Your coursework

There are different types of coursework, including portfolios, practicals, performances, assignments and projects. The type you do will depend on the course you are studying.

There are rules and essential information you need to know about your coursework.


You may be able to use lots of different sources, including books, the internet and TV, to support your work.

You can't just copy information from other sources and include it as if it were your own work. You must note down all of the material you use from other sources so that it is clear which work is not your own. Your teacher or lecturer can tell you how to do this, but here are a few pointers:

  • Use 'quotation marks' around any text that has come from other sources, and clearly identify where that text comes from.
  • You also need to reference any diagrams or illustrations you've used from other sources.
  • Create a bibliography (a list of sources you have used) if you need one. This will go at the end of your work.

Plagiarism and collusion


You must not pretend that other people's work is your own. Passing off other people's work and ideas as your own is called 'plagiarism' and it's cheating.

If you don't reference sources as explained above, that's also plagiarism.

It's not your own work if:

  • all or some of it has been produced, or worked on, by someone else
  • it has been done by someone who has produced similar coursework in the past
  • it is example work that has been prepared by your teacher or lecturer, or
  • you've copied it from a book, website or an essay bank without trying to put it in your own words.


Working with others when you should be working alone is called 'collusion'. This applies to giving help, getting help, and sharing files, passwords and paperwork.

Everyone involved in collusion is breaking the rules - not just the person who has asked for help. If another learner (for example, someone in your class) asks you for help, you should tell them to speak to the teacher or lecturer.

If you are working as part of a group (for example, a group project), you must make sure that the written work you provide as part of the group work is your own.

If you are having difficulty with coursework, ask your teachers and lecturers for advice. No other person can be involved, at any stage, in the discussion or review of your coursework.

Don't risk it

Spotting plagiarism and collusion isn't difficult

  • Teachers and lecturers are familiar with your work and can spot changes in your writing style and the language you use.
  • Markers know their subject inside out, so they're familiar with lots of sources.
  • We use software that identifies plagiarism and collusion. This software matches copied phrases and text with the sources they've been taken from.

Language and writing

Do not include rude, abusive, offensive or discriminatory language or images in your work - if you do, markers will investigate.

Remember that written coursework must be legible. Markers will do their best to read your work, but they might not be able to award marks if your writing is too difficult to read.

Word count

If your coursework states a minimum or maximum word count, you must stick to it because you might be penalised if you don't.

Resource sheets

Your teacher or lecturer will tell you if you need to use a resource sheet as part of your coursework and will show you how to use it. If you are not sure whether you will need to use a resource sheet, speak to your teacher or lecturer.

If you need to use a resource sheet, it's really important that you know the rules on how to use it because you could lose marks if you do not use it correctly.

You must hand in your resource sheet with your coursework. If you don't, you will automatically lose 20% of the marks for your coursework.

Check your work

Before you hand in your coursework, you must look over it and check that:

  • everything is your own work, and you have properly referenced all sources of information, diagrams or illustrations you have used
  • there is no rude, abusive or offensive language or images
  • you have completed your coursework in line with the instructions your teacher or lecturer gave you.


Your teacher or lecturer will set your coursework deadlines and it's up to you to meet these. The best way to do this is to aim to hand your work in before the deadline.

If you are struggling to meet a deadline, talk to your teacher or lecturer as early as possible to see what they can do to help.


Before your school, college or training provider sends your coursework to us for marking, they will give you a declaration to sign. It's really important that you understand the declaration.

If you're unsure about anything, ask your teacher or lecturer. This is the declaration you'll need to sign:

I confirm that:

  • I have read SQA's Your National Qualifications booklet and understand its contents.
  • I understand that SQA may reduce or cancel my grades where I have not followed the rules specified in the Your National Qualifications booklet.
  • the coursework submitted with this declaration is all my own work with all sources of information clearly identified and acknowledged.
  • where I have used a resource sheet, I have submitted it along with my coursework.
  • I understand that this coursework will be submitted to SQA for marking.

Note: if you plan to publish or share your work online, you must discuss this with your school or college.

What if you break the rules?

If an investigation finds you've broken any rules, there may be a penalty. The range of penalties includes:

  • Your marks can be reduced, or you can be awarded zero marks.
  • Your qualification for that subject can be cancelled.
  • All of your qualifications for the entire year can be cancelled.



  • all the work yourself
  • properly reference all sources
  • check your work before handing it in
  • hand your work in on time
  • hand in any resource sheet you have used


  • copy someone else's work
  • use rude, abusive or offensive words or images

How to get your coursework back from SQA

SQA provides a service to return non-examination material submitted to us for assessment for candidates and centres.

The closing date for requests is 30 September 2022.

Request return of your coursework