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Have you ever cheated in an exam?

MORE than 500 Sunderland students have been caught cheating over the past two years.

Falsifying data, plagiarism and mobile phones in exams are just some of the ways sneaky Wearside and County Durham undergraduates have tried to boost marks, according to figures obtained by the Echo.

There were 232 allegations of malpractice at Sunderland University in 2008/09, which rocketed by 41 per cent to 327 in 2009/10.

Of the total over both academic years, 35 were from the school of Arts, Design and Media, 141 in Business and Law, 301 in Applied Sciences, and 82 in Education and Society.

The data, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, show that 355 proven infringements were plagiarism – which includes not properly attributing material.

Another 150 were collusion, 37 were simply recorded as cheating, one was falsifying data and another dishonest practice. Fifteen were unproven.

In the vast majority of cases, the students had to repeat the work involved and were given a maximum mark of 40 per cent. In 65, the offender’s mark was reduced.

In the remainder, about 22, the students had to resubmit their work, failed and did not repeat the work, or were forced to quit the course.

“Cheating is something we will simply not tolerate,” said a spokesman. “We are committed to ensuring that no student has an unfair advantage.

“Due to the introduction of a range of mechanisms for detecting plagiarism in particular, we have seen an increase in allegations of cheating in recent years.

“The reality is that the number of students cheating is not increasing significantly, but that through our committed efforts we are identifying more people.

“Given that we have around 20,000 students, the number of allegations in a year is relatively small.”