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Simple strategies to prevent cheating

Exam questions that are harder to cheat with

There are some relatively simple tricks when it comes to making cheating harder in connection with online examinations. Here we mention a few that may be worth trying:

  1. Is it possible to include elements with a personal angle in the questions, where the student must reflect or relate knowledge in the subject to things that are not equal for everyone?
  2. Is it possible to add one or two questions where the student is asked to reflect on things like How has this course changed the way you think? How will you use what you learned in this course?  Describe a challenge in your learning process? When you solve a problem, how do you know that you have found the best solution? There is a lot of literature about reflexive writing that can provide inspiration (see more below).  
  3. Is it possible to slant the questions so that they relate to (day-to-day) current events or problems, which makes answers from previous years' questions ('old exams') more difficult to plagiarize?
  4. If the exam intends to test the students' specific factual knowledge, they can be asked, for example, to put them in context, compare or contrast them – in writing or by drawing up concept maps, or explaining terms with examples.
  5. Can random variables be used in speech, so that the results of correct calculations differ between students? See creating Quizzes in Canvas
  6. Is it possible to supplement with a small (group) oral exam where the student/students are asked to discuss or reflect on some aspects of what they have been examined on? Teachers testify that they get a sense very quickly of whether or not the students know their stuff, and a verbal exam does not need to be corrected either.

Read more 

Cukusic, M., Garaca, Z., & Jadric, M. (2014). Online self-assessment and students’ success in higher education institutions. Computers and Education, 72, 100-109.

Moon, J. (2005). Reflective writing–some initial guidance for students. Retrieved from

Moussa-Intay, J. (2015). Reflective writing through the use of guiding questions. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 27(1), 104-113

Watanabe-Crockett, L. (2017). 25 self-reflection questions to get students thinking about their learning. Retrieved from: