Where to get help with assessments and how to avoid breaking the rules

With assessments almost here, we’ve put together a guide on understanding the rules, where to get help from, and have translated some of the words that you may not have heard before — they can be a bit confusing.

The most important message? If you’re thinking about breaking the rules because you don’t know what else to do — STOP!

We’re here to help — not just in this guide, but your tutors, module leaders, course reps, academics, personal tutors and support staff in your school, as well as places like Leeds University Union. You’re never alone, and there are always answers.

Let’s find out about some of the language, what they mean and how you can find out more. We’ve really tried to simplify the definitions so it is really clear. Follow each link for more information.

Mitigating circumstances

Quite simply — something has happened that is a change to normal life that may affect how you do with assessments. You can find out more about mitigating circumstances, including examples and how to apply if you’re affected.

Although this isn’t a rule, it’s often a reason for stress. Get help if you can, as soon as you’re able to.


This is presenting all or some of someone else’s work or ideas, as your own. It sounds easy to avoid, right?

However, it’s easy to make a mistake if you use copy and paste or if you use an online translator. If you translate sections of text copied directly from articles/publications/online sources written into English, or have copied and pasted from other sources without referencing, you’re not using your own words — you’re using the translation or other people’s words. It also often creates the problem of Turnitin identifying matches with other students who have used similar translations or the same sources.

Fraudulent or fabricated coursework

This is work that isn’t true or made up. An example is reports of lab or practical work that is untrue and/or made up, submitted to satisfy some or all of the requirements of a University Assessment .

If you haven’t got the results, or you’ve had a problem with them, act immediately. Speak with school staff and explain what’s happened. Making up information is wrong — and there’s lots of things your school may be able to do to help you.

Find out more about fraudulent or fabricated coursework


If you knowingly allow, or offer any of your work to be used by another student as if it were their own work, then that would be collusion.

This seems obvious, but when you’re working in a group, it’s an easy mistake to make. Make sure each of the group are writing their own work, in their own words. Remember that if you’re only changing a few words from the notes, this isn’t paraphrasing and you could get into trouble for collusion and/or plagiarism.

Download helpful information about the difference between collaboration and collusion

Contract cheating

This is when you ask someone to do your work. You may have seen external services offering to do assignments for you, or to provide you with other academic support, such as proof reading or tutoring. You might know them as essay mills. This goes against all of the hard work you’ve done to get a place at Leeds, and isn’t accepted.

If this feels like the only way you can meet a deadline, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s lots of help and support for you. Please speak to your school if you’re struggling, or LUU’s Help and Support team.

Find out more about contract cheating

Find out more

Worried, or struggling with your studies?

Your tutor, module leader, school support staff, supervisor can all help. Explain what the problem is, and given them as much information as possible. It’s OK if things aren’t going to plan — it happens to all of us, and there is almost always a way to sort out problems. There are serious consequences for rule breaking, and asking for help can help you avoid this. Don’t let it get worse.

Leeds University Union Help and Support — you can speak to them confidentially, in person, online or look at their online guides and support on:

Your degree is something you’ve worked incredibly hard for — from before you even began studying at Leeds. Ask for help if you need it — there’s always someone who will listen and understand.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store