Online Assessments 

The University have ways of identifying misconduct for online examinations, including the time it has taken you to complete the assessment/questions, so dont get caught out. You may want to visit our Surrey Love page for tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

Each case will be independently reviewed and you will be either asked to attend an interview (see Academic Misconduct pages) or, you will be given a letter from the University explaining the outcome.

If you have been given a letter with your outcome, then we would suggest you read the information on this page to help you.

In-person examinations

If you have been found with unauthorised materials in your examination (such as phone, smart watch, notes or programmable calculator), then you may be given a penalty for exam misconduct. You can find a list of unauthorised materials on the University website. 

What is exam misconduct?

In cases of exam misconduct, the University defines it as: 

“Having an unauthorised mechanical or electronic device on one’s person within an assessment venue or ancillary area, such as a cloakroom or toilets. Where such devices, including mobile phones and smart watches, are permitted to be brought into an assessment venue, they must be switched off and placed in the container provided for this purpose. The container must then be placed on the floor in full view of the invigilators before the start of the assessment and for the duration of the assessment.”

What this means is that if you were found to be in possession of an unauthorised device, you would most likely be found to be in line with the University’s definition of Academic Misconduct in an exam.

Online examinations are slightly different, but it means that the University have reason to suspect that you may have cheated including talking to colleagues about the exam, completing the exam too quickly (implying that you may have had the answers) or, having the same answers as someone else in an essay based question. Whatever the situation, your letter should inform you of the allegation. Most allegations for online exams will be dealt with through the normal Academic misconduct process (i.e. you will be invited to an interview).

What can I expect to happen?

If the University deem that academic misconduct has occurred, they will investigate this further through a formal academic misconduct procedure. The way in which this is dealt with will be outlined below:

  1. You should receive a letter including allegations of exam misconduct, explaining what it is that has been deemed as the exam misconduct in your case. 
  2. Once you receive the letter, you will be given the chance to discuss the issue which occurred during your exam and reply to any comments made, if you want to. If you don’t want to, or you don’t respond by the deadline on the letter, then the University will assume you do not wish to respond and you will be given a penalty.

We suggest any student wishing to respond to allegations contact the students union for advice first. 

  1. The University may then invite you to an interview, if the case is complex or there is more to answer. Have a look at our Academic Integrity pages.

How can the Students’ Union help?

If you have been given a letter then we can help chat you through the process that you will now go through and the penalties that might be applied. We can also give some guidance as to why your case might have been considered exam misconduct.

If you want to make representations to the University, we can help you prepare a statement for your case or, attend a meeting with you. 

For support, you can email: 

What should I prepare if I want to meet with the University?

If you would like to be given the opportunity to talk to the University regarding your case, you should consider:

  • Your understanding of exam misconduct. You may wish to speak with Academic Skills and Development in the library to understand your case more.
  • Any special circumstances you wish to present to the meeting that demonstrates that you were not thinking rationally at the time of your exam. 

What are ‘special circumstances’?

Special circumstances refer to a very small part of the extenuating circumstances policy that indicates that at the time of submission, you were unable to make a rational decision as to whether you should have submitted the work or not. You must have evidence to demonstrate your Special circumstance, usually from a medical professional. 

If your special circumstances are upheld, then your assessment will be void and you will be given a new attempt

What is the penalty?

Normally, unless there are special circumstances that you can present to the University, with evidence, the University will deem that this is a case of academic misconduct. 

If a first offence of Academic Misconduct has occurred, then the penalty would be a mark of zero for the exam and the module would be capped at the pass mark. You will then be able to re-take the exam in the next available assessment period which is usually August. If the module is failed then reassessment for this piece of work is allowed but this will also be capped. You have the right to appeal the outcome of the panel if you feel you have grounds to do so.

Penalties can increase if your case is to be of high severity (for example if this is your second upheld case of misconduct or, if you are found impersonating someone else)