How do I avoid collusion in academic assessments?

This is the second and final chapter about Collusion Avoidance. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Review the concept of collusion in academic assignments

– Compare accidental and purposeful collusion

– Discuss what does not count as plagiarism

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This topic now has an interactive unit: Avoiding Misconduct
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Chapter 2

Correct academic conduct is very important at university, particularly for students who wish to receive high grades, positive transcripts and a clean permanent record. Commit academic misconduct and you face a wide variety of potential punishments, from receiving a warning or zero on an assignment to being expelled from the institution. In this second chapter in our short reader on collusion avoidance, we offer some key tips for ensuring that you never get caught colluding with other students, whether that collusion was accidental or purposeful.

Review: What is collusion?

As was discussed in Chapter 1, collusion is when two or more students work together on the same academic assignment – one that is intended to be an individual submission. Students should therefore be careful sharing sources, ideas, presentation slides and essay paragraphs with other students. If you aren’t careful and your submission shares a strong resemblance to someone else’s, you’re going to be accused of working with that person, and it may not be easy for the university to tell whether you simply weren’t secure enough with your work or whether you cheated and copied another student’s.

What are some examples of collusion?

It’s important that students understand that collusion doesn’t have to be purposeful. There can be instances of accidental collusion too. Regardless of whether you meant to collude with another student, the punishment for accidental and purposeful collusion is often the same. This is because university staff may be unable to tell whether similarity between submissions is due to negligence or outright cheating and because it can often be a case of one student’s word against another’s. As the following demonstrates, there are many scenarios that can lead to collusion:

What does not count as collusion?

Students should also remember that working with other students is not always collusion. Sometimes team and group work is highly recommended in fact. Below are some examples of when working with your classmates and peers would not be considered collusion:

  • when you wish to share ideas, sources or arguments for unassessed tasks
  • when you complete a homework task, unless your teacher asks you to complete it alone
  • when you’re assigned a group essay, presentation, discussion or other assessed group task
  • when your teacher has told you that it’s OK to share ideas for an assessed piece of work with your partner or peer check each other’s writing
  • when you wish to help a friend who is studying a completely different subject to you


What advice helps students avoid collusion?

Considering that collusion may be accidental or purposeful, we’ve provided some key tips below for helping you and other students avoid collusion at all costs.


  • Never lend your laptop or USB to another student.
  • Never leave your laptop unlocked if you are not with it.
  • Never let another student borrow your assessed work.
  • Never ask another student to print assessed work for you.
  • Never share an old assignment online or in print, even years later.
  • Never share the sources or arguments you are using in your assessment.
  • Never purposefully collude with another student.

While it may seem from this advice that we’re saying not to trust your classmates, that isn’t the case at all. Of course students should be trusting of their classmates, but they should be extra secure with their work too. After all, sometimes – though very rarely – someone can do something they really shouldn’t (and wouldn’t normally do) out of sheer desperation. Nevertheless, follow the above tips and advice and you should never be accused of collusion, keeping your permanent record free of potentially damaging academic misconduct.

Very well done on completing this short reader on collusion avoidance. Before taking another reader, perhaps first unlock, download and complete our Chapter 1-2 Worksheets to check your progress and comprehension of this topic.

2 of 2 Chapters Completed


Once you’ve completed both chapters in this short reader about Collusion Avoidance, you might then wish to download our Chapter Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Chapter 1 explores the topic: Is student collusion serious academic misconduct? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 2 explores the topic: How do I avoid collusion in academic assessments? Our Chapter 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 1 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Collusion Avoidance Chapter Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every chapter, activity and answer key related this to topic in one handy and professional PDF.

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Autumn 2022

Chapter 1 explores the topic: Is student collusion serious academic misconduct? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button.