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Tom graduated from a top university last year, one mark off a first in Spanish. The only problem is he hardly learnt a word of the language.

Every exam Tom took was online, and in each one, he cheated. “I would not have passed my degree if I didn’t cheat,” he said. “You didn’t even feel bad about doing it because you knew everyone else was. If you tried to be honest, you’d fall behind the rest. You just can’t compete with a computer.”

Figures obtained by The Times show academic malpractice among Britain’s most prestigious universities has more than doubled since the introduction of online exams.

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