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Number of pupils caught cheating in exams rising

Cheating in GCSE and A-level exams increased last year with teenagers caught almost 4,500 times, official figures show.

The most common offence was smuggling banned items, such as mobile phones, calculators or study guides, into the exam hall, according to a report by exam regulator Ofqual.

In nearly half of cases (49%) students lost marks, and in one in six cases (15%), pupils lost the chance to gain a qualification. In a third of cases (37%) candidates were issued a warning.

In total, 4,415 penalties were issued to candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during the June 2009 exam series, up from 4,156 in 2008 — a rise of 6.2%.

The findings show that candidates were punished 1,897 times for taking unauthorised material into an exam, 1,084 penalties were for copying, collusion or plagiarism, while a further 349 were for writing offensive, obscene or inappropriate comments on exam papers or coursework.

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