing Papers

  • If you are unsure of how to cite your work, check with your instructor for the proper technique. Using someone else’s without proper citation will not work. Making up resources for a bibliography would be considered a violation to the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Downloading papers off the internet – it is just as easy for an instructor to find the same paper on the internet as it is for you.
  • Cutting and pasting information off the internet without proper citation.
  • Turning in someone else’s paper as your own.
  • Using the same paper in two or more classes is considered a violation to the Academic Integrity Policy unless you have both instructor’s permission.

Tip: Write your own papers and ask for help if you need it.

Things to Avoid when taking Exams

  • Looking around during an exam, may appear that you are trying to copy from others.
  • Assisting someone during an exam is considered a violation to the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • If you feel someone is trying to copy off of you during an exam, ask to be moved.
  • Take home exams are to be done on your own, unless otherwise instructed by the instructor.
  • Do not make marks on a graded exam and then try to claim that the instructor didn’t give you a point for that question. Instructors make copies of the originals prior to returning them.
  • Do your own work.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Keep all the rough drafts of your papers, computer assignments (hard copy of the solutions), and lab reports in the event you are asked to defend your work. The burden of proof is on you.
  • Submit your own work. Do not let others do it for you.
  • Check with your instructor to see if you’re allowed to submit the same paper or project for another course.
  • Ask your instructor upfront on how much collaboration is allowed or expected in group assignments.
  • Shield your work when taking exams.