Home Study Studying or Cheating?

Studying or Cheating?

by Ryan Cong

One of the most conflicting topics in schools is whether using online resources to help students find information about novels is actually considered cheating. Many students love to indulge in using sources such as Sparknotes or Shmoop to find information about books or topics to gain a better understanding of the information. Is this really considered cheating, or merely using sources readily available to students on the internet?



Many students do not believe using sources such as Sparknotes, Shmoop, or Cliffsnotes is considered cheating, but rather are merely useful study tools. For example, if a student is struggling with an essay based on a novel, Sparknotes provides everything from chapter summaries, chapter analyses, plot overviews, character analyses, and a list of themes to assist students in understanding the context of a novel. Although, because of all the free information provided about a novel, it could be considered cheating if a student only uses it as a shortcut instead of actually reading the book.

Online tools are helpful when a student is struggling, but sometimes the line between helpful and an easy cheat method is unclear. Some students believe these sources are an efficient and helpful way to reduce the struggles of trying to understand difficult novels and the stress of writer’s block. Although using these sources as a way to avoid putting time and effort into an assignment is cheating.



Understanding difficult novels is not an easy task. Although Sparknotes and other online resources make it simple to avoid doing the hard work, using them as an out is cheating. On the other hand, students agree that using these sources as study methods and tools to better understand a concept is helpful and advantageous. With all the technology readily available to every student, there is more temptation to cheat rather than study, but used for the right reasons these sites can be very beneficial to a student’s learning.


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