Research Article

Cheating on Exams: Dishonest or Justifiable Behaviour?


  • Abdelhak Hammoudi Teacher Training College El Eulma, Sétif, Algeria
  • Samah Benzerroug Teacher Training College Bouzareah, Algiers, Algeria


Academic dishonesty has been a perennial issue in higher education for hundreds of years. The advent of technological devices has spurred much more concern regarding the so-called inappropriate use of these tools and their impact on the ethical behaviour of the students. The main aim of this study was to demonstrate to educators that cheating on exams is most of the time a justifiable and smart behaviour. To support this assumption, the study investigated (a) the reasons that often push students to resort to cheating and (b) the role of exam anxiety in engaging students’ survival intelligence to respond to examinations threat with whatever the means. The results, based on a sample of one 100 students from the English language department indicate that 90% of the students think that the way the examinations are designed constitutes the main cause of cheating: questions test memory rather than comprehension. Teachers themselves trigger cheating on exams because the content of their exams does not take into account students’ Multiple Intelligences, and preferred channels of learning. Consequently, students’ survival intelligence, feeling a threat causing exam anxiety, engages itself and automatically sets the learner to cheat ‘without actively thinking about it.’ The current results might be applicable to students in other academic disciplines.

Article information


International Journal of English Language Studies

Volume (Issue)

3 (4)





How to Cite

Hammoudi, A., & Benzerroug , S. . (2021). Cheating on Exams: Dishonest or Justifiable Behaviour?. International Journal of English Language Studies, 3(4), 79–88.



Cheating on exams, Multiple Intelligences, survival intelligence, justifiable behavior, exams content, exam anxiety