It goes, or at least ought to go, without saying, that borrowing a paper from a friend or buying it online and handing it in as your own is a grave violation of CBS regulations and will be dealt with accordingly. The reasons should be obvious: exams are about testing personal skills and insights, which is of course not possible if the carrier of this information, the exam paper, originates with somebody else.
Borrowing and lending do not come without costs
Borrowing a paper wholesale from a friend is not only unethical and may cause serious problems for you personally; it may also have severe implications for your friend who, out of the kindness of their heart, just wanted to extend a helping hand. It is a very easy job indeed for URKUND, the text matching, or anti-plagiarism, software used at CBS to expose this kind of collusion, and both parties, the lender as well as the borrower, will inevitably find themselves implicated.
So think twice before asking a friend for this kind of help. You may well find that cutting corners in this way is not worth the trouble that it brings and may jeopardize a friendship; and think twice before you share an exam paper with a friend. It may be used in ways that you were not anticipating and could come back to haunt you.
Selling exam papers online is big business and poses no real threat to the people behind these services. However, for students buying a paper and submitting it as their own it may prove devastating. There are no real mitigating circumstances but only clear and indisputable intent to cheat.
Most contract cheating services, as they are called, claim to offer original, made-to-measure products, which, if true, would make them safe for detection. However, you will never know if this is in fact the case before it is too late and the paper is already caught in the net. The service providers are proffering an openly unethical service as it is, so you have to ask yourself if they are likely to be more ethical in their dealings with their customers, who are unlikely to take action if they feel defrauded, as this would mean admitting to cheating.
Engaging in such transactions may also open you up to blackmailing and credit card fraud, so you do not only put yourself at risk academically but also financially and psychologically.
A real risk of detection
Besides, URKUND is not the only path to detection. Your professors may wonder about small and seemingly insignificant things, such as shift in prose style or sudden and unexplained language proficiency compared with previous hand-ins, and if the written exam is followed by an oral defense, you may find yourself with a real problem because your knowledge of the subject matter will most likely not be as deep-seated and thus easy to activate when prompted as would be expected if you had indeed worked your way through an exam paper.
Buying a paper is not only wrong and an act of bad faith in the extreme, it is also costly and a real gamble, and on top of all of this you may have to defend yourself and face a serious penalty anyway. It truly is never worth it.
If at some point in your studies, you find yourself contemplating borrowing a paper from a friend or buying one online because you feel overwhelmed or at a loss, please do not hesitate to reach out to your professor or the student administration for help. You will not be the first to do so and there is no stigma associated with asking for help, on the contrary,
Joshua Kragh Bruhn - firstname.lastname@example.org