Is It Cheating If I … ?
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“Is It Cheating If I … ?” Friend, Sept. 2009, 22

Is It Cheating If I … ?

You know that copying someone’s answers or sneaking notes into a test is cheating. But sometimes it’s hard to know what counts as cheating. Take this quiz to find out some do’s and don’ts of cheating.

  1. You haven’t thought of anything to do for your science project yet. You overhear Alyssa telling someone about her project, and it sounds really cool! You only have a few days before it’s due. So you …

    1. Use Alyssa’s idea.

    2. Keep trying to think of your own project idea.

  2. You need to write a book report for English class. You’ve read the book, but now you just can’t seem to get your report started. You search the Internet for ideas and find some reviews of the book you read. So you …

    1. Copy a review from the Internet. Your teacher will never know, and besides, you did read the book.

    2. Get off the Internet and back to writing.

  3. Your friend Matt didn’t finish his math homework. He asks if he can copy the last 10 problems from your paper. So you …

    1. Let him copy your paper. He’s your friend, and you don’t want him to think you’re a “goody-goody.” Besides, it’s not like he’s copying the whole assignment. It’s more like sharing.

    2. Don’t let him copy your homework.

  4. On your history test you leave the fourth question blank because you can’t remember the answer. As your teacher collects the tests, you see Sean’s answer to number four. You realize that you really did know the answer. So you …

    1. Quickly write down the answer on your test. You knew the answer anyway.

    2. Leave the question blank and turn in your test.


  1. B. Keep trying to think of your own project idea. Sometimes cheating isn’t just copying someone’s paper. Taking someone else’s idea and turning it in as your own is cheating. If you like Alyssa’s ideas, maybe you can work together on another project.

  2. B. Get off the Internet and back to writing. You’d be surprised to know how many teachers search the Internet to make sure their students haven’t copied anything. Using someone else’s words and putting your name on them is cheating. Having trouble writing? Make a list of what you liked and didn’t like about the book, then start with one of those ideas. Or take a break, do some jumping jacks, or listen to music for a few minutes.

  3. B. Don’t let him copy your homework. Matt’s your friend, and you don’t want him to get mad at you. But letting him copy your homework isn’t sharing. It’s cheating, whether it’s one answer or ten. Tell him you’re sorry, but don’t let him bully you into letting him copy.

  4. B. Leave the question blank and turn in your test. It might be tempting to write down the answer, but that would be cheating because you saw the answer and the test was already over. Sometimes people forget things during tests because they’re nervous. Take a few deep breaths before you start, and don’t let yourself get distracted.

What Do You Say?

Sometimes it’s hard when classmates ask if they can copy your answers, especially if they’re your friends. But copying is cheating. You need to say no. It might be hard if someone gets mad or makes fun of you, but you will know you’re doing the right thing. If someone asks you a question during a test, you need to ignore him or her. If your teacher sees you talking—even if you’re saying no—he might think you are cheating too. Keep up the honesty, and your classmates will eventually stop asking you to cheat.

Illustrations by Maryn Roos