Published: April 12, 2021

Sometimes when things are hectic, like during finals, we make mistakes. These mistakes could be a true accident or an intentional choice to cut corners. Whatever our intentions, actions that violate the Honor Code have consequences. As we prepare for finals, here are the top three violations of the Honor Code and tips for how to avoid them.


Cheating includes:

  • Using prohibited notes or study aids, including online resources when not permitted.
  • Collaborating on coursework unless expressly permitted. This includes using shared group notes to complete exams.
  • Allowing someone else to complete your work or exam and turning it in as your own.
  • Copying another student’s coursework.
  • Failing to abide by specific written course instructions.
  • Using electronic devices or online sources when not expressly permitted.

To avoid cheating: 

  • Read your syllabus. If you have questions about what is allowed, ask your professor.
  • Pay special attention to any collaboration policies. 
  • Know what is expected of you regarding your work. Consider things like: 
    • Can I use online sources? 
    • Can I use course material, like textbooks or lecture notes in Canvas?
    • Can I use my own notes?  
  • As courses are now remote, be aware of when you can and cannot use outside resources. If an exam is open-note, that does not mean it is open-internet. Ask your professor(s) if you are unsure what you can use. 


  • Exams are individual work, unless explicitly permitted by faculty.
  • Start your work early.
  • If you’re confused or stuck, ask your professor or TA for help.
  • Put your phone away and close all other tabs while you are engaged in coursework, especially exams, unless explicitly permitted.


Plagiarism is submitting someone else’s work or ideas as your own. It also includes failing to properly cite your sources. The important thing to remember is to give credit to the source. 

Remote academic resources, such as the Writing Center or University Libraries, can help. With these resources, you can:

  • Learn how to properly cite and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism. 
  • Learn how to use someone else’s ideas to support your own opinion.
  • Recognize when to use someone else’s ideas and when you should use only your own ideas.

To avoid plagiarism:

  • Cite your sources as you go, including in-text citations and works cited, references or bibliography.
  • Start early so you have plenty of time to cite, proofread and edit.
  • Do not copy and paste material into your paper, even if you intend to go back and delete it later.

Aiding academic dishonesty

We all want to help our friends when they are feeling overwhelmed. But helping another student gain an unfair academic advantage can lead to an Honor Code referral. 

To avoid aiding academic dishonesty: 

  • Do not share your own work from when you took the class. This includes essays, spreadsheets, exams or course notes. 
  • Tell your friends to use their faculty’s office hours and other virtual academic resources
  • Close and lock your computer when you step away from it. 

Other tips

In general, these tips can help you avoid violating the Honor Code:

  • Take your exams alone. Schedule a room on campus or work with others in your household to take exams alone and in a quiet environment.
  • Don’t look at other websites, your phone or other technology while taking exams. 
  • Use your resources! Talk to your teaching assistants, connect with the Writing Center and check out other virtual academic resources. Your academic department may have more support options specific to your major as well.
  • Practice good study habits. Set up consistent study sessions to review class material and eliminate distractions.
  • Start your assignments, papers and studying early. This gives you enough time to get help and ask questions if needed.

Learn more about the Honor Code.