Is cheating on a test a mortal sin?

If not, when would it be mortal?

I converted from Protestantism this year. At my first confession, I mentioned that I had cheated on a test in highschool. I have no idea if it was grave or not. Either way, it’s sinful so we should be academically honest.

It’s very possible that academical dishonesty like plagiarism would be grave as it is a clear example of lying.


I suppose the gravity of the sin depends upon how one cheated and what kind of test it was.

For instance, cheating on your commercial pilots exam might be grave matter, but having notes written on your hand during a history quiz may not be.


I second MtnDwellar’s comment–it depends on the test. I would say in three ways:

  1. as the previous comment said, if it were for a pilot’s license or a license to practice medicine, that would endanger other people, and it would be serious.

  2. Another possibility is that the test was for some position or promotion and–for example–only the top 3 scores would get the position or promotion. If by cheating you have deprived the person of their rightful place (cf. the Russians at the Olympics!) then you haven’t just cheated, you’ve harmed someone else.

  3. And of course if you cheat once, it’s easier to cheat again. So you are opening yourself up to further sin in the future.


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