In almost every contemporary nation, examinations serve as a paramount method for evaluating students’ skills, knowledge, or abilities in specific subjects or fields. This comprehensive assessment involves responding to questions, solving problems, or demonstrating competence, acting as a pivotal indicator of an individual’s understanding and proficiency in a given area. Examination malpractice has made achieving excellence in this fruitless. The various forms of examinations, such as written tests, practical assessments, or oral interviews, are adapted based on the educational or professional context. In the Nigerian educational landscape, these assessments are pervasive in primary and secondary school exams, as well as in higher education institutions. However, a persistent challenge in the administration of these evaluations is the widespread issue of examination malpractice, an endemic concern within the Nigerian education system that demands diligent consideration.


Examination malpractice, often regarded as the forbidden fruit of the academic world, is universally acknowledged as an ethical transgression. Despite its widely recognized ethical violation, certain individuals succumb to the allure of dishonest practices. The exploration of cheating unravels a narrative of temptation, deceit, and repercussions, all emanating from a fundamental question: to cheat or not to cheat?

Examination malpractice encompasses inappropriate or unlawful behaviors exhibited by candidates, their tutors, or parents, to achieve success in exams. Such misconduct compromises the fairness of assessments and includes activities like copying answers, introducing unauthorized materials, or employing deceit to secure better grades. Essentially, any behaviour that provides an unfair advantage in an exam falls under examination malpractice. The forms of malpractice are diverse, extending from copying others’ work to bringing unauthorized materials into the exam room. They range from bribery, and cheating on multiple-choice exams, to more creative methods such as using invisible ink or writing answers on the inside of a water bottle label. Regardless of the form it takes, examination malpractice is universally deemed unethical, unfair to other students, and carries serious consequences for those caught.


Examination Malpractice

The motivations behind examination malpractice are subject to multifaceted debate. While some attribute it to inadequate preparation or the pressure for top grades, deeper-seated reasons drive individuals to engage in such misconduct.

Some individuals resort to cheating because they feel inadequately prepared, experiencing anxiety and panic about their knowledge level. Poor time management, external responsibilities, and procrastination also contribute to examination malpractice. The pressure to meet parental expectations, secure a certain grade, or gain admission to a preferred college can be additional factors. Fear of failure, influenced by external pressures or personal insecurities, may lead some to view cheating as the only option. The “everyone else is doing it” mentality and the belief in evading detection contribute to a culture where cheating becomes normalized, though never justified.

Various methods, including technological monitoring, eyewitness accounts, and honour codes, are employed to catch cheaters. Despite the perceived low risk, the consequences of getting caught are serious and not worth the potential gains.





Examination malpractice’s effects extend beyond the individual level to impact the academic system and personal well-being. It damages the integrity of the academic system, fostering mistrust and unfair competition. The loss of trust can affect grades, degrees, and academic achievements, influencing the overall quality of education and institutional reputation.

On a personal level, individuals may grapple with guilt, shame, and a damaged sense of trust in themselves and others. A negative view of education may develop, leading to a decline in interest and academic performance. Moreover, a culture of cheating and dishonesty can emerge, hindering the learning environment and long-term success.


The consequences of examination malpractice can be classified into academic and non-academic repercussions.

Academic consequences include receiving a poor grade, re-sitting courses, suspension, expulsion, tainted academic records, and affecting future opportunities.

Non-academic consequences encompass legal actions, social repercussions, damaged reputations, and lasting guilt and shame.

Examination malpractice, even when undetected, hinders long-term personal development and learning, emphasizing the importance of considering the broader impact on others and the educational system. The truth is, there are always consequences to cheating. Even if one doesn’t get caught, they are still harming themselves in the long run. They are not learning the material, and they are not developing the skills needed to succeed in the future. And if they do get caught, the consequences can be serious. Faulters may be expelled from school, or may even have to face legal consequences. It is important to think about the long-term effects of our actions, not just the short-term consequences. It is important to remember that the consequences of examination malpractice are not just limited to the person who cheated. The consequences can also affect the people around them. For example, one’s actions can damage the reputation of the school or university. And may put other students at a disadvantage by cheating, as it can give such a person an unfair advantage over them.


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Efforts to control examination malpractice involve establishing a culture of honesty and integrity, clearly defining expectations, and enforcing policies consistently. Increased exam security, innovative assessment designs, and a curriculum that emphasizes learning rather than memorization can make cheating more difficult. Providing support for struggling students through study groups, tutoring, and counseling addresses the root causes of cheating and reduces the temptation to engage in malpractice.

Moreover, educators and institutions should consider adopting advanced technologies to monitor exams, ensuring the integrity of the assessment process. This includes the use of software to detect irregular computer activities during exams, monitoring computer labs, and promoting a vigilant community through honour codes.


Examination malpractice is a significant issue that necessitates thorough attention. By fostering a culture of honesty, improving exam security, and providing comprehensive support for students, the impact of malpractice can be mitigated. Addressing the root causes, such as stress and external pressures, through holistic approaches ensures a learning environment supportive of genuine student success. It is essential to recognize that cheating is symptomatic of larger issues and to strive for an educational system that promotes honesty, integrity, and lifelong learning.

Additionally, stakeholders in education, including policymakers, educators, and parents must collaborate to create an environment that discourages malpractice and encourages ethical conduct. By reinforcing the importance of academic integrity and instilling a sense of responsibility in students, we can collectively work towards a future where examination malpractice becomes a rarity rather than a prevalent concern.


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