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5.2 Is it appropriate for students to seek assistance from others with their assignments?

We learn all the time and from all sorts of people. When studying for the HSC and presenting our work for marking, it is important to understand what external help is appropriate and what is not.

There are lots of people in your life at this time - your teachers, members of your family, friends, neighbours, members of your sporting teams, even people you work with at the weekend. You need to consider the type of help which might be appropriate and the type of help which is not. Some types of 'help' could lead to claims of copying or collusion and compromise your marks.

Any help from other people that can be considered as cheating, collusion or copying is inappropriate.

Make sure you don't accept inapproriate help when completing your work for the HSC

Consider these situations

Your brother did the same course as you two years ago and offers to help you with an essay. In fact, he remembers working on a similar assessment task himself and finds it for you. You decide to copy parts of his essay in your own assessment task.


You have spent a lot of time working on a digital media assignment for Visual Arts and have run out of time. Your girlfriend has had to do a similar project for Drama and you decide to use her work and submit it as your assignment. Her teacher is better than yours and has given her more help. No-one will ever know.


Your Dad is a professional plumber and is great at welding. In your Visual Arts Body of Work, you are making a sculpture that requires welding. Your Dad demonstrates welding and supervises your welding. You record this in your Visual Arts Process Diary.


What help is okay?

Think of the following people or places where you might seek help with your school work. Make sure the help you receive is appropriate and the work you submit is your own original work.

Family and friends
Family and friends should be supportive of your study but that does not mean that they do the work for you. They might like to talk about what you are doing and that's fine but be careful that it is your own work that you are presenting.

External tutors
External tutors want the best for you and have your interest at heart but that should not extend to them actually doing your work for you. They might discuss your work with you, even model some problems, for example, but then it should be up to you

Coaching colleges
Again, the staff at coaching colleges are there to help you, to unpack issues which you are finding difficult in much the same way that your teachers do at school. Listen to their advice but do not allow them to write your answers for you otherwise you will be found to be acting inappropriately and you could put your whole HSC at risk.

Ghost writers
This is where you get someone else to write an assignment or assessment task for you - usually paying them to do so. This would be seen by the Board of Studies as a serious breach of trust and is highly unethical practice.

Assignments online
There are many websites now where you can go to buy assignments - you can even commission people to write your assignments for you. Don't do it. The risks for you are too great and don't think that your teachers are not aware of these sites - they are. In fact, there are many additional sites now against which your teachers can check your assignments for plagiarism.

Make sure that the work you hand in for your HSC is all your own work!


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