Examination Malpractice, Forms, Causes, Effects and Preventions

  • Posted By Olusola
  • Mon 27, November 2023

Examination time is very special in schools. At this time, students try as much as possible to gather enough knowledge about a subject, topic or skill in a short period of time. As soon as a phase passes, students often find themselves inadvertently discarding this hard-earned information from their memory.

This quick learn motif is what student call “La cram, la pour”. While this method may be effective for some, individuals lacking the capacity to retain extensive knowledge within a short period often seek alternative ways to pass an examination. Thus resulting in examination malpractices.

What is Examination Malpractice?

Examination malpractice is any act of dishonesty or misconduct before, during, or after an examination. It is aimed at gaining an unfair advantage or manipulating the examination process for the purpose of achieve higher grades.

What are the Forms of Examination Malpractice?

Examination malpractices are the various unethical behaviors before, during and after examinations. The common forms are listed below:

  1. Copying from other students: this form of examination malpractice is common where students are allowed to sit together during an examination.
  2. Using unauthorized materials: certain materials may be allowed for an examination. Using materials or tools outside those is a form of examination malpractice. For example, the use of a calculator where it is not required.
  3. Working together: this occurs when students tends to work together on an examination when individual work is required for the exam process.
  4. Plagiarism: this is presenting others’ work as one’s own.
  5. Impersonation: this is having someone else take an exam on behalf of the actual candidate.
  6. Leaking or obtaining exam questions beforehand.

What are the Causes of Examination Malpractice?

Examination malpractice are caused by several factors. Here are 10 possible courses of examination malpractice:

  1. Pressure to Excel: Today, students are expected to excel in all examination and are never allowed to outgrow failure. This pressure on academic competition and the societal emphasis on high grades has driven a lot of students to resorting into malpractice.
  2. Inadequate Preparation by student: Time flies. Most student only releases this when examination is right by the corner. Unprepared students might resort to cheating as a way to compensate for a lack of study or understanding of a subject.
  3. Lack of Ethics: Some values have been thrown in the dustbin. Inadequate emphasis on ethical behavior and academic integrity in schools may lead to a culture where malpractice is normalized.
  4. Overemphasis on Grades: A system which prioritizes grades over actual learning can lead students towards unethical means to achieve higher marks.
  5. Poor Monitoring and Supervision: Poor invigilation during exams can create opportunities for students to cheat, as they may feel less likely to be caught.
  6. Easy Access to Technological Aid: Advancements in technology have made it easier for students to obtain cheating materials. Smartphones or hidden devices can now be used to acquire examination questions and resources before, and/or during an examination.
  7. Peer Pressure: Influence from peers who engage in malpractice can rob on other students. Most times, they may create an environment where cheating is normalized and thus, forced others to follow suit.
  8. Parental and Societal Expectations: High expectations from parents and society to excel academically may lead students to resort to malpractice to meet these expectations.
  9. Fear of Failure: A fear of failure or the consequences of poor performance in exams might drive students to cheat as a means of avoiding these outcomes.
  10. Lack of Consequences: In some cases, lenient consequences or the perception of minimal punishment for malpractice may encourage students to take the risk.

What are the Effects of Examination Malpractice?

The effects of examination malpractice extend beyond the immediate academic sphere. It equally impacts an individual’s integrity and fairness and potentially affecting his or her ethical values in broader contexts. Here are some effects of examination malpractice.

  1. Diminished Academic Integrity: The essence of an examination is for fair evaluation and recognition of genuine efforts. A bastardization of this tarnishes the reputation and reliability of academic institutions, ultimately affecting the value associated with education and academic achievements.
  2. Unfair Advantage: Individuals resorting to malpractice gain an unfair edge over honest students. This distortion in the evaluation process not only skews results but also undermines the essence of fair competition. It creates an uneven playing field where academic success is no longer solely based on knowledge and effort but rather on deceptive tactics.
  3. Long-term Consequences: The perpetuation of malpractice can lead to the normalization of dishonest behavior, extending its influence beyond academics. Cultivating a culture where deceitful practices are tolerated can deeply impact ethical standards in various spheres of life.
  4. Psychological Impact: Stress and anxiety arise from the pressure to maintain ethical standards while witnessing others take shortcuts. Feelings of unfairness and disillusionment with the education system emerge, potentially leading to a loss of trust in the assessment process and institutions meant to uphold fairness and integrity.

How to Prevent Examination Malpractice?

Preventing examination malpractice requires a multifaceted approach involving students, educators, and other educational institutions and policymakers. Here are some strategies:

1. Promote Ethical Education:

Several programs to promote ethics should be integrated into the curriculum to instill values of honesty and fairness from an early age. Schools and other institutions should conduct workshops or seminars to raise awareness about malpractice, its causes and consequences.

2. Strict Monitoring and Surveillance:

Schools are to ensure rigorous invigilation during exams to minimize opportunities for cheating. They can utilize technology such as surveillance cameras or software to detect cheating attempts. Also, other methods can be introduced to reduce cheating such as good spacing, shuffling of questions and students by classes among others.

3. Diverse Assessment Methods:

Having a system of diverse method of assessment can reduce the effect of malpractice. Schools and other educational institutions should employ a variety of assessment formats such as oral exams, projects, presentations etc. This will discourage reliance on memorization and encourage deeper understanding of the topics. In addition, the rotation of exam questions and formats may help to prevent leaks and discourage sharing.

4. Emphasis on Understanding and not Grades:

Parents and students are mostly after good grades. Schools should shift the focus from grades to understanding concepts and critical thinking skills, reducing the pressure solely on achieving high marks. This will drastically reduce cheating.

5. Create a Culture of Honesty:

What motivates a child is what he holds dear. Schools and other educational institutions are to foster an environment where honesty is valued and celebrated. They should encourage students to report instances of malpractice without fear of reprisal.

6. Implement Consequences:

Schools should enforce strict penalties for those caught engaging in malpractice to serve as a deterrent. The student can be allowed to re-sit for the examination under strict supervision. Ensuring that consequences are consistently applied helps to maintain fairness and discourage future instances.

7. Engage Parents and Guardians:

Schools and educational bodies should educate parents on the importance of ethical behavior and their role in supporting honest academic practices at home. Getting parents complying with certain guidelines can greatly reduce examination malpractice.

8. Utilize Technology Wisely:

Technology can go a long way in combating examination malpractice. Schools should leverage technology, not just for surveillance but also for innovative assessment methods that make cheating difficult.

9. Encourage Peer Responsibility:

Students should be encouraged to cultivate a sense of responsibility to uphold academic integrity and discourage cheating behavior among their peers.

10. Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation:

Teachers and other examination bodies are encouraged to regularly review and update examination questions, procedures and policies based on feedback and changing circumstances to stay ahead of evolving cheating methods.


Examination malpractice is a danger to the society. It impacts an individual’s integrity and fairness and potentially affecting his or her ethical values. Preventing examination malpractice requires a proactive, collaborative effort from all stakeholders within the educational ecosystem.

We should foster a culture of integrity, promoting ethical values, and implementing robust preventive measures to keep this at check. In addition, we should try various approaches, including fostering a culture of academic integrity, emphasizing understanding over grades, providing adequate preparation and support, implementing stricter monitoring during examination, and instituting appropriate consequences for those engaging in malpractice. With this, we should be on the path to a free examination malpractice world.

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