A former UCD student has admitted that he was paid to sit three exams for two struggling students in the Semester One 2008 Christmas exams, one of whom had failed at least one exam previously.
In an in-depth interview with The University Observer, the student, who cannot be named for confidentiality purposes, secured an A and A+ grade in two of the exams, while he was unsure of his grade for the third exam. One of those students for whom he sat the exam, who also cannot be named, confirmed the veracity of his statements.
The student who sat the exam said that he was paid a “significant” amount of money for his services. He admitted to being apprehensive about sitting the exam and acknowledged how: “The consequences of getting caught are massive. I know I didn’t, but I’m pretty sure you’d get expelled.”
He also said that he would be unlikely to accept the opportunity to sit someone else’s exam again in exchange for cash, but added that he would not rule out the possibility of this happening: “It’s probably not feasible and it’s unlikely to ever arise again based on my situation at the moment. That’s not to say if the price was right or the circumstances were right, I wouldn’t.”
One of those students who paid him to sit the exam also spoke to The University Observer, expressing regret for his actions and admitting: “It was a bit stupid to do it.”
The student claimed that the grades he attained illegally “made zero difference” on his overall degree and added that he would not encourage others to cheat. He neglected to criticise UCD despite their inability to identify the cheating, saying: “It’s not a UCD problem; it’s a third-level problem.”
Despite these revelations, it is not believed that cheating is a significant problem in UCD. The number of students cheating in exams has fallen due to the new student card fine introduced this term. The measure prevents students allowing other people to take an exam on their behalf.
SU education officer, James Williamson, stated that while he didn’t have official figures at the time of print, the introduction of the student card fine brought about “a large drop in students forgetting their student card and I would say there was a drop in cheating in general because of this.”
Speaking to The University Observer last November, a spokesperson for the university said: “We’re not prepared to give out specific figures mainly because it’s a university wide issue as opposed to a UCD-specific issue. But there hasn’t been any change in the pattern over the last few years, so they’re not seeing any sudden spikes because of the proliferation of iPhones or mobile phones or things like that.”
University officials were unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.