by Contributor

(Sep. 24, 2019) — Cheating among students is one of the major problems that teachers and college instructors cite most often. Ranging from elementary schools to colleges and universities, ubiquitous in private and public schools alike, this issue is a growing concern for parents and teachers, so much so that it has caught the attention of sociologists and psychologists in an effort to discover the reason why students today cheat so often.

Of course, there are a million different reasons stemming from an individual student’s character, location, environment, school, and social conventions in any given culture. However, in this article we are going to discuss 5 major reasons why students lie and whether it is really their fault.

1. Unrealistic expectations

Honestly, this is THE reason why most students cheat during exams. The education system worldwide keeps forcing increasingly high standards upon students and considerable pressure to meet them.  It is no wonder, then, that young people feel compelled to cheat only to get everyone off their backs. To get an edge over the competition, colleges like to appear “selective.” For that reason, they raise the admission bar and tell you that you cannot even attempt to attend their school without the highest GPA.

As a result, teachers preparing their students for college teach them effectively how to pass the exams and earn high grades. So the students choose to pay for essays to guarantee the same result but with minimum effort. Since it’s the score that ultimately matters, why bother?

Unfortunately, many students are not taught how to think critically or apply their knowledge outside the school walls. This could be the reason why we have thousands of graduates who aren’t workplace-ready and cannot apply their knowledge practically.

2. Normalization of cheating

Another thing that has boosted the number of cheating students is the impression that everyone else is doing it. You probably wouldn’t believe it, but most students from middle-school to college level think that cheating is acceptable.

Before you get indignant about “young people today,” think how often you defend your own white lies and how many loopholes you’ve exploited. Don’t forget, adults are the ones teaching kids to cheat in games and life. Why do you expect them to act differently when they enter examination halls?

The sum of their experiences tells students that cheating is “being smart,” that it’s a battle of wits and the winner takes it all. Of course, a teenager will take much delight in outwitting both fellow students and adults.

Fortunately, many schools are discouraging cheating by setting strict codes of conduct and emphasizing the ethical rather than the legal side of the problem.

3. Outdated curriculum

Students don’t like complicated subjects; of course, we have all been there. Yet subjects tend to become complicated (instead of being challenging and fascinating) when students don’t see the point of mastering them.

Why should students like going to school at all? Does it satisfy their curiosity? Can it give them anything they couldn’t possibly find on the internet themselves? In the age of information, critical thinking, analysis, and data processing are the skills students need to be taught, not an ability to store information in their memory and extract it on demand. We have computers for that. When students are treated like computers (as happens during tests and exams), they are bored and see no point in playing by the rules.

If you look at the situation like that, they are being ultimately human and creative when they cheat and find ways to conceal their crib notes. It’s a revolt against the outdated system that sees them merely as data receptacles.

4. Competitive parents

Apart from the system itself, there is a great deal of pressure students feel from their parents. Some tiger moms and dads can’t stop comparing their children to other students and pushing them toward higher achievements – everything to satisfy their own egos.

No wonder the unfortunate progeny of such parents consider every possible means to make them happy – cheating included. They equate self-worth with achievements, which is very dangerous.

5. Bravado

Teens crave validation and they are wired by nature to take higher risks at this age. Cheating becomes one of the many tactics they use to impress and dominate their peers in order to boost their confidence.

Being at the top of your class is nice, but gaining this recognition through cheating adds a flare of daredevilry to it.


As you can see, there is more to cheating than meets the eye. Unless we quit thinking about cheating solely in terms of laziness, we can hardly hope to ever overcome it.

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